Phillies: Let’s just wait until next year for free agency

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Manny Machado #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgers strikes out during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Manny Machado #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgers strikes out during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

After much thought, it is probably best if the Phillies stepped back from the free agent hysteria surrounding Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article proposing a Mike Trout trade.  I still want Trout to join the Phillies but have since restructured a few things and changed my mind about the two all-star caliber free agents currently available.

What do you mean no Bryce Harper, no Manny Machado! What? After much thought, it is probably best if the Phillies stepped back from the free agent hysteria surrounding Harper and Machado. I know. Not the thought most fans are contemplating right now.

The thought of having one or both of those marquee All-Stars penciled into your line up every day is very alluring. But a more disciplined approach by general manager Matt Klentak might be the best way to win a World Series, which after all should be the ultimate goal. So what gives?

More from That Balls Outta Here

Handing out $400 million contracts to one or both players may not bring that elusive World Series crown back to Philadelphia. Neither player has proven that they are team first, and both come with some baggage. Sure, they are extremely talented generational players. But we are talking hundreds of millions of dollars here.

The infamous scrap with Jonathan Papelbon is certainly not viable evidence that Harper cannot get along with other players.  But the argument started when Papelbon plunked Machado in a previous game. Harper criticized him for doing it because he was worried he was going to get hit in retaliation.

I’m sure some would say he had a point, but most players would choose to not say anything and take one for the team. And Harper has never been a fan-friendly guy, signing very few autographs and keeping his distance with the people who buy tickets.

Machado’s antics in the playoffs this fall angered players and fans alike. His admission that he wasn’t a hustler won’t fly with blue-collar fans in the not so friendly City of Brotherly Love. Trying to hurt other players won’t fly either. Not the kind of red flag you want flying over Citizen Bank Park.

A win-now mindset would be willing to overlook these flaws.  But for how long? If the front office decides to spend the money and they don’t win anything, the same fan base would quickly turn and blame management and the players. These two players would become easy targets and convenient scapegoats.

So, what should Klentak do?  It may require some innovation. Unless Trout decides to not re-sign with the Angels and become a free agent in 2021, management must be willing to part with several of its best prospects or major league position players. Give them whatever they want for this local superstar who comes with no baggage. Aside from Hoskins and Nola, let them choose five or six players of their choice.

Other teams, as well as the Angels, certainly understand that Trout wouldn’t commit to signing somewhere else if the Phillies are interested. It has been rumored for a long time that Trout would love to play in Philly and that means other teams would not be willing to give up their best prospects if they believe he will not sign a contract.  The Phillies would have some leverage there.

Having Trout as your centerfielder and marquee player would then allow you to put together the pieces next year, like shelling out the big bucks for a quality guy like third baseman Nolan Arenado.  He is a player worthy of a huge contract; his career stats bear that out. They are as good if not better than both Machado and Harper. He wants to win and by all accounts has no baggage.

More from Phillies News

This year they could sign AJ Pollock or Michael Brantley. Should Trout land in Philly, they can reshuffle the outfield around.  As I said in a previous article, signing Wilson Ramos as your catcher and Freddy Galvis as your shortstop would solidify the adage of being strong up the middle defensively. It wouldn’t cost that much. In addition, Ramos would be a good mentor for Jorge Alfaro as he continues to improve his game.

The Phils should also add one of the young lefty pitchers currently available and then trade those players they are unhappy with for some prospects.  This allows them to reboot the farm system.

So, Klentak should be a smart consumer and not an impulse shopper, but he needs to be creative and willing to give up something to get something in return. There are other options out there next year including two players better than the two available.  The Phillies would then be on their way to bigger and better things in 2020. It would be easy to surround a lineup that includes Trout, Arenado, Hoskins, and Ramos. Even better than a previous lineup I proposed with Machado.

Next. Free Agent Profile: Bryce Harper. dark

I wonder if Klentak sits around like I do and dreams of what if…