According to reports from various sources, the Phillies have expressed significant interest in three lefties: J.A. Happ, Zach Britton, and Dallas Keuchel.
In the last few years, the Phillies‘ roster has been dominated by right-handed pitchers. They are looking to change that this offseason, both in the rotation and bullpen. The team has already added two left-handed relievers via trade, but they are still active in looking for more lefties in free agency.
First off, Jayson Stark of the Athletic reported that Philadelphia has had “ongoing discussions” with Happ over the last few days. Stark states Happ is a strong fit for the team as a lefty who will not require that long of a contract to be signed.
With that being said, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported Tuesday that Happ is holding out for a third year on a contract and will sign with the first team that offers him one. Passan stated that Happ has only received two-year offers so far from multiple teams, including a couple contenders.
There is certainly some risk in offering Happ a three-year deal. 2019 will be his age-36 season, meaning he will be 38 years old during a potential third season. With that being said, Happ may be worth that third year given his durability throughout his career and his lack of reliance on an overpowering arsenal.
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Next, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that Philadelphia is in on Dallas Keuchel and Zach Britton, along with “a certain mega free agent”. He doesn’t indicate which big free agent it is, and with conflicting reports about who the team wants, this note doesn’t really add anything.
Regardless, Nightengale’s notion that the team wants Keuchel conflicts with what Stark is reporting.
Stark said that Happ is a good fit because he doesn’t require term, but Keuchel obviously will. Philadelphia had interest in signing Patrick Corbin to a long-term deal, so they may have interest in a longer Keuchel deal as well.
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Philadelphia is not the only team eyeing Keuchel. Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reported Monday that the Phils, Braves, and Reds are the top contenders for Keuchel’s services with the Yankees also a possibility. The Blue Jays are also a potential landing spot, although they may be not willing to give Keuchel enough money to sign him.
The Phils are working out a time to meet with Scott Boras, who represents Britton and Bryce Harper, at the winter meetings this week. Meanwhile, the Yankees also have interest in Britton, who have kept in contact with Boras about Britton according to Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. Kuty said that Britton’s market will narrow down by the end of the winter meetings.
Philadelphia has been all over the place at the winter meetings so far, and it will be interesting to see what the team ultimately decides to do to bolster their roster.