Phillies rumors suggest the club might not be done after signing Bryce Harper.
Now that Harper’s contract is on the books, what else could the Phillies look to do at the tail end of a very busy offseason?
Jon Heyman, who broke the Harper story, tweeted Thursday another batch of Phillies rumors that have picked up traction. According to Heyman, the Phillies would still be interested in adding Keuchel or Kimbrel on a “pretty short-term” deal.
Philadelphia maintains financial flexibility by getting Harper at a reduced AAV over 13 years, reportedly paying him a $10 million salary in 2019 plus a $20 million signing bonus, then $26 million each of the next nine seasons, followed by three years worth $22 million each.
Philadelphia would want to maintain the flexibility for two years down the road when hometown star Mike Trout is expected to become available, so a deal with Keuchel or Kimbrel might not extend more than four years.
This season will be Keuchel’s age 31 season, so he likely wants this deal to be his biggest and longest considering how players are being paid nowadays. Few pitchers get big money going into their age 34 or 35 season, that is if they ever get there.
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As for Kimbrel, the Phillies bullpen is already solid with the additions of David Robertson, Juan Nicasio, Jose Alvarez, and James Pazos through free agency and trades. They join some quality young arms in Seranthony Dominguez, Edubray Ramos, and Victor Arano mixed in with Hector Neris, Pat Neshek, and Tommy Hunter.
Kimbrel would obviously make the Phillies better in the back-end of ballgames. It’s a tough balance of competing this year and building young arms like Dominguez, Neris, Ramos, and Arano to be the next crop of stars.
Unless Kimbrel will drop his asking price to a three or four-year deal, I don’t see the Phillies jumping into that anytime soon. Like Keuchel, Kimbrel is entering his age 31 season, though the mileage on Kimbrel’s arm is significantly less.