Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Phillies remain in the market for all three leading free agent outfielders -- B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, and Josh Hamilton -- and describes Hamilton as a "fallback" option for Philadelphia in the event they are unable to land Upton or Bourn.
Danny Knobler described the Phillies as "favorites" to sign Upton on the Twitters:
As for B.J. Upton, some people involved say he could take more recruiting trips before deciding. For now, Phillies could be favorite.— DKnobler (@DKnobler) November 19, 2012
In any event, we're in that part of the Hot Stove where corroboration of old news is news in and of itself, and the absence of leaked information may or may not indicate the thinking and focus of the teams on the market.
I'm more and more certain that the Phillies land at least one of Hamilton, Upton, or Bourn, even if I'm not really crazy about any of them. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Phillies are very unlikely to bring back old friend and free agent Shane Victorino.
At this point I kind of want them to take a stab at Cody Ross, in part for his playing ability and production, and partially because it'd be an awful lot of fun to see the rending of flesh and hear the howls of agony from the fanbase.
I asked resident prediction guru JOECATZ for his take:
"One thing to keep in mind as the Winter meetings approach and the Phillies get closer to a decision here, is that it's sometimes easy to forget that when it comes to free agency, it's not always the team's decision. The most telling part about the Upton rumors, to me at least, is that he's visited with Atlanta, and Philly, may go to Washington, and he's going to make a decision based on what's best for him both from a playing and a lifestyle perspective. If we end up with Hamilton or Bourn, it's probably because Upton didn't want to come to Philly, not because we didn't have him first. And likewise, when and if he ultimately signs, the extra year he gets, or the extra couple million in annual salary are likely what it took to outbid Atlanta. But it's not inconcieveable to think that all three major outfield options on the market, Hamilton, Upton and Bourn, will all end up in the NL East in 2013."