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Why the Phillies’ Hot Stove will be luke warm

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On Episode 163 of The Felske Files, Jim Salisbury from NBC Sports Philadelphia explains why we shouldn’t get our hopes up for a big splash by the Phils this winter.

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Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies could be making big changes to their infield this winter.
Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

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Just how aggressive are the Phillies going to get this off-season?

As baseball’s Hot Stove season kicks into gear, that’s the question every Phillie fan wants answered. The truth is, the Phils could go in a million different directions.

The Phillies need starting pitching, at least one arm if not two. They could do something out of character and go after one of the two premier free agent starters in Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta. They could go for a mid-range pitcher like Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb. Or they could try and get another couple reclamation projects, like they’ve done over the last few years with Jeremy Hellickson, Clay Buchholz and Charlie Morton.

The Phillies could trade one of their young outfielders or some top prospects in exchange for a controllable starter under 30, like Gerrit Cole or Chris Archer. They could trade for a veteran starter who has a ton of money on their contracts, like Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke. Or they could stand pat and go with the arms they already have on their roster, hoping for a bounce back season from Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez.

The Phillies could move Cesar Hernandez and plug Freddy Galvis in at second base until Scott Kingery is ready for his promotion in mid-May. They could trade Galvis, too, and allow him to be a starter someplace else, giving them an infield of Maikel Franco, J.P. Crawford, Kingery and Rhys Hoskins. Or they could go after a big-name first baseman in free agency and play Hoskins mostly in left field this season, but only if they trade away one of Aaron Altherr, Nick Williams or Odubel Herrera.

Phew. That’s a lot of possibilities, and there are probably more than I haven’t even thought of. The Phils have about $6 million in salary on the books for next season (before arbitration deals are agreed to), the fewest of any team in the big leagues. Because they have deep pockets and aren’t spending any money, agents around baseball are going to link their clients to the Phillies even if there really is very little chance the Phils want their clients.

But that’s the “fun” part of the Hot Stove season, trying to determine the idle rumor and speculation from the real truth. One way to know if you’re getting the real dirt on what general manager Matt Klentak is thinking is to pay attention to whatever Phillies beat writer Jim Salisbury from NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. He’s perhaps the most plugged-in of the local beat writers, and he joins Episode 163 of The Felske Files to talk about what the Phils might do this winter (18:53 mark).

Here’s a hint: don’t expect anything crazy.

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