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Mets check in on Cesar Hernandez as Phillies rumor mill sputters and dies

This isn’t really a thing, and we all know it. But it exists now, so let’s just read down to the end.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody is in a hurry to get the infielder with the team-leading 2017 OBP (.373) and second highest WAR (3.1) off the roster, but Cesar Hernandez is available, and teams are going to poke the Phillies about him. The Mets have, but of course, they poked the GMs connected to all the available second baseman: Ian Kinsler, Dee Gordon, Brian Dozier and Jason Kipnis, as well.

The Mets are prowling for a short-term second base-filler who won’t cost them any prospects they like. They also don’t want to increase their payroll. They don’t have a lot to trade, unwilling to thin their starting pitching depth and unable to cut many more veteran hitters after 2016’s trade deadline. They also want late inning relief and do not want starting pitching even though their rotation was swallowed by a crevasse last year. New manager Mickey Callaway arrived with the eye of a pitching coach and has a couple of names he sees as potential assets to fill the Mets’ late inning needs. Shohei Otani is not one of them.

And that was two paragraphs on that. Let’s see, what else, what else...

The Phillies scooped up one of those Braves prospects who got jettisoned for Atlanta’s shady international signing practices. There’s a flash sale on Phillies merch on the team’s official site; you can save 25% on Phillies-themed nutcrackers, both the “angst-ridden” and “just hot boxed in the parking lot before my shift” models. Rob Thomson’s the bench coach now, Shohei Otani is not in the rotation, and Pennsylvania’s sports capital has been moved by an Allentown newspaper (but not to Allentown).

So we’re all having frank, productive winters, undistracted by the constant whirring of baseball’s rumor mill. The Phillies’ rumor mill in particular has all the energy generation of a hamster asleep on the wheel right now. Perhaps now is a good time to leave and do other things—what’s that? Something happened? The Mariners are asking Ben Gamel to try some first base this spring to increase versatility? Okay, let me clear my schedule.