The 2019 Winter Meetings are upon us! It’s the baseball rumor-mongerer’s favorite time of year. The good people at MLB Trade Rumors are perhaps stocking up on Red Bull and coffee as we speak, knowing the refreshing button on many web browers will be smashed over the next few days. It all began Sunday night with the announcement that Marvin Miller (!) and Ted Simmons were finally voted into the Hall of Fame.
In the past few years, there hasn’t been much news to hear, what with the marquee free agents not happening until well past the meetings in the past few editions, but this year looks to be different. Already several prominent names - Zack Wheeler, Yasmani Grandal, and Mike Moustakas - have already begun renting U-Hauls to move their belongings to new addresses and from some of the more recent rumors we’ve seen, there could actually be some more moves made these next few days. But let’s focus on the Phillies. What could be in store for our local heroes?
It has been speculated that Wheeler looks like he would be the biggest addition the team would make via the free agent market this offseason, but in recent days there has been a lot of smoke brewing around the Phillies braintrust.
Hear Yankees “total focus” right now is on Gerrit Cole. PHI, TEX, LAD, LAA are other teams known to be in but Yankees don’t want to be denied.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 7, 2019
Phillies have showed interest in Strasburg and Cole, and seem especially interested in Stras. Possible that interest lessens with the Wheeler signing but Philly seems to be going big again — just low-keying it this time (no “stupid $ talk). @BNightengale links them to Rendon too— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 6, 2019
The #Phillies, luxury tax be damned, are going all in, and plan to pursue free-agent 3B Anthony Rendon. https://t.co/aO2XMU0JPw— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 6, 2019
Now, we must cautious when it comes to rumors over the next few days. After all, this is one of the main points in the article about Rendon:
The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Phillies have yet to publicly declare their intentions and have not met face-to-face with Rendon.
So, it looks like Nightengale’s source is one of the bellboys at the hotel he’s staying at, or perhaps he was playing OOTP and that was an email he got as owner of the Phillies and mistakenly wrote about it as a real rumor. A lot of these guys are notorious with being wrong with what they report, but these are multiple guys saying the Phillies are in on the big names left, even if it means going over the luxury tax. While that is a sound strategy, we have to keep in mind that at this point, agents probably have these writers’ ears hoping to get word out about interest. Still, it’s nice to see the Phillies are at least still in the hunt.
Speaking of in the hunt, Sunday brought another little nugget to keep in mind.
I'm told #Yankees have a seven-year, $245 million offer on the table for Gerrit Cole. Would be a record-setting contract for a pitcher, surpassing Greinke’s $34.4 million AAV. Question is whether #Dodgers or #Angels will go to 8-9 or even 10 years.— Bob Klapisch (@BobKlap) December 8, 2019
If this is true, then the Phillies should absolutely be in on Gerrit Cole. 8/$245M is a number that can and should be beaten for the top pitcher on this year’s market. Were the Phillies to pass this up without even making an offer, it would scream negligence.
What’s interesting is who you haven’t heard connected with the Phillies in recent days: Didi Gregorius. The last mention of him was in Jim Salisbury’s story about the team signing Wheeler.
Story on Zack Wheeler signing with Phillies. Joins Howard, Lee, Harper and Hamels as only $100M deals in club history. Didi Gregorius is next free-agent focus.https://t.co/Zlvna18P2K— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) December 4, 2019
It’s odd that a guy the team was rumored to be heavily interested in has kind of fallen by the wayside. Perhaps they’re just waiting on the meetings to announce it.
The likelihood that the Phillies sign either Cole, Strasburg or Rendon is still probably rather remote. However, as has been noted elsewhere, this is the year for the team to go past the tax. Get the players.
There’s also the possibility that the team will be trading for a starter or third baseman or something else. We haven’t heard too many trade deals that have involved the Phillies, but you can safely assume that many people know what they think the team should do.
A quick Twitter search for “phillies trade” just involves a lot of people coming up with unreal proposals. While the team could, and probably will, trade for someone, if they’re doing something, they’re sure keeping it close to the vest.
This set of meetings promises to be eventful. Stay with us at The Good Phight on our Twitter feed (@TheGoodPhight) in case anything exciting happens.