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A Winter Meetings primer

As things heat up in Nashville, what should Phillies fans be looking for?

MLB: Winter Meetings Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

It’s amazing what you will find when you get something stuck in your head. When I began typing this, I had the saying “rumor, rumors are no fun....” rattling around, thinking this was the actual saying. For the sake of accuracy, I Googled it and found a) I’m wrong about that particular saying, but b) someone actually wrote a blog about it at an Ivy League university. Taking that rhyming groups of words, this was the big idea we were supposed to take away from this:

Social ties, along with other factors, play a large role in the dissemination of information, as well as its acceptance or rejection. Because of these factors, information cascades, which form networks or structures where you can copy the decisions of others, can easily occur, as well as unfortunately lead to wrong outcomes. Therefore, while rumors rumors are no fun unless you tell everyone, sometimes it’s best not to believe everything you hear.

“Rumors rumors are no fun”?!?!

Poppycock.

Of course rumors are fun, but only for baseball. We all love a good rumor about which player might go where in what transaction. It makes for good content for esteemed websites devoted to team coverage to write about during the slow days of the offseason good, healthy discussion within the fanbase. What better place for these rumors to bubble up than the Winter Meetings.

These meetings are held every year for the baseball community, where all teams, agents and free agents are gathered in one place to speed up negotiations, creating face to face dialogue and get business done before the holiday season that grinds the game to a halt. This year’s version is being held in Nashville, a place that has held the event before. It promises to bring lots of action....maybe.

With that said, let’s set the stage for what the Phillies might be angling to do while in good ol’ Tennessee.

The big one is done, so don’t look for another. Right?

We’ve written multiple times about the Phillies finishing their biggest piece of business by bringing Aaron Nola back into the fold. It’s certainly a stress reliever for the front office as they check into Nashville, but that doesn’t mean their business is finished. It would be shocking if they were still in on any of the big name free agents left. We can almost guarantee they won’t be near Ohtani or Bellinger, but stranger things have happened.

At some point, there will be a limit placed on the spending. There has to be some internal discussion about what that price point is, but they might be approaching it. They’ll have to be careful to avoid some of the stiffer penalties that come with going over the luxury tax thresholds.

Unless they have the go ahead to vault passed them.

John Middleton has backed up his desire to win championships by letting the team spend when they have asked to. He’ll have the final say on anything, but if there is a piece that Dave Dombrowski really believed would put the Phillies in position to win, you’d have to wonder if Middleton really would veto the spending.

Bench bats, relievers and starters...oh my!

Since Nola is back, that leaves some of the more minor positions to fill. On the rumor mill, we’ve heard about how they’re looking to improve the outfield, either as a starter or a fourth outfielder that can start, but what else might they be looking at?

Garrett Stubbs, Edmundo Sosa and Jake Cave look like they have three of four bench spots sewn up, but is there room for improvement here? Could the team add another outfielder to push for more playing time? Whit Merrifield is a name we’ve seen bandied about and he does make some sense when looking at the roster. They could also pivot to check in on someone like Adam Duvall, a player that can handle left and center field.

They’ll almost certainly be looking to add to the bullpen, right- or left-handed. Does that put someone like Josh Hader on the map, a pitcher who would lock in the ninth inning and allow a plan to be put into place for 5th-8th innings? Or are they aiming a little smaller, someone to throw into the mix and match philosophy Rob Thomson adores? We’ll have to see.

Which of your favorite prospects will exit the organization?

It’s almost certain that a trade will happen. Dombrowski loves trading and has no problem pulling the trigger on a move that sends out prospects. Which one will it be?

Depends on what they’re getting. Top end major league talent will require top end minor league talent. Unfortunately for the Phillies, they don’t possess the kind of minor league talent other teams with deeper systems have. That can hinder negotiations when they’re going up against other teams with “better” prospects. What they do have on their side is a president of baseball operations unafraid to part with his prospects in any deal. If Dombrowski sees something that he wants, he likely won’t hesitate to deal the prospects at the top of the team’s talent pool. While that may not put them in the conversation of Juan Soto, there are other tiers of talent the team could use prospects to trade for.

These meetings could be really quiet for the Phillies or they could be loud. They’re one of the wild card teams we’ll have to watch. Whatever happens, it promises to be a fun few days watching Nashville.