Well well well.
The Phillies look like they’re still lookin’ for pitchin’ and I’m a’likin’.
The buzz around the interwebs yesterday that surrounded the Phillies organization came from two separate things written about the starting pitching market. First, the esteemed Jeff Passan talked about the free agency market as a whole and dropped a few little nuggets about the Phillies. From his article:
The New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies both offered $300 million-plus on [Yoshinobu] Yamamoto, and while neither planned to pivot to [Blake] Snell or [Jordan] Montgomery, both are nimble enough to seize on opportunities that markets provide.
Now, this isn’t directly linking the team to either pitcher, merely mentioning that they look like they have both the financial capability and the perceived desire to continue stockpiling starting pitchers to get through the season. If they were swimming in the deep end waters with Yamamoto, logic says they’re plenty able to do so with either southpaw.
Still, it’s not concrete evidence the team would be interested in signing either one, but that’s not speculation works. No, they need more and later on, there were quotes from a Boston reporter that suggested maybe there were more “creative” ways of bringing Snell to one’s organization.
Between Passan reporting that the Phils offered $300+ million for Yamamoto and this report…— Jack Fritz (@JackFritzWIP) January 3, 2024
I really think they’ll walk out of this offense with another top 3 rotation piece. pic.twitter.com/fYCTKtRDbb
Again, this is not anything concrete tying the Phillies to a pursuit of Snell, but it does at least make the conversation a little more interesting. We know that the team in interested in pursuing an extension with Zack Wheeler, a priority that pushes all other business down the list, but that money is earmarked for him starting next year. This year, crafting an offer to Snell that is short-term and has the ability to turn into a pillow contract for a pitcher that has a history of getting hurt and being unable to go long into games might be right up this team’s alley.
Of course, Snell and Montgomery weren’t the only names mentioned by Passan. Later on in that same article, the discussion turned to another southpaw, this one coming in from Japan.
At this price point — below what Snell and Montgomery expect to fetch — Imanaga’s options should be plentiful. All of the usual suspects could use more starting pitching: San Francisco, both New York teams, both Los Angeles teams, Boston. Even Philadelphia could make a play for Imanaga...[w]herever he lands, it’s going to happen soon. Imanaga’s 45-day posting window expires Jan. 11. His market will pick up this week, sources said, bringing another talented Japanese arm stateside.
If the team were going to bring in one of these three pitchers to further reinforce the rotation, this is the first deadline to watch. It’s logical to think they’d like to see where Imanaga lands before deciding on if they should pursue the other two simply because of the price point. While they have shown a willingness to flash the checkbook if the player is a top option at his position. Imanaga looks like he might be an option a little more fiscally feasible. They’d probably like to maintain some wiggle room to help add at the trade deadline and the signing of Imanaga would probably allow that more than the addition of either Snell or Montgomery. It’s been the strategy the past few years and has allowed them to make additions to the team without busting the budget in August, which is where the logic is coming from.
So, if we’re going to continue to put two and two together, it sounds like the team is still sniffing around adding arms. It could just be their agents dropping the Phillies’ name in hopes of perking up the market a bit or there could be some genuine interest there. We’ll just have to wait and see.