Now we’re talking.
It’s been a while since the Phillies threw big money at a free agent or made a big trade. It’s been a long while, actually. And general manager Matt Klentak said the Phillies would be looking to add hitters to their lineup for the 2017 season. They’ve already traded for Howie Kendrick and re-signed Odubel Herrera to a five-year extension. But the Phillies aren’t exactly throwing money around. Klentak is reportedly “lying in wait” and ready to pounce on free agents once their prices drop.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal is reporting that they have José Bautista on their list of targets in free agency.
The Phillies are open-minded to adding another bat through free agency or trade, according to major-league sources.
The team’s wide-ranging list of potential targets includes free-agent outfielder Jose Bautista, who is perhaps the best hitter still available. But the Phils, seeking the lowest possible acquisition cost, consider Bautista a less likely option; they are reluctant to lose a draft pick for signing him, sources say.
The Phillies, operating from a position of strength, need not rush into a move with the supply of hitters far exceeding the demand. The team possesses two significant advantages in the market — more payroll flexibility than most clubs, and more playing time to offer free agents, particularly in right field.
The Phillies shouldn’t just throw money away because they have it. Bautista is 36 years old and coming off somewhat of a down year, nailing 22 home runs and 69 nice RBIs in 116 games. He also dealt with the injury bug last season, missing games due to turf toe and a sprained left knee.
Rosenthal notes that outfielders Michael Saunders and Brandon Moss are other options the Phillies are considering. Free agency isn’t the be all end all for the club, because they could look to make a trade.
If the Phillies somehow sign Bautista, they would only forfeit their second-round pick, because their first-round one is protected in 2017. Rosenthal notes the Phillies might be able to sign Bautista if they offered him a two-year, $30 million deal. That way, he wouldn’t block anyone from coming up to the big leagues and the Phillies wouldn’t be throwing money away in a long-term commitment.
I still think it’s a far shot they sign Bautista, but they’re definitely thinking about it. I’d like to see them continue going to young route and having these kids come up and get some experience, but … could you just imagine?