The Phillies have made a few minor deals this offseason — including the high profile signing of first baseman Carlos Santana and adding Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek (for the second time) to help bolster the bullpen.
With the infield looking set, the last piece of the 2018 roster puzzle is finding a veteran starting pitcher.
The top free agent options remain Yu Darvish and Jake Arrietta, in a slow-developing market. While the Phillies have been tangentially linked to each neither appears to be heading to South Philadelphia. Perhaps, instead, the trade market is where the Phils will turn their attention to, as many rumors have suggested.
The Phils have some deep depth at outfield, boasting slugger Rhys Hoskins, speedster Odubel Herrera and another pair of talented young bats in Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr. With the potential and age (and contracts) of all three desirable to a trade partner, the Phillies have some leverage and many expect GM Matt Klentak to explore turning one of the four into the centerpiece of a package for a new pitcher.
According to the Daily News’ David Murphy, Nick Williams could be the name on the chopping block.
But who will they target? NBC Sports Philly’s Jim Salisbury suggests a familiar name: Cole Hamels.
Salisbury suggests that the trade market could work in Philadelphia’s favor come deadline time — in July of next season — and that flipping one of the four outfielders then could yield a big arm to help the team compete in 2019. Hamels, currently in Texas (where he was traded my Philadelphia a few seasons ago) has one year left on his big contract signed while with the Phillies, along with an option year in 2019 (and $6 buyout). Flush with TV money, the Phillies could afford to take on the contract of the 35-year-old former World Series MVP and allow him to end his career where it all started.