With so many rumors flying in every direction now that free agency is upon us, I thought it might be a good idea to put it all in one place. So, thanks to the guys at MLB Trade Rumors who do a great job of keeping us up to date on every Phillies rumor, here is a sampling of the Phillies rumorville over the past week.
Center field is the most logical place for the Phillies to add offense, according to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, so the Phils should pursue someone like Curtis Granderson as an upgrade over Ben Revere.
Giancarlo Stanton is a "pie-in-the-sky target" for the Phillies, CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury writes. A somewhat more realistic trade option could be Mark Trumbo, though Salisbury notes that the Phils lack the young pitching that the Angels want in return. The Halos have been linked to Kyle Kendrick in the past, so Salisbury opines that Kendrick could be part of a Trumbo trade package.
The Red Sox, according to sources, are quietly doing their due diligence on Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. While there are other free agent catchers available, Ruiz is the guy that the Phillies want and the guy that the pitchers want. The Phillies need to prioritize right-handed hitting and both Brian McCann and A.J. Pierzynski are left-handed hitters. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is a switch-hitter, but he struggles from the right side. The Rockies are also known to be pursuing Ruiz and are reportedly planning to offer him a multiyear deal this week.
GM Ruben Amaro says that he has already made offers on "several" free agent players, writes Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. While Amaro declined to name names, Zolecki suggests that Nelson Cruz, Carlos Beltran, and Mike Morse could be among their targets.
The Phillies hired Scott Freedman from Major League Baseball's Labor Relations Department to help the club incorporate analytics into their personnel decisions, Zolecki writes. "I don't know if it's going to change the way we do business, necessarily," Amaro said. "We still plan to be a scouting and player development organization, but I think it's important to get all the information and analyze not just what we're doing, but how other clubs are evaluating players."
The Phillies have kicked around the idea of trading for Price, but it's unlikely to happen. The Phils would likely have to include top prospect Jesse Biddle in a potential package and perhaps Domonic Brown as well. Also, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. recognizes that his club has multiple needs and that he will need to make multiple additions rather than going "all-in" on one big splash like Price or free agent center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
The Phillies' possible offseason targets include Nelson Cruz and Carlos Beltran, CSNPhilly.com's Corey Seidman notes. Seidman suggests that signing Cruz to a two-year deal for $30MM might make sense. He notes that, while the Phillies shouldn't be trying to get older at this stage, and with $120MM already committed to other players in 2014, they won't have a ton of money to spend. A power-hitting outfielder appears to be the Phillies' greatest short-term need, however.
The Rockies are making a run at free agent catcher Carlos Ruiz, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Incumbent Wilin Rosario would presumably get some or all of his playing time at first or in the outfield if Colorado were to land Ruiz. The soon-to-be 35-year-old backstop landed at number 29 on the list of MLB's top fifty free agents compiled by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, who sees a return to Philadelphia as the most likely scenario.
For the Phillies to return to contention, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the club must spend big in free agency. Gelb says the club has ample room to increase spending above the $189MM luxury tax line if it wants, though GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has expressed hesitation. "Obviously, we had a lot less people coming to the ballpark this year," Amaro said at season's end. "We have to be cognizant of that. We have been greatly supported - our payroll was, what, $165MM? That should be enough to put a contender on the field." Dierkes sees the Phils as the front-runners for Nelson Cruz, Ricky Nolasco, Ruiz, and Edward Mujica, though he notes that it all depends whether the team is willing to tack on $40MM+ to its 2014 obligations.
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