A lot of news from the the national beat writers within the last 24 hours. Per MLB Trade Rumors, Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Phillies are among those interested in Josh Hamilton. The Texas Rangers reportedly capped their max offer at three years and a longer pact is certainly to be desired by the 2010 AL MVP. Hamilton, who earlier this week was named a finalist for the 2012 AL MVP, had a career high 43 home runs for the Rangers but struck out a career high 25.5% of the time had a relative bounce-back year from an injury-marked 2011. Still no signs as to what Hamilton would desire per year or how many years he is looking for, but Rosenthal noted that two industry sources that the Phillies are quietly lurking in the background. That sentence gives me flashbacks to the Winter of 2010.
Rosenthal reported earlier today that Kevin Youkilis is drawing interest from the Phils, White Sox, and Dodgers. The White Sox have bought out Youkilis’s option but remain strong contenders to re-sign the former All-Star. Youkilis turns 34 in 2013 and hit a career low .235/.336/.409 in 2012 with 19 HR. While Hamilton admittedly intrigues me, Youkilis is an easy pass. After averaging 4.35 WAR his first six full seasons, the Greek God of Walks posted a career worst 1.3 WAR last season with his triple-slash in an at-best downward trend but at worst free-fall.
If the Phillies are left out in the cold for Hamilton, they could always turn to Nick Swisher. Swisher is reportedly receiving offers from several teams, including the Phillies, in the three years, $11-13 million per year range. Jon Heyman says the Rangers, Mariners, Orioles, Phillies, Giants, Braves, and Nationals are among those interested. Swisher has been absolutely solid and a borderline All-Star for the last several seasons. He will turn 33 in 2013 but has remained remarkably consistent with above average defense in left and right. $11-13 million per year is a lot but Swisher’s power likely would translate well from Yankee Stadium to CBP.
Yesterday, Michael Bourn officially rejected the Braves’ qualifying offer. Bourn is now a free agent and is being targeted by the Nationals, Reds, Red Sox, and Phillies. A Bourn return to Philly would satisfy their undeniable need for a lead-off hitter, but many, including MLB Trade Rumors, believe that Bourn is likely to sign with the Nationals and that he would be significantly more expensive than Swisher. Bourn turns 30 this September and the old adage is that the first thing to go in baseball is speed. A five year commitment no matter what the money scares me regarding Bourn and I would stay away.
Finally, Kevin Frandsen avoided arbitration this week and inked a deal for $800K with incentives that could push his salary over $1.2 million for 2012. In 55 games, Frandsen hit .338/.383/.451 filling in for an injured Placido Polanco. Frandsen helped the Phils second-half turnaround and it is nice to see him rewarded. The Phillies have not made decisions on their other two arbitration eligible players, Antonio Bastardo and Nate Schierholtz, but Schierholtz is believed to be a non-tender candidate, particularly should the Phillies sign a free agent outfielder.