Building upon Jay’s Winter Meetings post from earlier, we continue to discuss the latest rumors and see what might happen over these next couple of days. As we know, the Phillies are finally in full-on rebuilding mode, at least according to Pat Gillick. Although there’s no urgency to start a fire sale, Gillick claims it would be disappointing if they didn’t make any moves before Spring.
While the Phillies aren’t a directly involved in the Jon Lester sweepstakes, they certainly have a vested interest in where he lands (which may happen as early as today). The Dodgers, Red Sox, Cubs and Giants are all courting the lefty free agent and whoever fails to land him would be a prime candidate for Cole Hamels, as Corey mentioned over at CSNPhilly.com. The Dodgers and Cubs are the most likely, but Cole may add the Sox to his tradeable teams list if they’re willing to pick up his 2019 option. Matt Gelb goes a step further and says the Dodgers are the best suitors after polling executives around the league.
As much as fans would hate to see Cole Hamels leave Philadelphia (and I’m sure the feeling is mutual for Cole), the real question remains, what would the Phillies get in return for their ace? Rumors that Ruben Amaro has been unreasonable with his trade requests have been denied by the man himself. Still, in his talk at Shibe Vintage Sports last week, Jayson Stark portrayed Ruben as a guy with few dance partners around the league. Therefore despite holding a key trade chip, the Phillies desperation to rebuild and Ruben’s reputation around the league may lead to less-than-stellar returns, or more likely no deals at all. At least for Cole, that is.
The Phils continue to shop Ryan Howard and to an extent Jonathan Papelbon, but for reasons well-known to everyone, those will be some tough trades to make. Marlon Byrd is probably the Phillies second-best piece of trade bait after Hamels and the hot stove will heat up for him once a few other players like Justin Upton, Evan Gattis and Yoenis Cespedes settle into their 2015 teams. Meanwhile, Brett Anderson, Brandon Morrow and Josh Johnson lead the list of potential free agent pickups for the Phils. As I mentioned, the Phillies won’t be making the first moves this Winter Meetings, but their tactics will certainly be shaped by those who do. Follow us on Twitter at PhilliesNation for the latest breaking news as we watch to see how this all plays out.