The Philadelphia Phillies were expected to be big spenders over the MLB offseason with several marquee players hitting the free-agent market.
So far, however, the Phillies have not made a major splash, but a couple huge moves could be on the horizon. USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale provided some insight Tuesday with a tweet on the Phillies' current situation.
The #Phillies, according to team executives, have visions of signing Harper,— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 15, 2019
Keuchel and Kimbrel.
Bryce Harper arguably is the best hitter on the free-agent market, while Craig Kimbrel is the top closer still unsigned. Dallas Keuchel is one of the few quality starting pitchers without a contract. If the Phillies signed one or more of these players, the rest of the market might start to move a bit faster.
Kimbrel reportedly was searching for a nine-figure payday at the beginning of free agency, but that doesn't seem realistic at this point with his market looking pretty small. He spent the last three years playing for the Boston Red Sox and helped them win the 2018 World Series. The Sox remain one of the best options for him.
The Red Sox lost Joe Kelly to the Los Angeles Dodgers in free agency and several other top free-agent relievers already have signed with other teams. Kimbrel and Adam Ottavino are the two best bullpen options left for the Red Sox to pursue in free agency. The Red Sox showed an extraordinary amount of patience in their pursuit of outfielder J.D. Martinez in free agency before the 2018 season, and it paid off when they signed him for a team-friendly price. Taking the same approach with Kimbrel isn't a bad idea, but if he chooses to sign elsewhere, Boston won't have many quality options left to replace him in free agency.
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