Red Sox

MLB rumors: Phillies "have visions" of Bryce Harper, Craig Kimbrel, Dallas Keuchel moves

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MLB rumors: Phillies "have visions" of Bryce Harper, Craig Kimbrel, Dallas Keuchel moves

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.

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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Who are the best center fielders in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best center fielders in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

The Red Sox have employed all manner of center fielders throughout their history.

Whereas left field has generally been home to run producers and right to all-around threats, the men in the middle have covered a wide range of styles. There are straight speedsters like Jacoby Ellsbury, defensive dynamos like Jackie Bradley Jr., fun-loving eccentric types like Johnny Damon, underappreciated standouts like Ellis Burks, and even plodding sluggers like Tony Armas.

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Only in recent years have the Red Sox consistently prioritized defense in the role, from Coco Crisp to Ellsbury to Bradley.

But that doesn't mean they haven't featured some talented players there, including a turn-of-century Hall of Famer, the younger brother of baseball royalty, and the one who fans over 50 still lament got away.

Click here for the Top 5 center fielders in Red Sox history.

MLB's Top 100 players for 2020 season: Numbers 100-76

MLB's Top 100 players for 2020 season: Numbers 100-76

There was once a time when a list of baseball's top 100 players would've been dominated by men in their 30s or even 40s. In 2004, for instance, the NL MVP was 39-year-old Barry Bonds and the Cy Young went to 41-year-old Roger Clemens. It was the seventh respective award for each.

We now can be almost certain that neither accomplishment was achieved without help, but if any good came from that era, it's that it forced baseball to address its PED problem, which means that a top 100 list now looks very different.

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Our list will reflect that shift. What it won't include are three pitchers guaranteed not to play in 2020 because of Tommy John surgery — Noah Syndergaard of the Mets, Luis Severino of the Yankees, and of course Chris Sale of the Red Sox.

Over the next four weeks, NBC Sports Boston will unveil its top 100 players, 25 at a time, and the list is dominated by youth. Never have young players been so essential to winning, whether it's 20-year-old Juan Soto helping lead the Nationals to last fall's shocking World Series title, or 23-year-old Cody Bellinger being named NL MVP.

Click here for Part 1: Players ranked 100th to 76th on our list.