Phillies

Phillies rumors: Latest news, trade talk, free agency chatter at MLB Winter Meetings

Phillies rumors: Latest news, trade talk, free agency chatter at MLB Winter Meetings

Like the July trade deadline, the Winter Meetings bring us so many rumors. The trick is sifting through the B.S. and the posturing from agents or front office execs to find something close to the truth. 

But if you’re a Phillies fan, this is the offseason and the winter meetings you’ve been waiting for. So all week, make sure to check back here for the latest Phils-related rumblings. 

TUESDAY

Phillies in on Realmuto?

Just when you thought the Phillies were done for the day …

Realmuto is one of the best catchers in baseball and just entering his prime. The price would be high but it has come down, per Joel Sherman. From the Phillies, a logical offer might be Jorge Alfaro and a starting pitcher like Zach Eflin, or Alfaro with one of the Phillies’ young starting outfielders. Probably still need an intriguing third piece from the minors as well. 

Phils add McCutchen


Watch out for the Yankees with Machado

The Yankees' interest in Bryce Harper seems even lower than the Phillies' lukewarm interest in the top free-agent outfielder, but both teams really want Manny Machado.

The Bronx has long been viewed as where Machado wants to be. And the Yankees have a fit for him right now at shortstop with Didi Gregorius out until some time between June-August after undergoing Tommy John surgery during the ALDS.

Rumors have swirled over the last 24 hours that the Yankees and Mets could be involved in their first trade in 14 years. Joel Sherman and others have discussed a potential three-team trade that could send J.T. Realmuto to the Mets, Noah Syndergaard to the Yankees and perhaps young third baseman Miguel Andujar to the Marlins. It's not imminent, and plenty of blockbusters get discussed but never completed. But this one would be juicy.

Andujar, in many other years that haven't included a unique player like Shohei Ohtani, would have won Rookie of the Year. Instead, he was the runner-up after hitting .297/.328/.527 with 47 doubles, 27 homers and 92 RBI. Yankee Stadium did play a big role in Andujar's power numbers, which would surely decline in Miami. 

Whether or not it lands them Syndergaard, if the Yankees do move Andujar, it would be a logical precursor or follow-up to a signing of Machado.

The Yankees are by far the Phillies' biggest competition for Machado. Couple Machado's perceived preference for New York with Phillies owner John Middleton's well-publicized desire to spend big this offseason and you might see the Phils go overboard just to outbid the Yankees.

MONDAY

Nick Castellanos on the block

The rebuilding Tigers are “determined to move on” from corner outfielder Nick Castellanos, one of the most productive hitters in the American League.

Castellanos, 26, is coming off a career year in which he hit .298/.354/.500 with 46 doubles and 23 home runs. In 2017, he drove in 101. His OPS has been higher than .810 three seasons in a row as he’s entered his prime. 

The Tigers want to get value for Castellanos before he inevitably walks in free agency. He’s due a projected $11-11.5 million through the arbitration process this season before becoming a free agent. 

Yankees out on Harper?

The Yankees haven’t been seen as a legitimate landing spot for Bryce Harper this offseason because they have a full outfield, just acquired Giancarlo Stanton’s gargantuan contract a year ago, and simply have bigger needs. They are still the Phillies’ top competition for Manny Machado. 

Yankees GM Brian Cashman, asked Monday about Harper, told reporters that he’s “surprised you’re still asking.”

Asking price for Realmuto

The Marlins have lowered the sky-high asking price for J.T. Realmuto, according to Joel Sherman. Last week, there was a report out that the Marlins wanted both Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo from the Mets — two good, young, inexpensive outfielders. 

Realmuto might be the best catcher in baseball, and he’s under contract for two more seasons. Miami is right to ask for a lot. Half the league wants Realmuto. It will be a bidding war and the Marlins can find a good offer outside the division as well. 

No market for Cesar?

No surprise here, but it sounds as if the Phillies are struggling to find a trade fit for second baseman Cesar Hernandez after his worst big-league season. He’s still a competent second baseman many teams would like for his OBP, but the Phillies may have to package him with another player — Vince Velasquez? Maikel Franco? — to get a meaningful return. 

Twins interested in Ramos reunion

Wilson Ramos began his career with the Twins, who made an awful trade in 2010, sending him to Washington for mediocre closer Matt Capps because they needed bullpen help and thought Joe Mauer would be behind the plate a while longer. In less than three years, Capps was done in the majors and Mauer was done as a catcher. 

The Twins are interested in bringing Ramos back, according to ESPN Radio’s Darren Wolfson.

The Phillies have not seemed to prioritize bringing back Ramos, who was awesome at the plate in the second half but missed too much time and struggled to, well, move.

Keep checking back for the latest. 

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No jitters for Bryce Harper, just an RBI, a stolen base and a little 'glam'

No jitters for Bryce Harper, just an RBI, a stolen base and a little 'glam'

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Everybody's stomach is a little different.

So while Jake Arrieta had a few butterflies before his first start of the spring Tuesday, Bryce Harper's pulse barely quickened.

"Kind of the opposite," Harper said, comparing the feel of his spring debut to Arrieta's. "Spring training is kind of spring training. I don't want to get too high or anything like that. I just want to get out there, stay healthy and compete. When I get to opening day, there's your jitters."

Harper played five innings in right field. He came to the plate three times. He drove home a run with a sacrifice fly in his first at-bat and later walked and struck out. He also stole a base.

What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, Harper was still a free agent, mulling offers from the Phillies, Giants and Dodgers. He chose the Phillies on the final day of February and camp exploded with excitement. Back in Philadelphia, the team sold 180,000 tickets within 48 hours of Harper's agreement with the team.

This year, things are a lot different for Harper. He has become a dad. And his hair is a lot longer.

"I'm going to keep it going," he said. "Yeah, keep it flowing. Why not? We'll see what happens."

Harper, of course, isn't the only one in camp with a new look. His pal, the Phanatic, unveiled his on Sunday.

"Hey, man, everybody needs a glam-up sometimes, you know?" Harper said. "Why not? I've got long hair right now. I'm always changing."

The general atmosphere around camp is also different than it was a year ago. Though there's a real sense of faith that the Phillies will improve under new manager Joe Girardi, there's none of the euphoric buzz that accompanied Harper's signing. The attendance for Tuesday's game against Toronto in Clearwater was just 4,004. It was a split-squad game for both teams.

Harper is OK with a calmer spring.

"It's definitely different coming into camp," he said. "It's good knowing I'll be here the next 12 years, a lot more calm, not as crazy, not as many cameras. I'll enjoy that and just get ready for the season."

Harper's spring goal:

"Just be healthy," he said. "Take good routes in the outfield, throw the ball well out there, have good at-bats."

Haseley in protocol

Centerfielder Adam Haseley left the game in Clearwater after hitting his face hard on the ground while attempting a diving catch. Haseley suffered a cut on his forehead, caused by his sunglasses. He was seen walking and talking in the clubhouse after the game but was unavailable for comment to reporters because he had been placed in concussion protocol. His condition will be updated on Wednesday.

The games

Arrieta gave up a single, a walk and a three-run homer in the first inning, but he enjoyed a quick second inning. He admitted to some nerves in the first inning but settled in after that. At this point of camp, all that matters with a starting pitcher is health and Arrieta feels good after having his elbow surgically cleaned out late last season.

The Phillies lost the Clearwater game, 13-6, despite a grand slam from minor-leaguer Jhailyn Ortiz. The Phillies signed Ortiz for $4 million as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in July 2015. He hit just .200 at Single A Clearwater last season but had 19 homers and 65 RBIs in 430 at-bats.

Catcher J.T. Realmuto gunned down a runner trying to steal second base from his knees.

In Bradenton, the Phils beat the Pirates, 6-2. Lefties Ranger Suarez and Damon Jones both pitched two scoreless innings. 

The victories left the Phillies at 3-1-1 in exhibition play.

Zach Eflin starts Wednesday against the Twins in Fort Myers.

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Phillies Talk podcast: Can Roman Quinn change complexion of Phillies' lineup?

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Phillies Talk podcast: Can Roman Quinn change complexion of Phillies' lineup?

Joe Girardi is already impressed by Roman Quinn, who could significantly alter the Phillies' lineup if he can win the CF job. Ricky Bottalico and Corey Seidman discussed on Tuesday's Phillies Talk podcast.

• How Roman Quinn could change the complexion of the lineup.

• Can Andrew McCutchen be an effective leadoff man if the knee forces him to go station to station?

• How much a fast runner can mess with a pitcher's head.

• Phillies pitchers making clear (without saying it) what they thought of Chris Young and Gabe Kapler.

• Whose side are you on with the Phanatic lawsuit?

• Expectations for Scott Kingery in Year 3.

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