With so many boxes to check this offseason, the Phillies may have to get creative and make a trade.
A year ago, GM Matt Klentak orchestrated a deal to acquire Jean Segura from the Mariners for Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford. Nobody saw that move coming from a Phillies front office that moves quietly.
Why might a trade again be necessary for the Phils? There is very little of appeal in the center field market, one of the Phillies' positions of need. The top five free-agent centerfielders are Jarrod Dyson, Brett Gardner, Billy Hamilton, Cameron Maybin and Juan Lagares. Yuck. Maybe a team can convince itself Marcell Ozuna can play center but he hasn't in two years.
One potential trade target to keep in the back of your mind? Pirates centerfielder Starling Marte. The Pirates are rebuilding, will have a new GM and manager in 2020, and could get value for Marte, who has a pair of club options left on his contract in 2020 and 2021 at $24 million total. From a Phillies standpoint, it would be an offensive and defensive upgrade that likely would not cost a tippy-top prospect.
The relief market is also lackluster. Lefty Will Smith is the best name in that market. Dellin Betances is a bounce-back project after a year lost to injury. Drew Pomeranz will attract interest after finding success as a reliever in 2019. Sergio Romo is still getting outs.
But if the Phillies want an upper-tier reliever, the trade market should offer more than free agency. Back-end relievers like Raisel Iglesias and Ken Giles could be had.
The Phillies are not the only team that could make a score in a trade this winter. The Padres and White Sox, who both missed the playoffs the entire decade from 2010-19, stick out as teams ripe for deals. They have promising young cores and the need for a(nother) star. In San Diego's case, it will look to put another piece around Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack. In Chicago's case, the goal is to build around Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada and Dylan Cease, though one or more them may have to be sacrificed to land that big fish.
Marte, mentioned above, isn't the only intriguing potential trade candidate this winter.
The Indians could move one or both of shortstop Francisco Lindor and former Cy Young-winner Corey Kluber.
The Mookie Betts drama persists in Boston.
What will the Cubs do with Kris Bryant?
Is this the year the Royals deal Whit Merrifield?
How about pitchers like Matthew Boyd and Robbie Ray, who were not traded at the deadline?
Surely, some of these conversations are taking place now in Arizona at the GM Meetings.