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Phillies Rumors: Angels interested in Hernandez, Utley

By: Matthew Shinkle, Sports Talk Philly writer

As the MLB Winter Meetings rage on this week in National Harbor, Maryland, the Philadelphia Phillies are very much in the mix of the hot stove season. Although general manager Matt Klentak has said he doesn't want to block the pathway for younger players within the organization to make it to the majors, the Phillies have been said to have checked in on many players throughout the league on other teams, albeit mostly veterans.

As it would appear, a few Phillies have also been of interest to other teams around Major League Baseball. Earlier this week, we learned that a trade of Odubel Herrera may be possible, and just yesterday we learned another key member of the team's offense in 2016 is causing the Phillies to field some offers. 

According to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, the Los Angeles Angels have been reported as at least one team to have called the Phillies about second basemen Cesar Hernandez. Hernandez hit .294 in 2016 with six home runs and a league-leading 11 triples, and caught fire over the last three months of the season after being benched for his performance in June. 

The Phillies asking price for Hernandez was too steep for the Angels for negotiations to go much farther than an inquiry at the beginning of the offseason, per Fletcher, but it does pose an interesting scenario for the Phillies nonetheless. Hernandez played with a chip on his shoulder those last around three months, hitting close to .327 from Jun. 23 to the end of the season. Despite a high average, Hernandez had numerous base running blunders during the season and offers little power from the second base position, giving the Phillies a chance to potentially sell high. 

Additionally, the Phillies have Scott Kingery and Jesmuel Valentin tabbed as potential second basemen of the future. Valentin is currently on the 40-man roster, and Kingery was the Phillies second round draft pick during the 2015 MLB draft.

Even if neither of these prospects pan out, Freddy Galvis is not unfamiliar with second base. Galvis played 156 games last season at shortstop in his fifth year in the major leagues, however he spent time at second base in all four previous years before the 2016 season. When prized prospect J.P. Crawford makes it to the major leagues within the next year, Galvis could still switch back to second in a scenario where Hernandez is traded. While Galvis is still a bit of a question mark in terms of the exact offensive player that he is (.263 avg./7 HR's in 2015; .241 avg./20 HR's in 2016), he has one of the most versatile infield gloves in the league. 

If the Angels aren't able to agree to terms with the Phillies on a trade for Hernandez, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports say that the Angels may be interested in former Phillies second baseman Chase Utley: 

Chris Cotillo of SB Nation echoed the interest of Utley from the Angels, but suggested that the team is leaving all options open:

As Heyman reports, Utley can make a short move in distance to play for the Angels this next year instead of the Dodgers again. Last season with the Dodgers, Utley hit .252 with 14 home run's while playing in 138 games. He seems likely to get a deal in the range of the one-year/$7 million deal that he played for in 2016. 


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