While the Philadelphia Phillies listen to offers on Pat Neshek and Jeremy Hellickson, while also trying to market Tommy Joseph to potential suitors, they reportedly made some interesting inquiries.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, who noted that the Phillies are viewed as a "leviathan-in-training" in league circles, says general manager Matt Klentak has looked around on the market for young starting pitching help:
At 32-61, the Philadelphia Phillies are the worst team in baseball by 3½ games. They still have poked around on controllable starting pitchers, according to sources, even as they look to deal pending free agents Hellickson, relievers Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit, and second baseman Howie Kendrick.
Passan didn't mention any specific "controllable starting pitchers" that the team checked in on, but it's easy to speculate. Oakland Athletics RHP Sonny Gray, Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole and Tampa Bay Rays RHP Chris Archer are among the controllable starters that frequently come up in trade rumors and speculation. Toronto Blue Jays RHP Marcus Stroman and Cincinatti Reds RHP Luis Castillo are other names that, in theory, it would make sense to check-in on.
While there has long been a worry that the Phillies don't have a No. 1 starter in their organization, Sixto Sanchez has become one of the more talked about prospects in the league. As Passan noted, he's joined by Franklyn Kilome, Adonis Medina and Jojo Romero in the Phillies' system, as young arms that could either eventually join the Phillies rotation or be used in trades to acquire controllable young talents (Sanchez won't be traded). That's on top of Aaron Nola, who looks like a No. 2 or No. 3 starter on a good team, and Jerad Eickhoff, who still profiles as a back-end-of-the-rotation piece for the club moving forward.
It may be difficult for fans to hear the Phillies linked in seemingly substantive trade speculation if it doesn't immediately lead to a trade. But nearly every local and national baseball scribe goes out of their way to talk about how the Phillies are expected to make significant financial commitments in the coming years. They may not trade for Giancarlo Stanton or Chris Archer in July of 2017, but these rumors seem to be precursors to the Phillies making momentous moves that help them return to contention.