Something doesn't make sense here.
Even with Cesar Hernandez at second base now and Scott Kingery seemingly in a position where he will be ready to play at the major leagues next year, the Philadelphia Phillies are all of a sudden being mentioned in the trade market for second baseman.
Earlier this week, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported that the Phillies are showing 'sincere interest' in Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon. Thursday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports dropped this nugget of information pertaining to the Phillies:
Brandon Phillips is drawing interest from “three or four” teams. Teams looking at second base generally include the Jays, Angels, Royals and Phillies (though Philly wouldn’t want a rental now).
So, there's a few things here. First of all, Heyman essentially rules out the Phillies as a suitor for Brandon Phillips, who on almost all levels doesn't make sense for a rebuilding team. Secondly, he says the Phillies are one of the teams around the league looking at second baseman. Is it possible he's simply referring to the Gordon rumor? Sure, but he didn't use that qualifier, and later in his "NL Notes" column did discuss his opinion on the club's reported interest in Gordon.
Hernandez, who recently returned from a month-plus absence due to an oblique injury, is slashing .279/.338/.394 in 2017 and fields his position pretty well. In 2016, despite a series of mental errors on the basepaths, Hernandez slashed .294/.371/.393 with 17 stolen bases and posted a 4.4 WAR (per FanGraphs). So he hasn't quite followed up his 2016 season thus far, but he's cut down on mental errors and has been one of the team's best hitters. It's also worth noting that he had a big second-half last year -- he hit .333 in July and .317 in September -- which propelled him to his strong 2016 numbers. So perhaps a similar hot-streak could be around the corner.
Jim Salisbury of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia did report last offseason that the Phillies, albeit with a high price-tag, were willing to listen to trade offers on Hernandez. There may have been some thought that he peaked in 2016, but more likely was that the team felt that Kingery was their long-term option at the position.
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After a strong Spring Training, Kingery has impressed both at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. In 88 games between the Reading Fightin' Phils and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Kingery is slashing .306/.364/.579 with 22 home runs, 55 RBIs and 26 stolen bases.
Regardless of what happens with Hernandez, the Phillies seem to have the second base position covered pretty well internally. It's also worth considering that Freddy Galvis may eventually be displaced by J.P. Crawford and Jesmuel Valentin may be ready to play in the majors next year.
Heyman did report in 2015 that the Phillies tried, on two occasions, to land Gordon. But that was when Gordon was a better player and the Phillies weren't seemingly stocked with major league ready middle infielding talent. Some have speculated that perhaps the Phillies are showing interest in Gordon, who is under contract through 2021, to say that they would be willing to take him on in any potential trade for Giancarlo Stanton and/or Christian Yelich. Others think the Marlins may be pushing the Gordon report just to help increase interest from other suitors.
Heyman's report, however, suggests that the Phillies are actually interested in trading for a second baseman, Gordon or otherwise. Why that's the case is anyone's guess.