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Phillies reportedly checked in on Zack Greinke; talks 'ended quickly'

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor

To the surprise of many, the Philadelphia Phillies haven't been connected to many starting pitchers this offseason, whether it's through trade or free-agent rumors. Apparently they did inquire on one of the game's top starters, though talks don't seem to have gained traction. 

According to Robert Murray of FanRag Sports, the Phillies did check in on Arizona Diamondbacks star RHP Zack Greinke, but the talks never seemed to become serious: 

In addition to the Texas Rangers, the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies inquired about right-handed Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke, a league source tells FanRag Sports.

After signing two relievers – Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek – Philadelphia appears to be looking for an upgrade in the rotation. Given that they have little-to-no money on the books in future seasons, they make sense as a possible Greinke suitor, but a match is highly unlikely.

Talks were “over quickly,” the source said.

Greinke, 34, went 17-7 with a 3.20 ERA and a 5.1 fWAR in over 200 innings for the Diamondbacks in 2017. Greinke, who has made four All-Star teams and won the 2009 American League Cy Young Award, helped the Diamondbacks to win the first National League Wild Card in his second season with the club, after struggling in 2016. 

While it may make sense for teams closer to contention to inquire on Greinke, at 34, he would seem to be a curious fit for the Phillies, who are probably two or three years away from contending. Considering he possesses a limited no-trade clause, one that allows him to block trades to half the teams in the league, he may also have to sign off on any trade to the Phillies. Perhaps that's why talks didn't gain any traction. 

Even if the Phillies were closer to contending, Greinke might not be a great fit. Though his contract looks a little better after a strong bounce-back season in 2017, he's still owed over $125 million through 2021, his age-38 season. There's a reason that the Diamondbacks, who made the playoffs in 2017, appear willing to see what's out there for their ace. 

The Phillies, according to Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer, did make Tyler Chatwood a "multi-year offer," but he ultimately signed with the Chicago Cubs. MLB.com's Todd Zolecki says the Phillies did meet with Scott Boras to discuss Jake Arrieta, but all indications, including those from Zolecki, make it seem as though they were just doing their due-diligence on that front. 

While Greinke, technically, is controllable, he's not young or cheap. It's unclear if the Phillies have checked in on some younger, controllable options, such as Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole or Tampa Bay Rays RHP Chris Archer, who would seem to be better fits. 

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