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Phillies Rumors: Angels 'covet' Cesar Hernandez

Cesar hernandez

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor

As it turns out, Sixto Sanchez isn't the only player in the Philadelphia Phillies organization that is coveted by an American League team. 

According to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Angels, who have been connected to Cesar Hernandez for over a year now, remain extremely high on Hernandez: 

The Phillies will continue to look for starting pitching at these winter meetings and beyond. They are open to trading Freddy Galvis or Cesar Hernandez and would look to get starting pitching in a deal for one of them. The Angels, according to sources, covet Hernandez as both a second baseman and leadoff man, but the Phillies' asking price is high.

It comes as no surprise that the Phillies have a high asking price on Hernandez. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported Monday morning that the Phillies were expected to have a high-price on the 27-year-old second baseman. Salisbury noted last offseason that while the Phillies were willing to listen on Hernandez, they had "a very steep asking price" when teams approached them about Hernandez. 

Despite the fact that top prospect Scott Kingery is looming at Triple-A, the Phillies appear to covet Hernandez themselves. He's led the team in walks for three straight years. Over the past two seasons, FanGraphs says that only former MVP Dustin Pedroia has been a better fielder at second base. Hernandez has top-flight speed, and though he got himself in trouble quite a bit running the bases in 2016, it feels like he still has untapped potential as a basestealer. And as Salisbury mentioned, he is a good table-setter at the top of the lineup. 

Hernandez also can't become a free-agent until after 2020, making him all the more valuable. 

First Look: Tim Kelly's 2018 IBWAA Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

With Mike Trout three years away from potentially being a free-agent, the Angels seem committed to attempting to put a contending team around their generational star. They gave Justin Upton a hefty new contract this offseason. Over the weekend, they signed two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani. Perhaps last offseason, the Angels would have liked to have Hernandez. But now, adding him could help them to create a playoff-caliber lineup. 

This may be a situation that Klentak and the Phillies have to wait out a bit, but if they play their cards right, they may end up getting a pretty nice return for Hernandez. If no trade materializes, they'll have a talented 27-year-old middle infielder on their team in 2018. There are worse problems to have. 

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