Phillies Vice President and General Manager Matt Klentak said on Thursday that the club would "love" to sign a "top-end, front-line" starting pitcher. Longtime Arizona Diamondbacks southpaw Corbin surely fits the bill, while Kikuchi is more of an unknown — considering he has only played in Japan. Morton — although having gone 29-10 with a 3.36 ERA since 2017 — will be 35 in 2019, and is just three seasons removed from his previous, first stint with the club.
One name that has not been mentioned is Corbin's teammate in Arizona since 2016, right-hander Zack Greinke. According to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, the Phillies are "certainly one of the teams" which could afford the rest of Greinke's $104.5 million salary commitments over the next three seasons, should the Diamondbacks want to deal him.
Are the Phillies ready to spend some serious money? It would appear so. Harper, Machado, or both are definitely in play. The Phillies have serious TV money to spend and they have a chance to take the next step in their comeback. Watch for the beginnings of trade or free agent talks on starter and bullpen enhancements. ...
Look for some Greinke trade talk this offseason. A big-market team with money such as the Yankees or Phillies could have some interest in picking up the remaining three years of his contract.
Since the Diamondbacks are likely to lose Corbin and A.J. Pollock in free agency, and are considering dealing Paul Goldschmidt as he enters his contract season, it is said that the Diamondbacks "could be in transition to a rebuilding mode," per Cafardo. Trading Greinke would just be another facet of the rebuild as the club looks to replenish its prospects pool.
Greinke, 35, is a five-time Gold Glove Award winner, five-time All-Star, 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner and 2013 National League Silver Slugger Award winner. Through 455 career games — 210 of which while with the Kansas City Royals from 2004 to 2010 — Greinke is 187-118 with a 3.39 ERA, 2,435-637 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 1.173 WHIP.
The Orlando, Florida, native won the ERA title with the Royals in 2009 (2.16) and Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015 (1.66).
Greinke reportedly has a no-trade clause to 15 teams. It is not known if the Phillies are included on that list. It would make sense to trade some of their existing salary commitments, nonetheless, to help offset a potential "mega acquisition" of Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado. The Diamondbacks may want a relatively cheap veteran infielder like Cesar Hernandez or Maikel Franco — especially if Goldschmidt is dealt — or a quick center fielder in Odubel Herrera to cover the vast Chase Field outfield.
Last Thursday, Klentak said the Phillies "have to play both sides" of acquiring and trading players:
If we acquire an outfielder, for example, then we probably have one too many outfielders. There probably will have to be some sort of corresponding move to go with that, whether that’s the same day, a week later or month later, I don’t know. That would probably be the case. Same thing in the infield and same thing, probably, on the mound.
That’s one of the challenges of the offseason, but kind of one of the fun parts about our offseason. ... We can really play both sides of things., where we are exploring acquisitions, but also can explore what it would mean trading one of our own players away and what we can get back. We really have to play both sides of it.
If the Phillies do sign Machado, their logjam of infielders would need to warrant at least one trade of their own player(s). Why not make a trade for Greinke to significantly improve their starting rotation behind Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta? It would not be the first time the Phillies were rumored to show interest in the right-hander.