The Phillies enter the 2020 offseason with many needs, highlighted by the starting rotation. The starting rotation let the Phillies down significantly last season, as the likes of Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez failed to live up to the potential that many felt they had, and Jerad Eickhoff never returned to form after constantly battling injury. The Phillies appear ready to be active in the starting pitching field.
Jason Stark of the Athletic notes that the Phillies will be active on the pitching front:
People keep asking what I expect the Phillies to do. Here's what I've heard:— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) November 12, 2019
*Add "at least" 2 starters - one big multiyear deal, the other(s) trade/upside/1-year-deal types
*Stay in the mix on Cole. Would take an Arrieta-like scenario to sign him - i.e., Last Team Standing
That could mean that the Phillies weakness will become a strength.
When speaking of "one big multi-year deal", could that be Cole himself? The way this is worded it suggests that the Phillies will not wait around and Cole may be the type who hangs around until the end. Should Cole overreach the market - as Jake Arreita might have done two years ago - the Phillies could find themselves in a place to jump in March, should the Boras Corporation client go the route of Arrieta and Bryce Harper like last year, waiting until March.
But there are good names beyond Cole and even beyond Stephen Strasburg, who gets equal attention in free agency.
Zach Wheeler has been solid for the New York Mets in recent seasons and the Phillies have had trade interest in the past. Julio Teheran has been up and down with the Atlanta Braves but has talent and is just 29 years old. Jordan Lyles is also just 29 years old and would represent an upgrade for the Phillies. Lyles was strong down the stretch for the Milwaukee Brewers after a July trade. Michael Pineda, who finished the season after testing positive for a weight loss drug, a diuretic banned under the MLB joint drug agreement.
For the one-year deal types: Cole Hamels is an option; he has publicly said he would take a one-year deal and further, sign with the Phillies. Dallas Keuchel will return to the market after completing his partial-year deal of a year ago with the Atlanta Braves. Pitchers that are older in baseball years such as Ivan Nova, Tanner Roark, and Wade Miley could command one-year deals.
Beyond pitching, Stark addressed the Phillies infield:
Beyond the rotation:— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) November 12, 2019
*Phillies still trying to trade Maikel Franco. More likely to non-tender him.
*Ditto on Cesar Hernandez. Less likely to non-tender him.
*Add 3B, 2B and/or CF. Kingery bounces to spot they don't fill.
*Shop for bounceback relievers (e.g. a Betances type?)
In other words - the Phillies expect to be busy.
The general managers around baseball are currently gathered in Scottsdale, Arizona for the general managers meeting. Sometimes there are trades to be made at those meetings; other times groundwork is laid for other deals. It sounds like Matt Klentak will be busy at these meetings and well beyond.