This is the time that we have all been waiting for. The Phillies have finished at .500 or worse in each of the past seven seasons. They have not had a winning record since 2011 which seems like eons ago. During that stretch the remaining pieces of the golden regime came and went (Utley, Howard, Rollins, Halladay, Lee, Hamels, etc.). The Phillies signed some average to above average free agents during that time, but no super star players. The 2019 Season was the year that was pointed to as the time where this would all change. The free agent class was the best in forever and the Phillies would finally have some cash to play with. Well fellas, the time has arrived. It is the perfect storm. As Brett Brown mentioned in the Sixers offseason...the time has come for "star hunting."
Well, in the Phillies case this can be considered Big Game Hunting. Some major trades and free agent signings have already occurred. James Paxton was traded to the Yankees. Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz were both shipped to the Mets. Paul Goldshmidt was traded to the Cardinals. Patrick Corbin (Top Free Agent Pitcher) signed with the Nationals. And Jean Segura was traded to yours truly the Phillies. However; the two biggest fish remain unsigned and this will be the time when decisions are made. Teams will either make or break their plans. Phillies owner John Middleton has already went on the record as saying that the Phillies are ready to spend tons of money and maybe even "be stupid" doing so. They are ready to spend stupid money.
Conventional wisdom says that the Phillies will only come away with one of either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. Some pundits will say that the Phillies will loose out on both players and have to settle for the scraps. But who is to say that the Phillies will not come away with BOTH star players. Let's face it...they have more money to spend than any other team including the New York Yankees. They have a good enough nucleus of young talent to attract these players. I know that it sucks when someone goes all in only to see everything tumble and come crashing down. Nonetheless, this is an exciting time to be a Phillies fan and I am dreaming big here. I am going out on a limb (I am sure that there will be many haters) to say that the Phillies are going to sign both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. The stars are aligned and the opportunity is there so why not!
The Phillies were also rumored to be heavy after Patrick Corbin. In fact, it was reported that they placed a better offer for his services than the Yankees. The teams mind set was that they would not be "out bid." In reality, they in fact were not out bid. The only reason that Corbin is not a Phillie today is because the Nationals went six years, which in my mind is a cardinal sin. In my opinion the Phillies lucked out by not getting Corbin for two reasons. Reason #1-Corbin really only had two good years and the money that was laid out on the table was ridiculous for future return on investment as well as risky due to his injury history. Reason #2-This now gives the Phillies a legitimate shot to out bid everyone by a long shot for both Machado and Harper. Say what you will about a player and their hearts desire and what city they may favor. But when its all said and done...money talks and bull shit walks and the Phillies can break their banks on both of these guys and still have money to play at the table.
Matt Klentak and the gang has their hands full, but no matter what happens, the purse is open and the pocket book is plentiful. The money is there. Now its just a matter of working magic behind the scenes and selling the player and agent on the teams future goals. There are many other needs and holes on this Phillies team, but signing one or both of these players is NUMERAL UNO on the agenda. After this feat is complete, they can continue to address the other areas of need and concern. I would also not be surprised to see the Phillies makes some trades during the meetings. Players like Cesar Hernandez, Mikael Franco, Odubel Herrera, and maybe even some prospects like Adonis Medina and JoJo Romero could be moved if the price is right. I am not particularly thrilled with this year's free agent class of starting pitching and I am guessing the Phillies are not either. Madison Bumgarner and Robbie Ray have both been on the Phillies radar. Corey Kluber is also available. I think the Phillies go trade to get their pitcher and concentrate the free agent money on bats.
As tomorrow comes and goes, so will a million more hot stove rumors. Tweets will fired off in a frenzy. Its hunting season baby and the lights are on. The Phillies are preparing to make their big splash. Does it not seem ironic that the Phillies rumor mill has been eerily quiet as of late, especially the sources closest to the team. I believe this is not ironic but merely purposeful anticipation of what is already a foregone conclusion. The Phillies are getting both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. A little over a month ago, Bob Nightengale said that the Bryce Harper was going to the Phillies and you can "bank on it." Well, this is Jason Voorhees telling you all that the Phillies will be coming away with both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado when its all said and done and you can BANK ON THAT! Happy Hunting Phillies...bring them both HOME!