The latest on Philadelphia…
- Free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas “is very much on the Phillies’ radar,” Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia writes. The 31-year-old Moustakas would provide an affordable, short-term Band-Aid at third for the Phillies as they continue to wait for prospect Alec Bohm to take the reins at the position. And Moustakas would be a major upgrade over Maikel Franco, who, after disappointing yet again in 2019, now looks like a surefire non-tender or trade candidate.
- Signing Moustakas to handle third for what would presumably be a reasonable sum would make it easier for the Phillies to dedicate a significant amount of cash to their uninspiring starting staff. Indeed, the likelihood is that the Phillies will use most of their spending room on pitching, according to Salisbury, who adds that the club will at least participate in the sweepstakes for the No. 1 starter available, Gerrit Cole. Signing Cole, a qualifying offer recipient, would cost the Phillies their second-highest draft pick and $500K in international bonus pool space (but more importantly an enormous sum of money). While general manager Matt Klentak seems averse to surrendering draft capital for a free agent, Salisbury contends he’d be willing to do it for the right player. That could prove to be Cole, who – like now-Phillie Bryce Harper a year ago – may be in position to sign the richest contract of anyone on the open market. While the Phillies gave Harper a 13-year contract last offseason, there’s at least some hesitance on their part to make an overly long commitment to a pitcher. “Pitching is fragile and if you’re relying on free-agent starting pitching to build your organization, you go into that knowing you may be left disappointed at some point in that contract,” Klentak said. “Even the Phillies during their great run from ’07 to ‘11, some of the more notable pitchers (Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee) that they brought in were really good at the front end of those contracts and not healthy at the back end of those contracts.”
- The Phillies’ roster remains a work in progress, but they already have their manager in place for 2020. The club hired former Marlins/Yankees skipper Joe Girardi a couple weeks ago, and doing so unsurprisingly cost Philly a decent chunk of money. The Phillies awarded the onetime World Series-winning skipper a three-year deal worth roughly $11MM in guaranteed money, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. That total falls just shy of the $12MM the Angels handed new manager Joe Maddon, Heyman notes.