Stow that Stanton talk and reel in your first basemen rumors. The Phillies are tracking pitchers, just like you thought.
Look, we all know the Phillies aren’t getting Giancarlo Stanton. And we all know that we don’t even really want Giancarlo Stanton. What would the Phillies even do with Giancarlo Stanton, other than pay him what’s left of his deranged $295 million contract, watch him strikeout 300 times, lose two or three months to injury, and then forgive him for everything when he hits a baseball to Fishtown?
Nothing about the Phillies acquiring Stanton right now makes sense, as lathered up as we are about them spending big, and with that lather being made even frothier by hints from blue checkmark gallery that they expect the Phillies to dump money on people at some point soonish. What the Phillies need is pitching, as we mentioned yesterday after day one of the MLB GM Meetings in Orlando; or more accurately, what we mentioned we did not mention yesterday.
Fortunately, some people found Matt Klentak and got him to tell us what a lot of people probably could have guessed. First, that congratulating the organization for shaking off some of those pesky contracts that felt very heavy around their necks for so long:
"The Phillies have been very disciplined over the past few years to get out from some of the contracts that we had and to not invest long term in players while we were going through the rebuild.”
And then, after Klentak used some will-we-or-won’t-we jargon to slip away before outlining anything resembling a clear plan, Todd Zolecki was able to reach a conclusion that lined up with just about everyone else paying attention to this professionally:
It is more likely the Phillies invest resources to improve their starting pitching.
Of course, if something big should present itself, the Phillies have the talent to make a deal. But $295 million for Stanton does not seem like a fit at the moment.
So, pitching! After a brief relapse into Stanton Madness, the conversation has turned back to pitching. Not specifically to anyone in particular who pitches, but just the sort of general idea of throwing baseballs, and how the Phillies are in need of more players who can do it well, and how those players will most likely be acquired through deft trades, Klentak-style. Presumably, the age of Hellickson’s and Morton’s and Billingsley’s being acquired as veteran stabilizers and then, more often than not, successfully not-traded, is over. The time of pitchers acquired for the purpose of keeping them has arrived!
Another distracting tidbit from yesterday’s proceedings that sent people to bed scratching their heads was the revelation that the Phillies were conducting some as-yet preliminary work on first basemen. After the Stanton (and Christian Yelich) commentary filtered in, talk of a first baseman deal made it sound like the Phillies were focusing on all the wrong areas of the field. While the Stanton talk has been killed for now, the first baseman gossip evolved into an actual name.
— theScore (@theScore) November 14, 2017
Klentak called his front office “open minded,” but stated that the team is happy with Rhys Hoskins, as we all are, so an acquisition of someone to play his primary position would have to be a “unique fit.” Klentak said he’s cool with the position players the team has now, so we haven’t quite arrived in the wackadoo financial fantasy world some people have been envisioning for years.
The Phillies have the money to be mentioned in every conversation about every player of value, so this won’t be the last time they’ll be brought up, nor is it the first time this off-season. But for now, it’s pitching the Phillies will chase, something everyone has known from the beginning. While we all know that—hell, we all know everything, don’t we? God, we’re great—it is fun to be an active team at the GM Meetings.
And if you think rumors like these are good, just wait until the Winter Meetings start. By then we’ll all be warping from Stanton Madness to regular Winter Madness and any news bits we get on anything will be enough for us to destroy each other,