With the Philadelphia 76ers pulling the trigger on the James Harden trade just about an hour before the NBA trade deadline, it got baseball fans like us hypothesizing potential trades or free agent signings the Philadelphia Phillies should make once the lockout is over.
And being a Phillies fan, you have a lot to consider, as the team has an abundance of holes still to fill on their roster, including left field, center field, shortstop, and in the bullpen.
The only significant move the Phillies made ahead of the lockout was signing free agent reliever Corey Knebel to a one-year, $10 million contract. While they gained a bullpen arm, they also lost one in Héctor Neris, who departed for Houston on a two-year, $17 million deal.
So, what's next for President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski and Philadelphia? What should they tackle first when the lockout is lifted?
We went ahead and asked Twitter what they thought:
And received some interesting responses...
For the Outfield:
Sign Kris Bryant
Many Phillies fans on Twitter want Dombrowski's first move to be signing free agent Kris Bryant to play alongside friend Bryce Harper in the outfield. We get that, having two reigning NL MVPs in the outfield is something any MLB team would want. Bryant was linked to the Phillies ahead of the lockout, but to many other teams as well, including the Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies, and New York Mets. Spotrac.com has estimated his market value at around six years, $141 million, which is affordable for Philadelphia at $23.5 million a year.
Sign Kyle Schwarber
Philadelphia has also shown serious interest in Bryant's former Cubs teammate Kyle Schwarber. A deal between Schwarber and Philadelphia was reportedly almost complete, but failed to get done before the lockout was instituted. Personally, Schwarber to the Phillies just makes too much sense. Like Bryant, the 2021 All-Star has ties to Philadelphia through hitting coach Kevin Long, whom was hired by the Phillies this offseason. Long worked with Schwarber while with the Washington Nationals and helped him to "get his swing back," and propelled him to his first All-Star Game appearance. It's very possible that this deal gets done quickly following the lockout, with a potential three-year, $60 million contract on the table.
Sign Nick Castellanos
Nick Castellanos is yet another free agent outfielder the Phillies were tied to before the lockout. Castellanos' asking price is reportedly up to a $21.3 million AAV according to spotrac.com, and looking for a long-term deal at around seven or eight years. Due to this, it seems unlikely Philadelphia would go for it. However, Castellanos also has ties to the Phillies through Dombrowski, who drafted him while he was President/GM of the Detroit Tigers in 2010. That won't be enough to get a deal done, especially with what Castellanos wants, which will likely end up being the largest free agent outfielder signing this offseason. But once the lockout ends, anything is possible.
Trade for Kevin Kiermaier
Kevin Kiermaier is not a free agent, and would have to be acquired by trade from the Tampa Bay Rays. While Kiermaier is not nearly the offensive performer as the above three outfielders, he is a fantastic defensive center fielder, with three Gold Glove Awards to show for it. Kiermaier likely wouldn't cost that much either, whereas acquiring Baltimore Orioles' Cedric Mullins or Pittsburgh Pirates' Bryan Reynolds will likely cost a top prospect (i.e. Mick Abel) and the Phillies' farm system is bleak as it is. Kiermaier is set to make $12 million in 2022, with an $8.9 million AAV, which is a plus for Philadelphia, as signing one of the big name outfielders would still be in the cards for them. So, if the Phillies are looking for a center fielder with a defensive upside, Kiermaier is their guy.
Trade for Manuel Margot
Kiermaier's teammate Manuel Margot has also been rumored to be a trade piece, and can play center field as well. We discussed a possible Margot trade just a few days ago, and it could make sense between the two parties. As we mentioned, Margot only has one year left on his deal, meaning Philadelphia would have to re-sign or extend him, or else he would become a free agent following the 2022 season, which doesn't help in solving the future of the position. However, the Rays are potentially still looking to move him, and the Phillies might be interested.
Sign Carlos Correa
Philadelphia signing Carlos Correa seems highly unlikely, but the people of Twitter have spoken. They want it. And Correa would be a fantastic addition to any MLB team, but the two-time All Star is looking for an expensive, multi-year contract. The Tigers offered Correa a 10-year, $275 million contract in November, which he turned down. Correa is probably looking for something closer to Corey Seager's 10-year, $325 million contract with the Texas Rangers, with perhaps even more money or more years tacked on. This is simply out of the Phillies' range. If all Philadelphia needed was a shortstop, then go for it. But with all of their needs in the outfield and bullpen, throwing all of that money at a shortstop would be unwise. Additionally, with Dombrowski and the Phillies having faith in prospect Bryson Stott to be their shortstop of the future, it seems even more improbable.
Sign Trevor Story
Phillies Twitter also seems to like the idea of Trevor Story in red pinstripes. Story's market value, according to spotrac.com, puts him in the $29.8 million average annual salary range. Philadelphia signing a big name shortstop to a large contract is doubtful, given the same reasons they probably would not sign Correa. But once again, anything is possible during the free agent signing frenzy that will likely occur following the lockout.
Sign Freddie Freeman
That's right, some Phillies fans want Freddie Freeman in Philadelphia...and who could blame them, right? Freeman has been a Phillie killer for his entire career, with a .298/.398/.495 slashline, 30 home runs, and 120 RBI against Philadelphia. It was peculiar amongst the baseball community that the Atlanta Braves failed to bring back their longtime first baseman before the lockout, especially given the fact that Freeman is looking for a mere six-year, $200 million deal.
Freeman to the Phillies also seems unlikely, as Freeman not returning to Atlanta seems strange, and the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays were also rumored to be in on him. Plus, first base isn't a pressing need for Philadelphia with Rhys Hoskins manning the position. But with the universal DH likely making its way to the National League, maybe Freeman would have a spot on the Phillies.
Don't forget the bullpen is still a necessity, too! Until then, keep on dreaming, Phillies fans...
More From SI's Inside The Phillies:
- Have the Phillies Identified a Kiermaier Alternative?
- Phillies Prospect Daniel Brito's Miraculous Journey Back to Baseball
- Where Do the Phillies Fall on FanGraphs' 2022 Projected Standings?