Dallas Keuchel is a former Cy Young Award winner who has been one of the better pitchers in baseball for several seasons now, which is why it is somewhat surprising that he remains a free agent as January nears. Asking price could have a lot to do with that.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported on Friday that the Philadelphia Phillies have been pursuing Keuchel, but they do not want to give the left-hander the five-year contract he has been seeking.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 28, 2018
Keuchel will turn 31 on Jan. 1, and his ERA jumped from 2.90 in 2017 to 3.74 in 2018. He made 34 starts for the Astros and threw over 200 innings, but his strikeout numbers were down a bit to 6.7 per nine innings and his 1.31 WHIP was his highest in six years. It’s possible teams view those as signs that he could be losing effectiveness, but Keuchel remains an elite talent who can be virtually unhittable when at his best.
While a recent report indicated that Keuchel wants to pitch in a big market, he may have to take less than a five-year contract to make that happen. Big-market teams would probably prefer to commit more dollars to him over a shorter span than be paying him when he’s 35, and it sounds like the Phillies are of that mindset.
The Philadelphia Phillies are still very interested in one of the two big names left on the free agent market, but they reportedly prefer one to the other.
According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, the Phillies prefer Manny Machado to Bryce Harper, but are still interested in either of them. This is backed up by the fact that the Phillies will host Machado in Philadelphia for a Thursday visit, while they didn’t meet with Harper at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.
This is not an indication that there’s no interest in Harper. The team is aware of his demands, but as he’s demanding a record deal in excess of $35 million a year, the expectation is he won’t sign before January at the earliest.
Machado is taking a tour of interested suitors this week. It’s publicly known that he was in Chicago on Monday to visit the White Sox, and he’ll visit the New York Yankees as well. Those appear to be the three main suitors, though other teams are still at least somewhat involved.
Andrew Miller is one of the top relievers available on the free agent market this winter, and big market teams are looking to add him.
The Philadelphia Phillies, who have made it clear that they are going to spend big this offseason, have been linked to Miller for several weeks. Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philly reported on Friday that they are still “strongly” interested in the left-hander.
Still hearing the Phillies are strongly on Andrew Miller.
— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) December 14, 2018
In addition to the Phillies, the New York Yankees are also entertaining the idea of bringing Miller back. Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports that the Yankees have turned their attention toward bolstering their bullpen and met with Miller’s representative at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.
Miller had a rough year in 2018 with the Cleveland Indians after dominating for several seasons with top American League teams. Despite his struggles and 4.24 ERA, he is still drawing interest from plenty of teams.
The Philadelphia Phillies have been linked to just about every big-name free agent this offseason, and they are reportedly interested in signing a starting pitcher with whom they have some history.
According to Jayson Stark of The Athletic, the Phillies have interest in signing J.A. Happ. They are quite familiar with the left-hander, as he began his career in Philly.
The #Phillies have had ongoing dialogue with LHP J.A. Happ over the last several days, according to sources. The Phillies have a long shopping list. But Happ appears to be their best fit, as a LH with experience in Philadelphia who won't require a long deal. Still seeking 3 years
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 10, 2018
Happ turned 36 in October, but he proved he still has plenty left in the tank in 31 starts with the Blue Jays and Yankees last season. He was a perfect 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA after New York acquired him from Toronto in a trade, though he struggled and allowed five earned runs in just two innings in his lone playoff start against the Boston Red Sox.
As Stark notes, Happ has been seeking a three-year deal. Teams would probably prefer to give him two years at a higher average annual value, but there has been no shortage of interest in him. It would not be a surprise if he gets the contract he is seeking from the Phillies or some other team.
The trade market for Madison Bumgarner is starting to emerge, and a few teams are involved.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers are teams that have talked with the Giants about Bumgarner.
Madison Bumgarner’s trade market now coming into focus. #Phillies have spoken with #SFGiants about him and have a greater need for a left-handed co-ace with Patrick Corbin signing with rival #Nats. #Brewers are another possible destination. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 4, 2018
Bumgarner is under contract for next season at only $12 million, but he becomes a free agent after that. The 29-year-old has a career 3.03 ERA and is a four-time All-Star. He’s 8-3 with a 2.11 ERA in his postseason career and has helped carry the Giants to three World Series titles.
A previous report said the Giants are unlikely to trade Bumgarner, but new team president Farhan Zaidi has said he will not rule it out.
The Phillies could use a lefty ace after missing out on Patrick Corbin. The Brewers pushed the Dodgers to seven games in the NLCS last season and could use a top-end starter.
The Philadelphia Phillies have made it no secret that they intend to spend big this offseason, and that could mean signing the top starting pitcher on the free agent market.
Andy Martino of SNY.tv reports that rival executives believe the Phillies are in a “strong position” to sign former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin.
Yankees, Phillies and Nationals are still in on Corbin, but rivals speculate that Phils are in strong position
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) December 4, 2018
Corbin is reportedly the Yankees’ top priority this offseason, but Martino notes that he may have to take less money if he wants to wear pinstripes. Since he grew up a Yankees fan in upstate New York, that is not out of the question.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today speculates that Corbin will sign a contract worth at least $125 million over six years. While the Yankees still want to add him, they have reportedly been engaging with the other top starting pitchers on the market in case it does not work out.
Patrick Corbin remains the Yankees’ top priority in terms of a starting pitcher, but a source says the team is engaged with Nathan Eovaldi, J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn as potential Plan Bs if Corbin signs elsewhere.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 4, 2018
Corbin, 29, went 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA in 33 starts with Arizona last season. The Phillies are still in the hunt to sign the two biggest names in free agency, but they are not going to wait around for them to make their decisions.
The Philadelphia Phillies are on the verge of acquiring one of the better shortstops in baseball, and some are wondering if that means they are no longer interested in signing Manny Machado to a massive free agent contract. However, one thing does not necessarily have to do with the other.
According to numerous reports, the Phillies have a deal in place to acquire Mariners shortstop Jean Segura. First baseman Carlos Santana and former first-round pick JP Crawford are headed to Seattle as part of the trade.
#Mariners are in agreement pending physical review to send Jean Segura to the #Phillies for Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford. There will be other prospects involved. I believe @Ken_Rosenthal was 1st to say this was close to happening.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 3, 2018
While he played shortstop with the M’s, Segura has plenty of experience at second base. In fact, Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Daily News notes that the best season of Segura’s career was in 2016, when he played second for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Once again to clear up any confusion:
Another reason that a Jean Segura trade wouldn’t necessarily preclude #Phillies from signing Manny Machado: Segura played 1,170 innings (142 games) at 2B for Arizona in 2016 and finished 13th in NL MVP race. It was best season of his career.
— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) December 3, 2018
Segura hit .304 with 10 home runs and 63 RBI last season. If the Phillies paired him with Machado, they would have arguably the best middle infield in baseball. There are still other teams that will try to sign Machado, but a lot of what we have heard makes Philly sound like the favorite.