Major League Baseball's annual winter meetings begin Monday in Orlando, adding another element to what’s already been an interesting offseason.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is no stranger to the meetings, landing big-name talents such as Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee in the past. But with the Phils remaining relatively quiet so far, does he have what it takes to land more big-name talent?
“This is a different winter for that team, a different winter for Amaro, who is a big-game hunter, loves those big guys,” CSNPhilly.com Phillies insider Jim Salisbury said on "SportsNite" on Comcast SportsNet. “Let’s not forget, he’s kind of obsessed with Giancarlo Stanton down in Miami and they're always poking around on that one, but I don’t see them trading him right now.”
The Phillies aren’t in a hurry to sign upper-echelon talent. They've opted thus far to add mid-range players such as Marlon Byrd, Wil Nieves and Brad Lincoln.
“They kind of cast their die a little bit early in the offseason when they set their sights on a mid-range guy -- Marlon Byrd,” Salisbury said. “Those seem to be the type of guys they’re looking at. They weren’t in it for [Jacoby] Ellsbury, they're not in it for [Shin-Soo] Choo.
“They have a bunch of guys -- Ryan Howard, [Cole] Hamels, [Cliff] Lee -- making $20 or more million. [Jonathan] Papelbon and Mike Adams next year are going to combine in the eight and ninth inning for $20 million. I just don’t think that they have big-ticket free agents on their plate the rest of this winter.”
While the Phils may be reluctant to spend big money this offseason, Amaro still may tinker with his roster via the trade market. His best asset?
“The best trade chip they have is Domonic Brown, 26 years old, still an improving talent, in my opinion,” Salisbury said. “He’s a guy that I hear a lot of rumble about from opposing teams, that he's available, that their ears are open. In the right move, they would like to get back young, productive right-handed bat they could play in the outfield, under-control type of player contract-wise.
"The thing is, teams just don’t really want to move those type of guys. ... I don’t know if it’s likely that they will indeed make that move. I think their ears are wide open, though.”