How about trading Cesar Hernandez for pitching and Kingery starting at 2nd? Thoughts?
~Robert

This is a common thought right now among Phillies fans.  With extra talent in the infield and with Scott Kingery waiting at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the Phillies have one area of strength from which to trade that could help the club land pitching.  But  I think there are two things to remember in this situation.

First, the Phillies should probably be open-minded as to how they create space in the infield.  Shortstop Freddy Galvis is going to be a free agent.  While we are learning that J.P. Crawford can do some really nice things defensively, we are very aware that Galvis has played stellar defense while starting there.  That said, both players are very versatile and can move around the infield if necessary.

Hernandez does not necessarily need to be the one who moves.  It is important that the Phillies recognize this, because if the team is simply looking to unload Hernandez, the return might not be what the Phillies want.  If the Phillies get a nice return for free-agent-to-be Galvis, then maybe that is the move to make.  Or, maybe even both if the Phillies can find a nice free agent to sign to be a backup.

Second, I would put Kingery's ETA as the first week of May.  If the Phillies can wait about five weeks, it would give the team a whole extra year of control.  The Phillies did the same with Maikel Franco a few years ago, so it would not surprise me to see them do the same with Kingery.  And really, why not?  If the Phillies are not going to contend in 2018, then they  might as well look long-term.

Trading for pitching will be something the Phillies certainly will pursue.  But the Phillies may simply keep everyone if they cannot get the right deal.  As we are seeing now with the Phillies mixing and matching, they are getting good production out of almost everyone.  If a trade opportunity arises, the Phillies will look to increase their starting rotation depth.

If Roman Quinn stays healthy next season what is his role with the big league club?
~John
Are the Phillies 4th & 5th outfielders for opening day 2018 currently in the system?
~Josh

I put these two questions together because they are very much related.

Outfielder Roman Quinn really missed his chance in 2017.  With the Phillies getting injury after injury to the likes of Aaron Altherr, Howie Kendrick, and eventually Odubel Herrera and Daniel Nava, the club gave way too many starts to Cameron Perkins and Hyun Soo Kim that would have been better spent on Quinn.  Thus, Quinn remains a major question mark for the Phillies organization.

Quinn so far has only proven that he is not reliable.  The injuries are often not the same, but they sure are frequent. Quinn played just 45 games this season after a career-high 92 in 2016.  401 games played in six seasons in the organization is not a lot.

However, I think the Phillies recognize the talent that Quinn has.

What I can see the Phillies doing is keeping Quinn as a fourth outfielder with the idea that playing less could keep him healthy.  There could be stretches where a starting outfielder is out for a short period of time and Quinn could jump in and play every day.  Or, who knows: Quinn could play well and start to take some playing time away from other players.

Barring a trade for a major player (I think Giancarlo Stanton's name will not go away until he's finally moved somewhere), I think the Phillies are happy with their outfield of Nick Williams, Altherr, and Herrera.  Quinn can slot right behind them... if he is healthy.  He will have every opportunity to prove that in Spring Training.

Behind Quinn, the Phillies probably will bring a veteran bat into camp as a minor league free agent to be the fifth outfielder, perhaps someone like Daniel Nava, if not Nava himself.

Would you go after Darvish in the off-season or some lower tier guys like Cobb or Lynn?
~Chris

I think the Phillies will not be in on either of the big name pitchers this offseason, such as Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish.  Their age and the number of years they will require probably means that neither player will be in his prime anymore once the Phillies are ready to contend.  So in terms of free agents, the two you have named other than Darvish are good considerations.

Alex Cobb is a name I have frequently mentioned with the Phillies.  I think he is not an upper-tier pitcher, but one who is very reliable.  Probably in a class with the likes of J.A. Happ, he will probably give you double-digit wins and a 3-something earned run average most of the times.  Once in a while, like Happ in 2015, he will surprise you.

But it sounds like other teams have been scouting Cobb, including teams that are looking to win right away like the Yankees.  So the Phillies may not be the first in line for Cobb's services.  With the qualifying offer number around $18 million next year, Cobb may not get such an offer from the Rays, so he may be attractive if no prospects are attached.

As for Lance Lynn, I could see the Cardinals offering him the qualifying offer.  First round picks will no longer be lost for signing a free agent with a qualifying offer, thanks to the new CBA.  However, a team would lose a second and fifth round pick if signing a player for over $50 million, or a third round pick for signing a player for less than $50 million.

My guess for Lynn: He gets three years, $48 million.  If the Phillies can sign him, I think he would be worth losing the third round pick for.  He would be reliable in the same way that Cobb is, and 30 years old the Phillies could still get a few productive years out of him.

So yes, Cobb and Lynn will be two names that will make sense for the Phillies.  The question would be, can the Phillies beat out the others in the running for his services?  That will make the difference.