Yu Darvish is Off the Board as Phillies Search for Starter
The Phillies have sent their equipment truck to Clearwater, Florida already as pitchers and catchers are due to report on Wednesday. Hopefully, the Phillies have some blank jerseys and a supply of letters and numbers in that truck as the Phillies do not appear to be done building their roster for 2018. It appears the Phillies are interested in one more starting pitcher before the season begins.
According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Phillies are still shopping:
According to a source, they've been aggressive in their pursuit of a veteran arm, though there's no indication that they're nearing the finish line.
Philadelphia has been making a push for a starter, the source said, though a second source indicated that nothing is close. Then again, in this bizarre offseason, anything remains possible.
As for the potential names in question, it seems more likely that the Phillies would sign an experienced starter to a one- or two-year deal than commit to a lengthy contract.
So who might that be?
Yu Darvish is finally off the board after singing a six-year $126 million contract with the Chicago Cubs that could be worth $150 million with incentives. Darvish receiving six years is somewhat surprising, given his 31 year-old age. That could affect the rest of the top tier pitchers.
That includes Jake Arrieta, formerly of the Cubs, Lance Lynn, formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals, and Alex Cobb, formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Cubs were seen as potential landing spots for Arrietta and Cobb. They all probably will not fit in the one-year deal category.
One who might is former Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson might be a good candidate for a one-year deal. The Phillies originally traded for Hellickson with one year remaining on his original deal, then offered him salary arbitration, which ended up being over $17 million for 2017.
Hellickson will not receive that amount again, but could be had on a one-year deal and meets the "veteran" tag the Phillies are seeking. Hellickson seemed to fit in well with the younger pitchers and serve in a mentor role once again. The Phillies got pitcher Garrett Cleavinger and international slot money in exchange for Hellickson ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. The Phillies also agreed to take Hyung Soo Kim's contract.
Chris Tillman is another starting pitcher that might fit the same mold. Tillman has a history with Phillies president Andy MacPhail and general manager Matt Klentak, both of whom were with Baltimore when Tillman was drafted. He will likely look to sign a one-year deal to show he is more the pitcher who went 16-7 in 2016 over the pitcher who went 1-7 with a 7.84 earned run average in 2017 while battling injury.
Free agents Andrew Cashner and Jaime Garcia might also be names the Phillies consider.