USA Today MLB Writer Bob Nightengale on Phillies Offseason Targets
With Patrick Corbin off the market, now in Washington, but the Phillies still need to find a left-handed starter to help fill their starting rotation.
On Wednesday edition of the Sports Bash, USA Today baseball writer Bob Nightengale joined the show and gave Phillies fans a name to keep an eye on.
“Well, they’re gonna want a nice veteran guy, a guy with nice credentials and a great teammate and clubhouse leader would be Dallas Keuchel," Nightengale told me on the Sports Bash.
"I would think now he’d be asking for at last 100 million dollars. If Corbin is worth that, he’s certainly worth that as well. At least Keuchel for years was the ace of that team. He’s not gonna blow you away with the fastball or anything like that but he knows how to pitch and uses a lot of soft contact and things like that and get people excited.”
While everyone has their eyes on the big names at the top of the free agent list like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, finding a left-handed starter, after adding some bullpen pieces this offseason, needs to be a priority.
Nightengale added another left-handed name to the mix.
“J.A. Happ is certainly a possibility there," Nightengale explained. "You negotiate with Happ and you negotiate with Keuchel at the same time and try to get one of those two guys.”
One other angle the Phillies could take to obtain a lefty is via trade. One name that has been whispered to be on the market is Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner, the 2014 World Series and NLCS MVP.
“The one thing about Bumgarner, and people aren’t paying attention to this, is that he’s not the same Bumgarner as old," Nightgale stated. "He’s not the guy who was the World Series hero. I saw him a decent amount living in Phoenix and the bay area and, he’s an okay pitcher now he’s like a number three pitcher. Now you go to a smaller ballpark, much easier to pitch in San Francisco then Philadelphia so as long as you didn’t give up much, I’m not sure how good of a pitcher he is. He’s got that name but he’s not the ace anymore, not even close.”
I'll take a pass on Bumgarner.
As for Harper and Machado, should Phillies fans expect to see either one of them sign as an early Christmas present?
“I want to say no, talking to both agents just the last couple days here," Nightengale explained. "I think they are both gonna take their sweet time. Both of them wanna make sure that someone doesn’t blow each other away. Harper doesn’t wanna sign first and get less than Machado and vise versa so I got a good feeling this is gonna stretch out into January.”
Just because the free agents might not sign before Christmas, doesn't mean you should forget to do your shopping!