Baseball’s winter meetings wrapped up Thursday in Las Vegas.
How did the week turn out for the Phillies?
They made their first move on Tuesday afternoon, signing former Yankees and Giants outfielder Andrew McCutchen to a three-year deal.
Scouts told Scott Lauber that McCutchen certainly isn’t the MVP-level player he was a few years ago, but that he can still help the Phillies in a supporting role by playing either left or right field. But Bob Brookover thought the move -- with McCutchen, at 32, just received a $50 million deal -- was a bit too risky.
On Wednesday, super-agent Scott Boras held his annual media session. His client, free agent Bryce Harper, has long been rumored to have the Phillies on his list of potential destinations. Boras confirmed that, and the Phillies met with Harper’s camp on Tuesday night, but Boras wouldn’t reveal how the meeting went.
As the meetings wound down, it became apparent that the Phillies would have a harder time adding someone to their starting rotation than they expected. Patrick Corbin picked the Nationals, they lost interest in J.A. Happ, Charlie Morton and Lance Lynn signed elsewhere.
General manager Matt Klentak, for his part, said he knew that starting pitching -- even though it faltered down the stretch -- was one of the Phillies' strengths in the 2018 season.
“For us to make an acquisition, we have to be very confident that it is moving the needle and that it’s a sound investment," he told Matt Breen. “I’m not certain we’ll wind up on that. But we’re going to continue to explore it.”
The end of winter meetings also brought up the possibility that the Phillies, for all the talk, could actually end up striking out in the sweepstakes for Manny Machado and Harper. Brookover explores the idea in this column,
Lauber spoke with a coach who has known Machado since Machado was 16. He explored the idea of Machado, a natural shortstop, moving back to third base (Machado has said he’d prefer to play short). What would it take for the 26-year-old superstar? “The right contract.”
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