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Phillies think they will sign free agent before making trade

NASHVILLE - Phillies general manager Matt Klentak still expects to make a move before he leaves the Winter Meetings on Thursday morning.

"I would say, if anything, we're probably getting closer to the free-agent front than the trade front," Klentak said.

The free agent, not expected to be a big splash of a signing, will likely be a veteran starting pitcher to help stabilize the team's rotation. Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Jeremy Hellickson appear to be the only certainties in the five-man rotation.

David Buchanan, Alec Asher, and Adam Morgan are still candidates to crack the rotation after spring training. Prospect Jake Thompson will likely be invited to spring training, but it would take a lot for the Phillies to rush him to the majors.

The Phillies could target righthanders Doug Fister or Tim Lincecum, both of whom might be willing to sign short-term deals. Righthanders Mat Latos and Yovani Gallardo probably would come at a higher cost.