Phillies reportedly zeroing in on particular Red Sox prospects
The Phillies want a return of multiple top prospects from the Red Sox in a hypothetical trade with the Red Sox.
The Phillies and Red Sox have been linked since before the beginning of the offseason; the Phillies are going nowhere soon and have a legitimate ace in their rotation, while the Red Sox are stacking the deck and just lost out on their top choice on the starting pitching market in Jon Lester.
Now, with Lester joining the Cubs, the pitching market can set itself. Max Scherzer will get a deal somewhere, and pitchers like Hamels, who aren't free agents but are on teams willing to trade them, may see intensified interest.
Ruben Amaro Jr. has stated that he wants three top prospects in exchange for Hamels, should he trade him. Other teams have considered most of Amaro's requests too high, with the Red Sox shooting down some Hamels offers already. But the Red Sox have recently said that they are ready to make a trade with Amaro, if they have to, which the loss of Lester makes more of a possibility.
"Word is, the Phillies like infielder-outfielder Mookie Betts, catcher Blake Swihart, third baseman Garin Cecchini and a few other position players and pitchers in Boston's well-stocked market."
Betts, at 22 is a CF/2B with high speed and even the potential for power. Boston is very reluctant to see him go, but it's easy to see why Amaro would be ecstatic to get him - in 52 games with the Red Sox this past season, Betts hit .291 with an .812 OPS, seven stolen bases, and hit five home runs. The young righty has moved swiftly upward through the Boston farm system, hitting .314 with 38 stolen bases from Single A to High A in 2013 and .346 with 33 swipes from Double A to Triple A in 2014.
Swihart is intriguing as well, as the Phillies, who have tradtionally treated the raising of young catchers in their farm system with reverence, don't have anyone waiting in the wings to replace the aging Carlos Ruiz. The 22-year-old 2011 first round pick has summoned a BA close to .300 in the minors, but has become renown for stellar defense. Baseball America had him as Boston's top prospect for 2015.
Cecchini, at 23, is the elder statesman of the bunch. He went 8-for-31 with the big club this season as a rookie, with three doubles a home run. Since 2011, he's got a .298 career BA in the minors, with a an .829 OPS. His numbers dove a bit this past season at Triple A, but not enough to discourage the Red Sox from bringing him up in September. He came in at No. 10 on BA's top prospects list.
Even just two of these prospects, with lower tier names thrown in, would be a get for the Phillies, but the team seems staunch on their evaluation of Hamels' worth. If Boston does not want to give up what the Phillies want, then it is likely that Hamels will stay.