Sure, the Phillies were intrigued by Josh Hamilton. But the sense from front office officials was his price would never sink to a level with which they were comfortable. That sentiment was vindicated Thursday when the Los Angeles Angels reportedly agreed to a five-year, $125 million contract with Hamilton.
The aftershocks will rattle throughout baseball, and Philadelphia is included. The top corner outfielder is off the market; Nick Swisher and Cody Ross could soon follow. The Phillies are wary of offering more than three guaranteed years to any player above 30. Both Swisher and Ross are fits on paper, but not yet in reality.
Now, with Texas scorned by Hamilton and needing some sort of offensive addition, they could enter the market for Swisher or Ross. That would drive their prices up. They could also pursue first baseman Adam LaRoche, formerly of the Nationals, to fill a hole.
The Angels have a surplus of offensive pieces, which could lead to a trade of Peter Bourjos or Mark Trumbo. The timing is not great for the Phillies, who have long coveted Bourjos and may have had him valued above Ben Revere. ESPN.com reported Trumbo will not be made available in trade talks.
Even if there was a possible match there, the Phllies have already exercised almost all of their trade chips. Catcher Sebastian Valle is one remaining piece. There is some pitching depth, but it is slimmer after Vance Worley and Trevor May were dealt.
If the Rangers bid for Swisher or Ross, that could drive Ruben Amaro Jr. to improve his club through pitching additions because the offensive market is prohibitive. The GM has said he wants a "low-risk, high-reward" pitcher to be his fifth starter. There are better options out there and Amaro has money to spend.
Ryan Dempster is off the board after signing a two-year, $26.5 million contract with Boston. Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, Edwin Jackson and Shaun Marcum are the top available starters.
Hamilton was the white whale, the one "difference-maker" on the market, as Ruben Amaro Jr. said. But with so much money tied into long-term contracts with players older than 30, the Phillies were merely gazing this time around.