If they gave out awards to teams that involve themselves in the most high profile free agents and make the most noise during an offseason, the Phillies would have won it hands down last offseason. After a busy offseason that saw them snag Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen, Bryce Harper, and J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia was a trendy pick to win the NL East in 2019.
Unfortunately for Phillies fans, that is not how baseball works and not only did the team not win the division, but they finished up with a .500 record and eight games out of even getting a wild card spot despite committing around half a billion dollars to the team’s payroll in the years to come.
The solution, so far anyways, from the Phillies’ standpoint is to jettison the team’s controversial manager Gabe Kapler (who was very quickly snatched up by the Giants) and then continue to look to the free agent market for answers.
Philadelphia had already been rumored to be checking in on third baseman Josh Donaldson earlier this offseason. However, today they have been connected with two more free agents.
Sources: #Phillies pursuing Didi Gregorius in free agency, as I reported on @MLBNetwork today, with the idea that Jean Segura would move to a different position or be traded. Joe Girardi managed Didi in New York, of course. @MLB— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 22, 2019
#Phillies and Madison Bumgarner reps have been in contact, sources confirm. @MLBNetwork @MLB— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 22, 2019
Now, it is worth mentioning that we don’t REALLY know the level of interest that the Phillies have in both of these players and it is entirely possible that they are just doing their due diligence. However, the details of the Phillies’ interest in Gregorius are interesting. Not only does Gregorius not have the qualifying offer attached to his free agency which is a big plus for him, but Morosi’s reporting seems to indicate an elevated level of interest and a plan in place for if a deal were to come together.
As for Bumgarner, it is a given that most teams that have dreams of contending are checking in on him. He will require draft pick compensation if he is signed, but that had not dissuaded multiple contenders from showing interest in the veteran and playoff hero. The Phillies have said that they are not super excited about the prospect of losing more draft picks (their recent drafts and trades have left their farm system a bit iffy), but they also have a history of making big, flashy moves that don’t necessarily take the future into account.