After the Wilton Lopez deal fell apart, the Phillies became very quiet for a while. It's interesting that the Rockies traded for Lopez this week at the Winter Meetings. Maybe their standards are lower than the Phillies or maybe the Phillies simply didn't want to agree to what the Astros were seeking in exchange for Lopez.
With Lopez now in Colorado, let's play a little connect-the-dots.
The Phillies have had some interest and have talked to the Rockies about outfielder Dexter Fowler. The asking price on Fowler is reportedly very high, but what if the Rockies were to include Lopez for very little bump in the asking price for Fowler? Word is that the Rockies like Vance Worley a lot and the Phillies have indicated that they might include him in the right deal. How about Worley, Domonic Brown or John Mayberry Jr., Sebastian Valle or Tommy Joseph and pitcher Trevor May for Fowler and Lopez? Colorado needs pitching and Worley and May would give them a nice jump on getting one pitcher who has been pitching in the majors and another who should be there in a year or so. If the Phillies and Rockies did engage in a trade, it would be one for the history books; the two teams have never been trading partners with each other.
If not Fowler, would the Arizona Diamondbacks consider some form of that same package for Justin Upton? Word came out of Nashville that the Phillies and D'backs were talking about Cliff Lee for Upton. The Phillies quickly put out that fire by basically saying "no way".
Boston is another possible option for a deal, which would include Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury has a number of injuries in his recent past though and that's not the type of player the Phillies might be interested in adding.
The Phillies have been very quiet on outfielder Josh Hamilton. There's no secret that the Phillies need outfield help and are near the desperate phase to acquire at least one outfielder, if not, two. Another power bat wouldn't hurt the Phillies lineup either, so you have to think there is at least some interest in Hamilton from the Phillies. The drawbacks are there; his prior substance abuse issues, a history of nagging-type injuries and the fact that he would be yet another left-handed bat in the lineup. Keep in mind though that the Phillies have never shied away from having a heavily left-leaning batting order.
The most recent reports are that Hamilton is off of his seven-year contract demands and is looking in the neighborhood of five years and might even go four with a vesting option.
Keep in mind that the Phillies are most dangerous when they're quiet and they're awfully quiet on Josh Hamilton. Something is telling me that we'll wake up one day and Josh Hamilton will be a Phillie and everybody will be surprised that he winds up in red pinstripes. I'm just sayin'.
Nick Swisher is another guy who there isn't a lot of talk about. Swisher is a guy with nice, but not dominating power, which has been consistent throughout his career. He also hasn't hit lower than .260 in the past three seasons and plays slightly above average in right field. It's likely Swisher may wait for Hamilton to sign and set that mythical bar, but don't be surprised if the Phillies get involved on Swisher.
The Phillies are also interested in Scott Hairston, which is a good move, because he kills the Phillies when he plays against them. In his career, Hairston has 12 home runs against the Phillies, second only to the 14 that he's hit against San Francisco. He's also a .307 lifetime hitter against the Phillies and a .297 lifetime hitter at Citizens Bank Park. Hairston had a career-high 20 home runs last season and hit .263, the highest he's hit since 2009. Were his numbers a charge to get a bigger free agent deal? Not necessarily, because he also played in more games last season (134) than he has in his career. He's one of those decent outfielders who you don't hear a whole lot about and usually have to see play everyday to really appreciate him. He'll certainly be cheaper than Hamilton and probably cheaper than Swisher, too.
There is still some interest in Michael Bourn, but the interest isn't exactly heated. Keep in mind that Bourn is represented by Scott Boras, which means two things. He's going to get a lot of money - especially after seeing what B.J. Upton (5 years/$75 million) and Shane Victorino (3 years/$39 million) got - and it's going to be tough for the Phillies to sign him, since the Phillies and Boras don't play nicely together.
From the out-of-nowhere department comes news that the Phillies have talked to representatives about Ichiro Suzuki. It's possible though that Suzuki's people are the ones that reached out to the Phillies, rather than the other way around. Another name to surface is our old buddy Raul Ibanez. Interesting.