The Philadelphia Phillies are officially lurking. The MLB offseason has moved at a snail's pace, which could play right into Dave Dombrowski's hands. Philadelphia won't spend top dollar on another star, but if prices start to drop as spring training approaches, the Phillies are very much in the mix to land one of the marquee free agents left on the board. That is according to the latest report from USA Today's Bob Nightengale.
Specifically, the Phillies are a team to monitor for LHP Jordan Montgomery and CF Cody Bellinger. Both are represented by Scott Boras, who happens to represent Bryce Harper and Trea Turner, among other high-profile MLB talents. That close working relationship between Boras and the Phillies could come in handy.
Philadelphia's ownership group has proven time and time again that it's willing to splurge on tax payments and significant long-term contracts in order to compete. Neither Bellinger nor Montgomery have picked up much steam yet in negotiations. It's a matter of which side bends first — player or team. Both players are favored to re-sign with their prior clubs, but the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers don't appear keen to break the bank.
A few teams that should be ardently hoping that Philadelphia can't pull off a late-winter heist.
4. Dodgers don't want to see Phillies get stronger
The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to drive up their offseason spending bill, which currently sits north of $1 billion. Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow, and Teoscar Hernandez are now part of baseball's new league of villains. The Dodgers are the widely proclaimed favorites in the National League.
While the Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks are naturally positioned as Los Angeles' primary threats in the NL, there's a chance the Dodgers' stiffest competition will actually come from the Phillies. It is Philadelphia that has appeared in back-to-back NLCS and eliminated Atlanta twice in the process. Bryce Harper's postseason track record is infallible. No team is better at getting hot at the exact right time.
If the Phillies can land a third ace in Montgomery or another big-time slugger in Bellinger, they only get closer to kicking Los Angeles off the mountaintop. The Dodgers will have the on-paper talent advantage regardless, but the Phillies' offense with Bellinger would stack up better than any other contender. The same can be said for the starting rotation with Montgomery. With Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, and Montgomery, the Phillies would have three workhorse starters with high-leverage postseason experience.
The Dodgers' offense crumbled in the NLDS and their big offseason additions have never been in the playoffs. So, if not cause for panic, the Phillies can at least make the Dodgers start to sweat.