MLB Rumors: GMs believe Phillies are sleepers for a big offseason move

The Philadelphia Phillies' offseason could pick up steam in the coming weeks.

Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs
Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

We are roughly two weeks from the start of spring training. A ton of high-profile free agents remain unsigned. The market has been shockingly slow-moving. As big names toil away without suitable offers, it's only a matter of time until compromises are struck and prices start to drop.

Enter Dave Dombrowski and the Philadelphia Phillies.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Phillies are considered "a sleeper for one of the remaining marquee free agents." He points specifically to Chicago Cubs CF Cody Bellinger and Texas Rangers LHP Jordan Montgomery.

Bellinger is reportedly asking teams for over $200 million. The Rangers have long been favored to re-sign Montgomery, but he's expected to command a significant price tag. Both are clients of Scott Boras, who has a long track record of prioritizing maximum profit.

That said, the prices have to drop eventually. Bellinger comes with his share of red flags tied to hard-hit metrics and injuries. Montgomery was essential to Texas' World Series run, but he was also the third-best pitcher on that team. He's looking for No. 1 ace money when his résumé is more befitting of a second-tier starter.

Notably, Scott Boras has a strong working relationship with the Phillies, who have several high-profile Boras clients on their roster — including Bryce Harper and Trea Turner.

The Phillies won't break the bank, per Nightengale. If the prices start to fall, however, GMs around the league expect Philadelphia to swoop in and try to boost their standing in a competitive NL East.

Phillies considered sleeper to sign Cody Bellinger or Jordan Montgomery

Philadelphia's front office has been one of the MLB's most aggressive over the last few years. Harper managed to lure a former teammate (and Boras client) in Turner last offseason. Maybe this offseason, it's Turner linking up with a former teammate (and fellow Boras client) in Bellinger. Those two shared great success together with the Los Angeles Dodgers. If Bellinger has to compromise on the financial front, one has to imagine he wants to at least be in a position to contend. The Phillies are fresh off back-to-back NLCS appearances and back-to-back postseason victories over the regular season juggernauts in Atlanta. It's an appealing spot.

Despite concerns about the volatility of Bellinger's production, he's a former MVP and his output last season is difficult to overstate. He slashed .307/.356/.525 with 26 home runs and 97 RBI in 499 AB for the Cubs. He almost put Chicago back in the postseason. He was finished 10th in NL MVP voting and certainly looked the part of a $200 million player.

The question is sustainability. The Phillies don't want to get stuck with a dud contract, but Bellinger would be well insulated in the Phillies' lineup. Harper, Turner, Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto, Nick Castellanos, Alec Bohm — the firepower is extensive.

As for Montgomery, he would join a situation similar to the situation he joined in Texas a season ago. The Phillies' lineup is peppered with explosive bats and the starting rotation already features two bonafide aces in Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. Montgomery may feel like excess in the short term, but Wheeler is a free agent at season's end. Montgomery could help Philadelphia dull the sting of potentially losing their top arm.

This offseason is shaping up to be the perfect storm for Philadelphia's front office. The Phillies probably have their fill of top-shelf contracts, but if Bellinger and Montgomery fall into a more affordable tax bracket, we know Philadelphia is willing to dig deep into the competitive tax to field a winner.

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