MLB Rumors: Phillies-Bellinger update, Braves prospect buzz, Twins’ Gray replacement

  • Twins could sign Michael Lorenzen or Noah Syndergaard
  • Braves' pitching prospects on MLB fast track
  • Phillies not expected to target Cody Bellinger, OF help

Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs
Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages
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MLB rumors: Phillies not expected to sign Cody Bellinger

The Phillies were dealt a bad bit of news last week when it was announced that Brandon Marsh will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery. While there was initial concern about the Phillies' outfield depth chart, Marsh is expected to be ready for opening day, per USA Today's Bob Nightengale. GM Dave Dombrowski told reporters the injury will not require the Phillies to add another starting-caliber outfielder.

That tosses a wet towel over the Cody Bellinger speculation in Philadelphia. There has been increased buzz in recent weeks about the Phillies engineering a big free agency splash as spring training starts and prices begin to drop. We shouldn't count out LHP Jordan Montgomery, but for now, we can probably cross Bellinger off the Phillies wishlist. He would obviously help, but the Phillies' outfield rotation is fairly stable between Marsh, Johan Rojas, and Nick Castellanos. Bryce Harper can step into right field in a pinch, while Kyle Schwarber has experience in left.

Frankly, Brandon Marsh was never the barrier standing between Philadelphia and Bellinger. Marsh can defend all over the outfield, for one, and Bellinger is a significantly better player. The excuse for not pursuing Bellinger in Philadelphia is cost — not talent. Both Marsh and Rojas are benchable, if not expendable. But, Bellinger is asking for $200 million over 10 or 11 years, which is a lot for any team. It's especially problematic for the Phillies, who are loaded with significant long-term contracts. At a certain point, ownership becomes concerned about diminishing returns.

The general volatility of Bellinger's production over the last few years casts legitimate doubt upon the viability of handing him $200 million. Other teams simply need Bellinger's bat more than the Phillies. He would certainly raise Philadelphia's ceiling in a hotly contested NL East, but Marsh was great in the playoffs and Rojas is an elite defensive centerfielder at 23 years old. If his bat comes around, the sky is the limit.

So, in the end, don't expect the Phils to splurge on Bellinger.

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