We have seen several different suitors pop up for free agent Cody Bellinger since the start of the offseason, but during the past month or so the narrative has almost unanimously shifted to the league believing the top free agent player will sign with the Chicago Cubs. Yet, as time passes, someone can definitely swoop in and take him. That new team could be the Philadelphia Phillies.
Bob Nightengale wrote about Bellinger on Sunday and now the MLB insider is hearing from executives around the league that think people should keep an eye on the Phillies as a potential threat to sign Belinger late in the offseason. The same goes for left-handed starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery.
Via USA Today.
Subscribe to the Pinwheels and Ivy Show, a White Sox vs. Cubs podcast made for Chicago fans.
Several executives think the Philadelphia Phillies could be a sleeper for one of the remaining marquee free agents in starter Jordan Montgomery or center fielder Cody Bellinger. Their lone big move has been re-signing Aaron Nola, and Bellinger certainly would provide Gold Glove-caliber defense and another bat to balance the lineup. Montgomery would strengthen the top of the rotation.
So, while that isn’t a direct link between the Phillies and Bellinger, more of a, “hey they could jump in the sweepstakes,” I do think they may be a threat. You have a front office and ownership group that has dealt with Scott Boras in recent years and has not been afraid to offer huge contracts. Back in 2019, the Phillies signed Bryce Harper, ending the star’s free agent process a week into spring training.
In 2022, the Phillies once again signed another Boras client, agreeing to terms with Nick Castellanos on March 22. Important to note that while the Castellanos signing was in March, that followed the MLB holdout that occurred from Dec. 2-March 10.
But the main point here is that the Phillies aren’t afraid to swim in these free agent waters with Boras players.
On the flip side, could this be Boras using the Phillies to make other teams nervous, leading to better offers? Wouldn’t be the first time an agent used the media. It happens all the time.
The Phillies have already declared that Bryce Harper is going to be their first baseman, while Kyle Schwarber has been locked into the DH spot. In 2022, the Phillies traded for Brandon Marsh and then the left-handed hitting outfielder put up a strong 2023 season, posting a career best .829 OPS in 132 games.
Last July, Philadelphia called up one of their top prospects in Johan Rojas. The rookie played great defense in center field, starting 40 games there to end the season and he also had a good showing at the plate with a slash line of .302/.342/.430, in 164 plate appearances.
Meanwhile, Castellanos has remained the Phillies starting right fielder.
This isn’t to say that the Phillies shouldn’t be taken seriously when it comes to Bellinger because it seems as though their outfield is already set, but even their mention from Nightengale includes the same caveat we have seen for every team that’s been considered a landing spot for him.
Yet, unless their price-tags drop, the Phillies plan to remain patient.Bob Nightengale
We’ll see. Eventually one side has to blink in negotiations.