The Phillies have been linked to Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton since the summer, which is not a surprise.
The Phillies are a large-market team with a relatively minuscule payroll. They are expected to be serious players in next year's free-agent class, which could include Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. If that is the case, then it stands to reason the Phillies could take a run at Stanton, whom the Marlins could trade because they want to shed salary. Except as soon as those rumors first popped up this summer, sources told MLB.com that there are a multitude of reasons why the Phillies are unlikely to pursue him.
Stanton, 28, is owed $295 million on the 13-year contract he signed in November 2014. He can opt out after '20, but if he does not, his contract expires in '27. To acquire Stanton, the Phillies would have to send the Marlins an enormous package of talent to get Miami to eat some of the contract -- and even then it might not eat that much. And if Philadelphia sends Miami a lesser package of talent, the club would have to pay most of it.
Neither is incredibly enticing to a rebuilding team.
The idea of a Stanton, who has an extensive injury history, playing right field as a 37-year-old making $25 million is also not incredibly enticing.
"The Phillies have been very disciplined over the past few years to get out from some of the contracts that we had and to not invest long term in players while we were going through the rebuild," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak told reporters Monday at the GM Meetings in Orlando, Fla. "The result of that now is a lot of financial flexibility moving forward. So I understand where the narrative [about making a big move] would come from, because we have this financial flexibility that we should spend money. And that very well may happen.
"This offseason is the first time since I've been here that we will explore contracts of more than one year with free agents. Now is that two years or is that 10 years? Or something in between? That all will depend on the market and individual players. I think as we get closer to contention and once we're contending, that's when you start to use our payroll muscle to help augment the club. I think this year could go either way. I have no doubt that we'll make some additions to our club, whether those come in the form of shorter-term contracts or trades or long-term Major League contracts remain to be seen."
It is more likely the Phillies invest resources to improve their starting pitching.
Of course, if something big should present itself, the Phillies have the talent to make a deal. But $295 million for Stanton does not seem like a fit at the moment.
"We're pretty comfortable with our position-player group right now and determined to let those young players play and continue to get at-bats, so to do something to compromise that would take a pretty unique set of circumstances," Klentak said.
Sources also said recently that the Phillies are not expected to pursue a free-agent first baseman like Eric Hosmer. The thinking is the Phillies could sign Hosmer and move Rhys Hoskins to left field, where he played this season.
"We've got a pretty damn good first baseman," Klentak said. "I would say that generally we're open minded, and if there are ways for us to get better, we would look into that. Rhys demonstrated he did pretty well in the outfield, so if that's what the story is referring to, then I get that. But it would have to be a pretty unique fit for us."
• Klentak said the Phillies could announce more coaching staff additions later in the week.
• There are reports the Phillies signed infielder Pedro Florimon to a Minor League contract. He is a good candidate to earn a bench job, depending on what happens with the Phillies' glut of middle infielders this offseason.
• Hoskins finished fourth in the National League Rookie of the Year Award voting.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.