NL East Notes: Phillies, Hamels, Marlins, Cespedes

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Phillies GM Matt Klentak discussed his approach to the coming trade deadline with reporters including MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. He emphasized a need “to understand how we got here and why we got here, and it’s because of our young players developing not only in the minor leagues, but at the major league level.” At the same time, he said he’ll be looking to “upgrade the team in the short term or long term via trade.” The Phils’ baseball ops point man indicated that he will indeed be willing to pursue pure rental options, though the organization will also need to “make sure that whatever trades we’re contemplating are appropriately balancing now with the future.”

  • It’s still unknown just how aggressive the Phillies will be in their first season of contention under the current front office regime. The club is one of the most interesting buy-side organizations to watch. Jon Heyman of Fancred dangles one intriguing possibility, tweeting that he’s “hearing some chatter” regarding the possible pursuit of Rangers lefty Cole Hamels. That said, Heyman also notes that he’s “unsure how serious the chatter is.” The long-time Philadelphia hurler is a clear trade candidate, though his big remaining guarantee, 2019 option, and 20-team no-trade protection figure to complicate things from the Rangers’ perspective. And it’s fair to wonder if the Phillies would set their sights on a more significant addition if they try to add to their rotation.
  • The Marlins don’t have many clear trade pieces, but certainly have a number of possibilities. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald provides an update on the organization’s approach, writing that there’s a willingness to deal players who are within a few seasons of free agency. At the same time, per the report, the Marlins are no longer especially motivated by trimming salary — which isn’t to say that won’t be a notable consideration, especially for higher-priced players such as Brad Ziegler. The veteran reliever is “most likely to be moved” of all the club’s players, Jackson notes. Of even greater interest, the team’s most valuable asset — catcher J.T. Realmuto — is said to be viewed internally as an extension target as much as a potential trade chip. It’s hardly clear whether a long-term arrangement is a realistic possibility, but there’s little question the Marlins will (and should) seek a hefty return for the mid-prime backstop.
  • While it likely won’t have much of an impact on the deadline, the Mets finally got some promising news yesterday on Yoenis Cespedes, who has been on ice since the middle of May. The veteran outfielder began running, as Mike Puma of the New York Post was among those to tweet, which would seem to suggest that his ailing hip is feeling better. It’s a lost season for the Mets, and Cespedes won’t likely feature as a trade candidate, but that doesn’t mean his return isn’t significant. With salaries of $29MM and $29.5MM for the coming two seasons, Cespedes will be a key part of the picture for the New York organization as it navigates a tricky stretch.

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