Philadelphia Baseball Mailbag: Will the Phillies go after Craig Kimbrel?

The Phillies could target closer Craig Kimbrel
Throughout the offseason and leading into the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas I'll provide a weekly mailbox and answer questions that I receive via email relating to the Phillies and the baseball scene in Philadelphia.

Will the Phillies go after a closer like Craig Kimbrel on the free agent market? Steve S.
Tough to say, but I wrote earlier this week that one of the best ways to improve the bullpen come 2019 is to have pitchers in dedicated roles when the season begins. That includes at closer. Now, I know this isn't a popular idea with manager Gabe Kapler, but several relievers mentioned last year how tough it was to prepare with no defined role.

I think one of two things should happen. Either they enter the year with Seranthony Dominguez as the club's defined closer, or they go out on the market and chase down a Kimbrel or a top-tier closer. Preferably though, I'd rather see Dominguez slide into the closer slot and the club ink setup reliever Adam Ottavino to a deal.

When and where will Manny Machado and Bryce Harper sign? John M.
I believe the Phillies are a perfect landing spot for Harper. It's a deal that makes sense on so many levels. He'll become the face this organization desperately needs to lure back fans, and he'll radically upgrade the offensive look of the club. It may take close to $400 million to make a deal happen, but this is the exact reason why the Phillies have built a war chest of money - to sign a player like Harper.

That said, does he alone make the Phillies a World Series contender? No, not by a long shot. This club has needs elsewhere, too. The left side of the infield needs some help and there's not a reliable option behind the plate right now, not to mention the questions at the back end of the rotation.

As for Machado, he fits an obvious need, but sources I've spoken with seem to believe the Yankees and the Dodgers are the top contenders.

I can see both guys signing deals prior to - or even at - the Winter Meetings. Unlike last year where most of the action happened just prior to Spring Training, I think we'll see more signings done before the start of the new year.

Are the Phillies interested in bringing back Wilson Ramos? Ken T.
Yes, they are. However, I think it'll take something in the three-year, $40-million dollar landscape to make that happen. Given the organization's fondness of Jorge Alfaro, it's tough to see a deal like that happening, though you can certainly argue Ramos will prove to be more valuable than Alfaro over the next three seasons.

I think a trade for the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto has a higher probability compared to the club bringing back Ramos.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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