Phillies could potentially target J.T. Realmuto in a trade
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.

If the Phillies score just one of the megastars in Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who should it be? - Dan B.

Look, either one of these guys will give the Phillies a significant offensive boost, and that's an area of concern. They need a potent bat that's reliable and can hit the long ball while also providing some protection for Rhys Hoskins. Either of these guys can do that, but Machado turned me off in the postseason. His lack of hustle, his comments about running balls out, twice walking on the ankles of first basemen, none of it sits well with me. All things equal, I'd go with Harper.

How will the Phillies starting rotation look come next season? - Kelsey S.

Andy MacPhail made it pretty clear last month that he wants to upgrade the starting staff. Beyond Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, there's just too many questions. I believe Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin, and Vince Velasquez all have a shot to stay, but I would be shocked if all three slot at the backend. I think the club will go out and spend on the market, chasing someone like Nate Eovaldi or Hyun-Jin Ryu. Internally, I feel Jerad Eickhoff will get a long look come spring.

Can Alfaro be an everyday catcher in the majors? - Matt. Y

The comparisons by manager Gabe Kapler of Jorge Alfaro to Ivan Rodriguez are valid, but only if we're talking about pop time and arm strength. The Phillies finished last in the majors in fielding percentage at catcher and fifth in the league in passed balls, that's primarily because of Alfaro. In my opinion, he needs to improve his skills drastically behind the plate - fielding and blocking balls in the dirt - before his game can be considered major league ready. He has the potential, but he's not there yet. That's one reason why I think potentially bringing Wilson Ramos back could be a smart idea.

Are the Phillies interested in making a move on J.T. Realmuto? - Kenny R.

I would think so. Realmuto is one of the best catchers in the game today and would provide a significant offensive boost. The question is, do the Phillies have the players that'll make the Marlins pull a trigger on a deal. I would assume the ask would be high, so it's possible pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez would have to be included in a potential deal. It could be worth it though as Realmuto is only 27 and under club control for another two seasons. He could be a building block that entices others like Harper and Machado to come to Philadelphia.
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

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