Philadelphia Phillies Seen As "Sleeper Team" For 2 Huge Remaining Free Agents

It's been a surprisingly quiet offseason for the normally big-spending Philadelphia Phillies this winter, as most of the big free agents are off the board, and they've barely been linked to any of them. 

But according to a report by Bob Nightengale of USA Today, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is lying in the weeds as a "sleeper" team for two of the biggest players left on the market:

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... Yet, unless their price-tags drop, the Phillies plan to remain patient.

With unproven rookie Johan Rojas currently slated in in center field and a rotation opening to complete the five-man starting crew, Bellinger and Montgomery would be huge additions for the Phillies, who are desperate to get back to the World Series. They fell just one win short in the 2023 NLCS against the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

But with notorious agent Scott Boras pulling the strings for both Belli and Montgomery, their asking prices have remained steep... Too steep, apparently, even for Dombrowski at this point. Nightengale says he's hearing that the Phils plan to remain patient "unless their price-tags drop." 

Bellinger (i.e. Boras) is said to be looking for over $200 million on a long-term deal, while the left-hander Montgomery, coming off a breakthrough season and a World Series championship, according to one report is seeking (again, via Boras) a contract that would top Phillies ace Aaron Nola's 7-year pact worth $172M. 

Of course, Montgomery, while he had a fine season, has nowhere close to the track record of Nola, and it's perfectly reasonable that the Phillies (and every other major league team) are standing their ground and waiting for the demands to come down. 

Bellinger, 28, the former 2019 NL MVP, bounced back with his first good season since 2019, hitting a career-high .307 with the Chicago Cubs along with 26 home runs, 97 RBI, and an .881 OPS.

Montgomery, 31, posted a combined 3.20 ERA with a 166:48 strikeout to walk ratio with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers.