It has long been pontificated that the Phillies could be the mystery team in on Yu Darvish — the top free agent prize who is still available during the slowly moving market.
Once Darvish signs, the rest of the pitching landscape could take shape as Jake Arrieta and others remain free agents. And it is expected that Darvish will make his decision soon, perhaps to the Twins — a leading candidate for his services.
But the longer this drags on the more reasonable the idea of a team like Philadelphia actially landing the 31-year-old former Ranger and Dodger.
“We’ve had a lot of dialogue with free agents," Phillies GM Matt Klentak said, via Philly.com's Matt Gelb. "We have basically told them the terms we would be interested in signing a player. Oftentimes, it doesn’t get to that point. That’s okay.”
The Phillies more likely than not have offered Darvish their terms, and the ball is in his court to determine what he wants to do. The Phils may not have the biggest offer, but sources seem to imply they have made one.
"Phillies checking in with Darvish and most of high-profile free agents, sources tell The Athletic," Ken Rosenthal said on Twitter. "Idea is to assess respective markets to see if deal makes sense. Unlikely Phils would be high bidder, but if player fell into their range — preferably short-term — they might jump."
The Phillies appear to be set in their bullpen after Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter to deals this winter, and in the infield after giving a relatively big deal to slugger Carlos Santana.
The only missing piece is an addition to the Phils' starting rotation, which will rely on youth as Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Nick Pivetta and others. A veteran arm who knows how to win is the missing ingredient and Darvish fits the bill.