Phillies infielders Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis are both available for trade, according to a Monday report from Jim Salisbury at NBC Sports Philadelphia.
However, sources told Salisbury, "none of the offers have been to their liking."
The Mets have expressed interest in several trade options at second base, including Hernandez, Brian Dozier (Twins), Ian Kinsler (Tigers), Dee Gordon (Marlins), and Jason Kipnis (Indians), according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports.
The Phillies are comfortable keeping Galvis and Hernandez, though, despite both players being eligible for salary arbitration on a team with an already crowded infield.
Galvis is expected to earn $7.4 million next season, while Hernandez is projected to make $4.7 million, according to October estimates from MLB Trade Rumors.
"It's not a perfect solution," Salisbury concludes, though he believes the Phillies are comfortable keeping all of their infielders and waiting to see how things play out during the next year.
I like Hernandez, and not just because he's 5-foot-10, 160 pounds, plays second base and reminds me of Jose Altuve. I'm intrigued because he's young, under contract, he's an above-average fielder, he gets on base, he's a line-drive hitter, he's quick around the bases, a bit unbridled, and he hits the ball hard every time he makes contact.
The thing is, the Phillies have been shooting down trade proposals for Hernandez since last winter. And if teams were unwilling to meet their demands a year ago, it's hard to image conversations for him will be much different this winter. The point is, I'm sure Philadelphia's asking price is high, which is how it should be...
Fangraphs projects Hernandez to hit .274 with a .355 OBP, 25 doubles and 15 stolen bases in 2018. Given his past two seasons and his 2018 projected stats, he'd probably be worth $15-20 million in production if on the open market. So, at $4.7 million he would be a total bargain next season. Plus, he isn't eligible to be a free agent until after 2020.
I've had NL East scouts tell me he's reminiscent of Luis Castillo, Denard Span, etc., though he may develop more power as he adds more strength and bulk to his body. He'd be a terrific long-term partner for Amed Rosario, with whom he could turn double plays and also hit either before or after in the batting order.
Second base options Dee Gordon, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Nunez. Credit: USA Today
I hear the Angels, Dodgers, White Sox, Royals, and Reds have all asked Philadelphia about Hernandez during the last 12 months, so the Mets are certainly not alone in their interest in him this winter.
According to friends in Los Angeles, the Phillies wanted Cody Bellinger for Hernandez during 2016, but that was was when Bellinger was just a top-rated first base prospect and not the NL MVP candidate he'd become the next summer. The Phillies are still insisting on getting back a top prospect and at least one pre-arbitration big league player. In Sandy Alderson's world, this feels like some two-player combination of Robert Gsellman, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, etc...
I am not sure what Alderson's temperature is on trading these caliber players to fill a position he can more easily solve on the free-agent market by spending another $5-6 million. However, it's quite clear that if the Mets are going to trade for an infielder (and get the other team to pay part of the player's contract), it's going to mean trading Gsellman, Smith, etc., whether it's in a deal for Hernandez or someone else.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. He recently left his position as Executive Editor and Dir. of Digital Content for SNY.TV to help sports brands build their own digital content businesses...