With baseball's Winter Meetings just a few days away, the MLB hot stove continues to burn, and one of the Mets' divisional foes is reportedly set to pursue some of the biggest names on the market.
The Phillies have already signed Zack Wheeler away from the Mets, agreeing to a five-year, $118 million deal with the right-hander, and now they're reportedly pursuing both Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg, perhaps the two biggest names on the market outside of Gerrit Cole.
MLB.com's Jon Heyman has reported that the Phillies have shown interest in both Strasburg and Cole, though the team is "especially interested" in Strasburg.
Meanwhile, USA Today's Bob Nightengale has reported that the Phillies are willing to pay the luxury tax in order to sign Rendon, who would fill a need for the Phillies at third base. The team recently let Maikel Franco become a free agent, and while utility man Scott Kingery could slide into that spot on an everyday basis, the Phillies could look to upgrade with the best position player available on the open market.
Rendon, 29, is coming off of his best season at the big-league level, but his numbers have gotten better with almost every passing season. He finished third in MVP voting in 2019, ending the year with a .319 average, 34 home runs, and 126 RBI. Over his seven-year career, Rendon has slashed .290/.369/.490.
Strasburg, a three-time All-Star, is coming off of one his best career seasons, finishing 2019 with a 3.32 ERA in a career-best 209.0 innings. He finished fifth in NL Cy Young voting, and was a huge part of the Nationals' run to a World Series title.
What all of these reports seem to boil down to is the fact that the Phillies seem more than willing to spend big money to go all-in, as they did last offseason when they spend $330 million on Bryce Harper and also traded top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez in a deal for JT Realmuto.
Coupled with the Braves' early aggressiveness in free agency, signing Will Smith, Cole Hamels, and Travis d'Arnaud, the NL East figures to be one of the stronger divisions in baseball, or at least the most willing to spend during free agency.