With the World Series winding down and free agency set to begin soon after, the Philadelphia Phillies will soon have their chance to improve a team whose offseason began far too early this year.
Unfortunately, no clear game plan exists for completing this task.
Will the Phils break the bank on a marquee free agent, or will they scan the market for under-the-radar signings that hopefully make a difference? Should they use their depth at certain minor league positions to acquire help via trade? Which players from this season did enough to allow the Phils to stand pat at their position?
By trading Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton mid-season, and by declining options on players such as Placido Polanco, Ty Wigginton and Jose Contreras, the Phils will have money to spend and flexibility for trade acquisitions this offseason.
But why spend money just to spend money?
General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. has said that they must be creative this offseason, as an article by John Gonzalez on CSNPhilly.com mentions. This means that Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton and Nick Swisher may not be the only outfielders that the team targets, although they will likely be the most expensive.
The trade market, on the other hand, could be where the Phils find one of their 2013 outfielders, and one who will not cause the team’s payroll to skyrocket after just one acquisition.
Here are five bargain trade options that the Phillies could explore this offseason.