Who are the Phillies going to sign to play a corner outfield spot and provide some power in the middle of the order? That, indeed, is the biggest question remaining this offseason.
There are a number of options here, but I have a gut feeling that this club is laying in the weeds, waiting out Josh Hamilton.
In fact, this would-be free agent pursuit reminds me a lot of the way the Phillies approached Cliff Lee prior to the 2011 season. All winter long, they maintained that they were not interested in Lee, leaking small phrases like "that ship has sailed" to the media while waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
But it sure sounds a lot like what is happening this offseason with Hamilton.
According to CBS Philly, the Phillies have offered the slugger a three-year deal that is believed to be in the range of $80 million. Not only would this deal result in a nice cash windfall and decent number of years for the 31-year-old, but it also seems as though his other options are running thin.
The Boston Red Sox are out of the running following their shopping spree that included Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino.
The Texas Rangers clearly prefer to trade for Justin Upton.
The New York Yankees may be interested, but they'd actually have to move salary to add Hamilton, as hard as that may be to believe. Curtis Granderson is a name that has come up in trade talks.
Hamilton's most aggressive suitor besides the Phillies may be the Seattle Mariners, and their interest has been tepid all offseason long. If Hamilton is going to be forced to sign a shorter deal than he would like, is he willing to spend the first season or two waiting on Seattle's top prospects?
That is why the Phillies are the best fit for Hamilton. They have the money, they have the need, and even though he isn't a right-handed bat, Hamilton has had more success against left-handed pitching in recent memory than Chase Utley and Ryan Howard combined. His swing is practically catered to that short porch in right field at Citizens Bank Park.
For a team with an aging core and not a single impact outfielder coming through the farm system in sight, count me in on Hamilton.
Other Options: Nick Swisher, Cody Ross, Josh Willingham