While there has been some sentiment expressed from both Philadelphia Phillies fans and manager Pete Mackanin about adding veteran bats to the team for 2017, it appears that the club is less than likely to add anyone of significance this off-season.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies, who aren't short on available funds, may not sit free-agency out, but they aren't likely to make any big splashes in free-agency:
"The Phils have the lowest financial commitments of any team for 2017. But they are again more likely to look for players on short-term deals than long. The reason? They don't want to block any of their top prospects. Consider last off-season, when they could have easily had Howie Kendrick. GM Matt Klentak knew Kendrick from their days together with the Angels and liked him a lot. But, if the Phillies had signed Kendrick they never would have found out about Cesar Hernandez, who has emerged as their leadoff man and second baseman."
The Phillies signing veteran players to play the middle infield positions or the outfield would block younger players from getting chances to play. The team has Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis and eventually J.P. Crawford up the middle. There's probably not even room to keep Andres Blanco. In the outfield, the club already has Odubel Herrera, Aaron Altherr, Tyler Goeddel and Roman Quinn, with Nick Williams and Dylan Cozens both likely to join the team within the next couple of seasons.
Matt Klentak may very well bring in a veteran to platoon with Tommy Joseph at first, and a veteran catching addition seems likely, but making long-term commitments before giving some of the team's top prospects or young major league talents extended chances to play regularly doesn't make much sense.
Certainly, bringing in veterans to take pressure off the aforementioned Herrera and Maikel Franco, while also serving as mentors on a young team, shouldn't be entirely taken off the table. But the Phillies can do that without forcing a long-term signing in a weaker free-agent class this off-season.
The Phillies are not only unlikely to aggressively pursue veteran free-agents this off-season, but also the following one. This will allow, as Rosenthal noted, the team to figure out what it has internally. It will also allow them to remain flexible for the post-2018 free-agent class, which could feature Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw, Dallas Keuchel, Adam Jones, Josh Donaldson and more.