What are three things that the Phillies will have a whole lot of over the next few years? Well, that answer is simple:

1.) CAP ROOM

2.) CAP ROOM

3.) CAP ROOM

After this season, the Phillies have a very small amount of money (in the baseball world of course) committed to players on their big league club heading into 2018. This means that the Phillies could very likely look to return to the top of the payroll list in the near future. Through their “Golden Era” of success from 2007-2011, and also the years that followed where they didn’t have as much success as they should have, the Phils sat near the top of the league in total payroll. From the large contract of Ryan Howard, to the “Four Aces” rotation, the Phillies dished out a nice hunk of cash a number of ways. Now, with a team full of young players who are playing on their first contracts, as well as one-year signees who they don’t have to commit to after this season, they will have plenty of money to blow.

That leaves them in a precarious position. Should they save that money and re-up their young players once they reach the end of their deals? Or should they dish out some money to some big names to help the team rise back to the top?

One of the players that many have predicted the Phils to be a possible fit for once he hits the open market is Nationals RF Bryce Harper. Multiple platforms have talked about the possibility of the Nationals’ star right fielder being the guy that the Phillies should throw their money at when he becomes available. Harper figures to get one of the largest contracts in MLB history.

Another player that will be a free agent around the same time as Harper will be Orioles 3B/SS Manny Machado. Machado has finally lived up to his huge potential and made himself into one of the top players in the game. He will most likely get a deal just under the amount of Harper’s.

Of course, Phillies fans also always fantasize about Jersey boy Mike Trout coming home and playing for the team he grew up rooting for. For the last few years, Phils fans and people alike have made up their dream deals to pull in the best player in the game.

There is also a chance that the Phillies could elect to stand pat and wait until they have to pay their homegrown talent. Maikel Franco, Aaron Nola, JP Crawford, and more of the young players that figure to be a huge part of this team’s future will eventually have to get paid, whether that be by the Phillies, or someone else if they choose to let them go.

We polled our Twitter followers on this topic over the weekend, and the results were quite revealing. We asked the question: With small talk around Bryce Harper being an eventual fit for us, what would you rather do if you had the chance at these guys?

The choices and the results were as follows:

  • Sign Harper- 14%
  • Trade for Trout- 64%
  • Sign Machado- 14%
  • None, build through the farm- 8%

The results are obvious. Phillies fans want Mike Trout.

Some of our Phillies Nation team also had some input on the matter:

Jack Pontin:

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: Bryce Harper needs to stay as far away from Philadelphia as possible. Call me biased, or claim that my dislike for Harper as a baseball player stems from my “Phandom,” but the Phillies are about to embark upon a new era of youth throughout the organization. If the front office decides to add a superstar to the mix, they will have to make sure the addition brings a leader to the locker room. The 2015 NL MVP has not proven to be that; in fact, he has shown quite the opposite by constantly causing controversy in DC. His talent can not be ignored. At only 24 years old, he is a 4-time all-star and one of the league’s best players, but he is not worth $400 million for the Phillies.

Mike Trout would be the ideal fit in Philadelphia. He is on a team-friendly (for a 2-time MVP at least) contract through 2020. Odubel Herrera struggled defensively in center field throughout 2016, and moving him to a corner outfield spot could pay dividends in his development. Trout is a New Jersey kid and lifelong Phillies fan. He would want to come here and the Phillies would love to have him. Match made in heaven, right? Unfortunately, no. Even if the Angels were willing to part ways with their star, the asking price would be far too much for the Phils to pull the trigger on a deal. In three or four years, when the baseball games played at Citizens Bank Park last deep into October, it will be time to look into a deal for Trout. But now, the team is too far from contention to sacrifice the depth of the farm system for a single body.

Perhaps the perfect fit for the Phillies would be Manny Machado, who becomes a free agent after the 2017 season. Machado has only ever found trouble once in his career, during his ongoing beef with the late Yordano Ventura, which ended in a brawl during a game at Camden Yards last season. A long-term contract with a 24-year-old third baseman who can also play shortstop would be a fantastic deal for the Phils, which could then look to move Maikel Franco to handle the other corner. If Tommy Joseph fails to produce in his second major league season, an addition of a young superstar could boost the team into relevancy without losing any prospects. It will be expensive, and it will not be easy. However, the Phillies need to make a run at Manny Machado.

Ryan Kim:

I admit, bringing Mike Trout back home to the tri-state area would be the ultimate move, but I don’t think it’s ideal with the strength of the farm, nor would management seriously consider it. Signing Manny Machado from Baltimore, however, is a move that could make sense, given the circumstances. No, a third baseman is not a necessity, but Maikel Franco could move to first base and Tommy Joseph to the outfield, giving Machado shortstop. Bryce Harper, yes, makes sense to sign and throw in the outfield, but with we have to acknowledge his contract demands. Machado would (comparably) be the cheapest option of the three, so it can save some cap space to build on, and also give the Phillies flexibility to move JP Crawford to second. That inner diamond would be scary. Also, being 24 years old, his potential is still through the roof and he’s proven to be able to produce time and time again. The Phillies haven’t had a consistent leadoff guy since Jimmy Rollins’ trade, and Manny being Manny, can change that. Do I realistically think any of them will happen? No. Do I think the Phillies should go after one of them? Yes. And make it Manny Machado.

Vansh Bansal:

With the Phillies expecting prospects like Mickey Moniak and Dylan Cozens, Nick Williams, and Roman Quinn to arrive to the big leagues soon, one would expect their biggest need by 2020 to reside in the infield. Teams with strong offensive second basemen have proven extremely successful over the past decade: the Phillies with Chase Utley, the Yankees with Robinson Cano, and the Cubs with Javier Baez all won World Series. These factors alone indicate Manny Machado would prove to be the best bet in adding a cornerstone piece to a budding roster and preparing it for contention. A complete player with power, average, and speed, Machado is the youngest of the three players, and would be hitting his prime at age 26 or 27 by the time the Phillies acquire him. His combination of youth and maturity will make him an owners’ dream as the face of a franchise, and his numbers alone make Machado worthy of superstar status. The Phillies should push all their chips in for Machado to ensure they remain contenders for the next half decade.

Connor Cummings:

Trout is a must have. He does it all offensively and defensively. Highest career batting average, perennial MVP candidate. At 29 he still has half a dozen good years left in him. I also believes he will establish a positive culture in the clubhouse as a hometown boy willing to go all out for his team and city.

Machado would be my next option led by his great defense but I don’t see the Orioles letting him go and that move might displace Franco.

Harper would be the third option. Tremendous hitter but I think he is the worse defensively and can be streaky at the plate. While his attitude is sometimes fun he can also throw temper tantrums that could cause issues.

Our team

has some mixed views. Most of us looked at it from a business perspective, where Machado would be the most likely of the three if you had to choose. Maybe it’s us passionate Phillies fans being stubborn and hating the rival, but not many people want Bryce Harper here. I think it is clear that if a trade for Mike Trout could be made without totally dismantling the rest of the team, this would be the clear cut winner amongst Phillies fans everywhere.

For now, lets enjoy what is to come from our Trout/Machado/Harper-less team we’ve got now, as we get to have our first taste of the new era of Phillies baseball in less than a month.

Starting this week, Phillies Nation will be making Wednesday our day of the week where you will hear a little something from a number of our team members, on one topic, on one single article. This is just the beginning, so stay tuned for next week’s writing!

Photo: Allsport Edits (Via: Flickr)

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