What are the chances the Phillies land Josh Hamilton? -- Austyn N., Leola, Pa.
I would say they are pretty slim. The Phillies have been doing their due diligence on Hamilton, as they should. If they can get him for a relatively club-friendly deal, it would make a lot of sense. But assuming Hamilton won't settle for a club-friendly deal -- and I'm not sure why he would -- I would be very wary. He has had more than his share of issues, on and off the field. Nobody will argue his talent, but committing tens of millions of dollars to somebody with so many risks doesn't seem to be the wisest decision for a team that already has hundreds of millions committed to other players. That is why the Phils like B.J. Upton more than anybody. He's 28, and they consider him less of a risk than other center fielders on the market.
What do you think of this possible scenario to answer most, if not all of the Phillies' offensive needs? Sign Hamilton to play left, sign Upton to play center, trade Cliff Lee back to Texas, along with Tyler Cloyd and another prospect, for Mike Olt to play third base. -- Adam L., Carlisle, Pa.
Have a question about the Phillies?
E-mail your query to MLB.com Phillies beat reporter Todd Zolecki for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
Ah, if it were only that easy. These things are much, much easier said than done. First, it would take a small fortune to sign both Hamilton and Upton. Second, the Rangers would have traded Olt to the Phillies in July for Cole Hamels. I'm not sure they would trade Olt for Lee. Besides, with the uncertainty surrounding Roy Halladay's health, I think Philadelphia needs Lee more than ever. If you trade Lee and Halladay continues his regression, your rotation suddenly looks very vulnerable. And just a side note: Lee did not have a bad year last year. He had a good year. He just got terrible run support, which affected his record. I'm not sure why people keep saying he had a "bad" year.
Why didn't the Phillies bring back Juan Pierre? He had a great season and is only 35. He could really help the Phillies. -- Ken M., Philadelphia.
Pierre was one of the few offseason moves for the Phils that worked in their favor last season. He was productive and was a great guy to have in the clubhouse. But let's be honest: the Phillies need to make moves to improve, and this is a spot where they can improve. I'd go with an uncertainty in Darin Ruf than a certainty in Pierre because of Ruf's upside.
Is there any chance the Phillies get David Wright in a trade? -- Tyler K., Palmerton, Pa.
I would say slim to none, although Philadelphia has long coveted Wright and I'm certain general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. would jump at the opportunity. The Phillies desperately need a third baseman. Wright would be a great fit, but I bet the Mets would ask for a hefty ransom as payment.
Do you think the Phillies can play Carlos Ruiz at third base, and have Erik Kratz behind the plate, since both had amazing 2012 seasons? -- Connor H., Columbus, N.J.
Absolutely not. I'm not sure when everybody started thinking the Phillies could just drop Ruiz at third base, but I think that would be disastrous. Sure, Ruiz played in the infield as a kid, but that was a long time ago. And while Kratz started his season nicely at the plate, he hit .181 with a .515 OPS from Aug. 24 through the end of the regular season. He will be a nice backup to Ruiz next season, but both players should remain where they are.
I keep reading the D-backs are listening to offers for Justin Upton. Would he be a good fit for the Phillies? Do the Phillies have legitimate pieces to offer (maybe Freddy Galvis)? Is this being explored at all? -- Steve G., Rock Island, Ill.
A recent report from Jon Heyman said while the D-backs are listening to offers for Upton, they are unlikely to trade him. But I would rather have Justin Upton than B.J. Upton, if I could snap my fingers and make it happen. Of course, Justin is a corner outfielder, so even if the Phillies traded for him, they still would need a center fielder. The Phils have plenty of Minor League pitching prospects, but the price for Justin would be high. I'm certain the Phillies are looking into it, but it takes two to tango.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.