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Phillies scouting Red Sox prospect Garin Cecchini

The Phillies used Wednesday's Red Sox - Yankees game to scout potential trade pieces.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies have been in trade discussions with both the Red Sox and Yankees for ace pitcher Cole Hamels, so it should come as no surprise that they sent one of their top scouts to watch Wednesday's Grapefruit League game between the two teams. Though scout Charley Kerfeld was likely there for more than one player, we do know thanks to the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham that the Phillies were checking in on Sox prospect Garin Cecchini.

The Phillies have long had interest in Cecchini, though, just how much they would like him is unknown. Assistant to the general manager (and former Phillies' manager) Charlie Manuel reportedly believes Cecchini is "a rising star", but t was assumed Ruben Amaro had no interest in him as a headlining piece for a Hamels' trade, with his attention instead on Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts for that role. It's unknown if Cecchini was part of the offer that the Sox made for Hamels earlier this winter -- one that was reportedly heavy on the major-league side. If the Phillies are still looking at him now, though, after it's clear that Cliff Lee's trade value has been destroyed by the tear in his flexor tendon, then maybe he's not a longshot for a Hamels' swap after all.

Cecchini had a rough 2014 at Triple-A, but he finished strong with a .333/.414/.500 line with 10 extra-base hits in his final month, in addition to his .258/.361/.451 36 plate appearance major-league showing. His defense is still a question at third, so either left field or an on-base-heavy first base career is probably in his future, but if he draws enough walks and hits enough doubles, he could be a very productive hitter. As the Red Sox have no positions open for him, not now and possibly not in the future, either, they would almost certainly part with him for a piece they do need.

Of course, Cecchini would be just one of many pieces in these talks, and the Phillies scouting him does not mean they have changed their stance of requiring one of Swihart or Betts. It could also be worth noting -- or maybe it's a coincidence -- that the Phillies sent a scout to a game that Joe Kelly was pitching in. If the Sox get Hamels, Kelly would be pushed out of the rotation, and there is a chance he would head back to Philadelphia to give them a team-controlled replacement in their own starting five.

Again, don't read that as Cecchini and Kelly headlining any potential deal: if a trade occurs between the Red Sox and Phillies, it's going to involve many players changing teams, and that's even more the case if the Sox talk Amaro into making a move without getting back Swihart or Betts.