Connecting the Dots: How Josh Hamilton Could Wind Up in Philadelphia

A Few Savvy Moves Put the Phillies in Position to Make a Big Free Agent Signing

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COMMENTARY | I'm no conspiracy theorist. I don't know if there was another shooter on the grassy knoll, I'm pretty sure we actually landed on the moon in 1969 and all I hear when I play a Beatles record backwards is an awful noise.

So I'm probably the last person you would expect to claim any type of conspiracy, especially when it comes to offseason baseball. But the Phillies have made a few interesting moves that have my investigative instincts on high alert.

As I look closely at what the Phillies have done, I'm starting to see a few clues that say they're going to make a play for Josh Hamilton.

Clue #1: After failed attempts at signing B.J. Upton and then Angel Pagan, the Phillies turned to Ben Revere, a 24-year-old outfielder from the Minnesota Twins.

There's a pretty extreme gap between Upton & Pagan - two well established outfielders - and Ben Revere. He is a player with lots of potential but clearly not the at the top of anyone's list of best available center fielders.

So why did the Phillies go for Revere?

Entering just his third year in the league, Revere's salary is team-controlled and he will make a little over $500,000 in 2013. Not only does Revere bring youth and speed to a catatonic Phillies offense, he also brings the financial flexibility to make "other" moves.

Clue #2: The Phillies traded for Michael Young, the Rangers' captain and team leader.

I love the Michael Young trade for many reasons, and this isn't the first time the Phillies have tried to trade for him having failed to do so before the 2011 season. While it may just be a coincidence that it happened now, the sudden timing has me a little suspicious.

Early in the offseason, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was described as being "wary" of signing Hamilton with his injury history and off-field issues. Having Young in Philadelphia, however, could put an ease to some of those concerns.

Hamilton also developed a good relationship with Cliff Lee during their run to the 2010 World Series. With Lee and Young both in Philadelphia now, it may start to look like a nice place to play.

(Hey, it worked with LeBron James after Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade signed with the Miami Heat. Why not now?)

Clue #3: Ruben Amaro is saying absolutely nothing regarding Josh Hamilton.

Amaro and the Phillies like to play things close to the chest, though they are usually quick to deny any rumor that is emphatically untrue.

During the winter meetings, the rumor of a Cliff Lee-for-Justin Upton trade made its way through the airwaves but was quickly stomped out by Amaro and the rest of the Phillies' front office.

On December 7th, Andrew Martin of reported on a rumor that the Boston Red Sox had offered Jacoby Ellsbury in exchange for Lee, but the Phillies squashed that one as well.

If the Phillies are going to eventually sign Hamilton, you likely won't hear about it until it's essentially a done deal, and the fact that they haven't explicitly declared they are not considering it probably means they are.

The Phils are likely weighing several options including Cody Ross and Nick Swisher as well as options for a fourth starter or relief pitcher. Based on the clues above, I'm confident that at least one of those options includes signing Josh Hamilton.

I'm no more a fortune teller than I am a conspiracy theorist, but if Hamilton does somehow wind up with the Phillies, I can't say there weren't any signs.

Scott Lentz is an award-winning writer and filmmaker and contributor to Yahoo! Sports and He grew up in the Philadelphia area and currently resides in the nearby suburb of West Chester. For more baseball talk and commentary, follow Scott on Twitter: @scottlentz27.

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