What Happens In Vegas…
…will be written here for all to see! So much for things “staying” in Vegas. Ruben Amaro Jr. in his new GM role has all eyes on him at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, waiting for him to make his mark on the 2009 Phillies team. Rumors abound, as they usually do this during the Winter Meetings, but so far, nothing has transpired. Talks with pitcher Jamie Moyer are slowing down to a near halt…it looks like he is asking for 2 years at about 10 million a year. The Phillies simply aren’t going to pay that for a guy in his mid-forties. It is too big a risk. And as much as we all love Jamie and would like to believe that age is never a factor, it can be. He showed signs of slowing down towards the end of 2008, but still remained on the active roster all year without an injury. But if you placing bets on whether this will remain the case for one or maybe two more years, those are odds even the nuttiest Vegas gambler wouldn’t bet on.
The Phillies have been looking at options, in case Moyer decides to go elsewhere. Randy Wolf, ex-Phillie and Geoff Jenkins look-a-like, has been mentioned. It is also rumored that an offer has been made to Derek Lowe. Amaro also mentioned he’d like to add one more arm to an already outstanding bullpen. Scott Eyre has already been signed to a one-year, $2 million contract extension, so we know he’ll be back, giving us one more lefty to play with in addition to JC Romero. Ryan Madson may be signed, rather than allow him to go to arbitration, but nothing specific has been mentioned on that one. Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey are also eligible for arbitration.
Arbitration is going to play a huge part in moves this offseason. With TEN Phillies eligible, including those mentioned plus Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Greg Dobbs, Cole Hamels, Eric Bruntlett and Joe Blanton, salaries for any new additions are going to be at a premium. Amaro knows he has big money due to some of these guys and has to plan accordingly. I am hoping none of them will end up being trade bait, so as to keep the core of this team intact. But you know what sometimes happens with a new GM; they try to make changes, even if they don’t have to, just to put their own personal stamp on the team and separate themselves from the previous GM. I am really hoping Amaro does not fall into this trap. It is a mind game and one that is likely to produce bad results. He needs to do what is best for the team, not for his ego or reputation.
As for a utility infielder, there have been rumors of bringing 31 year-old Nick Punto back to Philly. With the Twins since 2004, he has played every infield position, except first base, and even some outfield. Punto has a lifetime average of .252, with a .284 average in 2008, having played in 99 games. His career fielding percentage is .976 with 49 total errors in 8 seasons. Honestly, for a guy that does not play every day, that is not so great. So, I am hoping this rumor goes away…
As for Pat Burrell, that train has come to a stop, at least for now. It appears Burrell is fielding offers from other teams and so this becomes another case of wait and see. Even manager Charlie Manuel is asking for a contract extension so he can retire as a Phillie. Nothing solid on this, other than most expect this deal to be done this week sometime. So we will wait and see. And I will keep you posted as things progress this week.
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