As usual, the Phillies haven’t been the most active team this offseason. The main reason is because of something Ruben Amaro Jr. learned from Pat Gillick. That is patience, something every successful general manager must have.
The Phils aren’t the only quiet ones this year though. Not much is happening throughout the majors, but that should change this week since the winter meetings are beginning. Big names such as CC Sabathia and Manny Ramirez will sign big contracts while the Phils sign players that are under the radar.
The Phils have resigned reliever Scott Eyre, traded outfielder Greg Golson to the Texas Rangers for outfielder John Mayberry, signed righthander Mike Koplave, and claimed minor league reliever Scott Nestor from waivers. Only three things so far and none of them are very significant. By this time last year, they already had Brad Lidge.
What they need right now are an outfielder that will play full-time in left field or platoon with Greg Dobbs and Geoff Jenkins, another starting pitcher, a utility man, and possibly another reliever to strengthen their already stellar bullpen.
Raul Ibanez would fit nicely in the outfield or Rocco Baldelli could platoon. If they really want to open their wallets, they could go after Milton Bradley or Bobby Abreu, but I think Philly’s had enough of Abreu. If they did try for Abreu, they wouldn’t lose a draft pick because he wasn’t offered arbitration.
As for starting pitching, there’s a wide selection lead by Sabathia. The Phils are having talks with Derek Lowe and are still trying to resign Jamie Moyer. It would be a very smart decision to resign Moyer because not only can he still pitch, but he can help out the younger pitchers on the team. He’s already helped Kyle Kendrick by getting him to meet Greg Maddux.
If the Phils can’t reach an agreement with either Lowe or Moyer, why don’t the Phillies try for A.J. Burnett or Brad Penny? If they want to risk it, why not try for one of the older free agents like Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, or Pedro Martinez? They may not be very likely, but hey, at least try.
As for a utility man, they could look in their own farm system. Jason Donald has been stellar, and Brad Harman could provide a spark.
But what everyone’s overlooking is the Phils catching situation. Carlos Ruiz struggled last year, and the Phils have some pretty good alternatives. Lou Marson made the US Olympic team and had a great debut last year. Also, Chris Coste is still a strong option if the Phils will continue to platoon.
Though the Phils bullpen was tops in the league last year, they could always improve. If JA Happ and Carlos Carrasco don’t make the rotation, they could always be long relief men.
Honestly, there aren’t many options this year in the relief department. If Kyle Farnsworth doesn’t resign with Detroit, he could possibly be an option or even Kerry Wood if he would be willing to give up closing, but the Phils would again have to dig deep into their wallets so don’t count on anything.
All of the Phillie-faithful are waiting in anticipation for the winter meetings, not only for the wheeling and dealing also for the announcements of for the Hall of Fame inductees for Dick Allen, Mickey Vernon, Bucky Walters, and Sherry Magee are all on the ballot. All of them are contenders. Bring on the meetings!