Day 1 in Indy

A few more things from the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis:

  • Ruben Amaro Jr. said there is a chance Brad Lige and J.C. Romero will not be ready by Opening Day — they are recovering from elbow surgeries — although he said if they are not ready, it won’t be long after the season starts.
  • Amaro said he is more likely to fill holes on the pitching staff and bench via free agency, although he said the Phillies could get creative and work a trade.
  • Amaro declined comment on a rumor that the Phillies have made right-hander Joe Blanton available to trade to free up money to improve the bullpen, but it seems unlikely Amaro would trade pitching to get pitching. “I’m sure I would at some point,” he said. “It’s kind of like robbing Peter to trade Paul, but if you think Paul is better than Peter than it’s worth it.”
  • Amaro also said he doesn’t “want to mess with our rotation as it stands. But it doesn’t mean we have to make that a hard and fast rule,” he said. “I think it’s more about keeping the options as open as possible. … I’ll put our rotation as it stands up there with pretty much anybody in the National League. The better your rotation is the more heat you can take off the bullpen. I think that’s probably the best way to get a more predictable bullpen.”
  • It sounds to me like Chan Ho Park is the team’s top priority in the bullpen. Amaro met with Park’s agent Jeff Borris on Monday.
  • The Phillies have continued interest in left-hander Scott Eyre, although Amaro said he would be comfortable with rookie left-handers Antonio Bastardo or Sergio Escalona in the bullpen next season.
  • The Phillies have been linked to right-hander Brandon Lyon, but one source said Monday the asking price for Lyon remains high.
  • The Phillies already have committed $114.2 million committed to 15 players in 2010. Include the expected raises for Blanton, Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz, Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey and the payroll pushes to more than $130 million. That leaves the Phillies with just a few million to spend. “I think we’re going to be just fine with our payroll,” Amaro said. “I don’t think it’s going to change much. We have our limitations. We’re going to be pushing $140 million. It is what it is. It’s my job to figure out a way to make sure this a contending team.”
  • The Phillies have until Dec. 12 to offer contracts to Durbin and Condrey, who are eligible for salary arbitration. Amaro said the Phillies haven’t made a final decision, but “as far as I’m concerned, at least right now, these are guys that we’ll probably count on. But again, a lot of it kind of depends on what happens over these next several days in regards to the other free agents that might be out there.”
  • The Phillies have expressed interest in Brian Giles, although it doesn’t appear talks are serious. “We’ve talked about it a little bit,” said Giles’ agent, Joe Bick. “Philly needs to try to find Brian a spot where there might be more playing time, but it’s certainly something we’ll keep the door open on.”


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I hope everyone who continues to harp on getting Halladay can read the numbers Todd posted and do some simple math and see that it won’t happen.
It’s the same reason the Figgins talk was nonsense. The M’s gave him twice what the Phils gave Polanco.
It’s fun to talk about getting all of those big-time players, but there are financial limitations. It’s a shame that building a baseball team has to come down to dollars instead of talent, but that’s the way it is. At this point, I’d say it’s a long shot that they could afford to keep Cliff Lee beyond 2010.

The rumors about Blanton make no sense. Trading him would ruin the depth of the starting rotation. He’s a horse and takes the ball every fifth day.

phan: Agreed. I’m a big fan of the big guy. With a few question marks in the staff already (Pedro, Moyer & Drabek) I liked Amaro’s analogy of “robbing Peter to trade Paul.” Trading a starter to help the bullpen is ridiculous.

Im in total agreement with phan and muleman. To even consider trading Blanton with the other question marks in the rotation seems odd. I don’t think we’re getting the whole story behind that one.

OK, Im done harping on Halliday. However, I think they have to find a way to keep Lee next year. How can you run a consistent contender without an ace in your rotation? Can you imagine going into the playoffs without Lee? How about going up against the Yankees again without Lee?

Thanks to libertybelle for the kind words. Much appreciated.

Cole coming back to form would be huge. Im looking at it as a worst case scenario. Cole doesn’t come back to form and Lee is the sole ace on the staff. Too many ifs in the rotation.

joebridge: That’s why it’s so important for Cole to come back to form in 2010. Having him and Lee at the top of the rotation is huge. If Cole continues to slide they’re in a little bit of trouble. If Lee shows any consistency toward the All-Star break, I’d move to lock him up for a while. He proved last year that he’s a big-time pitcher.
Maybe toward the end of the season Drabek can step in, but I don’t count on any of these “phenoms” until they can show that they belong in the majors.
I’m also looking for a better season out of Kendrick, but that’s a gamble too.

I’m just speculatin’ on a hypothesis here, but one reason to move Blanton and his salary could be to make room for a HUUUGE salary. Either a trade for someone like Halladay or, more specifically, an extension for Lee with a huge upgrade in his 2010 salary. I would be fine with that. It would be difficult to replace his innings, but there are cheaper options out there.

phan: That’s possible, but if they got Halladay and kept Lee they’d never be able to sign both of them for 2011, so one would be a rental. Of course, I’d take Halladay over Blanton, but you’d have to sweeten that a lot to get him. I think the Lee extension is a more reasonable option.

I’m not sold on Rich Harden either (as some mentioned in earlier comments). He gave up 23 HR in 26 starts last year and he made $7 million. I don’t think they’d have room in their self-imposed salary cap to sign him. I don’t follow him, but I’d guess that he spent some DL time last year, since he only pitched 141 innings.

I’d guess they plug a couple of holes with bit players and wait until spring training to see who gets cut or what their own specific needs are.

muleman, that’s why I don’t think Halladay is in the mix. I think if they move Blanton it is to open salary space for an extension for Lee. Any extension would need to include a big raise in 2010.

But I don’t think they are moving Blanton.

muleman, I am the one who has been clamouring about Rich Harden. He is every bit as good as Cole Hamels. If you think Cole will return to form in 2010, why can’t Harden do the same? When the Phils couldn’t get Harden the first time in ’08, most of us were upset that we had to settle for Blanton, who turned his career around when he came to the Phils amd helped us get our first WSC in decades. Rich Harden is the same kind of pitcher from the same minor league system in Oakland. He is affordable now, if only for one season. If Ruben can get him for $6-7 million a year for 4 years, I’d say go for it. This guy will win at least 15 games for someone next year….it might as well be the phils.

phan52, I hypothesized yesterday about Halliday and got crucified for it. Is it a hazing for the new guy? If they move Blanton to free up money for Lee, its kind of like robbing Peter to pay Paul. I hope that isn’t the plan but given the choice between keeping Blanton or Lee, the choice is obvious. Imagine the rotation with Lee but no Blanton. Its not a comforting thought. I think signing Harden and hoping he turns it around like Blanton did leaves a lot to chance, but Im not opposed to it.

phan52: Paul Hagen made that arguement about Myers in today’s Daily News. He didn’t quite understand from a baseball standpoint why they shut the door on Myers since he’s sorta what they’re looking for for the pen…..someone who can pitch multiple innings and has some closer experience.

As far as Blanton is concerned, I suppose they think they could find somebody to replace him in the rotation with free agency at a lower price.
A lot of guys here are talking about Harden. What about Myers? He could probably be brought back for nothing but incentives, and would be insurance for the ‘pen as well.

joebridge: It isn’t hazing, it’s making a point.

erichh: What does Hamels have to do with Harden? Are they the Corsican Brothers, and whatever happens to one happens to the other? I never said Hamels will come back to form, I said “if Cole continues to slide.” How is that the same?

Why would you think Harden can win 15 games when he’s never won more than 11 in his life? Coming from the same minor league system as Blanton has nothing to do with it and isn’t an argument. The system has nothing to do with it.
And where do you figure they’ll come up with the money to sign him? Do you honestly think he’d sign for $1.75 a year? That’s ridiculous.

phan & Karen: It’s pretty clear that they’re done with Myers.

So far, Amaro has made almost all of the right moves with regard to player personnel. With that in mind, I’ll wait until the start of Spring training and trust his judgement , regarding the Bullpen and the 5th starter. I’m guessing that the Rule 5 draft is a place where the Phillies may get some pitching help and along with an improved Kendrick for the rotation, the possibility of Mathieson making the team out of spring training and a trade to free-up money for Brandon Lyon, that everything will be fine. And despite what the Phillies say, don’t discount the possibility of Drabeck making this rotation out of Spring training or in mid May when they will need 5 starters. I’m a glass half FULL guy.

muleman, I have no idea why you think Harden isn’t a great young pitcher and that he is unaffordable, YET you think that phan52’s idea of the Phils moving Blanton’s salary to make room for Halladay is plausible.

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