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.”