Monday, November 13, 2006

Whom Am I Offered?

One by one the players reportedly of greatest interest to the Phillies keep dropping off the radar screen. Gary Sheffield was traded to Detroit and now Aramis Ramirez has re-upped with the Chicago Cubs. If you believe the Phillies' public pronouncements Ramirez never really seemed to interest them but he did have a lot of support in the blogosphere. The biggest name still out there is Alfonso Soriano, the player the Phillies have strongly hinted is their top priority. I remain convinced he doesn’t reciprocate the feelings and that in the end the Phillies will be better served spending the enormous sums he demands elsewhere.

The rest of the free agents available in areas of need for the Phils are largely uninspiring veterans of varying accomplishment and ability whose warranties are about to expire. Most if not all of them will want multi-year deals, a fool’s errand from the Phillies’ perspective if ever there were one. Do we really want a Rich Aurilia for three years? There remains a better than even chance that no free agents will sign with the Phillies this off-season. They should be so lucky given the current list. The best bet remains to work out a trade to fill their most urgent needs: the back end of the bullpen and third base.

The Hot Stove league becomes more complicated with each passing season as GM”s must make decisions not only on offering deals to declared free agents but also on whether or not to offer arbitration to players whom they don’t really expect or want to re-sign with them but for whom compensatory draft picks are at stake as well. David Dellucci is the poster boy for this maneuver. The Phillies wouldn’t mind having him come off the bench for another season as a platoon player, but Dellucci is having none of that. If he walks without going to arbitration the Phils get nothing in return. If they offer him arbitration and he walks, they get a draft pick.

One player the Phillies would like to re-sign is pitcher Randy Wolf. There are some who suggest Wolf “owes” the Phillies something for standing by him throughout his surgery and recovery. That argument probably holds little water especially with Wolf and justifiably so. Had the Phillies been able to get out from under his guaranteed salary for 2006, they would have done so. Furthermore, if ever there were a pitcher ill-suited to Citizens Bank Park, iterations one and two, it is Randy Wolf. With so few top drawer starters on the market right now, Wolf will draw interest and should command a very good salary. His repaired arm will only get stronger and should not be a worry to teams looking for a middle of the rotation lefty. The bet here is that if the Phils are competing against a contender, especially one from a warm weather market, they would come up short in the Wolf sweepstakes.


Jon said...

Unfortunately, I agree with your assessment about Soriano's desire to come here is not as strong as the Phillies' desire to get him. It seems like the Phillies are putting all of their eggs into one basket. Getting him will most likely mean having to overpay, and even with all their talk, I just don't see the Phils overpaying for anyone.

The perfect fit for this team would have been Aramis Ramirez. He plays a pretty decent third and would have given you a legit right-handed power bat to protect Howard. I never understood why there wasn't more of an interest in him.

The Phillies really need to address third base and their obvious pitching deficiencies. Barring some unforeseen trades, this could be a very bleak off-season for the Phils. I will not be happy if Nunez is the starter at third on opening day! He shouldn't even be a bench player on a team with playoff aspirations, let alone a starter! His whole career, outside of half a year with the Cardinals, has been a joke. Then again, I guess you could say that about this franchise too...

RickSchuBlues said...

Pat Gillick had better get his trading shoes on. It doesn't look like there's much of anyone on the market (other than the Fonz) who can really help this team. Or, maybe he can just sign FAs he *doesn't* want, and then trade them. Because there isn't much else to really trade.

I dejectedly agree with Jon, suddenly it looks like the big moves we all thought were coming aren't going - and the one that's still a possibility no one really wants. Another off-season of small-time transactions and big-time groans looks to be in store.