One by one the players reportedly of greatest interest to the Phillies keep dropping off the radar screen. Gary Sheffield was traded to
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