Lots of talk, no moves at all for the Phillies on day 1 of the 2009 Winter Meetings in Indianapolis. Relief pitching should be the priority. The Phillies are in the market to retain some of their own, as well as add some players who have become free agents from other team.
Near the top of the list seem to be Chan Ho Park returning and perhaps Brandon Lyon, the former Tiger and D-Back. The Phillies met with Park's agent Jeff Borris on Monday, and talks remain ongoing. In 374 career games, the 30 year old Lyon has a 4.20 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP.
Trade rumors mainly surrounded only one current Phillie...Joe Blanton. ESPN's Jayson Stark reported that the Phils quietly let other teams know they'd listen to offers for Blanton. Ideally, they do not wish to trade him, but if the deal could improve the club and/or offer enough salary relief, it could interest the National League champs.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters that re-signing Pedro Martinez is something that could develop later. Translation: He's further down our list than guys we are talking to now. Amaro also told reporters that Brad Lidge and JC Romero should be recovered from their surgeries by opening day. Translation: If they aren't ready...Oh, s#@*!
Manager Charlie Manuel IS NOT at the meetings. New scout Dave Hollins IS at the meetings.
The Phillies are trying to spend wisely. There seems to be a self-imposed salary cap of roughly $140 million. Guessing at certain players' pay increases with arbitration on its way, the Phillies should have less than $15 million left to spend. Without knowing that the Phillies can fill out the roster from within their own system, there could be up to 6 open spots...a reserve offensive player, a starting pitcher and 4 relievers. But, turning to their own system could be the right answer for most of those spots. There are players like John Mayberry Jr. or Michael Taylor who could easily be a fit for the opening day roster as the 4th or 5th outfielder. Also, the Phillies have Jamie Moyer, whose health has been in question as of late, signed up, and Kyle Kendrick who has started 52 games for the Phillies over the last 3 seasons. Either guy could easily fill a void in the rotation. And let's not forget about the young guns named Antonio Bastardo (2-3, 6.46 ERA in 6 games) and Sergio Escalona (1-0, 4.61 ERA in 14 games). If one or both pitchers mature a bit, there could be less holes in the big league roster, and both men would have considerably low salaries.
Get your oven mitts out, folks- the stove is hot! Check back daily for Winter Meetings updates and more.
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