Offseason Outlook: Philadelphia Phillies

Next up in our Offseason Outlook series, the Philles.  Their likely commitments for 2010:

C – Carlos Ruiz – $475K+
C – Paul Hoover – $400K
1B – Ryan Howard – $19MM
2B – Chase Utley – $15MM
SS – Jimmy Rollins – $7.5MM
3B –
IF – Juan Castro – $800K (estimated)
LF – Raul Ibanez – $11.5MM
CF – Shane Victorino – $3.125MM+
RF – Jayson Werth – $7MM
OF – Ben Francisco – $421K
OF – John Mayberry Jr. – $400K
1B/3B/OF – Greg Dobbs – $1.35MM

SP – Cliff Lee – $9MM
SP – Cole Hamels – $6.65MM
SP – Joe Blanton – $5.475MM+
SP – J.A. Happ – $405K
SP – Jamie Moyer – $8MM

RP – Brad Lidge – $11.5MM
RP – J.C. Romero – $4MM
RP – Ryan Madson – $4.5MM
RP – Chad Durbin – $1.635MM+
RP – Clay Condrey – $650K+
RP – Sergio Escalona – $400K
RP – Kyle Kendrick – $475K

Non-tender candidates: Durbin, Condrey

Other commitments: Adam Eaton – $500K, Pedro Feliz – $500K, Geoff Jenkins – $1.25MM

The Phillies have about $121.5MM committed before arbitration raises to Ruiz, Victorino, Blanton, Durbin, and Condrey.  Those raises should put the Phils in the $130MM range after beginning 2009 at $132.5MM.  The Phillies would have about $10MM to spend with a $140MM payroll, although Scott Lauber of The News Journal believes they have closer to $120MM committed (and $20MM to spend).

The Phillies' needs are clear: a starting third baseman, a late-inning reliever or two, and perhaps a backup catcher and cheap starting pitcher.  With Romero recovering from a flexor tendon surgery, one of the relievers will probably be a lefty.

At third base, Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, and Placido Polanco are the free agent targets.  Beltre, 31 in April, would likely be an improvement on Pedro Feliz both offensively and defensively.  Will Ruben Amaro Jr. tangle with Scott Boras?  He extended Madson in January and signed Rodrigo Lopez in March, so relations seem fine.

Re-signing relievers Chan Ho Park and Scott Eyre appears unlikely, based on recent reports.  We have seen the Phils named as speculative suitors for Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon, with the latter a better fit since the team isn't quite ready to hand over Lidge's ninth-inning role.  Guys like Kevin Gregg, Rafael Betancourt, Octavio Dotel, LaTroy Hawkins, and J.J. Putz may also be willing to accept uncertainty between an eighth or ninth-inning role.  The Phillies could also take the Mets-Putz approach – if you trade for someone, he has no say in his role.  If the Phils were willing to offer up the closer job, they could look at free agents Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano, Jose Valverde, Billy Wagner.

A significant starting pitching acquisition seems unlikely, as the Phillies will be right up against that $140MM limit after filling the third base and bullpen needs.  Barring unforeseen injuries, the Phillies should be one of the NL's top teams again next year.  Their biggest move was acquiring Lee on July 29th; they'll enjoy him for all of 2010.

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