Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro Jr. appeared on the MLB Network Radio channel on Sirius XM Radio with host Rob Dibble and Jim Memolo today to discuss, among other things, how Ryan Howard's massive contract extension will impact decisions that need to be made about other players on the roster.
“Well, hopefully it’s a positive effect," said Amaro, "that the players understand that we’re trying to prolong our success ... I’ll be specific, with guys like Jayson Werth who could potentially be free agents, you know, we’d love to keep him ... We’d love to sign him back. It’s going to be my job to try to put all the pieces together. We don’t have an unlimited budget and we’re going to have to be intelligent about how we handle things but we’re hopeful that we can put all of the pieces together to continue the trend of being a contender.”
Werth is one of several Phillies that can be free agents after the season, but he's the only one that's going to cost big bucks to keep. Philadelphia does have outfielder and top prospect Domonic Brown hitting .347/.402/.667 in Double-A (82 plate appearances), so they do have a pretty good backup plan already in house.
Amaro is correct in saying that Howard's deal is a statement about how the team wants to prolong success, which is attractive to both possible free agent targets and players already on the roster. Then again, so are two consecutive National League pennants.