We already looked at some Phillies items in today's edition of NL East Notes, but here are a few more news bits from the five-time defending NL East champions…
- The Phillies are having a hard time finding infield depth since their payroll is "close to tapped out," tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, but the club is still looking.
- Cole Hamels told reporters (including Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer) that nothing will change in his extension talks with the Phillies once the season begins, though Hamels did say, "My only understanding is if you sign anybody before opening day, you have to deal with the luxury tax…I understand that's where the Phillies are." This is actually no longer the case under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement but Gelb thinks Hamels bringing up this "unprompted detail" is an "interesting" hint. Hamels' agent, John Boggs, also represents Adrian Gonzalez, whose extension with the Red Sox was announced last April but allegedly finalized months earlier so Boston could avoid paying an extra luxury tax penalty.
- The Phillies announced the purchase of Juan Pierre's contract, so the veteran outfielder will now earn a guaranteed $800K salary in 2012, plus potentially more with incentives. Pierre will serve as a backup outfielder and pinch-runner, though he could see some starting time given the Phillies' unsettled left field situation.
- With Pierre filling that extra outfield role, Scott Podsednik told Matt Gelb that his chances of making the club are "not looking too good." When asked if he would accept an assignment to the minors, Podsednik said it "depends on the situation." As Gelb notes, Podsednik's minor league contract with the Phillies didn't have an opt-out clause, so Podsednik essentially would have to either accept the assignment or retire. GM Ruben Amaro Jr., however, said Pierre's roster spot didn't necessarily mean Podsednik also wouldn't make the team.