We've already covered the Nationals this morning. Now, we'll turn to a look at their division rivals from Philly:
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. may have no choice at this point but to tender John Mayberry Jr. a contract, in spite of his unerwhelming history, writes Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News. While we learned a while back that Amaro was somewhat surprisingly leaning towards a tender, which would cost the Phils a projected $1.7MM, Lawrence criticizes the GM for putting the team in a situation where it is necessary to keep Mayberry around as a center fielding option. As he notes, the club promised Marlon Byrd $16MM over two years while the Mets were able to land Chris Young — a younger player who is capable of playing center — for $7.25MM on a one-year commitment.
- In addition to Byrd, of course, the Phils recently nabbed catcher Carlos Ruiz off the free agent market. Looking at the three-year, $26MM pact, MLB.com's Todd Zolecki discussed that decision with Amaro. Again referencing Yankees GM Brian Cashman's statement that he is more concerned with the quality of a player than his age, Amaro said that Ruiz is among the club's players who are "older" but are "also very good when they're playing." "It's really a matter of getting the guys on the field," said Amaro. "If they're on the field, they will produce."
- As I discussed in the Phils' offseason outlook, the big question facing the front office — and, indeed, a major factor impacting the entire market — was whether to add pieces around a group of talented-but-aging veterans, spend on relatively younger, higher-priced options, or enter a rebuilding process. It seems they are pursuing the first option, as the hefty sum already committed by the Phils ($42MM between Ruiz and Byrd) has gone to two players in their mid-thirties.
- Amaro's most recent comments seem to hint at more measured spending on position players. Looking ahead, Amaro told Zolecki that the club is "still looking for ways to maybe improve, tweak our lineup." "We're looking for more depth in the outfield, some athleticism," said Amaro. "We're just trying to get ourselves so we can cover all the bases a little better than we did last year when we had breakdowns in the infield and outfield."
- However, the door seemingly remains open for impact additions to the club's staff. "[P]itching remains a priority for us," said Amaro. "If we can still improve the rotation and our bullpen, we will try to do that."