The biggest headlines were written in other towns, including Atlanta, where the Braves agreed on a one-year, $8 million deal to reunite with veteran left-hander Tom Glavine.
Jimmy Rollins will find out tomorrow whether he’s been named National League MVP. Besides that, there isn’t much happening with the Phils except for the same recycled reports. One story says the Red Sox are close to resigning Mike Lowell. Another insists the two sides remain far apart. ESPN says the Phils are making a hard run at him. The Philadelphia papers say that isn’t the case. Blah. Blah. Blah.
The only uniformity in all the reports is that the Phils are emphasizing pitching. When in doubt, tell the people you’re focused on pitching, because everyone knows how important it is. It’s a good compromise. The problem is what's available isn't very good, and everyone knows it. Plus, they’ve already traded for Brad Lidge, killing two birds with one stone, as they’ve said.
Here on Beerleaguer, the skepticism surrounding the mediocre and costly pitching options – Kyle Lohse, Randy Wolf, Carlos Silva, Bartolo Colon, etc. -- has shifted focus to the offense, particularly outfield and third base. The drop-off in offense next season, almost assuredly without Aaron Rowand, could be significant. The team says they’re prepared to go into the season with Greg Dobbs and Wes Helms at third and pursue a fourth outfield type should Rowand depart. Between outfield, third base and catcher, there will be leaks, and fans should prepare for less offense than they’ve grown accustomed to.
The biggest reach may be this notion that Helms, who sat on the sidelines through most of the stretch run, will suddenly figure it out. The 31-year-old hit just .246/.297/.368 with five home runs, 39 RBIs and a career worst 69 OPS+. It may seem like he rarely played, yet his 308 plate appearances was the second highest of his career. From my perspective, it looked like he was swinging a slow stick. Glancing at his spray chart, indeed most of his outs came on weak flies the other way.
Then there’s Dobbs, whose 55 RBIs ranked as one of the nicest surprises of the season. He isn’t a total butcher with the glove and came through with a number of clutch hits. The bad would include a wild-card arm, poor production against left-handers and the fear that more exposure may not be the best thing for a from-the-heels fastball hitter.
Savery stands out in AFL: The Peoria Saguaros, home to a couple Phillies farmhands this fall, finished their 2007 campaign with a 10-22 mark. First-round pick Joe Savery, newly anointed as the third-bast prospect in the chain according to Baseball America, had the best showing of any Phillie, posting a 0.64 ERA in 14 innings, holding hitters to a .091 average. Outfielder Greg Golson, rated as the Phillies seventh-best prospect by Baseball America, hit .266/.311/.431 in 109 at bats. Hopefully the participants learned something from playing alongside some of the top young talents in the game.
Mets news: The Mets reached an agreement with second baseman Luis Castillo on a four-year, $25 million contract. In other news, the club is no longer moving toward signing free-agent catcher Yorvit Torrealba. The two sides originally agreed on a three-year, $14.4 million plan dependent on a physical, but something must have fallen through. That means Paul Lo Duca could be brought back.
Torrealba. Castillo. Lo Duca. And reported interest in Silva. Not exactly an awe-inspiring start to the off-season if the Mets expect to reclaim the division.
Team USA update: Phillies catcher Jason Jaramillo notched two RBIs in the United States' 6-3 win over Cuba in the Baseball World Cup.
Hot stove tidbits: According to the Chicago Tribune, Japanese reliever Yasuhiko Yabuta has been targeted by the White Sox, Royals, Indians, Rays and Pirates.
--- The Toronto Blue Jays acquired infielder Marco Scutaro from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for right-handed pitchers Graham Godfrey and Kristian Bell. The 32-year-old super-sub hit .260 in 104 games, with 13 doubles, seven home runs and 41 RBIs.
--- The White Sox have traded right-hander Jon Garland to the Los Angeles Angels today for shortstop Orlando Cabrera.