There was a time that Philadelphia was the capital city of useless, burdensome, immovable contracts. That isn’t the case today.
This was discussed in a previous thread and merits its own header. What do the Phillies do now that they’re champs? Well, if you’re the Florida Marlins from five years ago, you sell the farm and build toward the future. If the Phillies were so inclined, they could do the same, or they could retool and go for it again in 2009. The Phils may be in the opportune position to do both thanks to a favorable combination of money coming off the books, a possible bump in payroll and plethora desirable contracts, including several short-term commitments to players coming off career years.
With free agency becoming an increasingly risky and expensive option, the market has shifted toward arbitration-eligible players with only one or two years left before free agency. The Phils are sitting on a ton of them. What contender with budget limitations and bullpen issues wouldn't lust after born-again reliever Ryan Madson, for example, who’s in the final season of arbitration eligibility? Outfielder Jayson Werth, who built himself into an every day right-fielder, isn’t scheduled for free agency until 2010. Other arbitration eligible players include Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Chad Durbin, Greg Dobbs and Cole Hamels. Even Brett Myers, who’s in the final year of his deal, regained his value and would be attractive to a club that couldn't afford a long-term commitment.
In conjunction with a bigger budget and high-level prospects like J.A. Happ, Jason Donald and Lou Marson, the Phils are in excellent shape to improve in the short and long term. Don't assume that the Phils will stay status quo just because they gave Philadelphia a parade. Many GMs subscribe to the notion that if it ain't broke, break it. New GM Ruben Amaro Jr. will be tested right out of the chute.