Here’s an interesting perspective on free agency as it relates to the Phillies, supplied by a longtime Beerleaguer.
"Most teams realized that the economic downturn was going to depress free agent salaries. That's why so few FAs were offered arbitration: arbitrators would have awarded higher salaries than a depressed market would dictate. This might also have been a perfect time (depressed market) to negotiate reasonable long-term deals with a few of the Phillies top arbitration-eligible players like Howard and Hamels if the Yankees hadn't benchmarked first basemen and starting pitchers with their absurd deals for Teixeira, Sabathia and Burnett. Both Howard and Hamels can now point to those deals as starting points for their own contract talks. Thanks NY.
"If Manny comes out a loser this offseason, he can thank Scott Boras, who encouraged him to get himself run out of Boston so that he could get a new, better deal elsewhere. Better for Scott Boras that is. Had he stayed, Manny's former agent would have earned the commission on the extended Red Sox contract, not Boras. Boras 1, Manny 0 no matter what Manny now signs for. (I noticed that the Phillies signed Chan Ho Park after he had switched from Boras)
"On Ibanez, I'm guessing that the Phillies FO had decided early on that Ibanez was the single best fit for them (debated on BL). Thus they didn't pursue Pat Burrell at all. If Ibanez could be signed within the team's targeted budget, they were not going to risk waiting and maybe losing him or having his price being bid higher by other suitors. They signed him as soon as the numbers matched up.
"I don't think Ibanez' price would have gone down had the Phillies waited. Any downward pressure on his asking price caused by the economy would have been more than offset by other bidders forcing it upward. Ibanez was in more demand than either Burrell or Dunn for various reasons." - George S.