Eyeing possible complications with his arbitration-eligible players, the Phillies zeroed in on Jamie Moyer and Raul Ibanez and finished their shopping while others haven’t gotten started.
There was no question this hot stove season would have a unique feel. Winning it all zapped much of the urgency away, and with Moyer and Ibanez added to the fold weeks ago, signaling the end of the big-name speculation, the thrust of discussion has centered around Mark Teixeira and the Yankees, Derek Lowe and the Mets and this latest report that the Mets have kicked the tires on dealing Luis Castillo for fat outfielder Andruw Jones. There was a report in the Boston Globe, by the way, that the Phils may still be in on Lowe, but it seems like the writer used carryover information from before Moyer signed. It happens all the time. I put the chances of Lowe coming here at less than 1 percent and consider the free agent signing season all but over for the hometown nine. Like Pat Gillick did with Brad Lidge a year ago, Ruben Amaro landed his biggest piece, Ibanez, early, theoretically eliminating the possibility for competitors to get desperate and top Philadelphia’s offer. However, with the economic downturn, and with Teixeira off the board, it’s very possible that Amaro overextended on Ibanez too soon and that many free agent corners will settle for fewer years and less money than Ibanez received. And how about Manny Ramirez? What a captivating study in baseball, business, character and current affairs.
Moving to arbitration, Eric Bruntlett and Clay Condrey are the only two eligible players to settle up with the Phillies so far. Joe Blanton, Greg Dobbs, Chad Durbin, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Ryan Madson, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth remain.