While one arbitration-eligible player, Ryan Madson, wants no part in a multi-year commitment, the club agreed on a two-year deal with Greg Dobbs, marking the first true payday for the game's premier pinch hitter.
Dobbs, whose career has taken off since escaping the American League in 2007, hit .301/.333/.491 with nine homers, setting the Phillies single-season mark for pinch hits in a season with 22 of them. The 30-year-old becomes the first of eight arbitration-eligible Phillies to come to terms on a new deal (Eric Bruntlett, Clay Condrey and Scott Mathieson were taken care of weeks before Thursday's filing). Earlier in the day, it was reported that Madson, a year removed from free agency and represented by Scott Boras, turned down a three-year, $12M offer that would have kept him with the club through 2011.
Beerleaguer: Two-years, $2.5M is a fair deal for Dobbers, and there's room to expand his role if Pedro Feliz needs more time to recover from back surgery. If Dobbs was in the NBA, he's a perennial sixth man of the year candidate. As it is, he's a poster boy for the National League. It takes a special player to handle his line of work, and it wouldn't have been possible in Seattle.
As for Madson, he's taking a risk. Boras thinks he can sell Madson as a closer after the season, but forgets there's no chance to build a portfolio as long as Brad Lidge is a member of the Phillies. Madson also had ample opportunity to prove he could handle the 9th inning in previous seasons and never produced a shred of evidence that he could do it. In fact, he was a borderline setup man at best until the last half of '08. He's walking away from good money and a lot of years at a time when better relievers are settling for less out on the open market. Career year. Considerable wear with little maintenance. Guaranteed years. Sign on the dotted line, bro.