The Phillies have non-tendered Eric Bruntlett, who hit just .171/.224/.238 in 118 plate appearances in 2009. In addition, right-handers John Ennis and Tyler Walker, catcher Paul Hoover and infielder Andy Tracy were granted free agency, according to the Daily News. [Link]
Beerleaguer: It would have been hard to produce less if he tried. Bruntlett’s lone highlight was an unassisted, walk-off triple play Aug. 23 at Citi Field. Otherwise, his season was actually worse than rarely seen outfielder So Taguchi the season before. There’s no sugar coating it: It was the worst, full-season offensive showing I’ve ever seen. Bruntlett actually produced considerably less than Taguchi, a 22 OPS+ compared to Taguchi’s Ruthian 55.
Some of it wasn’t his fault. After an encouraging spring, E-Brunt struggled to get on the field after serving as Pat Burrell’s defensive caddy the season earlier. The additions of Ben Francisco and John Mayberry at various points in the season also hurt, and Charlie Manuel was reluctant to compromise run production in his middle infield, so Bruntlett basically gathered dustmites in his beard.
Nevertheless, you can’t deny the absurd highlights. The triple play. All the others occurred in the 2008 postseason: a ninth-inning home run off hot-shot rookie David Price in a Game 2 loss to the Rays; the walk-off run on “The Little Squib that Did” in Game 3; and the eventual winning run in Game 5 of the World Series. Then in 2009, he scored the first run on Jimmy Rollins' game-winning hit in Game 4 of the NLCS. For all his faults, it’s quite a distinction to be involved in so many big moments in Phillies history. Lord knows there haven't been many.
From here, the Phillies will be seeking better depth and versatility, something they've really needed for a couple of seasons. They’re very thin in the minors. It’s possible Jason Donald would have been the guy to replace Bruntlett in 2010 prior to his trade to Cleveland, but now the Phillies will be forced to make ends meet via trade or free agency. I'm sure the Phillies have been preparing for this.
Bruntlett is arbitration eligible, but he's likely to receive only a minor league deal, at best. Vaya con dios, Gnome.
As for the others, only Tyler Walker is worth mentioning; he actually played a bigger role than Bruntlett this season. There was some thought that Walker could possibly handle the ninth inning, but as soon as that chatter started in early September, he immediately fell off a cliff and never factored into the Phillies' postseason plans. He'll land on his feet somewhere, possibly on a major league deal, but more likely a minor league one.