Less than a week removed from the World Series and the Phillies' hot stove is heating up. Chan Ho Park, Matt Stairs and Paul Bako joined Pedro Martinez, Miguel Cairo, Pedro Feliz and Brett Myers in filing for free agency.
Free agents have been assigned Type A and B designation and now the stage is set for teams to talk turkey. Only Park and Eyre will garner extra picks for the Phils. Aside from a few reported discussions about Pedro Martinez, the Phillies reportedly had little interest in retaining the rest of their eligible free agents. Now, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and his team will begin to lay the groundwork this week at the GM meetings, happening through Nov. 11 in Chicago, a prelude to baseball’s winter meetings, set for Dec. 7-10 in Indianapolis.
By most accounts, the saturated market and bad economy figure to bog down the wheeling and dealing. The Phillies have addressed their needs early the last few seasons, and as a team with means, may attempt to do the same this winter. By letting Feliz go, the biggest priority is at third. Early frontrunners include Penn product Mark DeRosa, slick-fielding Mariner Adrian Beltre and slashing leadoff man Chone Figgins, who rocked a .395 on-base percentage with Anaheim, but would cost the Phillies a draft pick. The list includes several other possibilities, including Type A player Placido Polanco. Polly, who’s 34 and coming off a ho-hum season with Detroit, hasn’t been a regular third baseman in ages, and never saw regular action there while in Philadelphia. The Phillies could be hesitant to make something out nothing, as they tried to do with Wes Helms two seasons ago.
Once again, the Phillies will hunt for a backup catcher; the list is deep with veterans who could be trusted behind the dish in the event Carlos Ruiz would go down with injury. The Phils are dry at catcher in the high minors, so they could be in the market for two. It’s a buyer’s market for relievers as well, with many good-not-great possibilities equipped to handle the eighth and ninth innings. Other areas of need include middle infield depth and more pop off the bench. Eric Bruntlett seems likely to be non-tendered. Meanwhile, the Phillies are reportedly hot after Roy Halladay. We'll obviously keep our eyes on that.