The Phillies hold $107 million in 2010 commitments, many of them made after the World Series, plus $2.25 million already lost in buyouts.
It’s going to be a winter of belt tightening around baseball. Luckily for the Phillies, their belt is strapped around Olympian-sized brawn. After winning the World Series, and perhaps even before, the Phillies’ brass set their monetary diet, increasing their caloric intake to meet the needs of a sustained playoff run. Now we come to 2010. They’ve fattened the roster through a series of big paydays a year ago, and a new set of commitments will force the Phillies to dig deeper into their pockets than ever before. Mix in pending arbitration for Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Carlos Ruiz, Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey and one can understand why it looks as though only a single notch remains on their belt.
Here’s the bad news. The hands of the arbitration clock have wiped away most of the bargains, while some of the long-term free agent contracts are starting to look a little flabby. That would include $12 million to Brad Lidge, $6.5 million in base salary to Jamie Moyer, $4.25 million to J.C. Romero, $1.5 million to Greg Dobbs, and yes, quite possibly that $12.25 million owed to Raul Ibanez next season. Here’s the good news. They’re the second-tallest team on the podium and an early favorite to return to the postseason, and most of the roster is rewarded accordingly.
Transactions: The Phillies added outfielder Quintin Berry, left-hander Yohan Flande and right-hander Jesus Sanchez to the 40-man roster. All three are of similar age and prospect standing and coming off pretty good seasons. The move shields them from escaping via the Rule 5 draft. It's something of a minor detail, however, the Phillies have a tendency to reach for help from the 40-man roster first, so don't be surprised if one of them - Berry and Flande in particular - surfaces in the majors next season, if only for a game or two. The Phillies now have 30 players on the 40-man roster.