Free agent intrigue will evaporate as roster casualty season begins in a few short days for Ruben Amaro and the Phillies.
Tim Dierkes at MLBTradeRumors.com solicited beat writers around the league for a list of players who are out of options and have less than five years of service time. Once again, the Phillies are spared from the dilemma facing many teams this spring: whether to break camp with the best 25 players or outright promising players to the minors and risk losing them to waivers. Players who’ve exhausted their options would have to clear waivers before being sent to the minors. It does not apply to players signed to minor league deals. Clay Condrey was a good example of this process in 2007, when he made the club out of spring training, but was designated for assignment soon after and cleared waivers; the first of five demotions that Condrey dutifully accepted that season. That same spring, the Phils made a waiver claim of their own, acquiring hard-throwing right-hander Francisco Rosario, who was out of options and couldn’t make the cut with Toronto. (Spring is also a great time to leverage trades, which is how the Phillies came to acquire outfielder David Dellucci in 2006, a veteran who lost his spot in Texas and was swapped for Robinson Tejeda and Jake Blalock.)
Incidentally, Tejeda, who has been out of options since 2008, fits the mold of the type of player the Phillies will be monitoring in March. Looking over the MLBTR list, a couple of local guys jump out as possible fits. Left-hander Dan Meyer, who grew up in Swedesboro, N.J., needs to make the Marlins roster or go through the waiver process. Meanwhile, right-hander and Delaware native Ian Snell, who had been involved in previous Phillies rumors, may be on the outside looking in with Seattle and could fit the Phillies' need for starting depth.
To me, this is the great untold storyline of spring training, and the Phillies are typically very active participants in this process. The Phils have saved two openings on their 40-man roster. Expect one of them to filled in this manner. Be sure to check out the MLBTR list here.