Here’s a list of arbitration-eligible Phillies to kick off your Tuesday.
Cole Hamels (final year); Hunter Pence (arbitration-eligible through 2013); Kyle Kendrick (free agent after 2014); Ben Francisco (free agent after 2014); Pete Orr (second year of arbitration, earned $600K last season); Wilson Valdez (first year of arbitration eligibility, earned $560K last season); Scott Mathieson (listed on Cot’s Contracts as arbitration eligible and currently included on 40-man roster).
Beerleaguer: Hamels and Pence are formalities, although the Phillies are expected to open talks about extending Hamels. Kendrick, who pitched in a career-high 34 games last season and went 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA, is a valuable insurance policy and will get a raise over his $2.45 million 2011 earnings. Unless they make another deal, the Phils, as currently constructed, can't afford to lose Valdez, their best back-up defender at three infield spots. It’s not inconceivable to expect him to triple-up his $560K salary considering he’s started in 162 games over the last two seasons. Yeah, those starts have added up. It gets muddier from here. Division Series Game 3 hero Ben Francisco, who earned $1.175 million last season, rarely started in the second half and knocked in a whole three runs after the All-Star break. The Phils might prefer a left-handed outfield bat given the likely departures of Raul Ibanez and Ross Gload. John Bowker is under team control and I know you’re excited about that. Meanwhile, Orr’s service time prices him out of the equation. The Phils love six-year minor league free agents, and Michael Martinez, so Orr will be looking for work. Mathieson, 27 and still unproven, was desginated for assignment in August and wasn't called up in September.
None of this makes much difference in the short term and could be moot anyway if the Phillies explore free agency to address areas like the bench. The Phils can settle up with any of these players between now and Jan. 18, when teams and arbitration-eligible players must submit blind salary figures.