A few ex-Phillies were locked into new deals this week, while several others are still seeking employment.
The Astros avoided arbitration with former Phillies starter J.A. Happ last week by agreeing to a $2.35M deal. The decision couldn't have been cut and dry for the Astros. The 29-year-old left-hander earned $474,000 in 2011 and was eligible for arbitration for the first time after going 6-15 with a 5.35 ERA in 28 starts, including a demotion to the minor leagues. However, the demotion appeared to be just what he needed. In his final six starts he posted a 2.43 ERA. … Elsewhere, the Orioles signed lefty reliever Dennys Reyes to a minor league deal. Reyes, 34, never pitched for the Phillies because he failed his physical after agreeing to a guaranteed deal last winter. The Phils then decided to bring back J.C. Romero for another year. … The Phils will see former prospect Gio Gonzalez for many more seasons. The Nationals agreed to terms on a five-year extension with the left-hander last week. ... Catcher Jason Jaramillo, 29, signed a minor league deal with the Cubs after spending three seasons with the Pirates. ... By now, everyone has seen that the Rockies have invited Jamie Moyer to spring training; his first spring training was in 1984.
In terms of unsigned players, the Tigers and Yankess have been linked to free agent Raul Ibanez. The Tigers, Braves, Rangers and Red Sox, meanwhile, have been mentioned as possible destinations for Roy Oswalt, considered, perhaps, the best starter remaining on the market.
Next move could come in Clearwater: As for the Phillies, arbitration-eligible outfielder Hunter Pence remains the last order of business. Pence is reportedly seeking $11.8 million in arbitration. The Phils have countered with $9 million. Ruben Amaro Jr. has indicated that the club is comfortable to head to spring training without making another significant move. Areas of concern include bullpen depth and a fifth outfielder, ideally one with speed, but these are considered minor issues that could be sorted out this spring when rosters are trimmed around baseball and teams fully understand their needs. Reports have the Phils right up against the luxury tax.
Recent spring training acquisition All-Stars: David Dellucci, Rudy Seanez, Chris Snelling (who won a game with a home run in April of 2008). Flops: Luis Castillo, Brad Wilkerson, Jack Taschner (who is now a cop).