There was more info-gathering than action on Wednesday, the final full day of the Winter Meetings. Some of the day's highest-profile signings involved a pair of third basemen -- Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez -- and former Phillies in Joe Blanton and Nate Schierholtz.
The Phils still haven't filled any of their needs, and it doesn't sound like Ruben Amaro will make any moves before leaving Nashville. Ichiro's name continues to come up, and Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Phillies have not only communicated with his camp, but have toyed with the idea of playing him in center. Ichiro appears willing to give it a try.
Just 14 percent of Ichiro's major-league innings have come in center, and he's only played one complete game there since 2008.
At the hot corner, two of the biggest names in a very weak class came off the board in Keppinger and Chavez, who signed with the White Sox and Diamondbacks, respectively. Keppinger got $12 million over three years and Chavez took a one-year, $3 million deal with Arizona. With those two locked up, the Phillies' main competition for a third baseman remains the Yankees, who according to multiple media reports have communicated with Kevin Youkilis, but don't appear close to signing him. New York has concerns over Youk's back and may not offer more than one year.
Youkilis' decision may ultimately come down to the Phillies and Indians. Cleveland, which has been a player for several free agents this offseason including Shane Victorino, wants Youkilis for first base. The Indians also remain focused on trading away shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and rightfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
It is unusual for Amaro to go this deep into an offseason without making any big moves. But it's not unprecedented. His lone big move of the 2010 offseason was signing Cliff Lee, and that came six days after the Winter Meetings ended.
For now, the front office's eagerness to be patient and creative is encouraging, as it may lead to a bargain for a centerfielder. But the novelty of that patience will wane if a week from now the Phillies still haven't made a decision on an impact bat as more names are checked off the list.