Bruntlett among Phils off 40-man roster
Philly allows key 2008 utility man to become free agent
PHILADELPHIA -- Eric Bruntlett scored the winning runs in Games 3 and 5 of the 2008 World Series, but one year later, the Phillies are moving on.
The Phils last week removed Bruntlett from their 40-man roster, which effectively made him a free agent. The Phillies also removed right-hander Tyler Walker, catcher Paul Hoover, infielder Andy Tracy and right-hander John Ennis from the 40-man roster. They also have become free agents.
Bruntlett and Walker will not be back next season, although Philadelphia contacted the agents for Hoover, Tracy and Ennis about possible returns.
The Phillies will be looking for a new utility player to replace Bruntlett. They need versatility -- Bruntlett could play everywhere in the infield and outfield -- but they certainly will need somebody who can play shortstop for a period of time should something happen to Jimmy Rollins. The Phils currently do not have anybody in their system that fits that bill.
Names to watch are John McDonald, Omar Vizquel, Jamey Carroll, Ronnie Belliard and Juan Uribe. Miguel Cairo, who played for the Phillies in 2009, is a free agent and could be a possibility.
Bruntlett hit just .171 (18-for-105) with seven doubles, seven RBIs and two stolen bases in very limited action this season. Bruntlett hit a more respectable .217 in 2008, when he had 212 at-bats because of an ankle injury to Rollins in April and came in as a late defensive replacement for former left fielder Pat Burrell.
The Phillies removed those five players from the 40-man roster because they expect to put a few players from their Minor League system on the squad this week to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft, Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. The reserve list must be set by Friday.
The Phillies asked waivers for Hoover, Tracy and Ennis. They cleared and were outrighted off the 40-man roster and each elected free agency. The Phillies asked waivers on Bruntlett and Walker. Because Bruntlett has more than five years of service time, he had the right to refuse an assignment to become a free agent, which he did. Walker, who went 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 32 appearances, had more than four years of service. He also was outrighted and elected free agency.
Bruntlett and Walker were eligible for salary arbitration. The Phillies decided because they weren't going to bring them back, they would let them hit the free-agent market sooner rather than later so they could find work elsewhere.
The Phillies have 27 players on their 40-man roster.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.