Phils to take time to make right moves
Club looking to add help at third base, in bullpen and bench
PHILADELPHIA -- Free agency begins on Friday, but don't expect a flurry of activity immediately.
The Phillies are in the market for a third baseman and bullpen and bench help, but they are not expected to sign anybody on Friday when the free-agency window opens at 12:01 a.m. ET. But how quickly could they fill the voids they need to help them become the first National League team to play in three consecutive World Series since the 1942-44 Cardinals?
"It depends on the player and the situation," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Tuesday. "We'll be aggressive in some areas. But I don't believe it will be a situation where you'll see 10 or 15 guys signed on the 20th. I think it's going to get played out a little bit."
The Phillies have 11 notable free agents: catcher Paul Bako, infielder Eric Bruntlett, infielder Miguel Cairo, left-hander Scott Eyre, third baseman Pedro Feliz, right-hander Pedro Martinez, right-hander Brett Myers, right-hander Chan Ho Park, outfielder Matt Stairs, left-hander Jack Taschner and right-hander Tyler Walker.
Park and Eyre could be back, if the price is right.
Myers, Bruntlett, Walker and Taschner will not be back.
Bako, Cairo and Stairs could be back on Minor League deals, but Martinez is unlikely to return, although Philadelphia has told him it has not closed the door on the possibility. Feliz is not expected back either, unless something goes wrong in the Phils' pursuit of a new third baseman.
The Phillies are looking at Mark DeRosa, Placido Polanco and Adrian Beltre as possibilities to be their new third baseman. DeRosa and Polanco seem to be good fits because of their reputation as good workers and good teammates, and because they could come relatively cheaply compared to other third basemen on the market.
Amaro said Philadelphia is also looking for back-of-the-bullpen help, but the market isn't terribly deep. The Phillies have Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson and J.C. Romero signed for next season. Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey are eligible for salary arbitration. They will be back, unless Philadelphia doesn't tender them contracts.
The Phils also are looking for versatile bench players to replace Bruntlett, Stairs and Bako.
Philadelphia has 12 players signed for next season for $106.75 million, which does include raises arbitration-eligible players like Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton and Carlos Ruiz, plus the third baseman and bullpen and bench help.
They have money to spend, but they will try to be judicious, which means they are not considered serious pursuers of a free agent like Chone Figgins.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.