PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. sounds comfortable with the 59 players he has coming to Spring Training next month.
More moves seem unlikely.
Well, that is not entirely true. The Phillies continue to shop right-hander Joe Blanton, who will make $17 million over the next two seasons. They've yet to find a suitor, but the Phils will keep their cell phones charged and turned on. But for the moment, Blanton is the team's fifth starter.
Amaro said he does not have to shed payroll.
"I really don't have to do anything," he said. "We'll see whether it makes some sense to increase some flexibility for us for later on, but at some point, as I've said, we've just got to see what we've got in Spring Training and move on from there."
The advantage to trading Blanton would be payroll flexibility. Should the Phillies need to add payroll during the season or next offseason, they will have more room without Blanton's contract -- although the Phillies might have to eat some of his salary.
The benefit of keeping Blanton is obvious. He provides the Phillies remarkable depth. He only would make the rotation stronger.
"There's no question about that," Amaro said. "You're always looking for pitching depth. And again, you're also looking for flexibility. We have to weigh one against the other."
Because of the payroll situation -- the Phillies went above and beyond to sign Cliff Lee to a $120 million deal -- it seems less likely free-agent right-hander Chad Durbin will return to the bullpen.
"Not necessarily," said Amaro, asked if Durbin is out of the picture. "Except that right now I think we're in the mode of kind of giving people opportunities to take jobs. I view three different areas in our club that I think are not slam dunks as far as personnel is concerned, and that's the bullpen, right field and the bench. I'm looking forward to seeing some competition in all three of those areas."
But one issue that remains unresolved this offseason is Charlie Manuel's contract. He is weeks away from beginning Spring Training in the final year of his deal.
"Obviously we want to extend our relationship with him," Amaro said. "We'll see. We won't be discussing any of our negotiations, if we have them with him, publicly. It's similar to how we handle our free agents and negotiations with our own players. If we get something done with Charlie, we'll let you know."
Asked if it is important to get something done before the season starts so Manuel doesn't enter the season as a lame-duck manager of sorts, Amaro said, "I don't think it matters one way or another."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.