10/29/12 2:07 PM ET
Phils will look to bolster outfield on market
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
It just won't be in Philadelphia.
It has been four years since the Phillies celebrated their second World Series championship with a parade down Broad Street. The Phillies have just five players remaining from that 2008 postseason roster: Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley.
Time flies, doesn't it?
But with the 2012 postseason finished, the Phillies' front office begins the challenging task of filling enough of the holes on their roster to get back to the postseason next season after missing it for the first time since 2006.
And there are holes to fill.
"I guess we probably could have done a little bit better job in the bullpen," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said earlier in October. "We were kind of relying on some guys that had some success last year, and after having lost four of those guys during the early part of the year, it was a little tough for us to recover. That was something I think that I regret a little bit.
"As far as the rest of this stuff is concerned, you can't really cover for everything. But I think the bullpen is probably something I would have liked to address a little better if I could. Didn't happen. And then we gave opportunities to some guys that we thought would be able to step up and be able to handle certain areas, especially and specifically offensively. Hard to cover for two guys in the middle of the lineup [Utley and Howard] that aren't going to be back for a significant period of time.
"I wish we could have recovered a little bit better from that. Other than that -- those two things -- the brand of baseball that we played I wasn't real happy with, and I don't think [manager] Charlie [Manuel] was either, and that's playing winning baseball, and we just didn't do that all that well."
Players can start signing with other clubs after midnight ET on Friday.
Here is a look at what lies ahead for the Phillies:
The Phillies took care of their biggest contract issue during the season, when they signed Hamels to a $144 million contract extension. Their remaining free agents are unlikely to return: right-hander Jose Contreras; catcher Brian Schneider; infielders Placido Polanco and Ty Wigginton; and outfielder Juan Pierre. The Phillies have a $1 million buyout on Polanco's contract. They have $500,000 buyouts for Contreras and Wigginton. Expect them to take those buyouts.
Areas of need
Outfield: Phillies outfielders had a .415 slugging percentage in 2012, which ranked 19th in baseball. Their 52 home runs tied for 19th, and their 216 RBIs tied for 18th. And remember: Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino accounted for 26 of those home runs and 99 of those RBIs. The Phillies definitely need a center fielder, and could use a corner outfielder to help the lineup. But they might be able to afford just one. B.J. Upton could be a fit, although he is far from a sure thing. The Phillies also must decide if Darin Ruf is the real deal. If they think he is, they have a potential answer in left field -- at least on a part-time basis.
Third base: The market for third basemen is incredibly weak, so the Phillies could stick with Freddy Galvis and Kevin Frandsen. Galvis would provide the defense, and Frandsen would provide the offense. If the Phillies look outside the organization for help, the list includes Kevin Youkilis, Scott Rolen, Eric Chavez and others. Forget about them trying to trade for Alex Rodriguez.
Bullpen: The Phillies' bullpen improved dramatically the second half of the season. They really like some of their young arms, but they still need a sure-thing setup man to help in the later innings. Antonio Bastardo is just too inconsistent, and there is too small a sample size with Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus and others. A guy like Ryan Madson would make a lot of sense, but he might be looking for closing opportunities.
The Phillies have Cliff Lee ($25 million), Roy Halladay ($20 million), Howard ($20 million), Hamels ($19.5 million), Utley ($15 million), Jonathan Papelbon ($13 million), Rollins ($11 million), Ruiz ($5 million club option), Kyle Kendrick ($4.5 million) and Laynce Nix ($1.35 million) under contract next season. That is $134.35 million committed to just 10 players. The Phillies don't appear to have a lot of wiggle room, so they have to be particularly wise with how they spend their money this offseason.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.