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News » Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2008-11-07

Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2008-11-07

Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2008-11-07
They rejoiced on the field and sprayed champagne in the clubhouse. They were feted with a parade through Center City Philadelphia and hailed in a ceremony at Citizens Bank Park.

And, now, it's back to work.

Funny thing about winning a World Series: There isn't much time to celebrate.

On Oct. 29, the Phillies clinched only the second championship in their 126-year history. By Nov. 2, they had selected Ruben Amaro Jr. to replace retiring 71-year-old GM Pat Gillick. And on Nov. 3, Amaro headed to Dana Point, Calif., for the annual general managers meetings to begin planning for next season.

Talk about a short honeymoon.

After being saluted by more than a million fans in their championship parade, many Phillies players expressed a desire to do it again next season. First, Amaro has a jam-packed agenda, including negotiating with free agents Pat Burrell, Jamie Moyer and Scott Eyre, talking about long-term contracts with as many as 10 arbitration-eligible players and replacing longtime assistant GM Mike Arbuckle, who resigned after being passed over for Amaro.

As usual, Amaro said the Phillies' priority will be pitching. They're hopeful of being able to re-sign Moyer and Eyre. Moyer, who turns 46 on Nov. 18, is the oldest player in the majors, but it's believed that he's seeking a multiyear contract. Eyre is more open to a one-year deal.

The Phillies face a difficult decision on Burrell, who has averaged 31 home runs and 98 RBIs over the past four seasons. Burrell, 32, has lost his speed and is often lifted for a defensive replacement in the final innings. And while the Phillies would be hard-pressed to replace his run-production, they may be seeking to get younger and more athletic in left field.

Amaro said it's unlikely the Phils will be in the market for high-profile (and expensive) free agents Manny Ramirez and CC Sabathia, and while they may dabble in the free agent market, it's more likely they'll improve via a trade. Last year, the Phillies' most significant offseason move was the November trade for closer Brad Lidge.

The Phillies have more than $63 million committed to nine players. Their arbitration-eligible players are due raises, and Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth and Ryan Madson could see significant salary hikes that would push the Phillies' payroll close to $100 million. Amaro said the Opening Day payroll in 2009 is likely to top the club-record $104 million mark from 2008.

"When I started in 1998 with (former GM) Ed (Wade), our goal was to get good and to stay good," said Amaro, the second GM of Hispanic heritage. "Now we've gotten good. We've had quite a bit of success. I know people measure success in world championships, but our goal is to remain a contender."

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: November 7, 2008

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