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Philadelphia Phillies Roster Report 2008-12-02


Philadelphia Phillies Roster Report 2008-12-02
Now that they finally have won their first World Series championship since 1980, the Phillies are getting greedy. They want to repeat. But, in trying to position the Phillies for another title, new GM Ruben Amaro Jr. will face several critical offseason decisions.

BIGGEST NEEDS: Primarily, Amaro will be faced with the challenge of keeping the nucleus of the championship team intact. The Phillies have few free agents, including longtime LF Pat Burrell, but 10 players are eligible for salary arbitration. Among them are 1B Ryan Howard and LHP Cole Hamels, the MVP of the NLCS and the World Series. The Opening Day payroll in 2008 was a club-record $104 million, and Amaro anticipates it will rise in 2009.

FREE AGENTS: LF Pat Burrell, LHP Jamie Moyer, RHP Rudy Seanez, RHP Tom Gordon, OF So Taguchi, INF Tadahito Iguchi.

On his first day on the job, Amaro said the Phillies are interested in re-signing Moyer. The desire to keep Burrell is less overwhelming, especially if he receives a lucrative offer to be a designated hitter in the American League. Regardless, though, they'll need to replace his right-handed bat in the middle of the lineup.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE: 1B Ryan Howard, LHP Cole Hamels, CF Shane Victorino, RF Jayson Werth, RHP Ryan Madson, RHP Chad Durbin, RHP Joe Blanton, INF/OF Greg Dobbs, INF/OF Eric Bruntlett, RHP Clay Condrey.

Amaro said none of the arbitration-eligible players will be too costly for the Phillies to keep. However, Howard won a record $10 million award last season and will be due another large raise, and Hamels will get a significant raise after his postseason performance. Don't be surprised if the Phillies discuss long-term contracts with both players.

IN LIMBO: One area of depth appears to be the outfield, where lefty-hitting Geoff Jenkins and Matt Stairs serve the same role. Jenkins has a prohibitive contract that includes a limited no-trade clause, and Stairs was the more productive hitter in the postseason, belting a memorable home run in Game 4 of the NLCS.

MEDICAL WATCH:

2B Chase Utley (sore right hip) was set to undergo surgery in November. The recovery time is four to six months, leaving his availability for Opening Day in question.

3B Pedro Feliz (lower back surgery in November 2008) is expected to be ready for spring training.

LHP Mike Zagurski (elbow ligament reconstruction in April 2008) is expected to be ready to pitch by the end of spring training.

RHP Scott Mathieson (elbow ligament reconstruction in May 2008) won't be ready to pitch until midway through the 2009 season.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 2, 2008

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