Amaro's thoughts on Cespedes, arb-eligibles, bench, more

The Phillies have a history of making deals at the annual general managers' meetings. (Alejandro A. Alvarez/Staff file photo)

The general managers just wrapped up their media availability, and while Ruben Amaro Jr. did not break any news, he did provide some insight on how he expects the rest of the offseason to unfold.

The key points, which will be detailed tomorrow in the Daily News:

1) The Phillies are actively scouting Cuban outfielder Yoennis Cespedes, who is expected to become a free agent at some point before spring training. In fact, the team had a contingent in the Dominican Republic today to watch a private workout. Cespedes is a 26-year-old right-handed bat who has a combination of power and speed that has resulted in tremendous interest around the game. The question is, can he hit big league pitching, and at what price are you willing to find out? The Phillies continue to try to find the answer.

2) Up until this point, I have not included Kyle Kendrick, Ben Francisco and Wilson Valdez in any roster/payroll projections. That will change starting today, since Amaro said he anticipates offering all three players arbitration.

"Right now, they are on our club -- there's no reason to think that they're not," Amaro said. "They were all valuable pieces for us last year. They did a good job in their own regard. Frankly, Kendrick's been durable, he's been effective, he's gotten better, he can play a variety of roles. We don't have a whole lot of pitching depth as it is, so as far as I'm concerned, right now, he's a part of our club.

"As far as Valdez and Francisco are concerned, they are committments that we are going to have to have on them and arbitration numbers are not going to preclude us from keeping them on the club. Valdez was outstanding. He was our MVP two years ago, probably. He did another nice job for us this year. We've had so many issues and injuries in our infield, it behooves us probably to keep him. And then as far as Francisco is concerned, we looked long and hard to find a right-handed bat with some power. He wasn't utilized a lot last year, but when he got opportunities, as you saw in the playoffs, he can still do some things."

3) The Phillies continue to view short stop as their top priority. Amaro said Polanco is his starting third baseman and he thinks he has enough depth there with Valdez in the fold.