UPDATE: 7:32 p.m.
I'll preface the ensuing note with a warning: don't be alarmed. Jamie Moyer and Pat Burrell both filed for free agency with the MLBPA this afternoon. That doesn't mean one or both are leaving, or that even one or both will wind up testing the waters. It's just a procedural thing that all free agents do. But it is worth noting. So consider it noted.
The final meeting of the minds has ended here at the GM meetings in Dana Point. Ruben Amaro, Jr. just left the St. Regis Monarch Beach resort en route to a 12:30 p.m. flight back to Philly. We have lots of good stuff to delve into today, starting with the Phillies' future attempts at re-signing two of their arbitration-eligible players who will be free agents after next season.
Common sense tells you that this would be a good time to lock up outfielder Jayson Werth and reliever Ryan Madson. Both players are coming off career years (Werth moreso than Madson; Madson had better numbers in his first full season in the bigs). Both players will be free agents after the 2009 season. And the Phillies view both players as part of their future.
I wasn't able to get in touch with Werth's agent, but I talked to Scott Boras yesterday about Ryan Madson. I came away with the impression that it will be tough to get a deal done (which isn't a surprise, given Boras' reputation). For starters, Boras compared Madson's performance this season to the performance by Mariano Rivera in 1996, when he was the set-up man for Yankees closer John Wetteland. Granted, Boras is going to pump his client up as much as possible. Here are their respective numbers
Postseason (Rivera -1996, Madson -2008)
- Games: Rivera 8, Madson 10
- Innings: Rivera 13, Madson 12 2/3
- Runs: Rivera 1, Madson 3
- Hits: Rivera 10, Madson 10
- Strikeouts: Rivera 10, Madson 12
- Walks: Rivera 5, Madson 1
- Holds: Rivera 4, Madson 5
- Games: Rivera 61, Madson 76
- Innings: Rivera 107 2/3, Madson 82 2/3
- ERA: Rivera 2.09, Madson 3.05
- Hits: Rivera 73, Madson 79
- Strikeouts: Rivera 130, Madson 67
- Walks: Rivera 34, Madson 23
- Wins: Rivera 8, Madson 4
- Home runs: Rivera 1, Madson 6
Obviously, if Boras and Madson think he will be able to duplicate his success from September through October this season for all of 2009, it will make more sense for them to either go to arbitration or settle on a one-year deal, then hit free agency. But if Madson, who had shoulder problems late in 2007 and early in 2008, decides some immediate security outweighs a potentially huge pay-day next offseason, a deal could get done.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post talked to various executives about a potential deal for Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday. And the majority opinion held the Phillies to be one of the teams most likely to land the star. I'm sure the Phillies have inquired and will continue to explore the situation.
The one caveat often mentioned with Holliday is the gross disparity between his numbers at home and his numbers on the road. In 359 games at Coors Field, he has hit .357 with a .423 OBP and a .645 SLG. On the road, those numbers are .280/.348/.455. He averages one home run every 16.1 at-bats at home compared to one home run every 29.6 at-bats on the road.
That said, in 14 games at Citizens Bank Park, he has hit .283/.356/.547 while averaging a home run every 13.25 at-bats.
So the home/road issue might not be as big for the Phillies as it is for some other teams.
For what it is worth, the Giants beat writer for the San Jose Mercury News wrote on his blog that he hears that the Phillies are willing to listen to offers for Jimmy Rollins. I wouldn't put too much stock in that. While the Phillies might listen, they have tremendous value in Rollins, who is a Gold Glove short stop and is locked in to a five-year, $40 million contract that looks tremendously economical given how he has performed since signing it in 2005.
Speaking of middle infielders, Jason Donald's stock has soared in the last year. He is currently tearing up the Arizona Fall League, which comes on the heels of a dynamite performance at Double A Reading this season (.307, 14 home runs) and a spring training game in which he hit two home runs against the Blue Jays.
The Phillies have been playing him some at third base in the AFL, and I'd lood for him to get more time there next season in the minors. Pedro Feliz is signed through next season. If Donald continues to perform, he could be an option there for 2010.