Another slow day here at the Marriott in beautiful downtown Indianapolis. Those of you who are hoping to Google your newest Phillie sometime this week might be disappointed, since Ruben Amaro Jr. said today he did not anticipate anything happening before the winter meetings break on Thursday.
Regardless, here is what we learned today:
1) The Phillies are one of a number of teams who have kept an eye on Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman over the past year, sources with knowledge of their thinking said. They had scouts present at his start in the World Baseball Classic to watch him unleash a vaunted fastball that has reportedly tipped the scales at 102 miles per hour. But Chapman is very much a work in progress, and the various issues associated with him (command, youth, lifestyle changes in the wake of his July defection from Cuba) make him a longshot to land in Philly. Amaro denied present interest in signing him just a few minutes ago, but it's a situation worth monitoring.
2) Righthander Scott Mathieson will get a chance to compete for a spot in the bullpen in spring training, although in an ideal world the hard-throwing righthander would start the season in the minors in order to continue his recovery from elbow surgery. Mathieson has impressed the Phillies with his recovery from two elbow surgeries -- Amaro labelled it "miraculous" today -- and was one of the organization's bright spots in the Arizona Fall League. One player who will not join Mathieson and young lefties Sergio Escalona and Antonio Bastardo in the competition for a bullpen spot is top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek. Amaro flatly ruled that out today.
"We may be in a position where we go with a little bit younger of a bullpen," Amaro said. "It depends on what happens here. I guess my overall philosophy would be for me that in the back end of the bullpen. . .you'd like to have guys who are veteran guys, guys who have been through the wars and dealt with the adversity. In a perfect world, you'd have young starters and veteran type relievers. But that's in a perfect world. We may have more young players in our bullpen this year."
3) Amaro wouldn't label negotiations with righthander Chan Ho Park and lefthander Scott Eyre as a "stalemate," but said the Phillies have made offers to both players.
"It depends what you mean by stalemate," Amaro said. "We're comfortable with the numbers we've presented, and if those are numbers that won't really get it done then we might have to go ahead and move on. I'm sure they're trying to maximize the value, which is the job of the agent. If they feel like there's a better opportunity to make more money or to be in a different situation then they're going to take it. We're still talking."
4) Amaro said he was surprised more pitchers did not follow the lead of Braves righthander Rafael Soriano, who accepted arbitration from the Braves and then, according to reports, requested a trade. Amaro seems to think that the pool of available relievers - the Phillies would love to add a piece to the back end of their bullpen to supplement Brad Lidge, J.C. Romero and Ryan Madson - is big a deep enough to create a buyer's market.
"I think anybody who is looking for pitching, the more options you have, the better you are," Amaro said.
The Phillies are interested in Tigers righthander Brandon Lyon, but there are no indications that a deal is close, or that the two sides are even in the same ballpark.