One of the big requirements of this job is the ability to process a massive amount of information in a minimal amount of time, all while blogging, twittering, and doing phone interviews for Daily News Live (shout out to Barkann!). Some days it is manageable, even fun. Others, you feel the need for a debriefing session. So, let's debrief, and try to make some sense of everything that has happened.
1) I connected with Gary Sheffield's agent earlier this evening. The Phillies folks I talked to today seemed unsure of their chances of landing the future Hall of Famer. The situation here is not ideal for a guy like Sheffield. He wouldn't have the luxury of serving as a designated hitter, he would have to pinch-hit, which he has only done 34 times in his career, and his chance for playing time would seem to be less than with other teams that may have interest. That said, Sheffield's agent, Rufus Williams, said the Phillies are on the list of candidates to land Sheffield, and that the talk he had with Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. earlier today was "productive."
2) The Phillies would like to add a right-handed bat with more power than Miguel Cairo provides. Former Braves star Andruw Jones, whom they reached out to earlier this offseason before he signed with the Rangers, is another possibility besides Sheffield. But again, Jones would likely have options where he would have a better chance for regular at-bats, assuming he does not wind up sticking with Texas.
3) Nothing will happen on the Sheffield front until Thursday, when he clears waivers. Another team could claim him, before then, but they would owe him the $14 million remaining on his contract. In other words, that isn't going to happen.
4) Manager Charlie Manuel said he would be comfortable with Miguel Cairo as the final member of his bench. The Phillies have been impressed with Cairo this spring. He is a career .284 pinch-hitter, he can play multiple positions, and he can run the bases. But again, Manuel likes guys with pop in their bat, and Cairo hasn't hit a home run in the majors since 2005.
5) Righthander Chan Ho Park simply did not give the reason for the Phillies to not give him the fifth spot in the rotation. In the end, all the other factors that we spent so much time detailing in the paper and on the blog did not matter. Manuel, Amaro and pitching coach Rich Dubee all said that the decision came down to who gave them the best shot as a starter. And Park's dazzling spring, plus his good physical condition, led them to believe that he might be able to recapture some of that magic he had while staring for the Dodgers in the early part of this decade.
6) I came away from today feeling that the team will end up giving Happ a shot in the bullpen, which would likely lead to Gary Majewski starting the season in the minors (he is signed to a minor league deal), although Jack Taschner does not have a spot locked up just yet (Rule 5 pick Robert Mosebach is still in play as well). Happ is not a lefty specialist, but Dubee said he would be comfortable keeping Happ around. Dubee said if, after the season was underway, it looked like Happ was not getting enough work out of the bullpen, or was not effective enough, he could always head back to Lehigh Valley and start.
7) Geoff Jenkins handled his release with complete class. Just wanted to point that out, since it kind of gets glossed over amidst all the other news in the paper tomorrow.
8) Oh, by the way: Brett Myers is your opening day starter. Jamie Moyer will pitch the 7th, Blanton the 8th, Hamels the 10th, Myers the 11th and Park the 12th.
9) JC Romero will be at the ring ceremony. Also, Romero said he has retained a lawyer who will pursue some sort of legal action as a result of his positive drug test, which he says came as a result of a tainted supplement. Romero declined to go into further detail, saying he would expound in the near future once an exact course of action is underway.
10) Reader Chris O'Donnell emailed and asked me to further explain why the Phillies kept Stairs over Jenkins. It really came down to who was the better role players. Stairs has a lengthy resume when it comes to pinch hitting. He's had over 300 plate appearances and is hitting over .280 in those situations. Jenkins has never really filled that role before. Certainly, releasing him was a tough move. As Chris pointed out in his email, Jenkins was sort of emblematic of last year's postseason run. Even though he had a frustrating year, he was always the first guy out of the dugout to congratulate a teammate. Who can forget his wild fist-pumping celebration when he hit that double? In the end, though, only 25 guys can make a team. And the Phillies felt Stairs was best suited for that specific role.
11) Kyle Drabek will start tomorrow against the Yankees. Dubee said they are bringing the 2006 first round pick over from minor league camp for a few reasons. First and foremost, he has impressed the entire organization with the way he has bounced back from 2007 Tommy John surgery. The Phillies really think he can be a big part of their future. Dubee also said they wanted to remind him what he is pitching for -- a chance to do things like pitch against the Yankees. I know from this writer's perspective, it will be a nice change of pace to watch a new face on the mound.
Hope I covered everything. If not, there is always tomorrow.