Good morning from Day 2 of the general managers meetings. Lots to get to. But first, I'd like to debunk a small myth about Southern California. It does rain here. In fact, it is drizzling right now. The power was out in my hotel when I woke up this morning, which to me immediately indicated that I had slept through an earth quake. Turns out, it was just a little mechanical failure.
Now, on to the run down.
1) I've received several emails already this morning taking umbrage with Ruben Amaro's comments about Pat Burrell that I noted in my Five Priorities for the Offseason Story. Amaro said something to the effect of, if we don't sign Pat Burrell, we might have to replace him with internal candidates like the "Geoff Jenkinses and Matt Stairses" of the world. Naturally, this has elicited a stirring response from "Phillies Are Cheap" Nation. But I hope common sense will prevail here. Amaro is not a ding dong. He wasn't saying that Jenkins and Stairs are his No. 1 option. I'm sure the Phillies will inquire about Matt Holliday, though judging from the buzz here at the GM meetings, a deal seems unlikely. The Rockies are not just going to give him away. And at some point, mortgaging the farm for one year of a Scott Boras client who is a notably different hitter outside of Coors Field doesn't make sense. There are some free agent options, including Raul Ibanez. But the fact remains, Stairs and Jenkins are here for another year, with Jenkins set to earn $6.5 million. Is a platoon in right field featuring Stairs or Jenkins and a serviceable right-handed hitting outfielder the best case scenario? No. But it could happen.
2) How are the Mets looking to improve? Judging by what GM Omar Minaya said yesterday at the meetings, they won't be investing heavily in bolstering their line-up. Raul Ibanez's name has been mentioned by several national baseball writers. But first and foremost the Mets are looking to bolster their bullpen. Rick Thurman, also known as the agent for Colorado closer Brian Fuentes, did his best to throw the Mets toward the top of the bidding for his client. The Mets and Fuentes will talk. Don't be surprised if the Phillies face him next season.
3) The final word on Mike Arbuckle: It wasn't an easy situation for anyone involved, Ruben Amaro included. These two guys have worked closely for the past 10 seasons. This entire year, the only person standing in the way of himself and the GM job was the other guy. It was pretty obvious all season that Amaro was the front-runner for the job. But talking to those inside the team, both men handled the situation flawlessly, to the point where it sometimes was easy to forget that they were competing for the same job. Everyone I talked to yesterday from around the league was very respectful of Arbuckle. At the same time, those same people feel like Amaro has earned his shot, and will do a good job with it.
4) One of the topics on the agenda at the meetings this morning is arbitration. I'm sure Amaro, Mike Ondo and company will be listening attentively. The Phillies have 10 arbitration cases. Of those 10, half could be in line for monster raises. Ryan Madson, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino and Cole Hamels are all coming off career years. Ryan Howard, meanwhile, continues to make his own mold, following up his $10 million season with league-leading numbers in home runs and RBI.
5) The power just went off again. Still no earth quake, though. Stay tuned later this afternoon for an update on the thrill-a-minute action at the St. Regis Monarch Beach.
6) My blogging arch-nemesis, the Inquirer's Todd Zolecki, is gloating over on his little piece of cyberspace that he had the top Sports Blog on Philly.com for the month of October and all of 2008. I'll give him October. But I'll just remind everyone that High Cheese wasn't even in existence until the middle of February. Eat it, Zolecki.