The Phillies haven't opened contract negotiations with Pat Burrell, and it's unclear when they will.
The Phillies have exclusive negotiating rights with Burrell through Nov. 14.
"We have [talked] in the past and we probably will again," Ruben Amaro Jr. said at the GM meetings in Dana Point, Calif. "We'll see if it's a possibility that we match up."
I spoke with one of Burrell's agents, Ed Hayes, last night. Here is some of what he had to say:
Q: How would you characterize Pat's interest in coming back? He has made it clear he would like to be back.
A: The bottom line is that everything you've heard from him publicly is an accurate statement of his feelings. He loves it here. He loves the fans. He loves playing here. He thinks this team has an opportunity to win for many, many years. And he'd love to stay. Whether the economics can be worked out, I guess we're going to find out in the next ... whatever period of time. His primary goal is to stay here, but we'll see what the Phillies have in mind and whether things can be worked out. But his goal is to be here.
Q: You have not talked formally with the Phillies yet?
A: That is correct.
Q: Do you have a desire to get those talks going soon?
A: Obviously, the Phillies have exclusive rights for another 10 days or so. In a perfect world you work something out right away and everybody is happy. But I think Pat understands that this could be a lengthy process. We hope it isn't. But look, Ruben has got his hands full right now. It's understandable. There are a lot of things he needs to do. Quite frankly, it might be a period of time before they're even in a position to address it. Pat would like to see it done quickly, but he also recognizes that there may be some time in it.
Amaro mentioned the possibility that they could go with a platoon in left field that includes Greg Dobbs, Geoff Jenkins and Matt Stairs.
"[Dobbs might be] a pretty real option," he said. "Leftfield might very well be his best defensive position. And the more at-bats he gets the better. With Charlie, if a guy is playing well, and [Jayson] Werth is the perfect example, he'll let him play every day. Greg is a hard worker. He's not going to take anything for granted."
Still, the Phils would then have to acquire a righthanded-hitting outfielder to platoon with Dobbs or the others.
"In an ideal world, yes," he said. "For balance, yes. But I think we could probably live with it. If there's a way to improve somehow with a free-agent we will."
I still suspect Burrell won't be back, but I can't imagine the Phillies wouldn't want a righthanded bat to put into their lineup if Burrell doesn't return. Charlie Manuel talks about balance all the time. If the Phillies go with that three-headed lefthanded platoon in left, the only pure righthanded hitters in the lineup would be Werth, Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz.