The Phillies leave Sunday for the winter meetings in Las Vegas, which I hear is a great place to work.
Ruben Amaro Jr. made it clear yesterday that his priority is pitching: finding a starting pitcher and improving the bullpen. Of course, the question at the moment is Jamie Moyer. What the heck is the hold up? Amaro would not say. Moyer's agent, Jim Bronner, also declined to say why negotiations have taken so long.
"I think Jamie definitely has interest in coming back to Philadelphia," Bronner said. "He also has some interest in some other places. The Phillies certainly made it easier for other clubs to want him by not offering him arbitration."
If the Phillies had offered Moyer arbitration before Monday's midnight deadline, other teams would have had to forfeit a top draft pick to sign him. Now that teams do not have to compensate the Phillies, Moyer would seem to be more attractive.
"We have talked to other teams," Bronner said.
The Phillies said they declined to offer Moyer arbitration because they felt they would lose payroll flexibility had he accepted. This leads me to believe the hold up might not be years in a potential contract, but money. Moyer made $7 million last year, when he won 16 games. I'm guessing that if he had accepted arbitration he would have compared himself to other 16-game winners (or pitchers who made much more than him, but didn't win 16 games). Perhaps Bronner is seeking a significant raise and the Phillies are reluctant because of Moyer's age. Regardless, I still think the Phillies can re-sign Moyer. I just think both sides are playing hardball.
A source indicated yesterday that the Phillies haven't made an official offer to Derek Lowe, but parameters likely have been discussed.
The Phillies will be looking for outfield help, too. Asked about who could protect Ryan Howard in the lineup should Pat Burrell not return, Amaro said earlier this week that Jayson Werth could be that guy.
Chase Utley has done well since surgery on his right hip Nov. 24.
"We're real pleased with how things have progressed with Chase in the short time that he has started his rehab," Amaro said.
Amaro said Pedro Feliz, who had surgery on his lower back Nov. 20, "should be fine."
Phillies prospect Jason Donald was named to the Arizona Fall League's top-prospect team. Donald was one of four hitters in the league to bat over .400. He finished second in the league in batting (.407) and doubles (12), and third in slugging percentage (.747).
Need a holiday gift idea for that hardcore Phillies fan? A&E Home Video and Major League Baseball Productions releases "Philadelphia Phillies 2008 World Series Collector's Edition" on Dec. 9. It is an eight-DVD set, which includes every pitch from the five World Series games, every pitch from Games 4 and 5 of the NLCS and one DVD of bonus material. It also includes a feature where fans choose from four different audio tracks. That means fans can watch the FOX broadcast, while listening to Harry Kalas, Larry Andersen, Chris Wheeler and Scott Franzke.