Saturday, December 20, 2014

Phils Decline Arbitration for Moyer, Burrell

The Phillies did not offer Jamie Moyer or Pat Burrell salary arbitration, a league source said last night.

Phils Decline Arbitration for Moyer, Burrell

Pat Burrell was one of four Phillies free agents eligible for salary arbitration this offseason. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Pat Burrell was one of four Phillies free agents eligible for salary arbitration this offseason. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

The Phillies did not offer Jamie Moyer or Pat Burrell salary arbitration, a league source said last night.

The decision on Burrell didn't surprise me.

The decision on Moyer did.

Burrell made $14 million last season, when he hit .250 with 33 home runs and 86 RBIs. Based on those numbers, he would have received a raise in 2009. I speculated earlier this week that the Phillies probably wouldn't offer Burrell arbitration because they wouldn't want to pay him more than $14 million, even for one year. And I'm guessing that because Burrell seemed unlikely to command more than $14 million from another team next season, the Phillies felt Burrell would have accepted arbitration had they offered. I think the Phillies simply don't want to allocate that much money to Burrell, especially when they have 10 players already eligible for salary arbitration and they have other things they would like to do (perhaps sign a leftfielder like Raul Ibanez or Rocco Baldelli, a relief pitcher like Juan Cruz and sign players like Ryan Madson and Jayson Werth to contract extensions).

Moyer surprised me because the Phillies want him back. They have talked about a contract extension, even though those talks seem to have slowed. I thought the Phillies thought that offering Moyer arbitration posed a minimal risk because if he accepted he would be signed to a one-year contract. And I thought the Phillies wouldn't mind having Moyer, 46, signed to a one-year contract (instead of a one-year contract with a 2010 option or a two-year contract) considering Moyer's age. But I was wrong. I'm guessing the Phillies think Moyer, who made $7 million last season, would get a significant raise, much more than they would like to pay, even on a one-year deal. And like Burrell, I don't think the Phillies liked the idea of Moyer accepting arbitration and possibly having to wait until February to know how much they would be paying him because it might preclude them for pursuing other interests either through free agency or trades.

But this doesn't mean Burrell and Moyer won't be back next season. I still think the Phillies and Moyer can work out an agreement. And if the Phillies don't like what they see out there, they can always bring back Burrell ... albeit at a lower price. The only thing the Phillies risk is that they won’t receive draft picks as compensation if either player signs with another team. Both players are Type A free agents, which means the Phillies would have received two draft picks if either player would have signed elsewhere. But based on what they did, the Phillies obviously feel the compensation wasn't worth the risk of them accepting arbitration.

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The Phillies also didn't offer arbitration to Tom Gordon or Rudy Seanez.

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The Associated Press wrote that just two of 171 players who filed for free agency have agreed to contracts (Ryan Dempster and Jeremey Affeldt). And just 24 of them were offered salary arbitration. So I guess the Phillies aren't alone. For example, the Yankees didn't offer arbitration to Andy Pettitte, Bobby Abreu or Jason Giambi.

A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe, Ibanez and Cruz were offered arbitration from their respective teams. They are Type A free agents, which means the Phillies would have to forfeit a top pick to sign them. The Reds offered arbitration to David Weathers, who the Phillies could have some interest in. He is a Type B free agent, so the Phillies wouldn't lose a pick to sign him. Other relief pitchers the Phillies could have some interest in like Doug Brocail and Russ Springer were not offered arbitration.

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The place for up-to-the-minute Phillies coverage from The Inquirer beat writer Matt Gelb and columnist Bob Brookover.

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