ESPN reported yesterday that the Phillies were among the teams interested in Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman, but Ruben Amaro denies this.
"We're familiar with the player," Amaro said. "At this point, we are not interested."
The GM added that if Chapman's agents, Randy and Alan Hendricks, set up a showcase for teams to watch Chapman throw, the Phils would not send a scout.
Very slow day for Phillies news so far, as the focus of the winter meetings has been on the big three-way trade involving Yanks, Tigers and D-Backs. While Ruben Amaro Jr. has met with three or four teams today and a bunch of agents, he said a few minutes ago that he would “probably not” complete any trades or free agent signings here in Indy.
That said, he believes he is laying the foundation for moves that could bear fruit in the near future. Amaro has made offers to a number of players, and is awaiting their response. He is engaged in ongoing talks with the agents for Scott Eyre and Chan Ho Park (both team and agents say there is nothing new to report). He still expects to tender contracts to Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey, though he has not reached a final decision on those relievers.
Speaking at his daily briefing to beat reporters, Amaro sounded willing to enter next season with young bullpen of Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona, and perhaps Kyle Kendrick and Scott Mathieson. He also talked more about low-risk/high reward starters and relievers. So he is still stressing a modest approach to the offseason.
Still, don’t rule out payroll-clearing trades that could free up space for a Brandon Lyon, or even—pure speculation here—Roy Halladay.
We’re still digging, so stay tuned.
Two bits of news from a Baseball Writers’ Association of America meeting today: the organization voted to expand Cy Young ballots to allow for five candidates. Previously, voters could list only three choices. Also, my former colleague Bill Madden of the New York Daily News was elected to the writers’ wing of the Hall of Fame.