With the World Series ending over the weekend, the rest of the baseball world can now finally join us Phillies fans in lazy days of the off-season. The Cardinals’ 10th title also means that the free agency ferris wheel is now officially open for business. On the Phillies, Mike Lieberthal, Randy Wolf, Arthur Rhodes, Rick White and Aaron Fultz, each filed for free agency and more could follow. Of these guys, I think Wolf would be the top priority to resign, then Fultz, then White leaving Arthur Rhodes and Mike Lieberthal waiting for a destination at Philly International. Still, the futures of these five guys will not make or break the Phillies’ 2007 season; it is the potential incoming free agents that are more fun to talk about.
Topping the Phillies’ wish list this winter are Alfonsio Soriano and Gary Sheffield. Landing Soriano would be a huge steal, but would undoubtedly require a significant amount of cash – cash that would not be available if the Phils are forced pay any of Pat Burrell’s remaining contract. The Phils also have to resign Brett Myers who is coming off a 1-year deal and is eligible for arbitration. Soriano did not like playing left field in DC and as a hottest free agent of the off-season, he will likely have the leverage to demand a return to his old position, second base (despite his poor fielding numbers there). Although Sheff’s Chefs would be a great addition to the litany of Phillies fan groups, the aging, oft-injuried outfielder may not be the solution the Phils are looking for. The Phils need a bat to protect Ryan Howard, that is a fact; now whether it comes in the form of an outfielder, third baseman or catcher is the question. An option for a third base bat could come in the form of Aramis Ramirez , whom we’ve discussed before and has since filed for free agency. The Phillies are also interested in Akinori Iwamura, a 27 year-old Japanese third baseman.
So basically what I’m saying is that it’s open season for free agents. If you’d like you can keep track of the news here and continue to post your rumors, no matter how wishfully insane they are.