Cheap Free Agent Help Still Available – Phillies Nation

Cheap Free Agent Help Still Available

The title looks like something you’d find in the classified section of the Sunday paper.  Prices for the services are likely somewhat different, however, for baseball standards, there are still some decent, cheap options on the market.

After all of the trades and free agent signings for the Phillies this offseason, there are still a few holes.  Money is now tight for Ruben Amaro and his posse, but by all accounts, the now-infamous $140 million figure is a hard cap for the team. Raises will be given to Joe Blanton and Shane Victorino, among others, through arbitration, so the Phillies will be short of the $140M plateau with a few positions to fill.

Blanton looks to receive about $7 million or so in arb, and Victorino, if his number were to double, would be owed about $6.5 million.  Carlos Ruiz, J.A. Happ, Ben Francisco, and a few other Phils’ need to be re-signed as well. Danys Baez was given a two-year contract, with the final number of $5.25 million coming out earlier today. After all is said and done, the Phillies will have about $3-5 million to spend on a reliever and/or starting pitcher.

Here is who remains on the open market that the Phillies could possibly entice:

Relief Pitchers: John Smoltz, DJ Carrasco, Clay Condrey, Scott Eyre (L), Ron Mahay (L), Mike MacDougal, Miguiel Batista, Mark Hendrickson.

-Smoltz looks to be the most expensive of the group. However, if he wants to win, he could take a cheap contract. I’m still not sure why the Phillies wouldn’t choose Condrey over Durbin for the price, but it appears Durbin will be back.  Condrey could still come back at about $1 million, and that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.  Eyre might be out of the price range, as he made $2 million last season.  Mahay would fit well as another lefty out of the pen.  He struggled last season as well, but has a decent track record.  Hendrickson was a starter/reliever, but was better out of the bullpen.  The former pick of the Philadelphia 76ers could be a nice long man/sport starter.  Batista has been on the Phillies radar for some time, but he is a shell of his former self. MacDougal has also been on the Phillies radar.

Starting Pitchers: Mark Mulder, Ben Sheets, Noah Lowry, Rich Hill

-Sheets sticks out like a sore thumb here, as he is seeking well in excess of what the Phillies can afford.  But will he stick to that high amount?  Let’s see how desperate he becomes as the season draws closer.  Mulder and Lowry are obvious injury risks, but could be low-risk, decent-reward guys should they get back in shape.  And with the $3 million or so the Phillies have to work with, it’s about finding guys like that.  Rich Hill is interesting.  He had a great 2007 season, got hurt in 2008, but pitched OK while healthy, and then absolutely bombed last year.  Reclamation project? Could be.  Smoltz is also a possible starter.



  1. BDPhils

    January 5, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Hill come here. Inexpensive option, could be the lefty to replace Moyer if he starts off on the right foot and seeks advice (should Moyer need to be replaced).

  2. Havoc

    January 5, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    I wouldn’t expect the Phils to do much beyond sigining one more reliever. If the Phils are able to get one of the high risk starters to sign a cheap one year deal maybe you do that and cross your fingers that Moyer, Kendrick, Bastardo, Escalona, & Mathieson can handle the relief role with Moyer/Kendrick ready to step in as 5th starter if one of the remaining injury risks were to explode.

    I’d love to see Sheets come in, but seems like the Phils will have to wait and see if a few of the prices drop. Was thinking that Wang might be a possible pickup on the cheap since he’s hurt and coming off a bad year.

  3. bfo_33

    January 5, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    After a closer, I’m not a fan of spending much on the bullpen. Year to year, they are an inconsistent bunch, completely unpredictable (if they were that good, they’d either be closing or starting). I think we stick with what we have, go with one of the high risk starters who can also relieve as insurance (Hendrickson, any of the starters listed above), then fill out the rest with the young guys and cheap casts offs, see how they pan out.

  4. bebopdeluxe

    January 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Option A for me would definitely be Smoltz – the only problem is, unless you are going to make him the 5th starter, what kind of role can you give him that is meaty enough to stoke his competative juices? I don’t think he’s gonna be happy as a 7th inning guy.

  5. Philly Geoff

    January 5, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    I would love to see Smoltz in Philly and a little disappointed to see they only offered Eyre a minor league deal… injury or not he deserves more for his contributions the last two years.

  6. George

    January 5, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Sheets is asking way too much. I’ll agree the Phils need another option at fifth starter with the uncertainty of Moyer, but Sheets is asking way too much, and I doubt that Mulder or Smoltz will be in the Phils’ price range. The bullpen is probably set now with Baez, with Bastardo, Escalona or that rule five pick or maybe Mathieson to fill the other spots. Eyre, coming off arm surgery, will only be an option if he signs a split minor/major league contract with incentives. Same with Condrey. Same with another starter.

    Right now, the team will be concerned mostly with arbitration numbers. I don’t look for any more real activity until a few spring training games have been played, and only then if some “counted on” players struggle. The front office will want to keep some money around–if there’s any left after paying arbitration dollars–in case a July 31 deadline deal is needed.

  7. Ed R.

    January 5, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Good write up Pat.

    Also saw this on Zolecki’s page.


    January 5, 2010 at 9:08 pm


  9. schwalmy

    January 5, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Bedard …..he isn’t signed

  10. Brian Sr. of CO

    January 5, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    I am trying to figure out why Smoltz would be a better option that Moyer? If Moyer isnt good enough, how is Smoltz? His ERA with the Red Sox was 8.33 (thats almost DOUBLED Moyer) and 4.26 with the Cards, however, if you look at Smoltz game by game stats, I dont see any improvement at all. I will not argue at all that Smoltz is without a doubt a future HOF’er, and Moyer probably will not be, but we should be concerned about picking up “Future HOF’ers” if they are pretty much washed up. Smoltz looked like a new man in his first two starts with the Cards, but then after than, he didnt look any better than Moyer at all. In 2009, I cant find any start on either the Red Sox or the Card where he went passed 6 innings. not even 6.1 innings. in the short time in 2008 he pitched passed 6 innings once. Smoltz seems to average about 4.2 IP per start, with a max of 6 IP in 09, and mostly 4-5 IP. So if Moyer averages about 4 runs a game (slightly below 5 per 9 IP) and pitches an average of about 6 IP, and Smoltz averages about 4 runs per game, and he pitches an average of 5 IP per game, Im not sure how he is an “upgrade”. To me he puts more pressure on the bullpen, which was already one of the weakest links (the Bench was the weakest link on the team) from 09, and thats sad, because Moyer put enough pressure on the BullPen.

  11. Brian Sr. of CO

    January 5, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    That shoould be “we should NOT be concerned about picking up “Future HOF’ers”

  12. Phrontiersman

    January 5, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Arredondo had Tommy John surgery, and is expected to miss the 2010 season. Cross him off your post-holiday shopping list.

  13. Greg

    January 5, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Rich Hill would be a nice pick up.I always liked Ron Villone for that
    Lefty coming out of the BP.
    Livan Hernandez would be a cheap back up for the 5th starter.

  14. Pat Gallen

    January 5, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Didn’t realize Arredondo would be out the entire season.

  15. j reed

    January 6, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    What about Pinero. GB pitchers are music to my ears with the dimensions of our ball park.

  16. George

    January 7, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Piniero wants way to much. Last I read, he was trying for Randy Wolf type numbers, which were a little high even for Randy Wolf.

    Someone will sign Livan Hernandez, but I hope it isn’t the Phils. He eats innings, yes, but he’s not doing it as much as he used to, and those innings he eats don’t go down very well considering the opposition runs they contain.

    Wang will have almost any offer matched by the Yankees. Mulder is still too high of an injury risk. Smoltz is probably done.

    I’m thinking the year starts with Kyle Kendrick at number five until Moyer recovers fully from surgery, or until mid July, when some AAA pitcher will come up or a trade will be made.

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  19. TonyIsDynamic

    January 8, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Seriously, WHY is no one looking at Kiko Calero?

  20. NickM

    January 8, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    I think DJ Carrasco would be a perfect fit. Good reliever the last 2 years who could also start….and cheap. Only made 440K last year.

  21. Dylan

    January 9, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Completely agree. Phils should try and get Kiko. They could then have Romero (when back), Bastardo, Madson, Kiko, Baez, Durbin, and Lidge in the BP. Not too shabby there. I would not be upset with a 2 year deal for Kikio, since it seems like Amaro likes giving those out. Would have liked to have Park again, tho.

    Plus, if all goes well near the middle-end of this year and DEF. next year, we can add in Mathieson and Aumount to the BP and the following (2012) have one of them or Madson as the closer.

  22. Craig

    January 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Of the choices that are out there…leave them. We have a solid starting 4 of Halladay, Hamels, Blanton and Happ. The 5th starters role can and should be filled from within the organization (Moyer, Kendrick, Bastardo, Mathieson, etc.) and the last I heard, the bullpen had 5 of the 7 spots already filled with Baez, Durbin, Romero, Madson, Lidge and the other two should also be filled from within. What I would rather do with the remaining budget is have Amaro sign J.Gomes and R.Church for the bench. I like the Gload signing and have also liked G.Dobbs but there is not much else on the bench…Schneider, Castro & Francisco? Gomes will give them a legit RH bat off the bench that had 20 HR’s last year and who can also give Ibanez the occasional day off and. Church is a solid LH bat off the bench who can also play the field, batted in the .270’s and had 40 rbi’s. I also think it will be hard to sign Werth after this year and both Gomes (age 29) and Church (31) will give us options should Werth leave.

  23. beebers

    January 9, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I would really like to see them get Hill or Hendrickson. As lefties, they could start or maybe be the type of guy who can come out of the pen and be a specialist to get left-handed hitters out. They both at times have shown flashes of greatness, and the Phils have proven that they know how to get players to max their potential. I just like the versatility that those 2 bring to the table as a left hander who can start or come out of the pen.

  24. Frank

    January 9, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I dont care who they get as long as Moyer is forced to retire! He is done please, please, please Phils dont give him a chance to come back.

  25. Lisa

    January 14, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    To Tony: I agree with you. Kiko Calero is an excellent choice for bullpen help. His ERA is very low and he is very consistent. For whatever reason he is falling beneath the radar screen.

  26. zeke

    January 17, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    i’ve always liked Ronnie belliard clutch hitter, gritty, why aren’t the phillies interested in him? I also think that moyer is done also, He’s 48 yrs old and coming off 3 surgeries. Just realease him its a no brainer.

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