2010-11 Free Agency

Free Agency Thread: Werth, Contreras, Bullpen

In Jayson Stark’s Rumblings column on ESPN.com, a baseball source tells him that there is a “zero” percent chance of Jayson Werth returning to the team in 2011. That’s a fairly low number, no? Stark opines that it might not even be the money in this situation that severs the ties between the Phillies and Werth – it could be the years he wants in the deal.

Let’s think about it. Many of us want Werth back in Philadelphia, but at what price? Is it worth it to hamstring the team even more with a five year, $90 million contract to a guy who turns 32 next season? Sure, it’s a young 32 because he missed several seasons in his 20’s with injuries, but it’s 32 nonetheless. Count me in with the school of thought that the Phillies must get younger, as much as we don’t want to see them break up this pseudo-dynasty. Spending $90 million on one man, albeit a strength of their club, shouldn’t be the way to go here. Use that $90 million wisely in other parts such as the rotation, the bullpen, and finding ways to bolster an offense that was anemic in 2010. Come on Rube, you can do it!

–Also according to Stark, the Phillies have moved aggressively toward signing free-agent reliever Jose Contreras. “Big Truck” made $1.5 million in 2010, meaning a raise is likely. Contreras was outstanding in his first full season out of the bullpen and may have carved a niche for himself as a seventh or eighth inning guy. In 67 appearances, Contreras was 6-4 with a 3.34 ERA over 56 2/3 innings. Not bad for a “38-year old.”

My early estimate is a two-year deal similar to that of good friend Danys Baez. No way Baez should be making more than Contreras who was a savior of sorts for the Phillies in the bullpen last season. When guys like Lidge, Madson, Romero, and Durbin were out, Contreras was the rock that helped keep the relief corps in order. I’d say he’s looking at a two-year, $5.5 million deal to stick around with the Phillies if he wants it. His relationship with fellow Cuban Baez could help in bringing back the Biggest Truck.

–As for the rest of the bullpen, Amaro says the Phillies have touched base with 40 free agents, many of them relief pitchers. Who are some of the best out there?

Hisanori Takahashi is a name that has been linked to the Phillies early in the offseason. He’s a soft-tossing lefty that would team up wonderfully with hard-throwing Antonio Bastardo. He’s also 35 and in lefty years, he’s got about 35 more to go.

Jon Rauch is a back-end type reliever who played for the Twins a year ago. The 6’11”, 290-pound 32-year old has been one of the better setup men in baseball the past few seasons. Rauch made over $2 million last season.

Grant Balfour is the kind of high-energy arm Phillies fans would adore. The Australian – formerly with the Rays – is also 32 and is coming off his best season as a professional, meaning he’ll cost quite a bit more than the $2.05 million he received in ’10. In 57 appearances, he had a 2.28 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. A multi-year deal at more than $3 million will be likely.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of spending a ton of money on multi-year contracts on bullpen arms. Year-to-year – hell, day-to-day – you just don’t know what you’ll get from the guys out there. As I’ve stated before, the Phillies should look internally first with the youngsters they have, then try to steal someone out of the bargain bin after the new year. As we all know, however, Ruben Amaro likes to move swiftly and if he can find someone he likes at the price he loves, he’ll do just that.

–One name who keeps popping up on the Phils radar is Pedro Feliciano, formerly of the Mets. This one worries me. Feliciano has been a stalwart out of the Mets ‘pen, but that might not be a good thing. The 34-year old has appeared in 334 games in the last four seasons. Let that sink in for a second. He has thrown in more than half of the Mets games in the last four seasons, an incredible figure. That could also mean wear and tear down the road. Last season, Feliciano’s 92 appearances were by far the most in baseball – only five other guys even reached 80 games as a reliever. My thought: stay away.

UPDATE, 10:30 AM: Jim Bowden says the Phillies are going hard after former Ranger Joaquin Benoit. He made $3.75 million last year and posted fantastic numbers: 66 games, 60 1/3 innings, 1.33 ERA, 0.68 WHIP.

UPDATE, 4:15 pm: Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com says that former White Sox rightfielder/DH Jermaine Dye wants to play again and has been contacted by the Phillies, among other teams. The 36-year old Dye (37 in January) would replace Jayson Werth in right field and last was seen in 2009 hitting 27 home runs and knocking in 81 runs.



  1. PizzaBagel

    November 11, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Two words: Ryan Braun.

  2. Ted Bell

    November 11, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Braun’s signed through 2015 to a very team friendly deal. I’m sure the Brewers are trying to deal him away as we speak…

    I’m Ted Bell.

  3. Adam

    November 11, 2010 at 9:35 am

    While Feliciano has some serious mileage, getting him would be the ultimate, “if you can’t beat em’, join em” move. Ryan Howard (to steal a quote from Major League) is 0-for the century against Feliciano. His at-bats against Feliciano go as follows: Slider outside-corner strike one. Two balls. Wide slider wild swing by Howard makes it 2-2. Down and away slider, check swing by Howard, strike out. I love Feliciano and he is a bulldog. A pen with Lidge, Madson, Bastardo, Feliciano, Contraeras, maybe Durbin, and Baez is not too shaby at all.

  4. Geoff

    November 11, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Feliciano would be great…but I did not know he had that much wear and tear. Definitely stay away. Hes due to get injured and miss most or all of a season in 2011.

    I would take a look at Scott Downs or a more late inning type of lefty. Bastardo can handle earlier in the game but we need a late inning left-handed setup man. I think Madson should close and Lidge should be traded, but in the meantime a team really needs about 4 diesel guys at the back end of the bullpen. The closer, setup man, late inning lefty, and the 7th inning guy. These guys should all be beasts.

  5. Geoff

    November 11, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Apparently the Phillies are going hard after re-signing Contreras and hard after Joaquin Benoit.

  6. Publius

    November 11, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Benoit would be a good pickup, so long as Rube doesn’t overpay, which, let’s face it, he is.

  7. Bart Shart

    November 11, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I agree with Pat that Werth likely is just not worth what he wants. ANd this team needs to get younger… piece by piece. Excellent analysis and comments on top lefthanded relievers.

  8. Geoff

    November 11, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Phillies sign utility man Pete Orr, who spent all of last year in AAA…for the Nationals…MLTR…

    better be a minor league deal….


    November 11, 2010 at 11:13 am

    geoff-it is a minor league deal………

  10. Geoff

    November 11, 2010 at 11:15 am


  11. psujoe

    November 11, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Phillies signed utility infield Pete Orr


    Benoit would be a great get. If they land him I guess Feliciano would be the lefty of choice because Downs a Fuentes would cost too much.

  12. The Dipsy

    November 11, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Who’s Jim Bowden?

    The Dipsy

  13. Geoff

    November 11, 2010 at 11:38 am

    He used to be the Nationals GM

  14. Bob D.

    November 11, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    32 years is in a persons prime as a player. So all of this talk about the Phils are old is being over played. However without change this entire team will all hit 35+ in just a few years. So for the next 2 years this team should be in its prime. I also do not expect the entire infield to have another down year as this last (which still was productive).
    As for relievers, Ruben will likely pickup atleast 1 proven arm before he scours the bargain bin in January. So expect a Downs, Balfour, or Rauch to be signed. Then the team may also take a flyer on a reclaimation project hoping to stike gold.
    Pete Orr = competition for Valdez if he struggles

  15. Ted Bell

    November 11, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Actually, statistical evidence shows that “most” modern players peak between 27-30, then suffer gradual decline until age 35, and rapid decline from 35 on. Almost all of the current Phillies fall into the gradual decline category. We’ve probably seen the best years that this current core has to offer (except for Hamels). Of course there can be a fluke season here and there, but the team should not be expected to produce like they did 2 or 3 years ago. The Phillies do have a reason to be concerned…

    I’m Ted Bell.

  16. Geoff

    November 11, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Thats right on the money Ted, which is why we all know they need to get younger piece by piece. Particularly at the plate. We need a young second baseman or young shortstop soon..

  17. Geoff

    November 11, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    This season they should overturn two of the starting 8 positions of hitters with younger players. Try and move Lidge…

  18. Chuck

    November 11, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Pete Orr has to be related to Bobby Orr….or….Amanda Orr…

  19. bfo_33

    November 11, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I’m not a golden boy apologist, but no matter metric you use, Chase Utley is one of the top three defensive 2nd basemen over the past 3 years (check out fangraphs or whatever site you choose). Defense doesn’t decline like hitting. While he suffers from occasional Knoblachitis, he has better range than Kinsler, Ellis, Phillips, and no one in baseball turns a better double play.

    Here’s the problem – contrary to what Geoff stated yesterday (I’ll assume Utley owes him money or stole his girl, because most of the time, he makes a lot of sense, but seems to have a mental block with Chase), he plays full out all the time, and takes a beating. Catcher is the only other spot that has more wear and tear (at least the ss gets to see the take out slide in advance, and can plan appropriately). Are we better off having 120 games of stellar defense and a bat that declines through the season, a trip or 2 to the dl, or should we stick someone else there, move Utley to a less demanding position (don’t think he has the arm for third, and he’s blocked at first, so probably left).

    As good as he is at 2nd, I think when healthy, his bat is better. If you could move Ibanez in the offseason (the battle cry of Phillies Nation posters for the past year), move Utley to left, and find a second baseman from the utility scrap heap (Nick Punto is available), start grooming an entirely new infield (except for Howard) for 2012, PP as super utility guy.

    Utley could probably play left at a high level another 6 years or so, but if he stays at 2nd, I wouldn’t be surprised if the injuries catch up to him in 2 or 3 years.

  20. psujoe

    November 11, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Utley in LF? If you could do that try and sign Beltre and move Polanco to 2b.

  21. Chuck

    November 11, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Utley certainly SHOULD move to the outfield at some point. His offense would benefit greatly and his career extended.

  22. Geoff

    November 11, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    That is an agreeable solution to keeping Utley here. His offense would improve, the wear and tear would be leff, and his career would extend.

    Perhaps that is what they will do when Raul leaves, whenever that is. You know Polanco can play second, so it gives the flixbility to look for a 2B or 3B.

  23. Geoff

    November 11, 2010 at 1:28 pm


  24. Lefty

    November 11, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Lefty Years???

  25. Chuck

    November 11, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Milt Thompson hired by Ed Wade.

  26. Geoff

    November 11, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Nice..we got Sammy pack. Perlozzo moves to Coach First, Sammy joins on as 3B coach.

  27. betasigmadeltashag

    November 11, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    For the first time in a while a wild shot in the dark makes a lot of sense to me IF Utley can play outfield and we can find something to do with Raul, whom I like a lot more then most of you on here for 1 more year, or put Utley in RF and sign Beltre move PP to second that would solve two problems in on RH bat with some pop, change Wreth’s numbers for Utleys. and Beltre’s ro Chase’s. That would work, and then in 2012 move Utley to left and Dom Brown should be ready for full time. Now can Chase make that move effectivly so fast that he is not a liability out there

  28. Phan in the outfield

    November 11, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    So now age is the excuse du jour for the Phillies & the folks who dislike Werth to not want him around. I have to ask myself why the following contracts were signed then, b/c if you add their current ages + the number of contract yrs and you consider that several of them were signed VERY RECENTLY, it makes their ages more troubling than Werth’s.

    Halladay – 33yrs – 3yrs/$60mil, 2011-13 w/2014 opt
    Howard – 31yrs (Nov) – $19mil, 2011; 5yrs/$125mil/2012-16 w/2017 opt
    Utley – 32 yrs (Dec) – 7yrs/$85mil, 2007-13
    Oswalt – 33yrs – 5yrs/$73mil, 2007-11 w/2012 opt
    Lidge – 33yrs – 3 yrs/$37.5mil, 2009-11 w/2012 opt
    Polanco – 35yrs – 3yrs/$18mil, 2010-12 w/2013 opt
    Ruiz – 31 yrs – 3 yrs/$8.85mil, 2010-12 w/2013 opt

  29. brooks

    November 11, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Toss in Raul’s contract for 1 more year, Jimmy’s contract (until 2012) and everyone is over 30 except Cole. There is only one way to look at this in a positive note – people like the Babe had their best years after 30, same with the Hammer, Robby and the list goes on. The measure that Ted brought up is for good and not so good players. The good to great show their marks after 30 as well as before. So, we have to ask ourselves are the players we have middle of the road?

    I think not. These guys are exceptional and will prove it… OK, call me homer –

  30. Bob D.

    November 11, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    players prime years are 28-32, most of the phils everyday players fall into this catagory for the next 2 years

  31. betasigmadeltashag

    November 11, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Phan the one thing you are missing outside of Howard and Doc those price tags are relativly low. If Wreth would sign a 4-5 year deal for 8-10 million they would not have a problem with signing him. I know you all like to bust on Raul for his contract but he help the phillies to the playoffs the first two years he was here. But Jayson is looking at 5-6 years or more for 17-18 million per year, that what makes his 32 year old five year contract different. And Playing 1b is different then left field, and Doc could have gotten more in the open market. So you are comparing apples to oranges. If Jayson would take Chase’s contract I think you could do that too. 7 85 million, the Phillies would sign that in a minute. Can you see the stupidity in your comparision

  32. Phan in the outfield

    November 11, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    beta: 1st, you’re already assuming what YOU think Werth wants in yrs. Nobody knows what the numbers are. 2nd, what you’re talking about as far as player’s worths is your opinion, nothing more or less than that. As far as GM’s are concerned, that’s relative to each team. As far as everyone else is concerned, that’s subjective. I’ve read all of your posts about Werth, your opinion on the subject is well known. You haven’t changed my mind & I’m not trying to change yours.

    You made up numbers in your head about what you THINK Werth is asking for and argued based on that. It’s fiction. Can you see the stupidity in your argument?

    Further, who knows what each of the players above ASKED for at the bargaining table. All we see above is what they GOT. The game is: ask for MORE b/c you’ll get LESS, and you’ll arrive at something close to what you’ll be happy with. Get it?

  33. psujoe

    November 11, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Come on Phan. You know Boras will start with the Holliday deal and work up not down. Only then will he listen to 6 and 5 year deals in the 17/18 range. If nobody bites it will take some time for the realization to sink in that the best he can do on a 5 year deal is 15/16 per.

  34. betasigmashag

    November 11, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    It is not my opionon that Wreth’s agent wants 5-6 years it is what has been out there for a week, and you can believe not but the inside knowledge and reports are that is what he is looking for, I am not the first to state that the big stumbling block in Wreth’s negotiations is years not dollar amount. And their is huge difference in a fourth year costing a team 18 million and 10 million

  35. psujoe

    November 11, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Speculation on Lee’s contract.

    •Sherman predicts the Yankees will sign Lee to a five-year $125MM deal. The imagined contract would pay Lee $23MM for five seasons with a sixth year option for $25MM ($10MM buyout).

  36. The Dipsy

    November 11, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Whos’ Sherman? As I suspected, Jermaine Dye is now on the radar screen. Just a year too late for me. This is not a good sign.

    The Dipsy

  37. Lefty

    November 11, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    DOH! You’re Homer

  38. betasigmashag

    November 11, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    dipsy what are you talking about did I miss something somewhere. what is up with Sherman and no way Phillies sign Dye unless it is a minor league deal, which he would not take. I think that RAJ is finnished with signing older guys

  39. The Dipsy

    November 11, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    It says on the “update” at the top of the article that the Phils are talking to Dye. Sherman is the guy that psujoe is citing as the source for the prediction of a Lee contract (that will never happen).

    The Dipsy

  40. Phan in the outfield

    November 11, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    I listened to a 30 min interview w/Boras from 1 wk ago in which he was asked about money & yrs and he never once said the number of yrs. He also said 60% of his clients do NOT take the most money offered to them. They take the offer they think is best for them for other reasons; some for their families; some b/c they want to be with a winning club & they want respect.

    The game is to ask for more than you really want. You put nonsense out in the press that you want 6 yrs & you actually get 4yrs. RAJ has already spent a good amount of time saying they don’t have money, they want the team to be younger, & he doesn’t think Werth is much. It’s not rocket science, and it’s not as if Boras & RAJ don’t know each other’s games. In the end, either it’ll work out or it won’t. And not one bit of it will have anything to do with what any of us want.

    Some or all of this info we’re reading could turn out to be true or not. We won’t know until a contract is signed. But I don’t believe much of what I read. It comes from having worked in sports PR & promotions. Writers are playing ‘telephone’ with info they’ve gotten from others – there never seems to be anyone connected directly to the the info. they spend so much time writing about, which is real convenient. Agents use them, FO’s use them.

    Beyond that, I find it hard to believe anyone other than Lee will get more than 4-5yrs w/an option. None of the clubs seem to be doing that now (unless they’re signing a player already on their roster – maybe Pujols will get more when he’s signed). It’s sensible & the right direction to go in to keep the yrs to a dull roar.

  41. betasigmashag

    November 11, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Wait you do not want to believe everything you read but you believe an agent when he says his clients do not take the most money. That is funny, yea maybe Baltimore will offer some higher numbers. You choose what you want to believe. The fact is an American league team can offer him longer in years because he can DH until he is 40. You can choose not to believe Wreth turned down 3 years plus an option year for somewhere between 50-55 million for the first three years but just because the agents says it never happened does not mean it did not happen. Just like Lee’s agent did not Tell him about the deal that Phillies offered him and he is still Lee’s agent. so you figure that out. Wreth will get an offer for more then 4 years, and he will get an offer from the Phillies for 3+1 for about 1 maybe 2 million per less, and he will go to Boston, Baltimore, NY, Washington whom ever give him the more money. The next time I believe out of an agent like Boras’s mouth will be the first time. I have alsow worked in fringes of agents, and sports, and followed a lot of Borasses clients and negotiations and do not trust him

  42. betasigmashag

    November 11, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Sorry Dipsy did not see that added on to the end of the post. I do not see that unless you think he is a better defensive and offensive platoon with Dom Brown than Ben Fran would be. Which I do not think that. Or you are looking for a platoon with Dom Brown and Raul with Ben Fran and Dye. I differed with you last year about bringing that guy did and I really think it would be strange signing and would make them even older

  43. The Dipsy

    November 11, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    I would think Dye/Ibanez and Dye/Brown. I don’t want Dye to be an integral part of this offense. I liked him last year as a cheap RH bat off the bench that could platoon with Ibanez and take maybe 325 ABs. Now he’s been off for a whole year and I have no interest in the guy.

    The Dipsy

  44. Geoff

    November 11, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo, we need to get younger, PLEASE not Dye. I would rather them pickup a younger reclamation project like Jeff Francour who just got released then sold old man like Dye. At least you can platoon Franceour with Brown.

    If they re-signed Contreras and then signed Benoit as has been rumored, that would be excellent. That would really bolster our bullpen, leaving us time to look for value bargains in finding the second lefty.

  45. The Dipsy

    November 11, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Geoff – I think that would be an excellent agenda for now.

    The Dipsy

  46. The Dipsy

    November 11, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    And don’t worry, if Ken Rosenthal is reporting it, then it has no chance of coming true.

    The Dipsy

  47. betasigmashag

    November 11, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    So I can assume you are not a big Ben Fran fan Dipsy, he is only 28 right and never really has had a chance to play full time or consitant time so ma;ybe he is another late bloomer like Wreth. Or do not think Fransico/Brown/Raul platoon situation

  48. betasigmashag

    November 11, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    is there a world where they would trade Lidge and trust Madson to be a closer? Or the great dumb idea of putting Chase in the outfield, move PP to second and signing Beltre

  49. Geoff

    November 11, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Here you go…ready for this?

    It is being reported by MLBTR citing their sources that the White Sox are willing to listen to offers for 2B Gordon Beckham. So…move Utley to LF, itll be easier on him, less abuse on his lower body. He can stay healthier there.

    Pay most of Raul’s salary and move him somewhere, they need a LF/DH as well so maybe theyd take him. Thats not nearly enough of course. So you give them Matt Rizzotti, Trevor May, one of our relief prospects thats near ready like mathieson or Defratus. Probably take more than that, but thats a start.

    So you get Brown and Beckham coming into the team and that helps to solve our aging problem.

    What do you think?

    Its not THAT crazy, but it requires a lot of shuffling and prospects.

  50. Geoff

    November 11, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Their source is Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown

  51. Geoff

    November 11, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Maybe throw in Vance Worley too, and we can sign a cheap 5th starter to compete with KK

  52. betasigmashag

    November 11, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    if you are going to move Utley to the outfield you sign Beltre and PP to second base solve your right hand power and he is not a kid but he is what 30


    November 11, 2010 at 9:36 pm


  54. karen

    November 11, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    I know I am whining but why can’t we be the yankees or red sox in spending? I love Werth but long term contracts are difficult. No matter how someone is now, will they still be that good in 4 or 5 years? I just fear that Jayson werth leaving kills the part of the game he excelled in. I wish we could move some other pieces….vic trade? lidge trade? like it or not but we could solidify pen without lidge if that would allow us to get a new.younger outfielder

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