Some odds and ends for this cold weekend:
- The Phillies had four arbitration cases and quickly settled on two: Brad Lidge agreed to a $6.35MM season, and Ryan Madson inked a $1.4MM deal for the year.
The other two without contracts: Ryan Howard and Eric Bruntlett. Obviously the big story here is Bruntlett, who hasn’t yet agreed on the Phils’ offer of $550K while asking for $800K himself. I really think Bruntlett is worth about $600K, so I’m with the Phillies on this one.
Okay, seriously, Howard is asking for $10MM while the Phillies are offering $7MM. The largest arbitration deal ever was for Alfonso Soriano ($10M), so Howard is obviously looking for the best. Last year he matched the record for one-year deals for non-arbitration-eligible players (Pujols, $900K). This year he looks to match Soriano. Logically, if he matched his 2006 output (an MVP, 50+ HR, a .300+ AVG), he deserves to match the record. He didn’t. Close, but he didn’t. That said, Howard should get about $8MM in 2008, a little above the Phils’ conservative-as-usual deal, but much less than what the big man wants. Truth is â€” he needs another year to prove himself worthy of the bucks.
- Kyle Kendrick fielded media questions this week before making stops on the Phillies Winter Carnival.
Kendrick said he is “not worried about” a sophomore jinx after a rookie season where he went 10-4 with a 3.87 ERA. The jinx may be due to hitters figuring out Kendrick and defenses collapsing on him. Kendrick relied heavily on his defense in 2007, which means it’s very possible the 23-year-old could go 2-5 with a 5.88 ERA before being called down to AAA Lehigh Valley. That said, Kendrick seems unflappable enough, and while he may not match the 3.87, he should stay above the Minors in 2008.
Chris Coste also took queries at the pre-Carnival stop. He said he’s glad control of his fate seems more in his grasp this year. Last year he was pushed back to the Minors after the Phils signed Rod Barajas. Coste should be Carlos Ruiz’s backup in 2008 while also grabbing some pinch hitting spots. But make no mistake, with Jason Jaramillo waiting in the wings , Coste is very much close to being the team’s 25th man.
- In cool news, watch “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” next Sunday on Cartoon Network. John Kruk is guest starring.
Yes, John Kruk. The John Kruk. I’m hoping for some air time with brother-by-another-mother Carl. Kruk will fit right at home in the South Jersey-set cartoon farce.
- Doug Glanville took pen to paper for the New York Times this week, writing an intriguing Op-Ed piece about the victim of illegal substances â€” purity.
He voiced how baseball needs to run into this new era full steam, scared straight, to recover the damage done. What Glanville said has been repeated numerous times by other reporters and columnists; that said, it was refreshing to see an actual player who was entrenched in the game during the Steroid Era discuss those things. And of all ballplayers, I’m glad it was Glanville â€” an articulate, Ivy-bred man with a strong sense of both place and history. Between this piece and his managing at the Sporting News ‘ fake 1986 league, I hope Glanville looks to be finding his way into a new career in baseball. He’d be a welcome addition to any front office or bench.
- And to keep the topic hot, check out the trips we’re planning for the 2008 season.
I’ll definitely be taking the voyage to D.C. over Labor Day, so join us there. I want to head to Clearwater for Spring Training, but I don’t know if it’s in the cards. Same with Denver. But don’t you be halted by my inability to party. Get on board â€” it’s going to be an awesome year for us.