Nov 192010
Phillies LF Raul Ibanez

Phillies LF Raul Ibanez

November 19:

Philadelphia Phillies news and stories from around the web…

Bullpen, Werth remain on Phillies’ agenda

November 19

“Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. found himself at the Orlando, Fla., airport around noon ET on Thursday. He had been in Florida for much of the week for the General Managers Meetings, where he may have made some headway on potential free agents and trades.

“We chatted with several agents and free agents,” Amaro said from the airport. “We had some good dialogue with some other clubs. That’s pretty much where it stands.”

The Phillies signed right-hander Jose Contreras to a two-year, $5.5 million contract this week. They also signed their share of Minor League free agents, including corner infielder Jeff Larish, who played last season with the Oakland A’s. But Philadelphia is not believed to be close with any other free agents who are expected to make an impact on the big league roster.

“I think these things will start to pick up as we get closer to the Winter Meetings in a couple weeks,” Amaro said.

The Phillies have talked with agent Scott Boras about free-agent right fielder Jayson Werth and other Boras clients. It is believed Boras will seek a contract similar to the seven-year, $120 million contract Matt Holliday signed last winter with the Cardinals. Philadelphia will not approach those numbers, though it is possible it could offer him a three-year or four-year deal.

It seems highly unlikely that Werth would accept that, but the Phillies would be in position to retain Werth if he suddenly finds the market is not what he expected.

The Phillies probably are in the same situation with left-hander Cliff Lee. They could make a three-year or four-year offer, although Lee almost certainly will get the mega-contract he wants from the Yankees or Rangers.

“We haven’t closed the door on any player,” Amaro said.

Amaro reiterated that upgrading the bullpen is his priority. The Phillies want a reliable left-hander since they declined J.C. Romero’s option. Philadelphia has interest in Hisanori Takahashi, who pitched in 2010 for the Mets. He can be a starter or reliever, which is an attractive quality. Takahashi’s agent is Arn Tellem, whom the Phillies have a good relationship with.

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Amaro: Ibanez is a subject Werth talking about

November 19 Philadelphia Daily News:

“Walking by a gaggle of reporters on his way out of the posh Waldorf Astoria here at Disney World, Ruben Amaro Jr. held up his hand and formed a circle with his finger and thumb.

The message? No news to report.

That doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. At this time last year, the free-agent signing period had yet to even begin. (Free-agency dates changed earlier this fall as a result of bargaining between the league and the players association prompted by collusion allegations.) The markets for various positions are still in their formative stages, and the Phillies don’t figure to contend for any top-dollar players.

“We had some productive discussions with some agents on free agents and with other clubs,” Amaro said, declining to talk specifics.

The weather was considerably brighter than the outlook for re-signing free agent rightfielder Jayson Werth. Amaro and super-agent Scott Boras chatted on Tuesday, but the situation remains unchanged. The Phillies are still unlikely to meet Werth’s expectations as they currently stand.

“I’m not going to discuss Jayson Werth,” Amaro said.

Amaro was, however, noticeably effusive in his praise of Raul Ibanez, going as far as comparing him to Werth. A reporter asked the GM about his thoughts on the 38-year-old leftfielder, who is entering the final year of a 3-year, $31.5 million contract he signed prior to the start of the 2009 season. Over the last 2 years, Ibanez has hit .273 with an .843 OPS, 50 home runs, 176 RBI and 168 runs. But both seasons have featured lengthy slumps. After starting 2009 with one of the most impressive tears of his career, Ibanez hit just .228 with a .758 OPS in his final 84 games after suffering two abdominal tears that would require offseason surgery. Those struggles carried into 2010, when Ibanez hit just .241 with a .721 OPS and seven home runs through July 8. But he finished strong, hitting .308 with an .867 OPS and nine home runs in his final 73 games.

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Phillies seem ready to move on without Jayson Werth

November 19 Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Ruben Amaro Jr. left the general managers’ meetings Thursday without making any significant news.

The off-season process is young, so there’s no reason to sound any sirens or file a grievance with the complaints department.

“We had some productive discussions with some agents on free agents and with other clubs” about trades, the Phillies‘ general manager said.

Though Amaro never spoke specifically about negotiations with Jayson Werth’s agent Scott Boras, he did send another signal that the Phillies are ready to move on without their free-agent rightfielder, even talking about him in the past tense at times.

“I’m not going to discuss Jayson Werth,” Amaro said. “I talked to Scott about a bunch of his free agents.”

Amaro, however, did bring Werth into the discussion when asked about leftfielder Raul Ibanez’ 2010 season.

Ibanez “was still a pretty productive player and . . . his numbers are not all that different from Jayson’s last year,” he said. “What did [Ibanez] have, 83 RBIs? Jayson had 85. [Ibanez] didn’t have as many opportunities as Jayson did to drive in runs.

“Clearly, Jayson had more runs scored [106 for Werth and 75 for Ibanez] and his on-base percentage and stuff were better, but [Ibanez] had 37 doubles and five triples. . . . The difference in their production was not all that great.”

By talking up Ibanez – most likely in an effort to increase the leftfielder’s trade value – Amaro, consciously or not, devalued Werth’s contributions to the team last season. For the record, Ibanez batted .275 with 16 home runs and 83 RBIs. Werth hit .296 with 27 home runs and 85 RBIs. He had 46 doubles and two triples.

The 31-year-old Werth is seven years younger and a superior outfielder to Ibanez. He is also a righthanded hitter, a commodity the Phillies will sorely need if, as expected, Werth signs elsewhere.

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