Phils leave Vegas without reaching goal
Club remains in talks with Moyer, but negotiations quiet on Burrell front
LAS VEGAS -- The World Series champion Phillies are leaving Las Vegas without filling their two biggest holes created by possible departing free agents: a left fielder and right-handed power hitter to replace Pat Burrell and a starter to replace left-hander Jamie Moyer.Neither are closer to signing with the club since the Winter Meetings began on Monday.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said on Thursday that talks with representatives for Moyer are still ongoing, but the lines of communications are down as far as Burrell is concerned."We're looking for pitching and we're looking to improve our offense if we could," he said. "As far as Moyer is concerned, we're still hoping we can bring him back." Manager Charlie Manuel, who overcame a two-day bout with the flu and finally was able to speak to the media on Thursday morning, said he's counting on having the 46-year-old Moyer back in the rotation and wouldn't mind writing Burrell into the middle of the lineup in 2009 if he could. As of now, Manuel is looking at an Opening Day lineup sans Burrell, Chase Utley (hip surgery) and Pedro Feliz (back surgery). In the immediate afterglow of the Phils' rain-delayed, five-game World Series victory over the Rays, it's not a pleasant thought. "I look at his production and that he's been here a long time," Manuel said about Burrell, who's been with the Phillies for all of his nine seasons and has averaged 30 homers a year for the past four. "And then I look at who's out there; hey, I'll wager on that. We won a World Series with him out there." Would he want him back if the price is right? "I don't see why not," Manuel said. "I know we're looking for a right-handed hitter and not just anyone, either. We need someone who can hit behind [the left-handed-hitting] Ryan Howard who can put up some numbers." Moyer, who finished his 22nd season with a 16-7 record and 3.71 ERA, is evidently still testing the market and may wait until the big three of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe are all signed. Amaro confirmed that he's talking with free-agent right-hander Chan Ho Park, who could be used in middle-inning relief and to spot start, but wouldn't define where those discussions are at the moment. Manuel said that Park's name has come up when the brain trust is mulling possible acquisitions. "But that's one of those deals that when you're sitting together in a room, you go over every guy available," Manuel said. "So, yeah, his name camp up, whatever that means."
Amaro also said this week that he's talked to Lowe and his agent, Scott Boras, but that may be a pipe dream at the veteran right-hander's $80 million asking price.Thus, Manuel said he looks at the depth chart and still envisions Moyer on the club. "Yeah, I think he's going to be back in the rotation," Manuel said. "Even with the season a little while off, I still look at him as one of our starters. I think the way baseball is these days [contract talks] can get hung up. That's where the Phillies are right now with him." Deals done: Acquired Ronny Paulino from the Pirates for Jason Jaramillo in a swap of catchers. Rule 5 activity: Used the 17th selection in the Major League portion of the Draft to select right-handed pitcher Robert Mosebach from the Angels. Goals accomplished: Nothing overt, but the club set up situations to deal with on both the trade and free-agent fronts as the 2009 season approaches. The acquisition of Paulino gives the Phils a little bit of depth in the Major Leagues at catcher, where they have three players now, and may free them up to make a few more small trades down the road. Unfinished business: The team needs starting pitching, right-handed power, a left fielder and perhaps a stopgap second baseman until Utley returns. GMs bottom line: "We made some pretty good quality inroads, and generally, we're pretty pleased. We have some irons in the fire still, and I think we're going to be able to do a couple of things based on what's transpired, some of the information we've gotten and some of the discussions we've had. I feel pretty good about how things have gone overall." -- Amaro
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.