Free Agent Checklist, Part 1: Our Own Guys

The Phillies can officially talk money with any free agent that they're interested in bringing to Philadelphia. It's likely that they'll start with a few of their own free agents, so that's where we'll start with our advice to GM Ed Wade and our look into the crystal baseball that we bought at a yard sale. Here's what the Phillies need to do with their own free agents. Tomorrow, we'll give our unsolicited, but oh, so timely, advice and speculation on the rest of the free agent class.

Terry Adams - The Phillies should work long and hard to get Adams back in Philadelphia. Of course, there is one exception to that rule. Adams finished last season with a sore elbow and the Phillies need to be sure that he's going to be 100% healthy. The fact that they haven't pursued him as much as a lot of people thought that they would might indicate that they think the injury is worse than was originally thought.

Adams final destination: Los Angeles. Adams has a measure of comfort in LA and the Dodgers may lose a couple arms from their very successful 2003 bullpen.

Kevin Millwood - Okay, he was pretty average in the second half of the season and seemed like he wasn't really enjoying himself in Philadelphia. Still, Millwood was basically a pretty good pitcher – not necessarily an ace – but a pretty good pitcher who made the Phillies pitching staff stronger. The real problem here might be his agent; Scott Boras. He and the Phillies aren't exactly best of buddies and the two of them coming together on this one isn't likely.

Millwood's final destination: Remember that you heard it here first; St.Louis. The Cardinals need pitching and they're very "Boras Friendly".

Dan Plesac - The Phillies need Dan Plesac. Plus, Plesac both enjoyed pitching in Philadelphia and wants to pitch for a team that has the potential to go to the World Series. He's not the kind of guy that enjoys the drama that follows a team like the New York Yankees, so it's unlikely that he'll go there. Plesac has said that he wants to come back and the Phillies have said they want him back. This deal gets done and Plesac returns.

Todd Pratt - Kelly Stinnett walked away from his contract with the Phillies and they don't have a lot of help coming from the minor leagues. One option is to wait until a guy like Michael Barrett of the Expos becomes a non-tendered free agent in December, but ideally, the Phillies would like to get their backup catcher position solved by then. Unfortunately, Pratt might not be the easiest signing in the world. He too, is looking to play in a World Series before he hangs ‘em up and might look elsewhere. He might also look for a spot that will give him more playing time.

Here's the scenario; Mike Piazza will be splitting time between first base and catcher. Jason Phillips figures to get a bunch of playing time, but the Mets won't want to go with just those two as catchers. Vance Wilson wasn't so great for the Mets and they may want a little more punch and veteran leadership. Pratt will get to catch a lot of games, plus he'll have a shot at the postseason if the Mets reload. Pratt's bags are packed for the Big Apple.

Yes, it's possible that most, if not all of the Phillies on the free agent market will be former Phillies when the 2004 season starts. Here's hoping that we're wrong on at least a couple of these guys, because they might be able to help.

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