Hey CD...On Rumors, Arbitration, Colon & New Unis

<I><b>Hey! CD</I></b> is a regular Q&A column by California Dreamin, a Phillie die-hard from SoCal. His unique perspective on Phillie baseball issues & events draws grassroots interest from Phillie fans living in different parts of the country. Send your comments or questions to CD at <a href=mailto:connectthedots@earthlink.net>connectthedots@earthlink.net</a> and read his response to you on a future edition of this column. Thanks!

Q: On the Latest Rumors Out of Philadelphia, from William Serrano, Philadelphia, PA

Hey! CD
, it's been awfully quiet since the GM meetings last week. Any rumblings from the Phils concerning player transactions?

CD says...
Thanks for the question, William, and considering that I am in California and you are in Philadelphia, perhaps I should be asking you the question! Just kidding, my friend, I am always happy to hear from you concerning our Phillies!

This is not surprising as it will be December before most of the action takes place. Most GM's, Wade included, will circle December 7, 19 and 20 on their calendars.

These are the next key dates on the baseball calendar. The first two are arbitration dates; the first is when a team must offer arbitration to a player and the second when a player must accept or reject arbitration.

This will lead to December 20th when all players' non-tendered contracts for 2004 will become unrestricted free agents. This will flood perhaps 400 players on to the market. As I have mentioned before, this year will be a buyers market and when an agent like Scott Boras makes a statement that if "A-Rod were a free agent this year he would receive an even higher salary", indicates to me that the players don't understand what's happening yet. A-Rod would get less than 100 million now because no team would invest ten years on one player.

Watch for the Phils to possibly resign Dan Plesac, and perhaps make some cursory offers to free agents like Tom Gordon, Paul Quantrill, Terry Adams and the like. But Wade's history is to make a fairly large deal right before the Christmas holidays. I expect this year to be no different.

Q: On Acquiring Carlos Beltran from the Kansas City Royals, from Pat Iannotti

Hey! CD…
what do you think are the chances of acquiring star center fielder Carlos Beltran from the KC Royals. He is available in trade and he could be a Juan Pierre type player for us at the top of the order?

CD says...
Nice to see another new reader, Pat, thanks for joining the Phillie fanatics!

As much as I admire Beltran's abilities, I am quite sure the Phils have absolutely zero interest in Beltran for a couple of reasons. Number one, we have a center fielder in Marlon Byrd, who is quite talented and much less expensive. Number two, Byrd is without the burdensome constraints of Scott Boras as his agent.

Once again, Boras is trumpeting the talents of one of his players as truly "unique", a term he uses a bit too often for my taste. Lets see, he has used that term in regards to JD Drew, Ben Mcdonald, Brian Taylor, A-Rod, Pudge, Greg Maddux, Kevin Millwood, Kevin Brown, Chan Ho Park, Andruw Jones, Barry Bonds and a whole myriad of draft eligible amateurs. I will grant Mr. Boras that some of his clients truly are unique; if the word were used with less frequency, it would have greater credibility.

Beltran will no doubt end up in a large market, possibly the Yankees, Mets or Dodgers, in a trade that will probably not give the Royals equal talent in return. The Phils have some off-season needs; starting pitching being at the forefront, but center field seems in very good hands with Marlon Byrd.

Q: On Curt Schilling's Age and Health, from Ed Donahue, Phoenix, AZ and Mark Connelly, PA

Hey! CD,
Ed writes…"four words, thirty eight years old!" Mark writes…what about Curt Schilling's health issues?

CD says…
I decided to combine your questions and comments, Ed and Mark, because they actually deal with the same subject.

Ed, Schilling just celebrated his 37th birthday last Friday, but I understand the concern. The comparisons to Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling are quite accurate. I saw Schilling pitch against the Dodgers in late September and am convinced he has lost almost nothing from his fastball. He is a power pitcher and will remain one as long as he pitches, which I think is three more years. In my opinion, his age is of only small concern.

As for his health, Mark, it is a fallacy that he suffered from an injury-plagued season because of his age. Actually, he had appendicitis, something that is no respecter of age, and he broke his hand on a ball hit back to the mound. His arm is healthy and he appears in better shape than when he was in Philadelphia. Remember, he is only one year removed from a 23-win season.

Schilling could fail in 2004, but I don't think it will be because of arm woes, his arm is fine! Hope that answers both your questions, and please write again!

Q: On the Arbitration Process in Regards to Kevin Millwood, from Pete

Hey! CD
, you have mentioned receiving draft picks if we fail to resign Millwood. Could you explain this process to me? Thanks in advance!

CD says…
Certainly, Pete, this is a question that several readers have asked me about.

Basically, it amounts to the Phils protecting their interest in Millwood by offering him arbitration for the year 2004. This must be done by December 7th; Millwood has until December 19th to accept or reject the offer. If he accepts he is basically signed for 2004, with an arbitrator deciding whether he should receive the Phils offer, or Millwood's counter-offer.

If he refuses arbitration and signs with another team, the Phils are entitled to two first round draft picks in next June's Amateur Draft. For the sake of argument, let's say Millwood signs with the Braves (which I think he will!). The Phils will then receive the Brave's pick in the first round next June, plus an additional supplemental pick at the end of the first round.

Please keep in mind that this draft pick compensation is reserved only for Type A free agents, the best of the best! These picks are by no means small rewards, given the astute drafting talents of the Phils' Mike Arbuckle.

In many ways, the Phils are in a win-win situation with Millwood. Many would like to see him re-signed, while many would relish adding two more draft picks to the Phils fine farm system. I hope this helps. Please write again!

Q: On Signing Pitcher Bartolo Colon and Losing Draft Picks, from Benjamin Bruton, Downington, PA

Hey! CD…
if the Phils should sign free agent Bartolo Colon, will we lose any draft picks?

CD says...
Benjamin, great question, a perfect piggyback to my response regarding Millwood's situation.

If we sign Colon, then we relinquish our number one draft pick to the White Sox, exactly as any team that signs Millwood would do to us. So, the Phils are going to be faced with a decision…is signing Colon and losing the pick worth the price of a lost draft pick, especially since that pick will be restored via the Millwood exit?

Of this are organizations built, or torn down. Frankly, it will be a major surprise if the Phils don't bring in one of four top starters, Colon, Millwood, Schilling or Javier Vasquez, into the organization before next season. Two are free agents, and two must be acquired in trade. The Phils brass must decide between now and the Christmas Holidays whether they prefer to lose draft picks, or players like Ryan Madson, Ryan Howard and the like, in their pursuit of a top of the line starter.

Q: On New Uniforms for the Phillies, from Eric Gidney

Hey! CD
, do you think that the Phils will change uniforms soon; it has been over 10 years since they changed?

CD says...
Eric, welcome aboard, and thanks for an interesting question.

Actually, I am surprised that they didn't change uniforms this season, given the new stadium. I have heard nothing about this, but will see what I can find out and let you know in a future Q&A session.

By the way, I would love to see the Phils go retro, and bring back those uniforms of 1964! Not only did I love that team, but also the uniforms were awesome! Just my humble opinion!

Q: On Signing Free Agent Reliever Ugueth Urbina, from Anthony J. Pisch, Raleigh, NC

Hey! CD
, any chance that Bobby Abreu could convince his old buddy, Ugueth Urbina to sign with the Phillies?

CD says...
Anthony, there is always a chance for this because of the mutual interest that has been displayed between the Phils and Urbina. They like him and he likes them, in no small part because of his past relationship with Pitching Coach, Joe Kerrigan. His friendship to Abreu, as fellow Venezuelans, can only help!

However, my instincts tell me that Urbina would still like to be a closer, and receive closer money in the free agent market. This will not happen in Philadelphia after the recent acquisition of lefty Billy Wagner from Houston. My guess is that he will end up staying put in Florida, where he can enjoy his World Series triumph, and compete with Braden Looper for the closer spot there.

If he should decide to go elsewhere, there are several teams in need of a closer, the Red Sox, Mets, Cubs and Orioles come to mind quickly, who have money to spend. Hope this helps!

To My Readers and co-Fans: Thank you for your continued patronage and the undying interest on our beloved Phillies. Keep the questions coming! CD from the Left Coast

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