Cormier Signed; Polanco, Glanville Get Arbitration

Major League teams had until midnight Tuesday night to offer their free agents arbitration. The Phillies offered two players - Placido Polanco and Doug Glanville - arbitration and signed Rheal Cormier to a two-year deal. Players not offered arbitration can't sign with their respective team until after May 1st and there is no compensation given to the team that loses them. The Phillies had some interesting cases to weigh.

Obviously, the Phillies are interested in keeping Doug Glanville. He wasn't offered arbitration to get compensation if he signs with another team since Glanville's player ranking doesn't require compensation. Instead, the Phillies offered him arbitration so they can re-sign him and not have to wait until after May 1st. It's likely that Glanville and the Phillies will never see arbitration and will agree on a one-year deal before then.

Placido Polanco is a more interesting case. The Phillies believe Chase Utley is ready to take over at second base, but having Polanco stick around for one more season, just to make sure, isn't the worst case scenario. Polanco would be a pricey utility player, but he could spell Utley and could also play at third if David Bell needs a day off here and there. He would also be insurance if Bell or Utley were to go down with an injury. With some work, Polanco could likely return to playing some shortstop, although Tomas Perez would likely hold that spot when Rollins needs a breather. If Polanco signs elsewhere, the Phillies will get that team's first round pick, plus a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds.

Of the interesting decisions not to offer arbitration, was Eric Milton. The Phillies leader in wins last season, will be pitching elsewhere next season, meaning he'll need a new tattoo to go with the other logos of teams that he's played for in his career. Like Glanville, the Phillies weren't going to get any compensation from a team signing Milton, but it was thought that they may offer him arbitration and try to re-sign him. The Phillies believe that Milton's price will climb too high and they have concerns over the number of homeruns that he allowed. Plus, they didn't want a recurrence of last season when Kevin Millwood accepted arbitration and pushed the Phillies budget over it's expected limit.

Speaking of Millwood, he was not offered arbitration. Todd Jones and Roberto Hernandez were also not offered arbitration, but none of those decisions were unexpected. Millwood may have trouble finding the kind of contract that his agent Scott Boras hopes to find and it wouldn't have been out of the question that he would have accepted arbitration. Jones and Hernandez were both goners and weren't expected to be offered arbitration.

Perhaps the biggest news of the day was that the Phillies signed Rheal Cormier to a two-year deal. Cormier had toyed with the idea of retiring, but decided to return for not just one season, but for two. The Phillies had hoped to re-sign Cormier, but had contingency plans in case he went elsewhere. Had the deal - worth a minimum of $5.25 million - not been signed, the Phillies would have offered Cormier arbitration. Cormier will make $2.25 million in 2005 and another $2.5 million in 2006. There is an option year on the deal for $3.0 million or a $500 thousand buyout for the 2007 season.

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