Lack of Moves Could Benefit Floyd

Last season, injuries provided Gavin Floyd with a chance to crack the Phillies rotation. This spring, it looks like the rotation is set, but you always have to keep injuries and slumps in mind, meaning that Gavin Floyd could be back in the majors literally at any time.

The Phillies haven't exactly thrilled their fan base with their offseason moves. The minor tweaks to their 86-win team of 2004 are considered static compared to those of division rivals New York and Atlanta.

One of the few places the Phillies have a new face is in the starting rotation. Jon Lieber was signed away from the Yankees, while Eric Milton and Kevin Millwood were permitted to walk.

Gavin Floyd was hoping to be the other new face in the rotation. Injuries gave the 21-year-old right-hander an opportunity to show what he could do last September, and he responded by going 2-0 with a 3.49 ERA in six games, four of them starts.

However, the Phillies re-signed midseason acquisition Cory Lidle to a two-year contract. He joins Lieber, Randy Wolf, Vicente Padilla and Brett Myers in the rotation, which leaves Floyd seemingly destined for a second straight season as AAA Scranton-Wilkes-Barre's ace.

General manager Ed Wade would like to believe that the first five arms on the depth chart will remain there throughout the season. But last season's disabled list carousel is fresh in Wade's mind, so he wants Floyd to compete in camp as if he has chance at a big-league job.

"I think he has got to come in and do everything he can to win a job in the rotation," Wade said. "His chances were enhanced by the fact that he was in the big leagues last year."

"Even though we sit here thinking that he has the ability to be in the rotation, right now we have five starters without including Gavin in the mix. Hopefully, we'll have to make a tough decision at the end."

News from Philly:

  • The Phillies signed veteran utility player Jose Offerman to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.
  • Edwin Moreno was added to the Phillies roster when they grabbed him on a waiver claim from the Rangers. The 24-year-old received positive reviews from Ruben Amaro Sr., who is managing him in Venezuela this winter. Moreno's addition fills out the Phils' 40-man roster.
  • Randy Wolf was feeling spry enough to walk the streets of Las Vegas last weekend at Cory Lidle's charity poker tournament at the Hard Rock Hotel. Good news, considering that Wolf underwent offseason foot surgery.
  • The Phillies and Jimmy Rollins were unable to iron out a multi-year deal before the filing of arbitration numbers. However, the two sides did agree to a one-year, $3.85 million deal for 2005 that includes performance incentives. Rollins (.289, 119 runs, 14 HRs, 73 RBIs, 30 SBs in 2004) has one more year of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent following the 2006 season.
  • The Phillies avoided arbitration with Vicente Padilla, signing him to a one-year, $3.2 million deal with incentives. Padilla went 7-7 with a 4.53 ERA in 20 starts last season. He missed two months with a strained triceps.
  • Placido Polanco avoided arbitration, signing a one-year, $4.6 million contract with incentives. Polanco hit .298 with 17 homers and 55 RBI as the starting second baseman last season, but he's expected to see reduced time now that the team has bestowed Chase Utley with the starting job at second.
  • Jason Michaels didn't come to an agreement with the Phillies. The Phillies turned in an offer of $650,000 to Michaels, while Michaels countered with a $925,000 request.
The Numbers Game: 96 million - Number of dollars at which the Phillies payroll stands, exceeding 2004's record total of $93 million.

He said what? "I'm glad we're making progress on the issue. It's a shame we allowed ourselves to get another black eye." - general manager Ed Wade, on the toughened rules banning steroid use.

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