The PBN Notebook: Wagner Impressed

Both sides reported good news in the discussions between the Phillies and closer Billy Wagner on Wednesday. The meeting should result in a new offer for Wagner early next week. Plus, news on Jim Thome, another pitcher who doesn't like Citizens Bank Park and notes from around the organization all in the latest PBN Notebook.

A Phillies' contingent including GM Pat Gillick, Assistant GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. and manager Charlie Manuel travelled to Virginia to meet with closer Billy Wagner and his agent Bean Stringfellow on Wednesday.

The talks were described as productive and the Phillies are expected to put a new offer on the table for Wagner by early next week. The offer could be delivered to Stringfellow while Wagner is touring New York City being courted by the Mets.

Previously, the Phillies had offered Wagner a guaranteed two-year deal with a club option for a third season. It's thought that their next offer will guarantee all three years and be valued at approximately $27 million. The Mets have been rumored to be considering guaranteeing four years, which Wagner has admitted would be difficult to turn down.

One of Wagner's key concerns - how Gillick will shape the Phillies - appears to have been lessened. Wagner "got a good vibe" from the new GM, who talked of his plan for making the Phillies successful not just now, but for years to come.

Thome Rehabbing In Florida

Jim Thome has been spotted in Clearwater, working out at the Phillies' complex. Thome, who is recovering from back and elbow injuries that cost him most of last season.

Trainer Jeff Cooper had reported that Thome was in the best shape that he had ever seen him and that there didn't appear to be any lingering effects from his ailments of last season.

There was no immediate word on how long Thome would be in Clearwater or exactly what type of rehab program he was using.

Javy Says No To Philly

The Phillies have long held an interest in acquiring Javier Vazquez. It seemed like a dream come true when Vazquez requested a trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks. News is though that Vazquez doesn't hold the Phillies in the same regard that they hold him and that he has put the Phillies on a list of six teams that he won't play for.

Vazquez, who was traded in the middle of a long-term contract and has the right to demand a trade, wants to return to the East Coast to be closer to his family, but not if it means coming to Philadelphia.

Falling Stars?

Jake Blalock, Carlos Carrasco and Scott Mitchinson were all dropped from the Baseball America list of the Phillies Top Ten Prospects. Ryan Howard and Gavin Floyd were no longer eligible for the list, since they had gone over appearance limits to qualify as a rookie.

Blalock was probably the biggest surprise of the three. Will Kimmey of BA believes that Blalock could still show 25 homerun potential, but that he'll move slowly through the system. The Phillies will likely start Blalock at AA Reading in 2006 after his 11-65-.279 season at Clearwater.

Mitchinson may have been a little over-hyped after his 2004 season when he debuted so strongly in the Gulf Coast League. It was Mitchinson who walked just one hitter in 61 2/3 innings in the GCL in '04 and quickly caught the eye of the Phillies front office and fans alike. His 2005 numbers were much more down to Earth and it was almost a guarantee that his rankings would need an adjustment.

Coming onto the Baseball America list were Jason Jaramillo, Tim Moss, Welinson Baez, Mike Costanzo and Brad Harman. BA seems to especially like Baez and Harman, who are part of what has quickly become a pretty deep group of middle infield prospects. Considering that the Phillies are already pretty young up the middle, some of those middle infielders could wind up elsewhere as trade bait.

Baez - ranked fifth - was the highest ranked of the newcomers to the list. Kimmey refers to Baez as "one of my favorite Phillies prospects because of his all around compliment of tools." will present our ranking of the Top 50 Phillies Prospects starting on January 10th.

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