Phillies Notebook

The pickings are getting slimmer and slimmer for free agents. The Phillies dug deep to find a potential piece of their bullpen puzzle in Antonio Alfonseca. Plus, the arbitration figures are out.

Antonio Alfonseca has had a lot of success in the majors. Now though, his career is more on the down side, but he's still good enough for the Phillies - possibly.

The Phillies and Alfonseca agreed on a minor league deal, pending a physical. Alfonseca will undergo the physical after his team's season ends in the Dominican Republic. Alfonseca has pitched well in the Dominican League after posting a 5.63 ERA with the Texas Rangers in 19 games last season. Alfonseca could become the setup man for Tom Gordon and provide insurance should anything happen to Gordon.

Ryan Madson could play a part in the back end of the Phillies' bullpen as well and he's now officially signed. The Phillies avoided arbitration with Madson, signing him to a one-year, $1.1 million deal.

The Phillies also avoided arbitration with outfielder Aaron Rowand, who agreed to a one-year deal for a guaranteed $4.35 million. It's an interesting deal since Rowand's last contract called for him to get a player option of $3.25 million or a team option of $5 million for 2007. Both sides decided to head toward arbitration rather than exercise the options on the contract and Rowand came out of that decision in pretty good shape.

Arbitration Update

Players and teams exchanged arbitration numbers Tuesday and the Phillies are far apart with second baseman Chase Utley. The two sides are $1.75 million apart, the third largest gap of all numbers exchanged.

Here's a look at the Phillies' arbitration numbers.

Chase Utley $6.25 million $4.5 million
Brett Myers $5.90 million $5.0 million
Geoff Geary $925,000 $750,000

The Phillies are hoping to sign Chase Utley to a long-term deal and hope to be able to do that before his arbitration hearing. They will likely have at least a conversation or two with Ryan Howard about a long-term deal, although that's not likely. Howard isn't eligible for arbitration and the Phillies can basically set his salary at whatever they want it to be for 2007. Even so, Howard is likely to get a hefty raise and will possibly make over $1 million this upcoming season.

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