What We're Hearing...

One of the more frequently asked questions surrounding the Phillies these days is why hasn't Jamie Moyer re-signed yet? It was expected that he would sign quickly after the World Series, but here we are headed into December and he's still not signed. We've got the inside scoop on Moyer and more in this edition of What We're Hearing...

Almost immediately after the World Series, it was expected that Jamie Moyer would re-sign with the Phillies. It's a no-brainer. He's from the Philadelphia area, grew up a Phillies fan and he played a big part on their 2008 World Series team. So, why hasn't Moyer signed?

The main reason is length of contract. Moyer is standing firm on wanting at least two years on a deal and possibly even a third. For their part, the Phillies want to stay at one year. While the seemingly obvious solution would be an option year, let's face it, that favors the Phillies. After all, they could simply decline the option, leaving Moyer with basically the one-year deal that the Phillies wanted. Perhaps a mutual option will be the solution, but for now, both sides are standing firm and little progress has been made.

Whether it's posturing to force Moyer's hand or sincere interest either as an addition to Moyer or as a Plan B, the Phillies have contacted a couple of free agents about coming to Philadelphia. A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe are both in the Phillies sites, although both would figure to be out of the Phillies price range and the contact hasn't gone anywhere near developing into an official offer. Both are Type-A free agents, meaning that the Phillies would sacrifice their first round draft pick if they were to sign either of them.

The Phillies have also contacted Randy Wolf, Brad Penny and Paul Byrd. Those names would appear to be more on the level of Jamie Moyer in status. It remains to be seen if the Phillies would pursue both one of the Type-A free agents and either re-sign Moyer or one of the lower tier starters.

As for CC Sabathia, the Phillies have not made any sincere contact, but may be waiting to see which way the market heads.

Another Phillies free agent, Pat Burrell, is also not re-signed. As it stands now, the market for Burrell likely won't peek until after Manny Ramirez signs somewhere. The Winter Meetings begin December 8 in Las Vegas and it's possible that Ramirez will either sign during the meetings or come much closer to deciding on where he'll wind up. That's when the market for Burrell could heat up. The Phillies may also make a more concerted effort to re-sign Burrell as the market starts to set itself. As with Moyer, the issue could turn out to be more about the length of the contract and less about the money.

The last day for teams to offer arbitration to their free agents is Monday (December 1). The Phillies are likely to offer arbitration to both Moyer and Burrell. If for some reason they don't, both players would become much more valuable to other teams who then would not have to give up any compensation for signing either player.

As for other names for the Phillies to consider, Raul Ibanez has become a popular name. Actually, there are a number of teams pursuing Ibanez, but he would be a questionable pickup for the Phillies, who don't need another left-handed bat for their already lefty-laden lineup. Ibanez is also a Type-A free agent, requiring compensation if the Mariners offer him arbitration.

Other players that have been contacted by the Phillies include Russ Springer and Doug Brocail, Jerry Hairston Jr., Rocco Baldelli and Nick Punto. Of those players, Baldelli appears to be the most highly sought by the Phillies as he could fit in well for an outfield platoon situation. Hairston and Punto could also fit well with the Phillies, especially with the expected loss of Chase Utley for the early part of the season. Another player that the Phillies have contacted is third baseman Joe Crede. Their theory is that perhaps the third baseman would benefit from a change in scenery and coaching and could become a part of their third base scenario for 2009.

On the trade front, the Phillies have inquired about Jermaine Dye, but have been turned off by the White Sox requests for what they would want in a deal. Besides the fact that the White Sox are asking for at least a couple of top prospects in exchange for Dye, the Phillies are also on his list of teams that he submitted to the Sox to comply with his no-trade clause. In other words, the Phillies would have to do some fast talking and possibly come up with some extra bucks if they wanted to acquire Dye from Chicago.



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