Is Jamie Moyer a goner? The two sides are still squabbling over the length of the contract, but if this deal doesn't get done, both sides should be ashamed.
So, where are the Phillies on the free agent front now that the arbitration offers have come and gone? The Phillies appeared to be in the mix for free agent outfielder Raul Ibanez, but the Mariners offered him arbitration on Monday, meaning that the Phillies would have to surrender their first round pick if they were to sign him. With that being the case, the Phillies interest has dropped considerably. It's unclear why Ibanez, who is a left-handed hitter, was of interest at all, considering the depth of left-handed hitters in the Phillies lineup. The only possible fit would have been if they were figuring on him as a platoon partner with newly acquired John Mayberry, but why lose a draft pick to sign a platoon player?
Of the pitchers that the Phillies had interest in signing, starters A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe were both offered arbitration, as expected. The Phillies still have an interest, but would have to get them at the right price and aren't likely to go five years for either pitcher, which is the bench mark for teams to put themselves into serious consideration, especially for Burnett. Perhaps a signing like Braden Looper, whose uncle now works in the Phillies front office, Brad Penny, Paul Byrd or Jon Garland is more likely. Penny has injury issues and had a bit of an attitude issue with the Dodgers late in the season, but might be worth a risk if he would accept a heavily incentive laden deal, which he might.
The Phillies want to add some more beef to their bullpen, but Type-A free agent Juan Cruz was offered arbitration. If he hadn't been offered arbitration, the Phillies would be all over him, but now, they'll wait to see what kind of deal it might take to get him signed. The Phillies also have shown interest in Russ Springer, who is also a Type-A free agent, but was not offered arbitration. Their interest in him has grown, but his price will likely grow as well, as more teams have now shown an interest.
There are some interesting infielders out there that the Phillies have made calls to and none of them would require draft pick compensation. The latest name is Mark Loretta, 37, who hit .280 with Houston last season and can play all four infield positions. Former Phillie Nick Punto is one option, as is Jerry Hairston Jr. The Phillies have contacted all three to gauge their interest and may include names like Damion Easley and Felipe Lopez to their list during the winter meetings.
On the trade front, things are pretty cool right now. The White Sox are shopping Jermaine Dye, but are still asking for pretty much in exchange. If the Phillies can get them to lower their sites, a deal could definitely get done, but for now GM Ken Williams is keeping his price tag above where the Phillies want to shop. Perhaps there will be a Winter Meetings sale and the Phillies can make some headway.
The Phillies may spend much of the Winter Meetings taking care of their own house. They'll continue to work on a deal for Moyer and will also up their efforts to get Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson and Jayson Werth signed before they head to arbitration. All three are potentially targeted for long-term deals that would keep them in Philly for at least a couple more seasons. Madson and Werth are eligible for free agency following the 2009 season, but Hamels is under team control through the 2012 season. The Phillies are also working on a deal for Ryan Howard, but aren't pursuing him quite as adamantly as they are Hamels. Howard is under team control through the 2011 season.
The negotiations with Hamels are especially interesting, since he was upset over the Phillies giving him "only" $500,000 when they renewed his deal last winter. Of course, with a change in GMs, Ruben Amaro may be able to plead his case for forgiveness to get a deal done with Hamels. Howard is also interesting, since the two sides haven't necessarily been happy with each other since back in the days when Jim Thome ruled first base for the Phillies.