Phillies Free Agents Slipping Away

Re-signing Pat Burrell was always a long shot, but Jamie Moyer seemed like a sure bet. Now, both appear to have one foot out of Philadelphia and it's looking less and less likely that they'll take a step back to town.

As the Phillies World Series parade was winding down, it was almost assumed that the parade would wind up with Jamie Moyer stepping into the Phillies offices to sign a deal for 2009 and possibly for 2010 as well. That didn't happen.

That same day, Pat Burrell was walking his dog Elvis on the red carpet at Citizens Bank Park, with hopes that both would be staying in Philadelphia. It was a long shot, but with the euphoria that was surrounding Philadelphia that day, anything seemed possible.

Now, both Moyer and Burrell are openly looking elsewhere and the Phillies are openly looking for their replacements.

So, what went wrong?

Ironically, it was always thought that the issue with re-signing Moyer would be the length of the contract. Instead, it turned out to be money. The Phillies quickly agreed to the two years that Moyer wanted, but came up short on the financial end. If the reports are true, the Phillies offered a total of $14 million and Moyer is reportedly seeking $18 million for a two-year deal.

Burrell is likely to have a long wait. The outfield market is nowhere near being set and likely won't be for a while. Manny Ramirez will have to sign and Mark Teixeira may also help to set the market for position players. As the market appears now, had the Phillies offered Burrell arbitration, he would have likely been smart to take it. Teams like the Angels and Rays are very interested in Burrell, but will wait to see how the market plays out.

The top potential replacements for Burrell figure to be Raul Ibanez, Mark DeRosa and Juan Rivera. DeRosa's name came up Tuesday at the Winter Meetings in trade discussions with the Cubs. Reports are that Ibanez has the Phillies as his first choice, so something could get done there.

Lesser players such as So Taguchi, Tom Gordon and Rudy Seanez are out there as well. There hasn't been much interest in Seanez or Gordon and there have been varying reports about interest in Taguchi. The Astros were reportedly interested in Taguchi, but backed off of that interest today.

Another former Phillies player - at least at the minor league level - showed up in Las Vegas Tuesday looking for work. Kris Benson, who pitched most of the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley after recovering from Tommy John surgery. Benson was released late in the season and hasn't caught on anywhere... yet. For their part, the Phillies told Benson that they wouldn't be interested in re-signing him, even on a minor league deal.

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