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Phillies rumors week of November 10
by Scott Butler 11/17/13

Did you know a new Phillies rumor is generated every 3 seconds during the offseason? Yeah, I totally made that up, but it probably isn't that far off.

That is why I love MLB Trade Rumors because they track all rumors and have a page devoted just to Phillies rumors (I swear I'm not making a dime for this plug!). Last week I decided to go a step further and put all of their Phillies rumors from the past week in one page. Most of you seemed to like the idea (you lazy bastards), so I am making it a regular feature (at least during the hot stove period). If you want the rumors in real time, make sure to visit MLB Trade Rumors Phillies page.

Here are the latest Phillies rumors from the week of November 10:

November 16

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that the$125MM deal signed with Ryan Howard in 2010 is making the Phillies cautious this winter.  GM Ruben Amaro has spent on a big-ticket item in each of the last three seasons but he does not sound like a man willing to splurge this winter.  With that said, Gelb notes that Amaro's public face tends to differ from his true intentions.

Jordan Hall of CSNPhilly.com sizes up Paul Maholm and Jason Vargas as possible targets for the Phillies.

November 15

The Phillies are willing to give a setup man a three-year contract, Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan reports (via Twitter).  The club is looking hard for setup help and Edward Mujica is one of the Phillies' targets.  Mujica worked in middle relief before stepping up as the Cardinals' closer for most of 2013.  MLBTR's Steve Adams projected Mujica would find a three-year, $21MM deal in free agency but you'd think that number would be a bit less in this case since the Phils wouldn't be using him as a closer.  Relievers Joaquin Benoit and Joe Smith have also been linked to the Phillies this winter.

"A Phillies-[Carlos] Ruiz reunion still seems likely," MLB.com's Todd Zolecki writes.  Zolecki wonders if it was the Phillies who made Ruiz the two-year, $20MM offer the catcher reportedly has on the table.  The Phils are known to have put early offers out to several free agents already and GM Ruben Amaro recently made a point of saying that the team wouldn't wait long for Ruiz to decide.

Amaro may be on the hot seat if the team disappoints again but Amaro tells Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he isn't putting a priority on short-term success to save his job at the expense of the team's future.  "My job, our job, is to be contenders every year....That's why young players are important to us.  That's why keeping that depth is important to us," Amaro said. 

Marlon Byrd jumped when the Phillies made him a two-year, $16MM offer, the outfielder told reporters (including CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury).  “I didn’t want to wait around,” Byrd said. “The Phillies were aggressive with an amazing offer. I didn’t want to wait to see how much money I could get. I have friends on that team, my wife (Andrea) is from there. It’s definitely a blessing."

Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer isn't a fan of the Byrd signing, believing that the Phillies made too big a commitment to a player with a PED suspension on his record and whose career seemed virtually over less than a year ago.

November 13

The Phillies are willing to listen on Domonic Brown, but a rumored Brown-for-Jose Bautista swap isn't happening, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.

Jeff Wilpon said the Mets are close to making some sort of transaction earlier today, but GM Sandy Alderson seemed genuinely surprised when that was relayed to him by reporters, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro isn't eager to move young talent, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  "Everybody is looking for the same thing, and that's young controllable players. There is no reason for us to be moving any of them," the GM said.

The Phillies might be willing to trade outfielder Domonic BrownKen Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Such a move would create an opportunity for them to add another free agent outfielder to pair with Marlon Byrd. Rosenthal cites Brown's poor defense as one reason the Phillies might want to deal him. Some of the available free agents, like Nelson Cruz and Carlos Beltran, aren't much better defensively, but at least dealing Brown might help the Phillies upgrade at other positions. The Phillies deny that they are interested in dealing Brown, Rosenthal notes.

November 12

The Phillies remain in the market for starting pitching and relief help after signing Marlon Byrd earlier today, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.  Starter Bronson Arroyo and reliever Joe Smith are two pitchers that the Phils have discussed.  Meanwhile, they might not be quite done in the outfield and they still have their eye on Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos.

Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr. has been considered a non-tender candidate in many circles, but even after signing Marlon Byrd, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. seems to be leaning toward retaining him.  "He's not a issue for me.  We haven't made any final decisions. But I'd view him as a tender," Amaro said today of Mayberry, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Mayberry is eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career, having amassed three years and 95 days of big league service time.

Mayberry, 30 in December, hit .227/.286/.391 in 384 plate appearances this year.  A right-handed hitter, he has continually shown power against southpaws.  Matt Swartz projects him at a $1.7MM salary for 2014.  The Phillies' arbitration class also includes Kyle Kendrick,Antonio BastardoBen Revere, and Kevin Frandsen.

The Phillies' signing of outfielder Marlon Byrd to a two-year, $16MM contract wasn't the best idea, ESPN's Keith Law writes (Insider-only). Law cites Byrd's age, PED history and high 2013 batting average on balls in play as potential red flags, and suggests that Byrd might not even be a starting-caliber player over the length of the contract. "Even if you believe that Byrd's power increase is sustainable, as he's made some changes to his swing, paying him as if he'll be more than a .270/.315/.450 guy is irrationally exuberant -- and even that assumes his legs will stay healthy enough for him to get to 20-odd homers each year," Law says. Here are more notes on the Byrd signing.

Pirates GM Neal Huntington, who acquired Byrd in an August trade with the Mets, wasn't surprised by Byrd's contract, the Inquirer's Matt Gelb writes (on Sulia). "As you look at that outfield group, if you don't want to give up your first-round pick, Marlon Byrd is arguably the best available outfield bat," says Huntington. "He was one of the better players on the market."

Mets GM Sandy Alderson wasn't surprised by Byrd's contract, either, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports. "Had you asked me the question three or four months ago, I might have been surprised. But not in light of what's happened since the end of the season," Alderson says. "There haven't been that many signings, but this one is consistent with the others." The Mets did not have serious discussions with Byrd about returning, Alderson says.

Without mentioning Byrd's name, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. indicated that the Phillies' primary reason for agreeing to terms with Byrd was the lack of power in their outfield,CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury writes. "There’s not a lot of power out there. It’s pretty simple," said Amaro. "It’s difficult to develop and it’s difficult to hold on to. Power is an issue and if our club can add some, that would be great."

November 11

The Phillies intend to avoid more expensive free agents like Jacoby EllsburyShin-Soo Choo and Brian McCann in favor of "mid-level" free agents, CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury reports.  The Phillies are wary of how much it would cost to sign Nelson CruzCarlos Beltran or Curtis Granderson even though they like all three players.

Also from Salisbury, the Phillies have discussed signing Franklin GutierrezMarlon ByrdJoaquin BenoitJoe Smith and Bronson Arroyo.

GM Ruben Amaro told reporters (including Salisbury) that the team could wait to see what kind of a market there is for Roy Halladay's services before deciding whether or not to pursue the former Cy Young Award winner.  “We’re keeping our eyes open on him. We’re not sure how the market is going to develop for him. But we haven’t ruled out bringing him back," Amaro said.

The Phillies have "long-standing interest" in Mike Morse and see Morse as "a potential Jayson Werth-like late bloomer," CSNPhilly.com's Corey Seidman writes.  Despite this interest, Morse could just be a backup plan for the Phillies if they can't sign a more higher-profile hitter.

Carlos Ruiz could make a decision about his next contract soon, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (Twitter link).  We heard earlier this week that the Phillies wanted a quick decision from Ruiz so they could figure out their catching situation.

If Ruiz doesn't re-sign, Morosi tweets that John Buck could be a more realistic backup plan for the Phillies than A.J. Pierzynski.  Not only would Buck be cheaper, Philadelphia is in need of right-handed bats.

Trading Domonic Brown and bringing back Ryan Madson are two of the topics addressed by MLB.com's Todd Zolecki as part of a Phillies-centric reader mailbag.

 

November 10

One or both of Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp could be dealt this offseason thanks to theDodgers' surplus.  The MetsPhilliesRed SoxYankeesTigers, and Blue Jays are among the clubs that could have interest.

The Phillies are among the clubs that have shown interest in Bronson Arroyo, but no offer has been made just yet.  The Giants and Twins have also been reported to have interest in the durable veteran, but none of the interested teams have put an offer on the table just yet.

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com looks at outfield bench bats that the Phillies might target this winter.  Options include Rajai Davis and Chris Young.  Young is more accomplished and sound defensively, but he bottomed out after being traded by Arizona.

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