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Phillies rumors week of February 3 - 8
by Scott Butler 2/9/14

In our regular feature on Phils Baseball, here are the rumors from the past week from the guys at MLB Trade Rumors. They have a page devoted just to Phillies rumors (this is not a paid plug, honest) and all we do is put everything from the past week in one post.

Here are the latest Phillies rumors from the week of February 3-8:

February 8

--There isn't much optimism about the Phillies, but their roster has the talent to contend if it can stay healthy, Bob Ford of the Inquirer writes. Their season will turn on Ryan Howard,Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, all core players in their thirties. "I don't believe all of a sudden that these guys are so old that they've lost all of their bat speed, their quickness, and their abilities," says GM Ruben Amaro Jr. Here's more on the Phils:

Amaro will be the Phillies employee who faces the heaviest scrutiny this spring, but after that is Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalezwrites Matt Gelb of the Inquirer. "If I knew more what Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez was, I would feel better about it," says Amaro, referring to the Phillies' starting pitching. "We think he has the potential to be that guy. It's not a slam dunk. We haven't seen him pitch. In some ways, we have to get lucky on that one." Gonzalez and the Phillies initially agreed on a deal worth a minimum of $48MM, but the team ended up signing him for $12MM instead after concerns about Gonzalez's elbow scuttled the original deal.

February 7

--Reliever Ryan Madson hit 93 mph on the radar gun during an audition today in front of 15 clubs, reports Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). Multiple teams have expressed interest in the one-time relief ace, who is working back after missing each of the last two seasons due to elbow issues. Madson's former club, the Phillies, are one of the teams that planned to watch Madson, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reported earlier today.

--The market for A.J. Burnett could be taking further shape, as Friday reports have indicated that a pair of previously listed suitors aren't likely landing spots. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com writes that the Phillies aren't likely to add Burnett at this point in the offseason, and Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that things "don't look good" for the Orioles either.

Salisbury spoke with Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and was told the following:

February 6

--Utilityman Brian Bixler has agreed to a minor league deal with the PhilliestweetsChris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The 31-year-old has seen time at the MLB level with the Pirates, Nationals, and Astros, but spent last season with the Mets' Triple-A affiliate. His career big league line is a modest .189/.249/.269 in 356 plate appearances, and he slashed .259/.323/.372 in 345 plate appearances in the upper minors last year. Bixler's calling card is versatility: he has played every field position but pitcher and catcher at the MLB level, and in fact appeared everywhere but the battery and at first during his 2013 stint at Las Vegas.

February 3

--Unless the Phillies elect to utilize Marlon Byrd as the backup center fielder, Darin Ruf does not appear to have a clear shot at a roster spot, writes Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Ruf could still be optioned down to start the year, but he is 27 years old and is not in need of seasoning. Though limited defensively, Ruf carries a .838 career OPS through 330 MLB plate appearances.

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