Raul Off To The Yanks

Phils get compensatory pick for Ibanez

By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies will get a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft because the New York Yankees signed Raul Ibanez to a contract on Monday.

Yankee Stadium on July 1, 2010

The Phillies had offered Ibanez salary arbitration last winter, with the understanding Ibanez would not accept it.

Philadelphia earlier received two draft picks as compensation when the Reds signed reliever Ryan Madson to a contract.

Howard’s recovery progressing nicely

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Ryan Howard seems to be making progress.

Ryan Howard (left) and Manny Ramirez

Howard took swings in the batting cage, fielded ground balls, and jogged lightly around the diamond on Monday at Bright House Field. He is recovering from left Achilles surgery, which is expected to cost him at least the first month of the 2012 season. The Phillies are hopeful Howard could return to action sometime in May, but time will tell.

Howard will meet with reporters to discuss his recovery on Wednesday.

“He did good,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “Really good. … We’re definitely not going to hurry him along. The trainers and the doctors, they check him out and they correspond with him every day. It’s not like we’re pushing him to get back. I think where he’s at — go ask [head athletic trainer] Scott Sheridan or [team physician Michael] Ciccotti — they’ll tell you they think he’s ahead of [schedule]. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to take him out there and run him through strenuous practice programs, right now. We want to monitor him and work him along. To say he’s going to start the season, that would be a reach. I think there’s a good chance he’s going to miss some time. How much? I don’t think it’s going to be as much as you think, but we’ll wait and see.”

Thome arrives at camp in great condition

CLEARWATER, Fla. — General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said on Sunday that Jim Thome‘s physical looked better than the one he took with the Phillies in 2003, which was the first year of his five-year, $85 million contract.

Jim Thome with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2005

Thome, staying true to character on Monday, downplayed any accolades thrown his way.

“You try to come [to] camp in good shape, sure,” Thome said. “I’m a little lighter, now. I’m excited. I’m ready.”

Thome has been asked countless times since he signed with the Phillies in November about his ability to play first base this season. His answer remains unchanged: He will not know until he actually plays. Thome is taking ground balls, but nothing can simulate playing in a game like physically playing in a game. He hopes to work into that gradually. But until Thome plays his first Grapefruit League game next month, it seems unlikely anybody will have a better idea about it.

Thome also said he isn’t sure how many at-bats he thinks he needs to stay sharp at the plate.

“That’s up to Charlie [Manuel],” Thome said. “My role is to be a bench guy, but also to be ready to go when called upon — if that’s two days a week, if that’s four days a week, whatever position he puts me in. It’s up to the player to get ready for that — it’s not about the at-bats, it’s not about home runs, it’s not about any of that. It’s about winning a World Series, and trying to be part of a team that’s been successful for quite a while.”

Worth noting

• Right-hander Jose Contreras, who is recovering from right elbow surgery, could throw off a mound on Tuesday.

• Jimmy Rollins appeared in camp in fine spirits.

• Shane Victorino, who appears on Monday’s night episode of “Hawaii Five-O,” is expected in camp on Tuesday.

Charlie Manuel

• Manuel will be supporting Special Olympics Sarasota County, when he appears at the Forum Salon from 3-6 p.m. ET on March 1 in downtown Sarasota. A $5 donation gets an autograph from Manuel.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Zo Zone. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Valdez Agrees To 1 Year, $1 Mil Contract

Valdes Agrees To 1 Year Contract

Wilson Valdez has agreed to a one-year contract with the Phillies, Senior Vice President & General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced today.

Valdez’s $930,000 contract includes award bonuses.

Valdez appeared in 99 games for the Phillies last season, batting .249 with 14 doubles, four triples, one home run and 30 RBI.  With runners in scoring position, the 33-year-old batted .370.  Defensively, Valdez made 33 starts at second base, 21 at third base and 20 at shortstop, while also earning the win in his first career relief appearance on May 25 against the Cincinnati Reds.

Right fielder Hunter Pence is the Phillies’ lone remaining player eligible for salary arbitration.

1 Year, $15 Million For Hamels

Hamels agrees to $15M deal, avoids arbitration

Phils remain interested in working out long-term contract with lefty

By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA — Consider this a placeholder for something potentially bigger.

The Phillies and Cole Hamels on Tuesday agreed to a one-year, $15 million contract, which allowed them to avoid salary arbitration. The deal also allows them to focus on a possible multiyear extension before Hamels becomes a free agent following the 2012 season.

Cole Hamels pitching a complete game shutout v...

“We have cost certainty and the player has cost certainty,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “Now we can go from there. This doesn’t preclude us from doing a long-term deal. We can negotiate with Cole from today through the end of November, and then beyond that to get a multiyear deal done. Just because we have a one-year deal in place doesn’t mean we can’t do something long term. As far as Cole beyond 2012, that’s something that’s still very much open for discussion.”

Hamels is line for a major payday, but how large remains to be seen. But think Cliff Lee more than Jered Weaver.

Weaver signed a five-year, $85 million contract extension last summer with the Los Angeles Angels, but Weaver bypassed free agency partly because he wanted to stay in Southern California and play for his hometown team. Weaver and Hamels have remarkably similar career statistics, so it is easy to think Hamels might be paid in that range: Hamels is 77-54 with a 3.39 ERA in 181 career appearances. He has a 1.141 WHIP and averages 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Weaver is 82-47 with a 3.31 ERA in 171 career appearances. He has a 1.165 WHIP and averages 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

But John Boggs, Hamels’ agent, on Tuesday called the Weaver deal a “non-starter” in negotiations.

Cole Hamels 20:52, 16 November 2007 . . Old ma...

“It would be natural to look at that as a comparison,” Boggs said. “Jered signed for his own personal reasons — and I applaud him for that — but it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to follow the same standard. Everybody is different. For Jered to sign there, it doesn’t mean that’s the template we’re going to follow.”

Lee signed a five-year, $120 million contract with the Phils in December 2010. That certainly seems to be a better measuring stick for Hamels.

“Absolutely,” Boggs said. “If you’re this close to free agency, you start to make comparables of what you have the potential of making as a free agent.”

Lee signed his deal at 32. Hamels is 28. It stands to reason Hamels will be looking for a contract worth $20 million or more per season.

But there is genuine interest on both sides to reach an agreement. Finalizing Hamels’ 2012 contract could be the first step.

“The goal was to get that out of the way,” Boggs said. “I’m sure down the road we’ll have a conversation about moving forward. We plan on keeping the discussions open. It’s a process.”

Boggs said he hasn’t talked to Hamels about setting any potential deadline regarding negotiations, which some players have done in the past.

“At the end of the day, we really don’t have any concrete game plan as far as how long we are going to plan on discussing this,” Boggs said. “That will be decided at some point shortly, or as we get into the process. But there’s definitely a desire to stay. At the end of the day, it really depends on the value we place on Cole, and hopefully it coincides with the value the Phillies place on Cole. That’s the reason you have a negotiation. From a basic desire, yes, he’d be more than happy to stay there. He knows the Phillies. He’s homegrown. That’s what we’ll attempt to do, but sometimes things don’t work out if we can’t agree on the value.”

Philadelphia on Tuesday also avoided salary arbitration with infielder Wilson Valdez, who agreed to a one-year, $930,000 contract.

Outfielder Hunter Pence is the only Phillies player still eligible for salary arbitration, although an agreement can be reached up until the moment the team and player are supposed to meet with arbiters.

Asked if he thinks they will avoid arbitration with Pence, Amaro said, “I have no idea. We stay cautiously optimistic.”

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Related articles