12/02/08 1:47 AM EST
Phillies decline to make offers to four
Arbitration not extended to Moyer, Burrell, Gordon or Seanez
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
While protecting Draft picks is incentive for teams to offer arbitration, the danger of a player accepting can make it not worth the risk. In recent years, the Phillies have been burned in this manner by Kevin Millwood and Placido Polanco.Burrell is coming off a season in which he earned $14 million, while hitting 33 homers and driving in 86 runs. Given the state of the economy, Burrell might not have received anything close to that annual salary and may have accepted the offer, essentially making him a signed player and guaranteeing himself a raise. Ditto for Moyer, who earned $8.5 million after incentives, and went 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 33 starts for Philadelphia. While the organization has made no secret of its desire to keep the 46-year-old -- especially with a one-year deal -- perhaps the team just wanted to continue talks on its own terms. Discussions with Moyer have grown cold in recent weeks, even as the sides appeared close and the Phillies have prioritized bringing back the lefty. Moyer is believed to be seeking a multiyear deal, but his earning potential for 2009 likely prompted Philadelphia's decision. Though the Phillies could likely budget for the players, the uncertainty was likely a factor as it could influence the team's pursuit of other free agents. It may now affect the chase for pitchers A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe and outfielder Raul Ibanez, because all three were offered arbitration by their respective teams. Because the Phillies won't receive compensation if they lose one of their own free agents, they may be reluctant to sign a player who would cost them their own first-round Draft pick. Rocco Baldelli and Juan Rivera are two potential fits who can be signed without losing a Draft pick.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.