Scott Eyre Retires

Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports the sad news:

Eyre, 37, will not be playing baseball this summer. He said in a telephone interview Thursday with MLB.com that he is retiring after 13 seasons in the Majors. He finished his career 28-30 with a 4.23 ERA in 617 appearances with the Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs and Phillies.

I was rooting for the Phillies to reach an agreement with him considering he fit their needs for a LOOGY specifically. Instead, we’ll reflect on the 1.3 great seasons Eyre spent in a Phillies uniform, and on a 13-year career that really took off in 2005.

For the Phillies, Eyre put up a 1.88 ERA in 14 innings in 2008 and 1.50 in 30 innings last year. Over his career, he has held lefties to an OPS nearly 100 points lower than that of righties. Aside from his pitching prowess, Eyre appeared to be a great teammate well. He gushed about the Phillies’ clubhouse many times on his blog and there’s no doubt he was a factor in that.

Fortunately for Eyre, he gets to retire with a World Series ring earned in ’08 with the Phils. He came so close in ’02 with the San Francisco Giants when they lost to the Anaheim Angels in seven games.

Zolecki has Eyre’s upcoming post-baseball plans:

He is loading the family into an RV and heading West.

“We’re just going to drive through Utah, Oregon, Yosemite, Idaho,” Eyre said. “We don’t have anything planned. It’s my wife, my two kids and four dogs in an RV.”

Happy trails!

Roster Management

Aside from Cliff Lee, it seems that some of the Phillies from 2009 we grew to love have switched addresses in the stealth of night. If you’re like me, you like to keep tabs on the players even after they turn in their red pinstriped uniform. Here’s a list of the Phillies in new homes:

Traded

  • LHP Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners
  • Prospects RHP Kyle Drabek, OF Michael Taylor, and C Travis D’Arnaud to the Toronto Blue Jays (Taylor was then traded by the Jays to the Oakland Athletics for 3B Brett Wallace)

Signed as Free Agents

  • IF Eric Bruntlett to the Washington Nationals: Minor League contract
  • RHP Clay Condrey to the Minnesota Twins
  • C Chris Coste to the New York Mets: one year, $0.65M
  • 3B Pedro Feliz to the Houston Astros: one year, $4.5M
  • RHP Rodrigo Lopez to the Arizona Diamondbacks: Minor League contract
  • LHP Jack Taschner to the Pittsburgh Pirates: Minor League contract

Non-Roster Invitees

  • C Paul Hoover
  • IF Andy Tracy

Still Free Agents

  • C Paul Bako
  • 1B/DH/PH Matt Stairs
  • IF Miguel Cairo
  • RHP Chan Ho Park
  • RHP Brett Myers
  • LHP Scott Eyre
  • RHP Tyler Walker
  • RHP Pedro Martinez

And the new guys… well, at least most of them are new anyway.

Traded

  • RHP Roy Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays (signed to three-year, $60M extension with $20M 2014 option)
  • Prospects RHP Phillippe Aumont, OF Tyson Gillies, and RHP Juan (J.C.) Ramirez from the Seattle Mariners

Re-Signed

  • RHP Chad Durbin: one year, $1.635M

Arbitration Eligible

  • RHP Joe Blanton
  • C Carlos Ruiz
  • OF Shane Victorino

Signed as Free Agents

  • RHP Danys Baez: two years, $5.25M (2008 team: Baltimore Orioles)
  • 1B/OF Tagg Bozied: Minor League contract (2008 organization: Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • IF Juan Castro: one year, $0.75M with 2011 club option (2008 team: Los Angeles Dodgers)
  • IF/PH Ross Gload: two years, $2.6M (2008 team: Florida Marlins)
  • 3B Placido Polanco: three years, $18M plus 2013 mutual option (2008 team: Detroit Tigers)
  • C Brian Schneider: two years, $2.75M (2008 team: New York Mets)
  • RHP Ryan Vogelsong: Minor League contract

Rule 5 Draft

  • RHP David Herndon

Non-Roster Invitees

  • OF Chris Duffy
  • IF Cody Ransom
  • IF Wilson Valdez
  • LHP Bill White
  • OF Dewayne Wise

The Phillies are still looking to add a #5 starter and at least one reliever before the regular season starts. GM Ruben Amaro stated that veteran starter Jamie Moyer would be unlikely to go at the start of the regular season, so the Phillies are searching for a suitable fill-in. Along with the Moyer announcement, Amaro also said that it would be unlikely that left-hander Scott Eyre and right-hander Chan Ho Park pitch for the Phillies in 2010. Southpaw J.C. Romero and righty closer Brad Lidge, like Moyer, may not be ready for the start of the regular season either.

At the moment, the Phillies can simply patch those minor holes internally. Right-handed sinkerballer Kyle Kendrick is the favorite to usurp Moyer’s spot in the rotation at the moment, and Antonio Bastardo, Scott Mathieson, and Sergio Escalona could take the open seats in the bullpen. Of course, with such youth comes great uncertainty and the Phillies certainly would like to reduce the amount of question marks in a bullpen plagued by them throughout the 2009 season.

David Murphy Tweeted, “Phils have touched base with agents for [Chien-Ming] Wang and [Ben] Sheets”. Either would be a risky, yet potentially rewarding signing assuming the type of incentive-laden contract that oft-injured veteran pitchers usually get. Wang is recovering from shoulder surgery and Sheets had a torn flexor tendon in his throwing elbow.

Pedro Martinez is still a free agent. However, Martinez is looking for more money than the Phillies have available and there is still no reason to assume that he can still handle making 30-plus starts in a season.

Aside from the aforementioned, Drew Carpenter and recent free agent signee Ryan Vogelsong will at least get an audition for the #5 spot. And aside from those two, the Phillies’ last resort will be the dregs of the free agent pool where the likes of Tim Redding, Eric Milton, and Livan Hernandez reside.

As for relievers, of the thirteen free agent lefties still available (excluding Eyre), only three of them are under the age of 35: Horacio Ramirez (30), Will Ohman (31), and Joe Beimel (32). Only Beimel, of the thirteen lefties, is coming off of any kind of a decent 2009 — he 3.58 ERA in over 55 innings between the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies. He’s had a sub-4 ERA in each of the past four seasons since he’s become an everyday reliever.

Per FanGraphs, Beimel has averaged 0.5 WAR per season since 2006, which is worth about $2.2M in free agent dollars, which matches up with his $2M salary in each of the past two seasons. Despite the decent investment it appears to be, that may be cutting it much too close to the Phillies’ self-imposed $140M payroll limit.

The results of the upcoming arbitration hearings for Joe Blanton, Carlos Ruiz, and Shane Victorino will tell us exactly how flexible the Phillies can be in rounding out the last few spots on the roster. Don’t worry if the Phillies decide to resort to internal options, as these are not roster spots crucial to the team’s success.