LAS VEGAS - Charlie Manuel spent Day 2 of the winter meetings yesterday holed up in his hotel room, battling a case of the flu.
This no doubt made Manuel feel better: Just before darkness descended on this neon-lit desert town, the Phillies' manager received a contract extension through the 2011 season.
With the matter of rewarding his World Series-winning manager complete, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. shifted his focus to building the team that Manuel will welcome to spring training in mid-February.
As of 11 tonight, a proposed multi-team deal that would send infielder/outfielder Mark DeRosa from the Chicago Cubs to the Phillies remained alive.
Amaro would not talk about specifics of the proposed deal, but he did confirm that his team was engaged in active trade talks.
"There are some deals that if a club would say yes, we'd get something done," Amaro said. "If one or two teams agree on something, we'll move on it."
Amaro was likely referring to the multi-team deal involving the Cubs, the San Diego Padres, and possibly the Baltimore Orioles. Padres pitcher Jake Peavy is the centerpiece of the deal. He would end up with the Cubs. The Phillies would help fuel the deal by sending a prospect or two to the Cubs. The Cubs would then send those players to San Diego for Peavy.
Late tonight, the fate of the deal was in the Cubs' hands. The Cubs are for sale, so there were questions about whether they could take on the $63 million that Peavy is guaranteed in the next four seasons.
Who might the Phils give up if the deal goes through? Rumblings have included lefty J.A. Happ in the deal, but some insiders have disputed that name, saying Kyle Kendrick could be included. The Phils also could include a catcher, possibly Jason Jaramillo.
Sources say that highly regarded infield prospect Jason Donald is not part of the proposed deal for DeRosa. However, an official from another team who had spoken to Phillies officials said the Phils were open to trading Donald in the right deal. The right deal could be for Minnesota outfielder Delmon Young. The Twins have a surplus of outfielders and are high on Donald.
Phillies officials arrived at the winter meetings Sunday night looking to add a leftfielder to replace Pat Burrell. In addition to DeRosa and Young, they have interest in free agent Raul Ibanez, who is also being pursued by the Mets. Interest in another free agent, Juan Rivera, seemed to wane yesterday.
DeRosa is attractive for several reasons: He bats righthanded and the Phils would like to add a righthanded bat to a left-field mix that could include Greg Dobbs, Geoff Jenkins and Matt Stairs. DeRosa can also give the Phils depth at second base as Chase Utley recovers from off-season hip surgery. Utley is expected to miss at least the first month of the season.
DeRosa, who turns 34 in February, hit .285 with 21 homers and 87 RBIs in 149 games for the Cubs last season. He played six positions, including 95 games at second base and 27 in left field. The former Penn quarterback is signed for 2009 at a reasonable $5.5 million.
While Phillies officials waited to see if the multi-team deal would come together, they continued to look for a starting pitcher. The club would like to re-sign Jamie Moyer, but negotiations have been slow.
Keeping with Amaro's promise to consider all pitching options, the Phils have investigated free-agent lefthanders Andy Pettitte and Randy Wolf. (One pitching option who is not being considered is Kris Benson. He was at the meetings talking to teams yesterday, but the Phils are not interested.)
The Phils have discussed a contract with righthanded free agent Derek Lowe, but it's difficult to imagine them meeting the 35-year-old's desire for a five-year, $80 million contract.
"We like Derek Lowe, but he's not the only one we like," Amaro said.
Amaro said he felt no pressure to make a deal in the wake of the National League East rival New York Mets' agreeing with free-agent closer Francisco Rodriguez on a three-year deal. Rodriguez saved a record 62 games for the Angels last season.
"I don't think it affects us much," Amaro said. "They had Billy Wagner for three years and we still beat them the last two years. I'm sure he'll be a fine addition to that club, but those things don't affect our manager or our players. We go play. We like those challenges."
After winning the NL East in 2007, Manuel signed an extension for 2009 with a club option for 2010. His contract calls for him to make $1.5 million in 2009. The Phils yesterday picked up his $1.7 million option for 2010 and extended his deal through 2011, when he will make $2.3 million.
"Charlie is happy and pleased and ready to win ball games," Amaro said. "That's what he told me. He's done some great things for this organization. His steadying influence and the way he goes about his business in the clubhouse are a big part of our success."