It was nothing personal. Just business. The Phillies were reluctant, perhaps understandably, to guarantee 2 years to a 46-year-old pitcher.
Jamie Moyer was reluctant, perhaps understandably, to settle on a 1-year contract after going 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA for a team that won the World Series.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. completed a whirlwind week yesterday that began after the winter meetings officially wrapped up at the luxurious Bellagio last Thursday in Las Vegas.
He announced yesterday that Moyer has been re-signed for 2 years.
He confirmed a report out of South Korea that the team has agreed in principle to a contract with free-agent righthander Chan Ho Park, pending a physical, that's believed to be worth $2.5 million.
And he dropped broad hints that the long-awaited signing of free-agent outfielder Raul Ibanez finally will be made official this afternoon.
With that, most of the major issues Amaro carried into his first offseason as GM have been addressed. Most importantly, the loose ends of the pitching picture appear to have been nailed down.
Re-signing Moyer was the keystone, the move that brought it all together. With him, the Phillies can line up Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Joe Blanton and Moyer.
That leaves Park, J.A. Happ, Kyle Kendrick and Carlos Carrasco as candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation. Or, if Park goes to the bullpen, it gives manager Charlie Manuel the reliever capable of pitching multiple innings whom he's been seeking.
Moyer said in a conference call yesterday he always expected to return, while conceding things might not have worked out.
"Did I ever think I wouldn't be here? No. But that was from my side," he said. "I didn't know what the Phillies were thinking. I'm happy to become a Phillie again, knowing there was the potential that it might not work out."
The longer the negotiations went on, the more a move that once seemed to be a slam-dunk seemed to be in danger.
"There's no question [guaranteeing 2010] is a concern, and for us to go to 2 years shows one, our commitment to him, but also the fact that he's probably one of our best-conditioned athletes. His dedication to his craft is as high as anybody on our club," Amaro said.
In the end, Moyer compromised as well. There had been rumors that he was seeking $10 million per year. Instead, he'll be assured of making $13 million, with base salaries of $6.5 million in each of the next 2 years.
However, he also can make an extra $250,000 per year for 150, 160, 170, 180 and 190 innings pitched. Also, there are escalator clauses that will raise his 2010 base by $250,000 for 150 innings and 23 starts and $500,000 for 160, 170, 180 and 190 innings and 25, 27, 29 and 31 starts. Moyer has pitched at least 190 innings and made at least 31 starts in each of the last 8 years. Add it all up and, if he maxes out he'll average . . . $10 million per year.
"Based off last season, I felt like I threw consistently. Having the security of a second year pushes me and drives me," Moyer said. "[Wanting to stay] played a big part in the decision. Playing on a World Series team plays a big part, too. We have great chemistry in our clubhouse. Playing for a guy like Charlie Manuel; I really enjoy playing with Charlie. For me, it was a win-win situation."
Park, 35, isn't expected to take his physical until January, so that situation remains in limbo. For now, Amaro declined to speculate on how he'll be used.
"Our scouts really liked Park, the fact that he's versatile and durable. He's starting to get closer to the form he showed several years back. As far as his role is concerned, we can discuss that once his deal is finalized," he said.
But, somewhat surprisingly, he talked up the possibility that the 21-year-old Carrasco might have a legitimate chance to earn a spot in the rotation this spring.
"One of the beauties so far is that we've kept the depth in our pitching," Amaro said. "Happ. Kendrick. And Carrasco probably has the most upside of all those guys and he's getting very close to being ready. It will be interesting to see how that battle goes, because he's going to get an opportunity to pitch and to win a spot in our rotation.
"We were very fortunate last year. We essentially had nobody go down for health reasons. Hopefully everybody will stay healthy again, but I don't know how realistic that is. So it's important for us to have that depth, pitching depth especially."
With Moyer and Park, the Phillies have a lot more depth now than they did just a week ago. *