Saturday night's non-tender deadline ensured a busy week of free-agent activity in baseball and created several intriguing possibilities for the Phillies.
Minutes after the 11:59 p.m. deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players, the Phils announced that they had not offered arbitration to righthander Clay Condrey. That made the 34-year-old righthander a free agent and created another opening in a bullpen already seeking help.
The decision to pass on Condrey came as something of a surprise after general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.'s comments last week about Condrey and fellow righthander Chad Durbin.
"Those are guys we will probably count on," Amaro said last Monday.
In the intervening days, Amaro changed his mind about Condrey, who made $650,000 in 2009. Condrey was 6-2 while posting a 3.00 earned run average in a season shortened by an oblique (side muscle) injury. He was left off the postseason roster. Condrey had been with the Phillies since 2006 and could still re-sign with the team.
The Phillies offered arbitration to all other eligible players: Durbin, centerfielder Shane Victorino, righthander Joe Blanton, and catcher Carlos Ruiz.
Amaro was not available yesterday to comment on the Condrey decision. The GM was surely scouring the list of 266 free agents created Saturday night. A number of non-tenders from across baseball could improve the back end of his team's rotation and its late-inning relief.
Among the fresh batch of free agents are Matt Capps and Mike MacDougal, closers last year for Pittsburgh and Washington.
The New York Yankees made two-time 19-game winner Chien Ming Wang a free agent. Wang is coming off shoulder surgery, but he is a ground-ball pitcher whose style would suit homer-friendly Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies have expressed continued interest in free agent John Smoltz, who could start or relieve. Smoltz has fielded offers from several teams. His agent, Keith Grunewald, told The Inquirer last week the 42-year-old veteran would take time to consider the various roles offered to him and was in no rush to make a decision.