The deadline for offering players contracts giveth and taketh away.
The Phillies decided against tendering righthanded reliever Clay Condrey before midnight on Saturday, making a pitcher who was a quiet cog in their bullpen a free agent; Chad Durbin was offered a contract, as were Joe Blanton, Shane Victorino and Carlos Ruiz. All will be eligible for arbitration.
At the same time, 38 other players hit the market as well. So the Phillies' baseball people will have another group of names to consider.
Among the relief pitchers newly on the market are Mike MacDougal, who pitched last season for the Washington Nationals, Matt Capps (Pirates), Seth McClung (Brewers), Jose Arrendondo (Angels), Brian Bass (Orioles), Tim Redding (Mets) and Phil Dumatrait (Pirates).
MacDougal, 32, is an intriguing name. He signed a minor league contract with Washington last year and went on to become the team's closer, converting 20 of 21 save opportunities and posting a 3.60 earned run average.
But he had control problems (31 walks in 54 1/3 innings), is coming off hip surgery and was expected to command a salary in the $3 million range. Washington will continue to negotiate with him, but has already acquired Brian Bruney from the Yankees as a hedge.
Capps, 26, is another interesting thought. In 2008 he led the Bucs' staff with 21 saves (in 26 tries) and had a 3.02 earned run average. Last year, however, he had a 5.80 ERA despite earning 27 saves.
His struggles, plus the fact that he would have gotten a raise from his $2.35 million salary, convinced the Pirates to cut the cord.
McClung, 28, had a 4.94 ERA for Milwaukee and frequently pitched more than one inning, a trait the Phillies have expressed an interest in. Redding, 31, pitched both in relief and out of the rotation, another ability the Phils place some value on.
Indications are that the Phillies were interested in keeping Condrey, 34, but only at their price. He made $650,000 in 2009 while going 6-2, 3.00. He also went on the disabled list twice with an oblique strain.
It's not uncommon for players like Condrey to be offered the choice between taking the team's offer or becoming a free agent.