LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The departure of one Scott Boras client could open up the door for another, with top-prospect Domonic Brown hoping to replace departed free agent Jayson Werth in rightfield at Citizens Bank Park.
Boras spoke about both players yesterday, addressing the Phillies' failed attempt to re-sign Werth and Brown's early departure from winter ball.
The agent echoed the Phillies' public comments about Brown's brief stint playing for Escogido in the Dominican Republic last month, saying the 22-year-old outfielder was simply suffering from fatigue.
Brown, who hit .210 with a .257 on-base percentage, .355 slugging percentage and two home runs in 70 plate appearances for the Phillies last season, went 2-for-29 in nine games in the DR.
"I think he was really tired, to be honest with you," Boras said. "He played a full season, and then he was in the big leagues in September. That's the longest baseball season he's ever had. He went over there and was really, I think, physically tired. We wanted to get him in a training regimen so he has a chance to prepare for the season and get his strength back up."
Boras then addressed Brown's candidacy for the Opening Day roster in 2011. Both general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and manager Charlie Manuel have said recently that the lefthanded-hitting outfielder will get a chance to win a starting job in spring training. But Amaro also said Brown is not guaranteed a spot on the big-league roster.
"Domonic's situation is largely going to depend on Charlie evaluating him in spring training and taking a look at it," Boras said. "Usually, with those types of players, he's had enough performance in Triple A to give you a strong indication of whether or not he's ready to advance. I think they'll take a look at that in spring training. Again, we don't know the final result of the team yet either to know what kind of considerations they're going to make as to the final roster."
As for Werth, Boras said he was not surprised that the Phillies offered a deal that, in his words, was "well below" what the marketplace called for. Werth ended up signing a 7-year deal worth $126 million. The Phillies refused to go longer than 4 years.
"I'm never surprised," he said. "Philadelphia's an organization that's really well-run. They're really one of the Goliaths in the industry. They can do what they want to do, what they choose to do, economically because they're that successful. Whether or not, baseball-wise, they felt that was the right decision, you'd have to talk to Ruben about that. But, certainly, they have the ability to attract any player."
The winter meetings wrap up this morning with the Rule 5 draft, an annual swap meet in which teams can select eligible players who are not protected on other organizations' 40-man rosters (players must be protected after 4 or 5 years in an organization, depending on the age at which he signed his contract). If a team selects a player, that team must keep that player on the active roster for the entire season or offer him back to his original team. Last year, the Phillies selected righthander David Herndon, who remained in the big-league bullpen all season. Herndon will compete for a bullpen job this season, but could also start the year in the minors to continue his development.
The biggest name eligible to be selected from the Phillies is former first-round pick Joe Savery, but he is making a transition from lefthanded starter to outfielder after struggling in the former role.
Amaro estimated the Phillies' chances of selecting a player at 50/50.