WITH LITTLE depth and numerous holes on their roster, the Phillies decided to tender contracts to all of their arbitration-eligible players before last night's deadline.
Pitchers Kyle Kendrick and Antonio Bastardo were tendered contracts, as were outfielders Ben Revere and John Mayberry Jr. Kevin Frandsen also was arbitration-eligible, but the Phillies and the veteran infielder agreed on a 1-year, $900,000 deal.
All major league teams had until midnight to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Players not tendered contracts became free agents.
Coming off their first losing season in 11 years, the Phillies enter the winter with plenty of work to do with little depth on the pitching staff and in the outfield.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. signed free-agent outfielder Marlon Byrd last month. But the 40-man roster has only two players outfitted for centerfield: Revere and Mayberry.
After signing Byrd, Amaro said he was still looking to add depth in the outfield so the Phillies wouldn't face a situation similar to the end of last season, when they played infielders (Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis) in the outfield. Amaro said he would be keeping Mayberry on the roster.
Mayberry, who turns 30 later this month, has hit .237 with a .294 OBP in the last 2 years. Among 83 major league outfielders with at least 350 plate appearances last season, Mayberry's -1.1 WAR ranked 82nd.
Mayberry is likely to earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 million should he go through arbitration (players and teams can agree to deals before arbitration hearings). Barring a trade or a free-agent signing, the Phillies need Mayberry as a backup centerfielder, despite his less-than-stellar credentials and rising salary.
Kendrick, who was equal parts Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in his seventh season with the Phillies, is also a necessity on the current roster because of depth issues. Beyond Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, the Phillies have only four starting pitchers on their 40-man roster: Kendrick, second-year righthander Jonathan Pettibone, Cuban rookie Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and minor league lefty Rob Rasmussen.
Kendrick, who can become a free agent after the 2014 season, is likely to earn around $7 million through arbitration. Given the current market for starting pitchers - former Yankee Phil Hughes signed for 3 years and $24 million with Minnesota, former Met Scott Kazmir got 2 years and $22 million from Oakland - Kendrick's price isn't too exorbitant.
Kendrick, 29, who earned $4.5 million last season, has a 4.09 ERA in 70 starts in the last three seasons.
Revere, last year's Opening Day centerfielder, and Bastardo, the longest-tenured member of a young bullpen, were easy calls for the Phillies.
Revere hit .305 with a .338 OBP in 88 games in his first season with the Phillies. A first-year arbitration-eligible player, Revere missed the final 2 1/2 months of the season after breaking his right foot.
Bastardo also missed most of the second half; he agreed to serve a 50-game suspension for his part in the Biogenesis scandal, an admission that he used a performance-enhancing drug.
The 28-year-old lefthander went 3-2 with a 2.32 ERA in 48 games, striking out 47 batters in 42 2/3 innings; opponents hit .217 against him. Bastardo and the Phillies avoided arbitration last year by agreeing to a 1-year, $1.4 million contract.
Frandsen might have been the easiest of the five players to part with, since the Phillies have younger, cheaper and better defensive reserve infielders in Galvis and Hernandez. But Frandsen, who made $850,000 last year, was a capable righthanded pinch-hitter for most of the 2013 season and is a popular figure in the clubhouse, too.
Frandsen and the Phillies avoided arbitration yesterday. The team can go the same route with Revere, Mayberry, Kendrick and Bastardo, too.
Players and teams don't exchange arbitration figures until Jan. 17. If the two sides do not come to an agreement, arbitration hearings will take place in February.