John Mayberry Jr.'s return to the Phillies was never in doubt in Ruben Amaro Jr.'s mind.
"John has value as a versatile player," the general manager said Tuesday, one day after tendering a contract to Mayberry and three other players who are eligible for salary arbitration. "I don't quite understand the venom John gets. I do not view John as an everyday player. I view him as a solid bench player, so there is value to that part of his game, especially since he has power off the bench."
Mayberry, who will turn 30 on Dec. 21, is projected to receive roughly $1.5 million for 2014. He was paid $517,000 last season and hit .227 with 11 home runs and 39 RBIs in 384 plate appearances. He can play all three outfield positions and first base, which makes him valuable as a bench player.
The Phillies also tendered contracts to righthander Kyle Kendrick, reliever Antonio Bastardo, and centerfielder Ben Revere. They signed utility infielder Kevin Frandsen to a one-year contract worth $900,000.
"None of those were difficult decisions for us," Amaro said. "Obviously, if we had not come to an agreement with Frandsen, we might not have tendered him, but we did come to an agreement at a number that was congruent with his performance. He's a role player, and you have to have them on your club."
Bastardo, 28, performed well for the Phillies last season before being suspended in August for 50 games as part of baseball's Biogenesis investigation. He has made up for some of his lost time during the season by pitching lights-out for his winter ball club, Gigantes del Cibao, in the Dominican Republic. In 10 games, Bastardo has a 0.93 ERA. He has allowed five hits, struck out 17, and walked just two batters in 92/3 innings.
Amaro said he expects Kendrick to be part of the Phillies' starting rotation in 2014, with Cuban Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and righthander Jonathan Pettibone also competing for spots. The Phillies are expected to pursue rotation and bullpen help at the winter meetings, which begin Sunday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Even with the tendering of deals to Mayberry and Frandsen, Amaro said he still expects Darin Ruf, Cesar Hernandez, and Freddy Galvis to compete for jobs in spring training.
"I think they're all competing for jobs, and that's kind of the way we want it," Amaro said. "We view them all as role players and possible starting players down the road. Those guys are young players that I think create the depth we've needed."
Amaro said the Phillies have not given up on the idea of the switch-hitting Hernandez, a natural second baseman, playing center field. He played both positions for his winter-league team, Bravos de Margarita, in Venezuela, where he hit .254 with five doubles, two home runs, and 15 RBIs in 31 games.
The switch-hitting Galvis is likely to be the primary extra infielder at the start of next season. He has played well for his winter ball club in Venezuela, Aguilas de Zulia, hitting .310 with nine doubles, two home runs, and 17 RBIs in 33 games.
In a September interview with Philadelphia Magazine that was published Tuesday, Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels made some biting comments about clubhouse chemistry and the team's offense.
"The energy in the clubhouse changed," Hamels said. "This season, there weren't as many high fives. There was a lot of bitterness, pointing fingers - 'You haven't played well in a week, why weren't you in here early?' "
The pitcher also suggested it was time to rebuild, saying: "You have to know when to start over. Will our fans be happy with that? Probably not. We won't win 100 games next season. But with another wild card, we can definitely get into the playoffs."
Amaro said the Phillies still are deciding whether to invite lefthander Jesse Biddle to spring training for the first time. "Even if he is in camp, we don't view him as a guy who is ready to make our team right now," Amaro said. "He's not prepared for that yet." . . . Amaro said he has not talked to former manager Charlie Manuel recently about a position in the organization, but he anticipated doing so again soon.