SAN DIEGO - The Phillies do not plan on contending in the immediate future, a sobering admission that does not bother Chase Utley nor Jimmy Rollins. The two veteran infielders, both protected by full no-trade rights, plan to honor their contracts in Philadelphia, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
There is no shortage of teams that would target those players for middle-infield help. Does it surprise Amaro they wish to stay?
"Nope," he said. "They are very loyal guys. They have comfort here in Philadelphia. They have established roots here in Philadelphia. I think they love playing for the fans here, particularly when we are winning."
Both Amaro and interim team president Pat Gillick have stressed the need for a younger roster. But that strategy will not apply to Utley and Rollins, who will not lose playing time in 2015.
"It's hard to imagine a situation where, I mean, your team is better when Rollins or Utley aren't playing," Amaro said. "In the case of those two guys I don't know that their playing time is necessarily blocking anybody else's. A lot of it depends on what we might acquire in other trades."
Rollins, 36, will make $11 million in 2015 and reach free agency after the season. Utley, soon to be 36, will earn $15 million in 2015 and will guarantee himself $15 million more in 2016 with 500 plate appearances.
Cliff Lee (strained left elbow) will not throw from a mound until sometime in January. He has started a throwing program in Arkansas. "He's on a normal schedule now, we think," Amaro said, "of course, unless he has some sort of setback." . . . The Phillies offered contracts to Domonic Brown and Ben Revere through arbitration, but Amaro said he will seek upgrades to the outfield.