Phillies' Moyer signs two-year deal
By Todd Zolecki
Inquirer Staff Writer
The Phillies will introduce Raul Ibanez as their leftfielder today at a news conference at Citizens Bank Park.
> They welcomed back Jamie Moyer yesterday.
> The Phillies signed Moyer to a two-year, $13 million contract that will pay him $6.5 million in both 2009 and 2010. The deal includes awards and performance bonuses.
> The return of Moyer and the arrival of Ibanez and righthander Chan Ho Park - the Phillies have reached a tentative agreement with Park pending a physical he is expected to take next month - signal that most of the team's serious off-season business is finished. The Phillies could add a piece or two before spring training opens in February, but unless something drastic happens, this looks like the team the Phillies will take into 2009 to defend their World Series championship.
> "We have as good a chance of repeating a world championship as anybody," Moyer said in a conference call with reporters. "It's going to be a competitive race. I'm not going out predicting that we are going to win, but we have as good a chance as any other club out there. It's not like we've lost four or five players to free agency and key players and things like that."
> "I think that we're pretty good," Charlie Manuel said.
> The New York Mets made themselves much more formidable when they signed closer Francisco Rodriguez and traded for setup man J.J. Putz. Rodriguez recently called the Mets the team to beat. Cole Hamels said last week on New York radio that the Mets have been choke artists the last two seasons.
> Should be fun.
> "I think what Cole said wasn't that bad if you sit and listen to how it came out," Manuel said. "I think people took it kind of the way they wanted to. If you want to take it and run with it, well, go ahead. But if you look at it from a realistic standpoint, they're always saying that the Mets choked, and we were lucky enough to be sitting there to catch them. I think over the last two seasons, that's definitely misleading, because we went 13-4 both years."
> The Phillies' rotation will include Hamels, Moyer, Brett Myers and Joe Blanton, with Kyle Kendrick, J.A. Happ, Carlos Carrasco, Drew Carpenter and Park expected to compete for the fifth spot. Adam Eaton? His days appear numbered. The Phillies tried to give him (and his $8.5 million contract) away last week during the winter meetings in Las Vegas, but found no takers. They were willing to pay all but about a million.
> The bullpen also appears set, with Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero, Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre, Clay Condrey and Park, assuming he doesn't make the rotation. The Korea Times reported Park had agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with bonuses that could increase its value to $5 million.
> The Phillies' everyday eight also is set: Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pedro Feliz, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth and Ibanez.
> The bench will include Geoff Jenkins, Matt Stairs, Greg Dobbs, Eric Bruntlett, and Ronny Paulino or Chris Coste. The Phillies recently acquired Paulino from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is expected to compete with Coste to be Ruiz's backup, although the Florida Marlins have interest in Coste.
> If the Phillies make another move, it could be adding a righthanded bat to the bench to give Manuel more options late in the game. That might mean moving Jenkins or Stairs.
> But the Phillies were pleased to finally get a deal done with Moyer. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledged the risk in signing the 46-year-old lefthander to a two-year contract. But Amaro pointed out that Moyer is one of the best conditioned players on the team. Moyer, who went 16-7 last season, said he would use the second year of the guaranteed contract to motivate him in 2009.
> Negotiations with Moyer seemed to take longer than expected, but he said he never felt he wouldn't return.
> "Things moved along smoothly," he said. "It's all about timing. I think the timing is right. Everything got resolved. I'm happy to be back in Philadelphia to defend our World Series championship. I'm excited about our club."
> It is a club whose roster appears mostly set.