In anticipation of tonight’s 11:59 PM deadline to offer contracts to arbitration eligible players, the Phillies have some decisions to make.
There are five players whom the Phillies have to make decisions on: Pitcher Kyle Kendrick, center fielder Ben Revere, reliever Antonio Bastardo, infielder Kevin Frandsen, and outfielder John Mayberry Jr. If the players are offered a contract, they will undergo the arbitration process (unless the two sides can come to an agreement beforehand). If the players are not offered a contract, they become free agents.
Revere and Bastardo are near locks to be offered, as both are projected to fill key roles for the Phillies next season. Kendrick is also expected to be offered, as he is currently expected to be a member of the 2014 rotation, and GM Ruben Amaro has already said he plans to make him an offer.
Mayberry and Frandsen are more interesting cases. Both have had some success as bench players in the past couple of seasons, but neither was especially good in 2013, and they are both far from indispensable. Amaro has said that he plans on bringing back Mayberry, but it is possible that could change.
Personally, I would retain Mayberry and cut ties with Frandsen. I think Mayberry can be a solid right-handed bench bat who can fill in at any outfield position. More importantly, with Darin Ruf and Marlon Byrd around, he shouldn’t get overexposed like he often was last season.
On the other hand, I don’t think Frandsen offers that much value. He isn’t that strong of a hitter, and although he can play infield, he can’t play it especially well. Even if the Phillies want Cesar Hernandez to play full-time in AAA, I don’t think the team would have much of a problem replacing Frandsen. (Then again, considering how much Michael Martinez has played the past two seasons, maybe they would.)
Last year, the Phillies surprisingly didn’t offer a contract to outfielder Nate Schierholtz. Many people considered that to be a mistake at the time, and as it turned out, Schierholtz had a productive 2013 season. Will the Phillies encounter a similar situation with any of the players this year? We’ll know a little more by tomorrow.