Arbitration Day Starts with a Chad


The offseason is a funny thing.  Some days, you can feel pretty confident who is going to be wearing your team’s uniform on Opening Day, and who is going to be playing for the Astros.

Other times, you’ll see headlines saying “Phils to Deal Lee” and think, “Yeah, right.  He’s not going anywhere.  And I should know, because I know baseball.”

Ha ha, no you don’t, sir.

There were four Phillies lined up on the “possible arbitration” block, and as the days went on, the axe dropped a little lower for each.  We would of course love to avoid the crappy little process with Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz, Chad Durbin, and Joe Blanton, just as we managed to skip past it with all 10 arbitration-eligible players in 2009’s offseason. But if this year’s taught us anything, you can’t be sure who the Phillies will be locking down with 100% clarity.

However, we can officially take Chad Durbin out of harm’s way.

The reliever has put his name on a $2.125 million contract for another year, meaning that somewhat absent Phillies bullpen has one more ass in the seats, which, with Lidge, Romero, and Moyer all likely to be dancing with the surgery devil come April 5, is good news.  Having split paths with Clay Condrey, Chan Ho Park, and Scott Eyre, the list of returning Phils with bullpen experience was starting to dwindle, making Durbin (2-2, 4.39 ERA in 59 games) somewhat of a precious commodity.

And say hello to Brandon Duckworth, who was last seen hitching a ride out of Philly to make room for Billy Wagner. The Phils re-captured the pitcher to a minor league, no-Spring Training deal for some time with the Lehigh Valley Irongpigs.  Joining him will be former Camden Rivershark Nate Bump, who hurled a 15-3 season last year.

Clock’s ticking, and with “24” premiering, my life is stressful enough.  The last thing I need is to spend the day wondering if Victorino, Ruiz, and Blanton are going to work through arbitration, what the plan is if they don’t, how long it’ll be before Agent Cole Ortiz taunts death one too many times, how many ex-“Battlestar Galactica” stars FOX will employ this year–

All right, settle down.  Where’s my paper bag?!