Contreras and Sandberg Coming Back

The first real news of the Phillie offseason came this morning with the reports that the Phils are “close” to a deal with Jose Contreras.  Right now the reports are saying 2 years/$5 million for the soon-to-be 39-year-old right-hander.

This looks like a nice signing.  Yes, he’s old and 2010 was his first full season as a reliever, but he did a great job.  With the injuries and inconsistencies that Lidge and Madson faced early in the season, there were long stretches where Contreras was the most dependable member of the Phillie pen.  He’s also a proven postseason performer.  He pitched four scoreless innings in the playoffs this year, allowing just one base-runner.  Back in the 2005 postseason, he was 3-1 as a starter while helping the White Sox to a World Series title.

Ruben Amaro has a lot of bullpen spots to fill this offseason, so it’s nice to act quickly on a proven commodity.  Obviously, keeping the contract to just two years for a guy as old as Contreras is crucial.  Amaro will have to hand out a multi-million dollar deal to at least one other reliever, because this team is currently in desperate need of a proven left-hander.

Sandberg Returns

The Phillies announced today that Ryne Sandberg has been hired as the new manager at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  The irony of Sandberg’s return won’t be lost on any long-time Phillie fans.  He was drafted by the Phillies out of high school in 1978 but traded to the Cubs before the ’82 season in exchange for Ivan DeJesus.

The rumor has always been that the Phillies thought he was too big to play second base.  Well, all he did was win 9 Gold Gloves at second for the Cubs, and make 10 All-Star appearances in a Hall of Fame career.  As a young fan of really bad Phillie teams in the late-80’s and early-90’s, the trades of Sandberg and Julio Franco were described to me in tones that were probably similar to stories of the Great Depression a half-century earlier.

Sandberg badly wanted the Cubs manager job this year, but this time it was the Cubs who deemed him not good enough, and it’s the Phillie organization who have welcomed him with open arms.  It still seems unlikely that he’ll be the manager of the big league club in Philly, though.  Charlie Manuel doesn’t sound like a man who’s ready to leave any time soon, and Sandberg hasn’t sounded like a man who’s willing to wait his turn in the minor leagues for too many years.  But who knows, maybe in a year or two Sandberg will take the job as Charlie’s bench coach and really be groomed as the successor.

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2 Responses to Contreras and Sandberg Coming Back

  1. Lohse says:

    I like the Contreras re-up, as well, even though his real age is probably Jamie Moyer-like. Any word on why the Cubbies didn’t go with Sandberg for the main job?

  2. Doogan says:

    Good point about his real age. If he is like 45, then its pretty amazing that he’s still throwing mid to high 90’s on that fastball though.

    Seems like the Cubs just really liked this Quade guy that they went with. He was the interim at the end of the year and apparently the players really liked him and wanted him to stay, and the team played a lot better when he took over.

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