They lost in the Alfonso Soriano sweepstakes, and had said they wanted lefthander Randy Wolf back. Wolf is headed to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Phillies continue to look for that big bat to hit behind Ryan Howard. Besides Soriano, the Phillies had interest in Gary Sheffield. But he went to Detroit. And contrary to reports elsewhere, the Phillies were not interested in outfielder Carlos Lee, who signed with Houston.
They inquired, but that's about it. "We weren't in on him," Gillick said.
The market seems to be moving fast, but other than the signing of third baseman Wes Helms, this month has been quiet for the Phillies.
"It's like musical chairs," Gillick said. "You don't want to be stuck without a chair. . . . I'm optimistic about the potential of some of the things we're talking about. I just think we've had some good dialogue back and forth, both in trades and in free agency. We've had some good talks."
Eaton will join Brett Myers, Cole Hamels, Jon Lieber and Jamie Moyer in the rotation.
The Phillies preferred Eaton over the other pitchers on the market - Barry Zito and Jason Schmidt expressed no interest in Philadelphia, so they were never options - for a few reasons. The most important: They simply think he has better stuff. But then there is the familiarity factor. They also consider him to be a better athlete who can field his position, and even hit a little.
Eaton has missed time in the previous two seasons with an injured tendon in the middle finger on his pitching hand. He had surgery in April, but returned in July and went 7-4 with a 5.12 ERA in 13 starts for the Texas Rangers.
He is 54-45 with a 4.40 ERA in 146 games with the San Diego Padres and the Rangers. Wolf went 69-60 with a 4.21 ERA in 194 games.
The Phillies will focus their efforts on the bullpen (they have expressed interest in David Weathers and Joe Borowski), a backup catcher, and, of course, finding that bat. Things could pick up beginning this weekend, with Friday being the deadline for teams to offer salary arbitration to their free agents.
"There wasn't a lot of depth in this market," Gillick said. "You had Soriano and Carlos Lee. You have Zito and Schmidt. After you get by that group, there's not a lot there."
The Phillies would need to make a trade at this point to find a bat. They have been interested in Vernon Wells and Rocco Baldelli in the past, but it doesn't sound as if Gillick has warmed at all to Manny Ramirez.
The off-season hasn't gone as planned for the Phillies, but Gillick said he is optimistic. The Phillies consider Eaton a step in the right direction.
"I think things are going to be all right," Gillick said. "I think we've got some things going that are going to make us better than we are."
Phillies hire third-base coach. The Phillies hope Steve Smith lasts a little longer than Art Howe.
The team announced yesterday that it has hired Smith as its third-base coach. He replaces Howe, who held the job for less than a month before he joined the Rangers as their bench coach. Smith, 54, who also will be the team's infield instructor, served as the Rangers' third-base coach for the last five seasons and also in Seattle from 1996 to '99.
Contact staff writer Todd Zolecki at 215-854-4874 or email@example.com.
Adam Eaton's Career Statistics
- IP W-L BB SO ERA
2000 San Diego 135 7-4 61 90 4.13
2001 San Diego 116.2 8-5 40 109 4.32
2002 San Diego 33.1 1-1 17 25 5.40
2003 San Diego 183 9-12 68 146 4.08
2004 San Diego 199.1 11-14 52 153 4.61
2005 San Diego 128.2 11-5 44 100 4.27
2006 Texas 65 7-4 24 43 5.12
Totals 861 54-45 306 666 4.40
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* David Dellucci set to sign with Indians. D3.