The Phils' interest in Putz has not advanced to the level of negotiations, but it offers an example of the type of pitcher the team is seeking: one who has experience closing and setting up and is attempting to reestablish his value. Putz had surgery in June to remove a bone spur in his right elbow.
John Smoltz, linked to the Phils by ESPN.com on Tuesday, is another example of that type, although he might be seeking a more lucrative deal than originally thought.
After committing $6 million to Placido Polanco for next season, the Phils will likely have $15 million to $20 million to commit to other players, meaning they could still supplement any low-risk, high-reward signings with a pricier pitcher or two such as Brandon Lyon or Fernando Rodney.
The team has not ruled out re-signing Scott Eyre or Chan Ho Park, but in both cases the team has been unable to agree with the pitchers' respective agents on financial terms.
Veteran utilityman Juan Castro passed his physical and finalized a one-year contract with the Phillies. The deal includes a club option for 2011.
The Inquirer reported last week that the parties had agreed to terms, but Castro was out of the country and could not immediately take the physical.
Castro, 37, is a .230 hitter with a .270 on-base percentage in 15 major-league seasons. In 57 games with the Dodgers last year, he hit .277 while playing shortstop, second base, third base, and left field.
He will play a utility role with the Phils, replacing Eric Bruntlett.
Farm ranked fourth
Baseball America yesterday ranked the Phillies' minor-league system the fourth best in baseball. The Texas Rangers were listed as the top farm system.
Contact staff writer Andy Martino at 215-854-4874 or firstname.lastname@example.org.