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PostHeaderIcon Amaro discusses offseason moves, bullpen, Howard

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Ruben Amaro Jr.'s biggest signing of the offseason was for closer Jonathan Papelbon, who signed with the Phillies for four years, $50 million. (Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

With Spring Training just a month away, the Phillies are gearing up for another season, and the man who assembles the team is ready for another season, and pleased with the offseason results. Here is latest from Ruben Amaro Jr.

  • Amaro isn’t quite done assembling his team just yet. Aside from keeping tabs on Brad Lidge, the Phillies have checked in on Francisco Cordero, Chad Qualls and Jeremy Accardo. Amaro said he would like to add another left-handed reliever, but chances are he’ll have a better chance filling that internally than with another signing.
  • Among the other improvements, Amaro would also like to add one additional bench player particularly skilled in speed, perhaps for late-game baserunning situations.
  • Now that Ryan Madson is a Red, Amaro made it clear that he was happy with the way the Phillies’ closer situation turned out. The Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year, $50 million deal after nearly striking a deal with Madson, before letting Madson go. “That’s the beauty and difficulty of free agency,” Amaro said. “We  knew there were other teams who were going to be very competitive in the  market for closers. Once we got to an AAV (average annual value) of  $12.5 million with Papelbon, we felt that was a reasonable deal for us  to make….Markets can be fluid and difficult to gauge. I’m happy with the player we have.”
  • Even with Ryan Howard’s recovery being speedy and successful, Amaro said he and the team are “very cautious” about Howard’s recovery. Don’t expect Howard to be ready for Opening Day, as Amaro said he will serve DL time, but did say it would be “great” if the Phillies saw Howard return by May.
  • In trying to make up for Howard’s absence, the Phillies seem to be content with the options they have internally. That includes the Phillies’ first free agent move this offseason, Jim Thome. Amaro says Thome could end up playing first base four or five times a month. “Our medical people are surprised at the shape he’s in,” Amaro said.  “They think he might be better now than he was when we first signed him  in 2002.” While the Phillies will likely use Ty Wigginton and John Mayberry Jr. to fill the void for Howard’s absence, Thome could give those guys a much-needed day off.

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Kevin Durso is a writer for Phillies Network. In addition to his work on Phillies Network, you can find articles by him for Philliedelphia and The Loquitur. Also listen to him every Wednesday on 89.1 WYBF-FM in Radnor, PA from 2-4 p.m. on The Block Party, a music show hosted by Kevin featuring sports talk, as well as from 8-9 p.m. on Sports Source, featuring sports talk on all Philly sports. You can follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet. Also check out Phillies Network's page on Facebook or @PhilliesNetwork on twitter for new posts and updates.

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