While Scott Mathieson has loads of talent, injuries have kept him from being able to help the Phillies on the mound. First was Tommy John surgery, followed by a second Tommy John surgery and lingering issues with scar tissue and lingering elbow pain.
The Phillies got in touch with Mathieson to arrange the details of a minor league deal in order to make the move of non-tendering him, while not risking losing him as a free agent.
Any player who doesn't have a contract for the 2009 season, must be offered a valid contract - at least 80% of their 2008 contract - had to be offered a valid contract by midnight Friday night. If a team didn't offer them a contract, they become one of those ever-popular non-tendered free agents.
There were really only five players on the Phillies who were considered candidates to be non-tendered.
The Phillies haven't seen what they thought they would out of Bisenius. He's now struggled in two straight seasons at the Triple-A level and simply may not have what it will take to get him past that level. There have also been some rumors of some attitude issues with Bisenius, so the Phillies could simply cut him loose. The odd thing about that though would be that if they were going to do that, why tie up a spot on the 40 man roster for this long?
While it's a little unlikely that the Phillies won't offer him a contract, Bruntlett would have to at least be on the bubble. He's eligible for arbitration and will likely earn around $1 million for 2009 if he heads off to arbitration. Last year, the Phillies avoided arbitration with Bruntlett and signed him to a $600,000 deal after acquiring him from Houston.
The Phillies have shopped for infield help and also have Jason Donald working his way toward being major league ready. The free agent infielders that the Phillies were pursuing - Mark Loretta and Nick Punto - have both signed with other teams, meaning that Bruntlett may be the best option.
Overall, Condrey has pitched well for the Phillies, but he's not someone that handles pressure situations well and for a reliever, that's a bad thing. Opponents hit .306 against Condrey when there are runners on base.
When you look at his basic numbers for 2008, he pitched well - 3-4, 3.26 - but he gave up a lot of hits (85 in 69 IP) and doesn't strike out a lot of batters.
Like Bruntlett, Condrey is eligible for arbitration, which would likely push him near the $1 million mark.
The Phillies are negotiating with Chan Ho Park, who could become Condrey's replacement in the bullpen. If he signs today, look for Condrey to be out of work tomorrow.
Does the arrival of Ronny Paulino signal the end of Coste's storybook career in Philadelphia? The Phillies shopped him at the Winter Meetings, which is sometimes a sign that a player is in trouble. Then, they traded for veteran catcher Ronny Paulino.
Optimists might conclude that the Phillies can now use Coste as their top right-handed bat off the bench (he's hit .261 in 47 pinch-hit appearances in his career). The pessimists - or maybe, it's the realists - conclude that Coste is now a spare part.
There is no doubt that Mathieson has a lot of talent, but he's had a pile of injuries and a couple of elbow surgeries to go with them. Nobody knows whether or not he'll ever be the prospect that he once was and the Phillies may have simply worn out their patience with nursing him along.
The downside would be that if he goes to another club and does get healthy, he could still develop into that quality pitcher that the Phillies always thought he would be.
The rest of the players who were offered contracts for 2009 are: Joe Blanton, Greg Dobbs, Chad Durbin, J.A. Happ, Brad Harman, Kyle Kendrick, Ryan Madson, Ronny Paulino, Carlos Ruiz, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth.
Eric Bruntlett and Clay Condrey signed their contracts for 2009, avoiding arbitration. No terms of those deals were announced.