10/27/2003 3:21 PM ET
Seven Phils file for free agency
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Turk Wendell, Terry Adams and Dan Plesac, three members of a solid bullpen, were among 106 players who filed for free agency.
The filing period began Sunday. All the eligible Phillies have filed, except Kevin Millwood, and he's expected to do so by the Nov. 9 deadline.
The Phillies entered the offseason with nine potential free agents. They reduced that to eight on Oct. 14, when they exercised Rheal Cormier's $3 million option.
That same day, they bought out the options on Jose Mesa and Mike Williams -- paying $250,000 and $1.5 million, respectively -- effectively making them free agents. Stinnett became a free agent when he refused his portion of a mutual option. The seven players who filed Sunday were just a formality.
Wendell, 36, received $3.25 million in the final season of a three-year contract worth $12,099,999.99, and he earned an extra $100,000 in performance bonuses. He went 3-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 56 games with the Phillies, making a successful comeback from elbow surgery that cost him the 2002 season.
He was brilliant early, allowing just two runs in his first 27 innings for a 0.67 ERA through June 27, then tired down the stretch, amassing a 5.81 ERA in the final two months.
Overall, Wendell allowed 54 hits in 64 innings, with 28 walks and 27 strikeouts. His filing doesn't guarantee that he won't be back next season, and he didn't rule out that possibility at the end of the 2003 season.
Adams, 30, was the most resilient member of a Phillies bullpen that ranked fifth in the NL, until injuries stole his September. He had surgery in September to remove "loose bodies" in his right elbow.
The Phillies hope that Plesac again decides to put off retirement -- as he did last year -- and early indications are that he will. The 41-year-old agreed to return last winter after seeing the team's offseason strategy.
He went 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 58 games, spanning 33 1/3 innings. With 1,064 career appearances, he is seven away from passing Hoyt Wilhelm for third place on the All-Time list.
As the season ended, Plesac said if he pitches anywhere, it would be with the Phillies.
The Phillies have made it no secret that the bullpen remains a priority this offseason, with only Cormier and Carlos Silva assured spots. Mesa and Williams are likely to not be back, but Wendell, Plesac and Adams are possibilities.
The process to fill the holes could extend well into the winter, as players are non-tendered by their teams.
Pratt, 36, had a second successful season backing up Mike Lieberthal. He hit .274 in 125 at-bats and recorded an on-base percentage of .400. The most memorable of his four homers came in the 13th inning on June 21, squashing Boston.
Stinnett, 33, was acquired Aug. 31 from the Reds and appeared in seven games. He hit .237 in 67 games.
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