[editor's note, by dajafi] I added the second half of this piece after hearing the Dellucci news; apologies to anyone confused or freaked out.
As the Phils say goodbye to one starting pitcher they drafted in the mid-'90s, they're bringing another one back: the team and right-hander Adam Eaton evidently have agreed on a three-year deal worth around $24 million.
A first-round pick of the Phils in 1996, Eaton left the organization in late 1999 as part of a trade package to bring back another drafted Phillie: Andy Ashby. (Hopefully this acquisition will work out better than that one did.) Like Randy Wolf, whom he'll replace in the rotation, Eaton is coming off an injury-marred 2006 season. He went 7-4 with a 5.12 ERA last year in just 13 starts.
For his career, Eaton is 54-45 with a 4.40 ERA. He's never won more than 11 games, thrown 200 innings, or posted an ERA below 4 in any season, but if he's healthy--his 2006 injury was to a tendon in his hand, which presumably won't recur--he's probably one of the better bets on this year's free agent market. That this says more about the market than the pitcher is, I guess, beside the point.
In other news, the Phils now officially need a new right fielder, as lefty hitter-for-hire David Dellucci has agreed to a three-year, $11.5 million deal with the Cleveland Indians.
I'm a big fan of Tribe GM Mark Shapiro, and I think he's made a nice addition with DD--on a reasonable contract to boot. If the Phils had re-upped Dellucci for the same deal, I'd be fine with that; I'm also fine with their turning him into two draft picks (Cleveland's second-rounder, as the Tribe finished in the bottom half of the standings, plus a sandwich pick) and going after someone else... provided, of course, that said someone else brings more to the table than Rowand/Conine-type intangibles. Trot Nixon is one rumored replacement; if Boston signs J.D. Drew, as expected, the Phils could go after him to basically fill Dellucci's role as lefty platooner who draws walks. Nixon's splits show a hitter who basically kicked ass until he got hurt around mid-season, then stunk out the joint after coming back. At age 33 and with an extensive injury history, he'd have to be handled with care, but he'd contribute.