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Eight to Arbitrate

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The Phillies beat last night's non-tender deadline by re-signing utility infielder Eric Bruntlett and long reliever Clay Condrey to one-year deals, Todd Zolecki reports. The only Phil to be non-tendered was rehabbing minor-leaguer Scott Mathieson, who will stay with the team after signing a split contract. The team will retain its other eight arbitration-eligible players: Joe Blanton, Greg Dobbs, Chad Durbin, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Ryan Madson, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth. 

The fact that basically a third of the roster is arb-eligible, including franchise cornerstones Hamels and Howard and key contributors Blanton, Madson, Victorino and Werth, seems to undergird many of the decisions the Phils have made thus far in the off-season. Listening to Charlie Manuel, concern over the possibility of going to arbitration with veterans Jamie Moyer and Pat Burrell as well as the eight players not eligible for free agency evidently drove the decision not to offer arb to the two veterans. The team will consider long-term deals with at least Hamels, Howard, Madson and Werth, and maybe Victorino as well. To say the least, I haven't been thrilled with the off-season thus far... but if they manage to sign two or three of those five to reasonable multi-year contracts, it's possible the questionable moves of December will bear fruit.