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Phillies' Moyer, Dobbs go free-agent route

Phillies' Moyer, Dobbs go free-agent route

PHILADELPHIA -- Jamie Moyer seized a rare opportunity when he joined the Phillies in 2006.

He not only pitched for his hometown team, but he helped them clinch their first National League East championship in 14 years in 2007, and their first World Series championship in 28 years in '08. From the time he joined the Phillies on Aug. 20, 2006, following a trade with the Seattle Mariners, he won more games (56) than any other Phillies pitcher.

"I really enjoyed playing here," Moyer said Saturday, when the Phillies lost to the Giants in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series to end their season. "If it's over, it's over. I've really enjoyed my teammates. I've enjoyed playing for [manager] Charlie [Manuel]. Winning here was the pinnacle of my career. And doing it where I grew up was pretty special. But it may be over. It may not be over. It's all good."

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It very likely is finished. The Phillies said Thursday that Moyer and infielder Greg Dobbs, who was eligible for salary arbitration, have become unrestricted free agents. Both players could return in 2011, although it is highly unlikely. The Phillies placed both players on waivers earlier this week to expedite the process for them to become free agents. Once they cleared waivers, each player elected free agency.

The waiver process also allowed the Phillies to clear two spots on the 40-man roster.

Moyer, who turns 48 next month, finished the season on the disabled list with an injured elbow. He is going to pitch winter ball in the Dominican Republic to see if he can pitch and possibly get a contract before Spring Training.

It is unlikely the Phillies would bring back Moyer on anything other than a non-guaranteed contract.

"I don't know if Jamie would accept anything like that, but we haven't had any discussions about it," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "I think more than anything else, there are some questions about his health. Obviously his age is a factor. But we have to consider our starting pitching depth and see whether or not bringing Jamie back is the right thing for us."

Ben Francisco, Kyle Kendrick and Dobbs were each eligible for salary arbitration. Amaro said they have made no decisions on Francisco or Kendrick. The fact the Phillies allowed Dobbs to become a free agent so quickly also indicates he is unlikely to return.

Dobbs, who just completed the second year of a $2.5 million contract, hit a combined .284 with 19 home runs and 95 RBIs in 550 at-bats from 2007-08 as he established himself as one of the game's top pinch-hitters. He hit a combined .221 with 10 homers and 35 RBIs in 317 at-bats the previous two seasons as his playing time dropped.

"When you're talking about bench guys and they're not getting to play a lot, it's hard to evaluate," Amaro said. "He had some success when he was getting a chance to play more. We got into a situation where he wasn't playing a whole lot, so obviously his production dropped off. But it's hard to stay sharp. I've gone through it myself as a player. You have one good year, one bad year.

"It's kind of the nature of the job. He could come back and have a great year for someone, and it could be us. But at this time, it was pretty evident we weren't going to be putting him through the salary arbitration process, so why not give us some space on our roster and give him an opportunity to be out there on the open market a little earlier?"

Catcher Paul Hoover also became a free agent after being outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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