PHILADELPHIA -- Aaron Rowand declined the Phillies' offer of arbitration, a procedural move that changes nothing about the free agent's status. Had he accepted, Rowand would've been considered a "signed" player with Philadelphia for at least the 2008 season, and an independent arbitrator would have determined his one-year salary. Since he's seeking a multiyear deal for at least five years, it made little sense for Rowand to commit to the Phillies. The sides can still negotiate, as the Phillies met with Rowand's agent, Craig Landis, during the Winter Meetings, and they termed Rowand's chances of returning as a "long shot." The Phillies are believed to be offering three years with a vesting option for a fourth year, and that's not close to what Rowand is seeking.
If Rowand leaves, the Phillies will receive a first-round pick of the team that signs him, provided that the club finished with one of the 15 best records in 2007. If not, the Phillies would receive that team's second-round pick. In both cases, Philadelphia will also receive a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds. Minor League additions: The Phillies announced the signing of 13 Minor League free agents on Friday, five pitchers, right-handers Jason Anderson, Matt Childers, Justin Pope and Kris Wilson and left-hander R.J. Swindle; three infielders, Gookie Dawkins, Joey Hammond and Juan Tejeda; three outfielders, Jake Blalock, Branden Florence and Mike Spidale; and two catchers, Orlando Guevara and John Suomi.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.