PHILADELPHIA -- On a night when the Phillies held their annual holiday giving party, doling out more than $200,000 to various charitable causes, general manager Pat Gillick hinted as to what gifts may or may not be waiting in fans' stockings. Gillick confirmed the team's interest in free agent Geoff Jenkins, but added, "I don't have anything definitive or anything like that. We're exploring all options right now." Jenkins appears to be the best option. He's believed to be close to deciding between the Phillies and Padres. San Diego doesn't appear willing to match Philadelphia's offer, which is believed to be for as many as three years.
Padres general manager Kevin Towers told reporters Tuesday that the team was moving away from Jenkins. Two players who had been options -- center fielder Mike Cameron and pitcher Kyle Lohse -- are no longer candidates for red pinstripes, according to Gillick. Both had been linked to Philadelphia in the past week. Gillick said that the team had "no interest" in Cameron and are "out of the running" for Lohse, who is seeking a four-year deal similar to the four-year, $44 million pact received by Carlos Silva from the Mariners on Wednesday. Most of the interest in Lohse has been drummed up by his agent, Scott Boras, who has been trying to keep as many teams in the running as possible. The Phillies were interested in Lohse, but not for four years. They're more interested in Kris Benson, who is seeking a one-year deal after missing the entire 2007 season while recovering from surgery on his right shoulder. Benson and Lohse have similar career numbers. Benson is 68-73 with a 4.34 ERA in 195 career starts, and Lohse is 63-74 with a 4.82 in 218 appearances, including 195 starts. Gillick said that he's always looking to improve on his team, which won the National League East in 2007. "You're never satisfied with where you're at," he said. "If there's something out there that makes sense, either a free agent or trade, we'll look at it. Just because you don't do a whole lot now doesn't mean it won't happen in a flurry. You can make a move any time." Other names to filter through Philadelphia, according a person with knowledge of the team's plans, include Kris Benson, Chad Durbin and Akinori Otsuka.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. Andy Jasner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.