PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies had until 11:59 p.m. ET Saturday to offer contracts to their unsigned players, non-tendering only right-hander Clay Condrey, making him a free agent.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. had a couple of relatively difficult decisions on right-handers Chad Durbin and Condrey. They were not automatic because both were eligible for salary arbitration. If the Phillies had signed other free-agent relief pitchers before the deadline, they might have non-tendered them rather than risk going to arbitration with them.
But the Phillies did not sign any free-agent relievers and still non-tendered Condrey. Based on past experiences, that could mean the Phillies made a contract offer to Condrey, who didn't agree with the salary figure. Rather than go to salary arbitration with Condrey, who made $650,000 last season, and possibly pay him more than they felt he was worth, they allowed him to become a free agent.
The Phillies still have the ability to re-sign Condrey, if they desire.
The Phillies also offered contracts to their other three players eligible for salary arbitration: right-hander Joe Blanton, center fielder Shane Victorino and catcher Carlos Ruiz. Those three and Durbin essentially have been signed to one-year contracts for 2010.
The Phillies continue to have negotiations with free-agent right-hander John Smoltz, whom the Phillies would like to sign as a relief pitcher. One baseball source said that Smoltz is considering offers from a few teams, including the Phillies.
A signing is not believed to be imminent.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.