Phillies seem to have overpaid in Papelbon deal

The Sports Xchange
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--RHP Jonathan Papelbon's four-year, $50 million contract came under sharp criticism when former Phillies closer Ryan Madson signed a one-year, $8.5 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds. Earlier this offseason, multiple reports had the Phillies negotiating with both Papelbon and Madson. Madson's agent, Scott Boras, said the Phillies had an agreement in place with his client, but Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro disputed Boras' claim.

--OF John Bowker was released and will pursue an opportunity to play in Japan. The 28-year-old Bowker, acquired from the Pirates before the Sept. 1 waiver trade deadline, went 0-for-13 in his brief Phillies career.

--RHP Kyle Kendrick and the Phillies avoided arbitration by coming to an agreement on a one-year, $3.585 million contract for the 2012 season. The 27-year-old Kendrick went 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA in 34 games (15 starts) in 2011.

--RHP Brad Lidge is working out at Citizens Bank Park but remains on the free agent market. The 35-year-old former Phillies closer has never been a free agent in his career and is coming off three seasons where injuries and ineffectiveness cost him his ninth inning role. The Phillies remain an option for Lidge, but most likely on a minor league or low-budget, incentive-laden deal.

--LHP Cole Hamels remains unsigned for the 2012 season. Hamels is arbitration eligible for the first time since signing a three-year, $20.5 million contract prior to the 2009 season. Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock told Comcast SportsNet that the club was working toward signing Hamels to a one-year deal, despite the fact that Hamels can become a free agent after the season.

BY THE NUMBERS
3 -- The number of Phillies who remain eligible for arbitration after the team came to an agreement with pitcher Kyle Kendrick on Jan. 13. Unless agreements are reached beforehand, Cole Hamels, Hunter Pence and Wilson Valdez and the Phillies will exchange requested salary figures for the 2012 season on Jan. 18 to begin the arbitration process.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"There's no reason for me to get into a public debate with Scott on this. I have no desire to do that. All I can tell you is, there was never an agreement, and we decided that we wanted to sign someone with the experience and the ability of Jonathan Papelbon." -- General manager Ruben Amaro Jr., to ESPN.com in response to agent Scott Boras' claim that the Phillies backed out of a long-term, lucrative deal for closer Ryan Madson, who signed a one-year, $8.5 million deal with Cincinnati this week.

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