Five Phillies opt for free agency

Five Phillies opt for free agency

PHILADELPHIA -- With the end of the World Series comes the dawn of the free agency filing period, and the possible end for two career Phillies.

Mike Lieberthal and Randy Wolf were among the five Phillies to file for free agency on the first day they could, and among the 59 players league-wide. Relievers Aaron Fultz, Arthur Rhodes and Rick White also filed. Of those three relievers, White is the only one with a chance to return. He said at the end of the season that he'd like to come back.

David Dellucci, Randall Simon, Jose Hernandez and the retired Alex Gonzalez can also file by the Nov. 11 deadline. General manager Pat Gillick said he'd like the bring back Dellucci, who hit .292 with 13 home runs and 39 RBIs in 264 at-bats.

Dellucci said he wants to play in a place where he can see regular playing time.

"Hopefully, it will be a very rewarding offseason," Dellucci said on the final day of the season. "I want to be with a team that compensates me fairly for what I can do. I want to be with a team that allows me to do what I can do. I feel that I'm more of a contributor than a utility-type player at this point in my career."

Dellucci earned $900,000 in 2006.

Of the group who filed on Saturday, the Phillies would most like to see Wolf return. The lefty made his season debut on July 30, after missing the previous 13 months recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery. As is typical with that type of surgery, Wolf was inconsistent in 12 starts and compiled a 5.56 ERA.

The Phillies, who already re-signed Jamie Moyer, are confident that the second year will be better for Wolf.

"We'd like to bring Wolfie back," Gillick said last week. "We think his arm is fine and we think he's going to get better. Jamie and I had a conversation in Seattle about three left-handers in the rotation, and we liked the thought of that. We think bringing Randy back will be a nice way to round out the rotation and start 2007. Hopefully, something will work out."

Should Wolf return, it would give the Phillies a rotation of Brett Myers, Cole Hamels, Jon Lieber, Moyer and Wolf, which could arguably be one of the league's deepest groups.

"I look at it as a better rotation than we started '06 with," Gillick said.

Wolf has said he wants to return. Lieberthal said it too, but the Phillies don't seem likely to bring him back. The veteran catcher, who will turn 35 in January, battled a variety of injuries in 2006 and was limited to 209 at-bats. He played well when healthy, hitting .273 with nine homers.

Earlier this season, Lieberthal surpassed Red Dooin to become the franchise leader in games caught.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.