Notes: Howe leaves to join Rangers

Notes: Howe departing to join Rangers staff

PHILADELPHIA -- General manager Pat Gillick understands that personal happiness tends to lead to better job performance.

For that reason, Gillick agreed to the unorthodox request to let newly hired third-base coach Art Howe explore an opportunity with the Rangers. So, instead of introducing himself to the Philadelphia media on Tuesday, Howe was in Texas becoming new Rangers manager Ron Washington's bench coach.

Howe, who signed a one-year contract with the Phillies last month, was granted a 24-hour window to see if he wanted to change jobs. Washington served as Howe's third-base coach from 1996-2002, when Howe managed the A's.

"They've known each other for about seven years, and normally you wouldn't do this, but there's probably more than a business relationship there," Gillick said. "There's probably a personal relationship. I didn't want Art over here wishing he could be with Washington, so I gave permission. The biggest thing to me is for guys to be happy in their job and happy in their location. He could've been happy here, I think, but maybe he will get more satisfaction [there].

"I think people have the right to determine their own destiny. I can't make that decision for people, even though they sign a contract. You have to let people do what is best for them and their family and their job satisfaction. They have to make that call."

The team has discussed replacements but hasn't identified any leading candidates.

"We've got [a contingency plan] in case Art goes to Texas, but I can't tell you what it is," Gillick said before learning that it was a done deal. "Only because some of the people we are discussing are with other clubs, and we have to get permission."

No Japanese pitcher or third baseman: The Phillies won't be among the bidders for Seibu Lions pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka or Yakult Swallows third baseman Akinori Iwamura, Gillick said.

Iwamura was put up for bid on Monday, and Matsuzaka's suitors can submit bids until 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

"We're not going after Japanese pitchers," Gillick said. "You might pay $30 million for the rights to the pitcher, and might have to pay X millions of dollars to sign the pitcher. That's not a situation we are going to get into."

Bids for Matsuzaka are expected to be in the $25 million to $30 million range, with the Rangers believed to be one of the interested teams. The Phillies, with a rotation of Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer and Jon Lieber prefer to spend their resources elsewhere.

Like Alfonso Soriano, for example.

As for Iwamura, the Phillies will instead go for a low-cost alternative at third. They are interested in free agents Mark DeRosa and Wes Helms to share time with Abraham Nunez. DeRosa hit .296 with 13 homers and 74 RBIs this season for Texas; Helms hit .329 with 10 homers and 47 RBIs for Florida.

Wolf headed for the open market: While still hopeful of re-signing starter Randy Wolf, Gillick said he expected Wolf to test the open market. The Phillies have exclusive negotiating rights with Wolf until Sunday.

"We're hopeful," Gillick said. "I'm not saying we're optimistic, but we are hopeful. This is the first opportunity he's had for free agency, so I think he wants to go out there and kick the tires and see if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. It's only natural."

In what is largely considered a thin free agent market, Wolf is expected to generate a lot of interest. The left-hander made 12 starts after returning from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in July, posting a 5.56 ERA.

The Phillies would also like to bring back outfielder David Dellucci, though Gillick didn't sound optimistic. Dellucci is seeking a more lucrative deal with the promise of regular playing time.

"We would love to have him back, but I think David is looking for more playing time than we are capable of giving him."

Quotable: "I get a lot of suggestions when I go out. I could hit him third, fourth, fifth. ... I look at it like ... at least, we can hit him somewhere." -- manager Charlie Manuel, on where he would bat Soriano in the lineup, if the Phillies were able to land him

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