PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies will move on to the 2008 season without bench players Abraham Nunez and Rod Barajas. The two players were told that their options won't be exercised by the Phillies, making them free agents. Nunez will receive a $300,000 buyout instead of a $2.5 million salary for 2008, while Barajas will get $500,000 rather than a $5 million salary. The 31-year-old Nunez hit .234 with 16 RBIs in 136 games, including 51 starts at third base. He often played third as a defensive replacement and had become the designated hot-corner man when lefty Jamie Moyer pitched. His absence leaves the team without a player who can play second base or shortstop to back up Chase Utley or Jimmy Rollins.
Barajas, 32, hit .230 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in 48 games. The Phillies hoped he would catch as many as 90 games for the team this season. General manager Pat Gillick said the team is comfortable with a tandem of Carlos Ruiz and Chris Coste next season. "Rod didn't have the type of year that we thought he'd have," Gillick said. In addition, right-hander Kane Davis was designated for assignment. Davis, 32, was signed to a Minor League deal in October of 2006, and went 3-3 with four saves and a 3.06 ERA in 41 relief appearances for Triple-A Ottawa. He was a September callup, going 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA in 11 games. The coaches: Manager Charlie Manuel is believed to want to retain his entire coaching staff, and negotiations are expected to continue through the weekend. An official announcement will be made when those talks are complete. All are believed to be interested in returning, though bench coach Jimy Williams may be courted for a managerial opening, should one open in the next few weeks.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.