PHILADELPHIA -- In making the addition of reliever Rudy Seanez official on Wednesday, the Phillies said goodbye to Wes Helms. The team designated the infielder for assignment and has 10 days to shed his contract, via a trade or outright release. The 31-year-old, who batted .246 in 112 games last season, is owed $2.9 million this season -- $2.15 million in salary and another $750,000 in a buyout. Helms became expendable after the Phillies signed third baseman Pedro Feliz, and the team tried all spring to find Helms a new home.
"We've been trying to do something for the last three or four weeks, maybe even longer," general manager Pat Gillick said. "We've been trying to find a location. We weren't able to find anything, so I can't be terribly optimistic." In 10 days, any team can sign Helms for the Major League minimum of $390,000, with the Phillies paying the rest. That makes the market for Helms slim. The decision to release Helms and keep Rule 5 Draft pickup Tim Lahey stemmed from a desire to carry 12 pitchers. Lahey or Clay Condrey could be in danger when closer Brad Lidge returns from the disabled list on Saturday. For now, Helms is looking for work. "Once we signed Pedro, Wes wasn't a fit," manager Charlie Manuel said. "There weren't too many places he could go. We've got a first baseman [Ryan Howard] who might play 162 games, and then we've got Pedro and [Greg] Dobbs for third. [Helms] kind of got caught in a spot where he was the odd man out. I'm going to miss him. He'll land in the big leagues."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.