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Klentak open to adding more pitching to Phils

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Phillies general manager Matt Klentak is not feeling tempted to throw a six- or seven-year mega-deal at anybody, even as Spring Training approaches and pitchers like Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish remain on the free-agent market.

"I'm going to pursue opportunities," Klentak said Thursday night at the Phillies' winter banquet at the Sands Events Center. "If there is one that makes sense for us, I'm going to bring it to [the owners]. That's exactly what happened with Carlos Santana. I know that we're turning over every rock, exploring different avenues. It's just a matter of whether everything lines up. With a talented young team, we want to give opportunities to our young players to develop into the next core. The only way they will get that opportunity is by playing. It's a balancing act.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Phillies general manager Matt Klentak is not feeling tempted to throw a six- or seven-year mega-deal at anybody, even as Spring Training approaches and pitchers like Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish remain on the free-agent market.

"I'm going to pursue opportunities," Klentak said Thursday night at the Phillies' winter banquet at the Sands Events Center. "If there is one that makes sense for us, I'm going to bring it to [the owners]. That's exactly what happened with Carlos Santana. I know that we're turning over every rock, exploring different avenues. It's just a matter of whether everything lines up. With a talented young team, we want to give opportunities to our young players to develop into the next core. The only way they will get that opportunity is by playing. It's a balancing act.

"If the market falls, we would like to be active."

Phillies pitchers and catchers hold their first official workout Feb. 14 in Clearwater, Fla. The possibility exists that the Phillies could find a starting pitcher at a relative bargain. But it also needs to be somebody who can actually make a difference.

Signing somebody just to sign somebody? No thanks.

"We have a lot of fifth starters," Klentak said. "Like a good, solid fourth starter would be fine. That takes pressure off them, that's fine. I'd like to do better than that, but that's fine. To add just a guy for the sake of adding a guy, that doesn't interest me.

"It's been a relatively slow-developing free-agent market. Consequentially, it's also been a relatively slow-developing trade market. At some point, I expect those markets will break."

Klentak also touched on a few other topics Thursday:

Maikel Franco 
Franco got suspended from his winter ball team in the Dominican Republic earlier this month for partying until the early morning before a game. The team reinstated him, but the Phillies requested he leave the team so he can prepare for Spring Training and a critical season.

"What happened, happened," Klentak said. "His Winter League team responded the way it did. Maikel responded the way he did. … What I'm impressed with is the way that Maikel has responded to that. Maikel knows how important this year is. He was as disappointed with his Winter League team as anybody. I think the way he reacted is a sign of maturity, and we think that his commitment level is very strong and we're excited to see what he looks like when we get to camp."

Video: NYM@PHI: Franco crushes a three-run shot to left

Franco posted a .690 OPS in 623 plate appearances last season, hitting .230 with 24 home runs and 76 RBIs. Franco ranked last out of 18 qualified third basemen in OPS and on-base percentage. He ranked 17th in slugging percentage. It is expected that the Phillies will aggressively pursue Orioles third baseman Manny Machado in the offseason -- assuming he becomes a free agent -- if Franco does not improve drastically.

Tommy Joseph 
It seems like Joseph has no spot on the 25-man roster. He is a first baseman, but Santana and Rhys Hoskins have that position covered. But Joseph, 26, has hit 43 home runs over the past two seasons and has been a tremendous presence in the clubhouse.

"I personally have just a ton of respect for everything Tommy's been through in his career and the successes that he's had at the big league level after the adversity he's faced," Klentak said. "One way or the other, we're going to try to do the right thing for Tommy. Right now, he's on the roster. He comes to Spring Training and he's going to compete for a big league job just like everybody else. If something happens between now and then that changes that, then we'll address that when it comes."

Video: LAD@PHI: Joseph launches a go-ahead homer in the 7th

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies