The Phillies signed 32-year-old right-handed reliever Mike Koplove to a minor league contract. The Phils will almost surely add a veteran right-handed reliever to the roster before the start of the season, but Koplove is a long shot to be the guy.

Koplove is a Philadelphia native who had outstanding years with the Diamondbacks in 2002 and 2003, throwing to a 2.90 ERA with a 1.12 ratio over 99 1/3 innings. His numbers dropped in 2004 and were miserable in 2005. He’s thrown nine innings in the majors since ’05.

Koplove has thrown more than ten innings in four seasons. Here’s what lefties have slugged against him in those four seasons:

2002 .261
2003 .397
2004 .444
2005 .487

Despite those struggles, Koplove still has a career 3.82 ERA and a 1.31 ratio. He was good in ’08 in the PCL, throwing to a 3.46 ERA and a 1.12 ERA in 54 2/3 innings while striking out 46. He was also fantastic in the Olympics, allowing one walk and no hits over 5 1/3 innings while striking out six.

I don’t think it’s going to happen, but I don’t think it would be a problem if Koplove won the spot as the last righty in the bullpen (joining, presumably, Madson, Romero, Condrey, Eyre, Durbin and Lidge). The problem would be counting on Koplove without a backup plan — I’d be stunned if that happened, cause I think you have to assume that Koplove is the backup plan (or at least part of it).

The other thing I think you have to remember is that Condrey, despite his fantastic year in ’08, was hit hard by lefties. They hit 320/370/448 against him last year, and I think the Phillies may be concerned about putting two righties at the back of their pen who don’t have much of a chance against lefties if they see any other options.

This article suggests that the Phillies will almost surely offer arbitration to Jamie Moyer and Pat Burrell and that both are likely to decline. Tom Gordon and Rudy Seanez could also be offered arbitration before the deadline at midnight on Monday, which is almost surely not going to happen.

Utley had surgery on his right hip on Monday without complications. GM Ruben Amaro suggests in the linked article that nobody can predict how long Utley will be out, but a gaggle of folks have managed to predict four to six months, which would put the window for his return between March 24 and May 24.

Any guess which Phillie is the assistant hockey coach at John Bapst High School in Bangor, Maine? A hint: his name is probably somewhere in the back of Jonathan Broxton’s mind and probably will be for a while.

November 25 was Shane Victorino Day in Wailuku.