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Phils Searching for Righty Slugger?

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, February 13, 2012 03:55 PM | Comments: 53
Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

Is this 9-time All-Star a good fit for the Phils' bench? Photo: AP

$ 6.71 million dollars is a lot of money to a lot of people. For the Phillies, it is the approximate distance between their current payroll and them meeting the luxury tax threshold. There is no guarantee the Phils will spend this money between now and the end of the season in an attempt to bolster their roster, but there is every indication that they are still looking to plug holes.

Jayson Stark stated on Friday that the Rangers and Phillies are likely out of the Roy Oswalt sweepstakes despite the two World Series contenders being atop Little Roy’s list. While the $ 6.71 million available may not be enough to sign Oswalt, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo postulated yesterday that it may be plenty to woo a free agent right-handed slugger.

Cafardo speculates that Vladimir Guerrero may be atop Charlie Manuel’s wish-list for a right-handed bat that can play the outfield. Vlad turned 37 last Thursday but had a productive season for Baltimore in 590 PA: .290/.317/.416 with 13 HRs. He can still occasionally crush pitching, but the problem with Guerrero, as illustrated in the 2010 World Series, is he has become a major defensive liability in the outfield. The Phillies outfield of John Mayberry Jr./Laynce Nix, Shane Victorino, and Hunter Pence adds plus defensive value, even when Nix plays, but the thought of Guerrero pinch hitting late in a game and then remaining a defensive replacement scares me more than his bat would scare opposing pitching.

The Phillies likely have one opening for an outfielder on their roster for which non-roster Spring Training invitees Lou Montanez, Juan Pierre, and Scott Podsednik will duke it out. Pierre and Podsednik appear to be the favorites for the slot and offer speed and minor defensive upgrades over Nix. On nights when Nix starts, Mayberry is a terrific right-handed power bat off of the bench. When The Big Piece returns, the righty-count expands to two: Mayberry and Ryan Howard‘s temporary replacement Ty Wigginton.

Do the Phillies need a righty bat? Probably not. Cafardo mentions Magglio Ordonez and Xavier Nady as other righties with pop who are still available. None of Guerrero, Ordonez, or Nady provide defensive value or speed; while all three would be cheap, the already cramped roster with better candidates makes these three names a pass for me.

What does Phillies Nation think about adding a cheap power threat for the bench before Spring Training?

.290 .317 .416
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About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 804 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

 
 
  • Posts: 1190 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    Unnecessary. We need a utility infielder to take Mini-Mart’s spot on the roster. That’s all. As the season chugs along, we’ll see what issues need to be addressed… but so far a utility infielder to back up J-roll and Chase seems crucial (as much as I like Galvis, I’d hate us to use him as a backup at this point, considering he’s very young and it might stunt his development).

     
  • Posts: 0 Rob

    With that line, I’m not sure Vlad still qualifies as a slugger.

    I’d rather take a shot on Manny.

     
    • Posts: 1190 Manny

      Avatar of Manny

      I’m flattered. Thanks, Rob.

       
    • Posts: 0 Joel

      Not even for the veteran minimum, he is a distraction that young Kids like Brown, Mayberry, Worley, and Bastardo don’t need. The other guys can handle it I believe but the younger kids don’t need his antics in that clubhouse.

       
  • Posts: 0 phil

    I for one am all about manny. he may be a shell of his former self but the dude can still get on base and i bet he could still put up serviceable slugging numbers. He is as professional of a hitter as they come and will come cheap. He is willing to take a minor league deal and he might be a huge push if we need his obp later on in the year after his 50 game suspension.

     
  • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

    Unrelated… with the A’s signing Yoenis Cespedes, what are the odds that Beane would engage in discussions for Michael Taylor?

     
    • Posts: 1190 Manny

      Avatar of Manny

      Interesting point. Seems like Taylor is even more blocked now with this move. I’d love to get him back despite his less-than-ideal performance in the A’s system.

       
      • Posts: 0 Joe

        Blanton for Taylor!

         
  • Posts: 0 delearyous

    interesting point. i also like the proposition of bringing taylor back. although he hasn’t shown much in the big leagues, there is no sure thing in brown. why not bring in a little competition?

    but that wasn’t how the blog closed. it asked do we we need a righty bat. the answer is yes. but the answer does not rely in an outfielder.

    i think what the phillies need to rely on though, is a strong start to the season from big joe. if he comes through, he becomes very valuable in a trade situation to bring in that utility infielder who is a threat off the bench in late game situations. NL clubs live and die by the ability to double switch sometimes and i don’t trust mini-mart to pinch hit for them late in games

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Does this mean Rube will go after another 38+ year old that can barely field ? You know he will.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Manny still facing a 50-game suspension this year ….. would return late-May ….. hopefully the same time as Howard

    so we either don’t need him, because Howard would be back .. or holy hell can you imagine a lineup with Howard and Manny Ramirez additions -other teams would crap themselves

     
  • Posts: 0 John

    We need another bat period……..Utility infielder????? What are Micheal Martinez And Ty. Not to mention Polly can spell Chase if need be. We need to score runs! We need another Bat.

     
  • Posts: 0 Matthew

    Because we don’t have enough aging players on the roster who’s SLG % have taken precipitous dips as they age beyond their prime. Also, we CLEARLY don’t have a ton of low OBP, feast or famine potential HR hitters on the bench either. These are great suggestions ::please note the egregious sarcasm I write this with:: When will people get over the obsession with “a little bit of pop”. The Phillies offense didn’t struggle as badly as everyone assumes (led the NL in runs the final 81 games last season). And when they slump, and slump badly, it’s not because they don’t hit HRs, it’s because that’s ALL THEY CAN DO. They can’t get on base (ESPECIALLY against above average pitching), THAT’S why they slump, not because they don’t have enough guys in their lineup “with some pop”.

     
  • Posts: 0 Max

    How could anyone in their right mind want the Phils to even CONSIDER Manny? Aside from his clubhouse-poisoning history, there’s this: he’s still got a 50-game suspension to sit out, which means he wouldn’t even be available till late May. WTF.
    Not.
    An.
    Option.

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    A right handed bat? You should have thought about that before signing Nix and Wigginton. The bench is set: Schneider, Thome, Nix, Wigginton, and Martinez (probably). This is a silly article.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

    If the goal is to become even older and even less athletic Vladimir Guerrero is definitely the way to go! If you think there’s even a remote chance he could actually field a position, try watching the 2010 WS again.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    Polanco, Ruiz, Pence, Mayberry, and Wigginton are all right handed and Victorino and Rollins both switch-hit. Yet the Phils still need righties and are targeting antique defensive liabilities, one of which is a clubhouse cancer who’ll immediately miss 50 games and might quit mid-season. Sounds like a moron sportswriter from Boston is smoking something. I suppose it’s possible Amaro is smoking the same stuff, though. If he is, the Phils are in deep doo-doo.

     
  • Posts: 5152 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I was just about to question who the heck this Boston sportswriter is, and ask how he knows anything about what the Phillies are doing, but it looks like George just covered it. So let me simply add that I don’t think this Cafardo guy knows anything except how to get publicity by getting his name on MLBTR.

     
    • Posts: 436 Ian Riccaboni

      Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

      No sarcasm here – I’m glad you and George picked up on my subtle jab that Cafardo did not really do a particularly thorough job of investigating the Phillies situation. The only reason I posted it was because I thought it would make interesting discussion, but I think after about 2 seconds of considering it, it’s pretty clear that none of those guys are good fits for the Phils.

       
      • Posts: 5152 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        It’s cool man. You carefully said that Cafardo was postulating, and speculating, I caught it.

        And judging by the amount of comments it drew, you were right, it did make for an interesting discussion.

         
  • Posts: 0 WOIII

    First of all, I don’t remember the writer, nor the reporter mentioning Manny. He was a frigging disaster in TB, and his bat will have slowed. He doesnt hit for power, and hits .270 at his best. Would love to add Guerrero. He was much better the last two seasons than I thought he would be, he can still hit .285. His defense isn’t good, but he would be good for a clutch hit, or good spot start, and could be someone to carry the phils for a random stretch of the season. He would probably sign for 3 or 3.5. They have spent worse money than that. He could also be good for a DH in interleague, and god for bid….

     
  • Posts: 0 chuck s

    All of you clowns who have an iota of an idea that Vlad or that quitter Manny would be good for the Phils need to turn in all your Phils gear and go root for the Mets. After you become a Mets fan convince them to bring in these two dead weights on your team. Manny, christ sakes.

     
  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    We do not need a right handed bat, but I do like the suggestion of Joe Blanton for Michael Taylor, whom we could bring back to the Phillies. Of course, we would have to eat at least half of Blanton’s contract.

     
  • Posts: 0 mike

    need a catcher that can hit for average

     
    • Posts: 576 Brian Sr. of CO

      Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

      Seriously? LOL Who? Keeping in mind that this “catcher that can hit for average” would replace Chooch behind the plate defensively. Put down the pipe dude.

       
  • Posts: 0 mike

    id basically give blanton away and pay any amount of his contract that would open up some room for us and make him a decent priced option somewhere else…im sure somebody would be willing to pay him a few mil

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    How much of the contract would the Phils have to eat to make a Blanton trade? Anything above 5.5 million we might as well keep him. Does it make sense to trade him if we have to eat 7 mill only providing 1.5 million in salary relief at the same time possibly only getting a 2nd tier prospect in return. Trading Blanton is going to be a losing situation as we would have to eat a significant portion of his contract for even the possibility to be discussed. At what cross point would it even be worth it. No one wanted this guy when Rube tried to pull something last year and that was before his arm trouble. We would have to eat 75% of his salary and get a Jeltz in return for some GM to even think it.

     
  • Posts: 2 dmoney2f

    Avatar of dmoney2f

    I think we really need a right handed slugger..i would really love for us to find a way to get jose bautista..i know thats a longshot but if the phils could find a way to pull that off it would solidify our needs and a world series title…does anyone agree?

     
    • Posts: 161 therookie300

      Avatar of therookie300

      While the thought of watching Bautista hit bombs at the Bank is awesome, I don’t think there would be any chance of that happening. The Jays are preparing for a serious run at that division soon. I don’t see them trading their premier offensive force.

       
  • Posts: 2990 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    At the very top of the comments Manny says, “Unnecessary. We need a utility infielder to take Mini-Mart’s spot on the roster.”

    Uhhhhhhh….excuse me…..but isn’t that what Wilson Valdez was??? Here we’re talking about 6.71 million to MAYBE go to another slugger….which is TOTALLY unnecessary…..and Valdez would have cost the Phils 930,000. Don’t know about you guys but aren’t the additions that were already made to the bench plus the upgraded bullpen (Valdez’ trade aside) good enough?? WTF do they need an aging Vlad or Manny Ramirez for anyway?

     
    • Posts: 1190 Manny

      Avatar of Manny

      I think we’re in agreement Chuck. I also really like our bench… with the exception of Martinez. I, too, would’ve preferred Wilson instead.

      I really think we need to replace him with a free agent utility infielder on a minor league deal (or major league worth equal or less than Valdez’ price tag of 930K). The rest of the bench is pretty damn good on paper..but Martinez sucks. Plain and simple.

       
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    The amount of people that both Hate our bench…AND hate the idea of adding a Hall of Fame player (vladdy or manny) to pinch hit late in games, I often feel like no matter what moves this organization makes, the majority of fans will complain about it- If I could add either of those guys to my roster for under $3m or so, I would do it in a heartbeat

    A team that struggled to have a consistent bat last year in the playoffs, and people wouldn’t consider two of the best hitters of the last few decades??

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      I’m one of the few who DON’T hate the revamped bench, nor do I hate the possibility of Pierre being added to it. There’s more than enough talent on the roster even if Martinez doesn’t hit much.

      But I do hate the idea of signing any of these guys. They’re all just antique outfielders who happen to be right handed. Maybe they can still hit a little, but any of them could fall off a cliff production-wise. It doesn’t make sense to pay out a few million for a guy who might get a few pinch hits, can’t run if he does get on base, and can’t be trusted to catch or throw anything. In the case of Manny, you’d also have an attitude problem.

      They may have been two of the best hitters of the last few decades, but this is 2012, not 1998.

       
  • Posts: 0 Dave

    If they do anything, it should be for a utility infielder. Just read today that Blake DeWitt might be available. I for one, am not comfortable with Martinez being mentioned in any Phillies plans at the major league level.

     
  • Posts: 2990 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Don, I LOVE our bench. Obvious upgrades were made. I just can’t see why it’s necessary to add an expensive older player. If it were that cheap…..under 3M dollars…then MAYBE ok.

     
  • Posts: 0 zubzub

    Please, please, please … Everyone … stop talking about Laynce Nix ! He is a .244 lifetime hitter who strikes out more than once every 4 ABs, cant run or throw. He is a lifetime bench player. He is Ross Gload’s replacement. He will NOT platoon in any way whatsoever with Mayberry.

     
    • Posts: 0 Don M

      If used against RHP, Nix can definitely contribute… He’s a .253 avg, .747 OPS lifetime vs RHP and while neither of those numbers are going to tell you he’s an All Star- they should tell you that he’s a very nice option as a #7 hitter to give someone a breather (or with Mayberry playing 1b, etc) and Mayberry might have more power vs RHP but he also huts for a lower average sort it play out and see who helps you the most in each situation…… I don’t think it ever hurts to have puzzle-piece players fighting for playing time

       
  • Posts: 0 Doug

    Call the Mets, trade Blanton,Polanco, D. Brown, and 5 million cash to Mets for David Wright, starting pitcher, 3B, OF, saves 2 million this year and 16 million next year for mets and still have Brown for future. For phillies it will cost them the extra money under cap, However we would have Wright 2 years at 3B, theres the right hand power bat added to line up.

     
    • Posts: 0 Don M

      That call would go like this… we would like to trade you Joe Blan-[Mets hang up phone]….

       
      • Posts: 835 schmenkman

        Avatar of schmenkman

        (we hope)

         
      • Posts: 835 schmenkman

        Avatar of schmenkman

        So for about the same money in 2012, and quite a bit more money in 2013, the Phillies:

        1) get slight improvement at third.

        - Wright’s defense has been terrible for years
        - overall, he hasn’t been much better than Polanco over the last three years (or he’s been a little worse, according to FanGraphs)
        - he missed as much time as Utley did last year with back issues
        - he will be paid $15 million in 2012
        - in 2013, either the Phillies pick up his $16 M option, or he becomes a free agent

        2) You give up the one main hope of a good young (cheap) position player in Brown

        3) You rely on two of Kendrick/Worley/Pineiro to take 35%-40% of your starts

        Pass.

         
    • Posts: 0 steve

      crickets……crickets…….

      really though lol

       
  • Posts: 2990 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    So far Doug has the award as the “Most Ridiculous Comment of the Day”.

    And I’m kind of excited to have Laynce Nix on the roster. He, along with Ty Wigginton, should get some playing time and contribute nicely. How can anyone argue that Ruben hasn’t significantly upgraded the Phillies’ bench? The only spot that seems in question is the utility infielder. I guess they really see something in Mini-Mart that a lot of us aren’t seeing.

     
    • Posts: 0 steve

      I definitely agree Chuck (with most ridiculous comment of the day) but more so about having Laynce Nix and Wiggington. They are great pickups that i think add some professional at bats to the bench and are both guys who at least a few years ago were disciplined hitters. The only logical explanation that I can think of for keeping Martinez over Valdez is speed. The team knows Vic-Rollins are no where near the base stealers they used to be, and despite not being as good a hitter off the bench Martinez is faster. If the phils happen to bring in Pierre as the extra outfielder id definitely rather swap Valdez back for Martinez.

       
    • Posts: 0 George

      You must have missed Mike’s comment about catcher. I think we have a tie. I could be wrong, though, if Mike posted late yesterday.

       
    • Posts: 835 schmenkman

      Avatar of schmenkman

      The only thing wrong with Doug’s comment is that the Mets are not likely to trade the “face of the franchise” without demanding a king’s ransom in return for a decent but not great player.

      It’s not because the proposed deal is lopsided in the Phillies’ favor, because I don’t believe it is.

       
  • Posts: 5152 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    The Valdez trade was tough for all his fans, I get that. I will miss his rocket arm. But I applaud RA Jr. for acquiring 26 year old Jeremy Horst. At some point he has to bring in some youthful guys that may be ready to make the jump soon.

    He has invited a good mix of young guys and veterans that should make S.T. very competitive this year.

     
  • Posts: 1190 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    SIGN RENTERIA ALREADY!

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      The only reason to sign Renteria would be if they don’t have anything left to put a fork in.

       
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    On the afternoon edition of “Baseball Tonight” … Tim Kurkjian was talking about AJ Burnett to the Pirates, etc … and said that if Burnett doesn’t work out, the Pirates are interested in John Lannan from the Nationals, or Joe Blanton..

    He didn’t go into any detail, but its pretty clear that the Phillies are making Blanton available – or at least more than willing to listen to any inquires about him. With a ton of bullpen depth, is Worley/Kendrick and worse than Blanton/Worley at the end of the rotation?

    I guess as we get closer to Spring Training, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Blanton dealt at some point this season

     
  • Posts: 1 Joe Catanzariti

    The reason they are looking for a RH bat is because they envision Mayberry and Wiggington getting the bulk of the starts at LF/1B until Howard returns. On those nights, that leaves Martinez and either Pierre/podsednik as the only RH bench options. Nix will never PH against lefties. Never.

    Manny is a non issue. By the time he’s available to Play Wiggington becomes your RH bench bat.

    So the issue is would you take vlad, et al over Pierre or podsednik and the answer is it depends on the cost.

    I’d rather do nothing and save the money for July.

     
  • Posts: 0 al

    Ok. Lets think this through. If the phils can move Blanton why would’nt they even if they can free up 4 mil. of his 8 owed it gives them more money to use come trade deadline time for whatever they need. In place Kendrick/Worley make 40% of the phils starts? Why not Blanton at some point would be hurt as usual. And dont forget about Pinero who may be old but in the NL he has a 63% groundball ration with the cards, in Anaheim it dropped to 48% groundball ratio. Now 48% is still very good especially seeing the phillies are a good defensive infield. So at some point Pinero starts for us and will be successful, this is a dark horse pick up that will pay off. If he starts 11 games for us he ll win at least 6 or 7.

    Next up, the bench Chralie does’nt need to worry about a right handed power bat from an old guy who wants one last chance and looking for a lot of money for it. We are solid and have now incorporated more players that can make life easier for our everyday line-up. Wigginton, at third first and corner ourfiled helps give guys days off, martinez yea lose a bat but save j-roll and utley stamina. And Nix can give Mayberry a day off here and there casue honestly why shouldnt mayberry be the everyday starter. Oh and lets not forget Juan Pierre, if victorino needs a day mayberry slides over pierre plays left. If he could field for the white sox in 155 games, he could sit on our bench and play 50 games for us and pinch run and be impactful.

    And lastly, the 19 yr old cuban Jorge Soler, the phillies need this move hes young, he gets into our farm system he replaces victorino or pence in the next 3 yrs that would put him at 22 maybe 23 by the time he makes it to the bigs, love our current phils but be honest neither pence and victorino will both be here in 3 yrs. Phillies need Soler especially if he ends up with Mike Stanton like power, he’d be the start of the next wave of core players, names like Soler,Larry Green,Dom Brown (?) could possibly be our outfield, with Valle catching our future aces, which could be Brody Colvin,Trevor May,and Cole Hamels, trust me this team is young maybe not as stacked as they were from the last 3 years but we have incredible A class players moving up and they will be successful…

    The other thing anyone else notice how the Phillies traded young players in the last 3 years. Jason Donald,Carlos Carrasco,Lou Marson, (how they doing?) Kyle Drabek,Michael Taylor, Travis D’Arnaud, J.A Happ,

    Honestly all these guys were atop our prospects listings how are they not successful with their new clubs, its the phillies system seems to have more stability and not pushing guys thorugh too soon.. Except Dom Brown and look now hes not even in their plans this year and he was suppose to be the guy to replace Ibanez. So how we develop and bring along our young players are why they become successful. Other teams I think are dropping the ball with guys like Taylor and Drabek

     
  • Posts: 2 dmoney2f

    Avatar of dmoney2f

    Is there anyway the phils can get Jose bautista..we really should pursue him…
    Does anyone rael phllies fan agree on that if we can some way get bautista we will have the best lineup in
    baseball….

     
 
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