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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Phillies Notes to Note

The Phillies recently released fourth outfielder Geoff Jenkins (below), making room for a move that will improve the club and their bench strength. They have two options, neither of them particularly bad. First, the Phillies have already been in contact with Gary Sheffield, showing interest in the former Tigers DH who is just shy of 500 home runs. The second would be Andruw Jones, still under contract with the Texas Rangers. While it is doubtful that either would get a full time playing gig with the Phils, they would provide a much needed right-handed bat off the bench to go with lefties Greg Dobbs, Matt Stairs, and Chris Coste. The Phillies will eat the eight million dollars still left on the Jenkins' contract.

Gary Sheffield has fallen upon hard times. Since leaving the Yankees the forty year old Sheffield had shown a steady decrease in his ability at the plate. Add to the fact that he no longer can play anything but DH or First Base, and he doesn’t provide that much to a Phillies team looking to repeat. On the other hand, from what I understand, the Phillies would only have to pay him $400,000 which is a bargain for a veteran bat.

The Phils are also looking into a trade for Andruw Jones, who despite ripping off the Dodgers for $14+ million; can still play the field. They would probably only have to give up a low level prospect for him or a journeyman in the system that wouldn’t make the big league club regardless. The Phils have a history with the Rangers too. They traded Vincente Padilla to the Rangers a few years back and recently received John Mayberry Jr. in a deal for Greg Golson. He would be a better fit for the Phillies since he still owns a glove and should still no how to use it. The big question surrounding Jones is whether or not he can regain his form from the earlier part of this decade, for from two years ago for that matter, or whether the overweight, lackadaisical shell of a former All-Star is all that is left.

The Phillies named their fifth starter, and his name is Chan Ho Park. Park had an outstanding spring and took full advantage of the opportunity to crack the rotation after spending the last few seasons coming out of the bullpen. He beat out expected starter JA Happ, who may either join the pen as long relief, or temporarily be sent to AAA. Happ will regardless be spending plenty of time on the big league roster. This solidifies the starting staff as Hamels, Myers, Blanton, Moyer, and now Park.

As the Phillies roster rounds itself out there are few surprises, with possibly the exception being Jenkins’ release. But despite that, the pitching staff looks in better shape than it did a year ago and the addition of Jack Taschner will help fill the void during the J.C. Romero suspension. Should Philly pick up either Sheffield or Jones, it will be interesting to see who the odd man out will be, although Stairs is the most likely candidate.

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