Philadelphia Phillies Still Looking To Improve Outfield

By David A. Cattai
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

First come, first serve. That is usually the motto when it comes to any hot commodity. While many MLB off season hot commodities like Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher, and Zack Greinke have been signed, there have been copious opportunities for the Philadelphia Phillies to make a push for the second tier options.

General Manager, Ruben Amaro Jr., came into the off season looking to improve his outfield as well as his bullpen. Amaro has addressed parts of each need but is still lacking the corner outfield bat that he desperately wants.

Amaro told‘s Todd Zolecki that he has been in contact with some of the remaining free agent outfielders and that he has also explored different trade possibilities to acquire some pop for his lineup.

So what options remain for the Phillies?

Amaro does not have much money to spend, especially if the team wants to stay below the luxury tax this season. But if the amount of money was not too extreme, what improvements could he make for this lineup?

The Phillies have been linked to veteran players such as Scott Hairston and Vernon Wells. The former is coming off of a productive 2012 season, while the latter is looking to live up to the contract that he was given a couple of seasons ago.

Other possible options that the Phillies could explore are Delmon Young and even Michael Bourn.

Young, according to Jon Morosi earlier last month, is not expected to sign until later this month since he is recovering from an ankle surgery. He will likely work out for teams soon. Young hit .267 with 18 home runs, 74 runs batted in, and a .707 OPS. The Seattle Mariners have also been linked to Young, especially with their need for offense.

Bourn is an interesting, yet unlikely option for the Phillies. With the dollar amount that other free agent outfielders have signed for, it has been speculated that Bourn may not be able to grab the amount that he wants. Having an agent like Scott Boras, who is arguably one of the best in the business, does not always help a player’s cause.

For example, Ryan Madson was looking for a multi-year deal last off season and did not receive one. Madson later went on to sign a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds. Bourn will likely not sign a one-year deal. But if he had to, why wouldn’t the Phillies take a chance and roll the dice?

The Phillies major need has been offensive productive from a corner outfield position. Yet, if they were to acquire a player such as Bourn, the dimension of their game plan changes. Bourn brings speed, unbelievable defense, and he could virtually hit in the one, two, or seven-hole in manager Charlie Manuel’s lineup. With the acquisition of Michael Young, who is more than capable of bouncing back to his +.300 status, the signing of Bourn could be more enticing to a Phillies team that was not very good defensively in 2012.

Though Bourn and Young are unlikely signings for the Phillies during this free agent period, do not put it past Amaro, who has been known to pull a few tricks out of his sleeve over the past couple of seasons.

David A. Cattai is a featured journalist with Rant Sports & Buzz On Broad.

Follow me on Twitter (@DCattaiSports), Facebook, and Google+ for sports updates.

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