5 Over the Hill Guys Philadelphia Phillies Should Consider After Bobby Abreu Signing
5 Guys Who Phils Might Consider
One thing you cannot accuse Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. of is age discrimination.
While other teams in the Analytics Era look to unload contracts of aging players, Amaro extended the deals of downward trending and oft-injured veterans like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. In addition to that, he is paying starting pitcher Cliff Lee $25 million a year even though all of the analytics suggests that Lee’s future productivity will not approach his past numbers. Instead of spending the big bucks on free agent catcher Brian McCann and getting a better player and five years of valuable age in return, Amaro re-signed 34-year-old catcher Carlos Ruiz.
Cheap trumps better when it comes to Amaro and the Phillies.
Consider his offseason acquisitions as an extension of that philosophy. His biggest free agent signing was Marlon Byrd who, at 36, went through the once mighty Phillies farm system with Howard, Utley and Rollins.
Now another familiar face has been signed in free agent outfielder Bobby Abreu who will turn 40 next month. Abreu hasn’t played Major League Baseball since 2012, but that doesn’t seem to matter to Amaro or the Phils’ ownership above him.
While the New York Yankees were busy getting younger and better with McCann and Masahiro Tanaka, the Phillies are getting older and worse. It makes you wonder who could be the next big signing for Amaro.
We can only guess he’s on the line right now with the agents of these five guys.
5. Pete Incaviglia
Incaviglia is 49 right now and hasn’t played since the 1998 season for the Houston Astros, where he hit .125 as a 34-year-old, but would supply the right-handed hitting power bat the Phillies need. He has been working out at the local gyms and staying in hotel rooms while reading up on hitting which could be a selling point for Amaro.
4. Ricky Bottalico
Amaro would not have to look far to get some much-needed late-inning bullpen relief as Bottalico is a color commentator for the Phils’ TV postgame shows out of a studio across the street from Citizens Bank Park. Bottalico regularly gives his opinion of what better pitchers like Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels are doing wrong, so Amaro might be tempted to see if Bottalico can do better.
3. Tomas Perez
Known as the “pie guy” for sprinting to the clubhouse to make shaving cream pies for guys who made the star of the Game Show, Amaro might be tempted to bring back Tomas (no h in his first name) for the comic relief. When you only win 60 or so games, watching Perez, 40, come from behind to blast heroes might do the most to break the boredom of a 162-game season.
2. Jose Mesa
The Spanish translation of Jose Mesa is “Joe Table,” and that was what Jose was affectionately called by Phillies fans in his last season, 2007, when he went 1-2 for the team with a 5.54 ERA. That season, Mesa was 6-foot-3, 170-pounds. He is now a reported 220-pounds, and Amaro hopes the extra weight adds a few mph on his fastball.
1. Wilson Valdez
At 35, Valdez might be among the younger Phillies. Like Abreu, though, he hasn’t played since the 2012 season but has been active in the Venezuelan League. He would give the Phillies depth at a variety of positions since he can play (and has played) all nine, including pitching a 1-2-3 inning for the Phils in 2010. Signing Valdez would help Amaro save the $2.5 billion the Phils got from Comcast for their TV deal to spend on anything but players.