This past week has been a busy one for Pat Gillick and the Phillies. While most people were out and about doing some last minute Christmas shopping, Patty G was tinkering with the roster. We've seen two new faces come in (Jayson Werth and Rod Barajas) and saw one old face leave (Jeff Conine). I could discuss each one of these moves at length, but I'm sure most of you have already been through that in your own head or on another site. Therefore, I'll give a brief synopsis of how I feel about each player.
I'm not really for or against the Jayson Werth acquisition. He essentially replaces Jeff Conine, who is 40, and Werth is 27, so he is younger. Conine is a proven bench player, and Werth has only proven to be unhealthy the past season and a half, hence no games played. If healthy Werth will produce better than Conine, as he has more speed and power and can play all 3 outfield positions. Gillick has recently mentioned that Werth can catch as well, although he hasn't done so since the minors.
I may be indifferent towards the Werth signing, but I'm pissed about the Rod Barajas signing. The addition of Barajas makes no sense to me. Gillick wants a proven veteran catcher on the team in case Carlos Ruiz and Chris Coste can't handle the job. Maybe I'm totally overestimating the abilities of Ruiz, but I think he can be an All-Star catcher in the near future, and we all know what Coste is capable of. I made the mistake before by casting Coste off as merely a feel-good story, and he shut me up right-quick. We now have Ruiz and Barajas guaranteed catching duties with Werth possibly stepping into the picture, so where does that leave Coste? I guess Gillick isn't a fan of Disney. Anyway, Barajas isn't horrible, I just felt that catching wasn't a situation that needed addressed with a 2.5 million dollar free agent contract...we could have gotten Sal Fasano back on a minor league deal (just kidding).
Bye-bye Jeff Conine. I respect the man and was ready to welcome him back to the bench. Conine feels he deserves more playing time than just pinch-hitting, so Gillick granted him his wish and sent him packing. He ended up being the odd man out and therefore was traded to the Red for two "prospects", but they're basically two organizational fillers. The Phils bench now only needs a left-handed hitter, preferably one that can play the outfield. I've recently read the names of Trot Nixon, Darin Erstad, Ricky Ledee, and Jeromy Burnitz. I prefer Nixon because he could platoon with Werth and then we could trade Rowand for what this team really needs...bullpen help.
Ok, now that I've bored you with my opinions of the latest Gillick moves, I figured I'd bring back the Saturday poll...special holiday edition.