This essentially finishes the bench for the Phightins: Werth, Taguchi, Coste, Bruntlett, Helms/Dobbs.
I'm not excited by this signing, but I'm not against it either. It gives the Phils a veteran (37 years old) guy that can play all three outfield spots who has proven that he can consistently hit major league pitching at above-Nunez rates. He provides versatile outfield depth that every contending team needs.
The alternative for the 5th bench spot is young outfielder Chris Snelling, who has been injured very frequently in his short career. He's a promising youngster that could be a real asset to the Phils in the future if he stays healthy. But competing for the playoffs with unproven rookies is a risky proposition, and doing so with one with durability concerns is even worse. Chances are, a sixth outfielder will be needed during the '08 season, and Snelling hopefully will be able to contribute when his time comes.
Ken Mandel wrote in his piece over at mlb.com: "Taguchi's greatest value to manager Charlie Manuel is his ability to play all three outfield positions, and be a longer-term solution in center field should Shane Victorino suffer an injury."
I have a little problem here. At 37, with limited offensive punch, Taguchi should NOT be an option longterm in centerfield. If this situation arises and the Phils need a centerfielder for longer than 15 days,
I also like the idea that siralden and bloodstripes both mentioned in yesterday's comment section that Taguchi could be an "Otsuka carrot," another piece along with playoff contender and Japanese fluent manager to lure the free agent pitcher to Philly. Hell, why don't they hire a giant Pokemon to ride on the back of the Phanatic's ATV and make boxes of "Mr. Sparkle" one of the giveaways. If it can help the bullpen, I'm all for it...