Because there isn't much baseball to write about this week, a lot of sites have gone with the "first half review" article. But is there really a need to review the first 90 games? We all know that Burrell and Utley are hitting well, Howard is striking out a lot, Eaton sucks, and Myers is a freaking headcase. So instead of stretching that sentence out over 2000 words, I figured I would look forward to the second half of the season and come up with a few ways to make this Phillies team better.
There are few areas that need to be changed in terms of offense and defense. The infield and outfield are pretty much set, and although Carlos Ruiz isn't hitting worth a damn, Charlie Manuel likes what he does defensively and they aren't going to make a switch this year. We're just going to have to tolerate his Mendoza-ness. The bench is excellent too, with Greg Dobbs leading the league in pinch hits and Eric Bruntlett provided solid, unspectacular utility support. The only weak link: So Taguchi.
The guy has to go. He's hitting .212 and hasn't shown much defensive ability either. And at age 39, I'm not willing to wait and see if he turns it around.
The Phils don't have much in AAA in terms of a replacement now that Chris Snelling is injured. Bohn, Cervanek...I don't think so. Here are some guys that the Phils may be able to get on the cheap from clubs that aren't going to make a move for the playoffs.
Jason Michaels - He had a big walk-off jack for the Pirates last Saturday, but he's still the fourth outfielder in Pittsburgh behind Mclouth/Bay/Nady. He's only making $2 million this year and even though he struggled with Cleveland, he's never hit below .267 in any year season, so he has a track record of moderate success. And unlike Taguchi, he doesn't get a senior citizen's discount at local restaurants. Not to mention he's already punched a cop in Old City and posed for sweet mug shot, so he's a natural Philadelphian.
Nyjer Morgan - He's faster than Taguchi. He's a better outfielder than Taguchi. He's cheaper than Taguchi. And he's chillin' in AAA with no real shot at contributing much to the Pirates. Sure, he's not going to add much offensively, but neither does So.
Jay Payton - At $5 million, Payton is probably too expensive to be considered for a 5th outfield spot. But if Victorino or Werth would get injured and be out for an extended period of time, he could be a guy that fills in for a month or so. And since he a free agent making a decent amount of cash this year, the Orioles would probably give him away.
Brad Wilkerson - He's not hitting very much (.230) but he would be very cheap. The Mariners are paying him the majority of his $3 million salary and Toronto is only paying a prorated portion of the league minimum.
Corey Patterson & Ryan Freel - I think the Reds would be glad to get rid of one of these guys, especially Patterson, who has already spent time this season in the minors. Both players are making at least $3 million this year, and Freel is owed another $4 million in 2009. You would think the Reds would take a little of nothing to get one of these guys off of their books. Of course, that kind of salary is a little much for the Phils to take on just to have a fourth or fifth outfielder.
Rajai Davis - The 27 year old Davis is a former Pirates prospect who was traded to the Giants last year in the Matt Morris deal. He hit in the .270's for the Buccos last year, but struggled mightily this season with the Giants before he was released and subsequently picked up by the Oakland A's, where he is now hitting .230. He's a very fast funner and above average outfielder. Given his age, lack of "prospect" status, and his situation in a very crowded outfield that includes the newly acquired Matt Murton, he could be picked up cheap.
Reggie Abercrombie - This 28 year old former prospect is another player being stashed in AAA, this time by Houston. He hit .323 last year and is hitting .298 this year. He plays all three outfield positions and stole 41 bases last year, so you know he has speed. What he does lack is major league experience.
Jason Repko - Talk about a crowded outfield, there is no room in LA. Repko is wasting away in AAA. With the luck the Phils have with another Dodger outfield castoff (Werth), it might be worth talking a flyer on Repko.
That's it for now. Later this week, possible starting and bullpen help.