Sunday, January 22, 2012

Phillies 5th Outfielder: Damon or Pierre

By all accounts, Ryan Howard will not be ready by Opening Day. Thus creating an open spot on the 25-man roster. The Phillies could use a player with some speed and the ability to play the outfield on their bench, something that Michael Martinez or Scott Podsednik would provide. However, Mini-Mart can't hit, and Pods wasn't in the Majors last season, and only played 34 games in the minors. Pete Orr has plus speed, but he posted an OPS lower than Martinez and isn't really adept for the outfield. Management has already stated Domonic Brown needs more Triple-A seasoning, so burying him on the bench getting very little playing time would not make sense. Where to turn?

How about the always pesky Juan Pierre or the Caveman Johnny Damon?

Pierre is nothing more than a singles hitter, but he did lead the American League in stolen bases in 2010 with 68, and swiped 27 last year with the White Sox. His arm is atrocious, so RF is out of the question, but he's capable of manning center and left field a couple times a week. He could serve as Jim Thome's personal pinch-runner, or even pinch-hit himself (career .296 hitter, but now more in the mid .270's range).

Damon still has a little giddy-up left in his wheels (19 SB last year) and some pop in his bat (16 HR last year), but he only played 16 games in the outfield last year. Let's be honest though, with Mayberry, Victorino, Nix, and Pence the Phils don't really need many innings in the outfield, so the ability to pinch run or hit is far more desirable. Something Johnny remains quite capable of.

Career Pinch Hitting:
Pierre- .311/.753 in 105 plate appearances.
Damon- .217/.642 in 82 plate appearances.

Offer them a 1 year $2M deal and the first one to accept gets the gig. The only problem being when Howard returns a roster spot disappears, but the extra bench bat could always be kept if the Phils opt to go with an 11 man pitching staff (something that is within reason due to the starters ability to go deep into games).


Corey said...

"The only problem being when Howard returns a roster spot disappears" - that might be the only problem, but it's a big one. Can you commit 2 mil to a player that may not have a roster spot a month into the season? now, if thome or nix or mayberry gets hurt in the spring, then maybe a guy like this could be useful.

GM-Carson said...

Going with an 11 man pitching staff seems to make sense to me.

Hamels, Lee, and Halladay are all 200+ innings a year guys. Worley is likely to put up 175+, and Blanton the same if healthy. Having KK in the bullpen is good because he can go multiple innings. Stutes, Bastardo, Schwimer, and DeFratus are all young men that should be be able to pitch 60+ games a year.

Bob D said...

I actually think they should save the $ and just go with one of those fringe players for a temp spot.

With Nix Wiggington and Thome the bench is greatly improved and can use a fielder as the last roster spot. Wouldn't hurt to bring in another of candidate for AAA

Anonymous said...

Both are left-handed batters; Phils lack depth on right-handed bench players. Thome: L, Nix: L, Wigginton: R. Club has stated open bench spot needs to be filled by a right-handed bat - neither Pierre nor Damon fit this category.

GM-Carson said...

That means it'll probably be Mini-Mart until Howard gets back. Yuck!