Look out Major League Baseball, because Ruben Amaro Jr. is tearing through the free agent market, leaving the cupboards bare for those that snooze. Updated World Series odds are going to have the Phils pegged at the top after this bevy of transactions, right?! View here for more MLB World Series odds. The week started off with a bang with news of Marlon Byrd being signed. He easily adds 10 wins himself. Then the minor league deal given to Shawn Camp. Hello, Mr. 8th Inning! Now, Rube doles out a trio of minor league contracts to some major league studs. Yep, Clete Thomas, Cesar Jimenez, and Leandro Castro are going to put the Phillies over the top and assuredly secure a playoff berth in 2014.
Clete Thomas is a 30 year old outfielder, who has sported amaze-balls OPS of .458 and .597 the past two seasons with the Twins and Tigers. I can't believe 29 other GMs passed on him. Clearly he's an MVP candidate, or an All-Star at least. He's a career .233/.664 hitter over 4 seasons, but hasn't been productive since 2009. His minor league numbers aren't that promising either- .263/.748 over 9 seasons. Basically, don't expect to see Clete in a Phillies uniform any other time than during spring training.
Then there's the Phils 2013 bullpen stalwart Cesar Jimenez. The 29 year old lefty veteran of 4 MLB seasons, turned in a 3.71 ERA/1.41 WHIP over 19 appearances last season. Don't be surprised if Cesar is one of the first relievers recalled from Triple-A in the event of injury, because he's capable of being mediocre for short stints. While mediocre isn't a ringing endorsement, it's better than other alternatives (Chad Durbin anyone?).
Lest not forget the gem of this group, minor league lifer Leandro Castro. The 24 year old outfielder spent last season with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs batting .256/.647, and has been in the Phillies organization his entire career (7 minor league seasons).
As loyal reader Bob D said, "If Ryan Howard hits 40 homeruns, if Jimmy Rollins bats .300, if Domonic Brown hits 30 homeruns, if Kyle Kendricks wins 15, if Jonathan Papelbon saves 40, if Miguel Gonzalez wins 15, if Ben Revere steals 70 bases, if Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels remain healthy, if the defense can improve dramatically, if they can hit left handed pitching, and if they can win more than anyone else in the division - then they will be a playoff team."
In other words, the Phillies need everything to go their way next season if they want to be a contender.