In search of a left-handed bench bat, Ruben Amaro was drawn to an old friend (and I mean old) in the form of Bobby Abreu. He will earn $800K if he makes the team, and has an opt out clause for March 26th. He missed all of 2013, because of lack of interest in his services. He's recently been seen tearing up the Venezuelan Winter League, so interest in him has again been peaked.
Bobby will turn 40 years old in March and was with the Phillies from 1998-2006. He's also played with the Astros, Yankees, Angels, and Dodgers and is a career .292/.873 hitter with 1441 R, 565 DBL, 287 HR, 1349 RBI, and 399 SB. The one time Homerun Derby champion's power is all but gone, yet he is still able to get on base (never dipping below .350 OBP since '98).
Utility Infielder- Reid Brignac, Freddy Galvis, Kevin Frandsen, Cesar Hernandez, and Ronny Cedeno.
Outfield- Darin Ruf, John Mayberry Jr., Tony Gwynn Jr., and Bobby Abreu.
4 spots are open with Wil Nieves/C taking one of the 5 bench spots.
Frandsen and Mayberry have the inside track, considering both of their deals are
guaranteed. Someone capable of playing shortstop is needed, so one of Cedeno, Galvis, Hernandez, and Brignac
will likely get a job. That leaves a reserve outfielder, and Amaro wants a
left-handed hitting one, meaning Gwynn or Abreu. What to make of Ruf?
One possibility is to let Mayberry go (or trade him for nothing), and have Dom Brown or Marlon Byrd play center field in a pinch. This would allow both Ruf and Abreu to make the team. I'm rooting for Abreu, but not at the expense of Ruf, who can help provide power off the bench and a potential platoon partner for Howard at 1st base.
One thing is for sure, the bullpen and the bench competition will something to watch for in Spring Training, and don't count of the Phillies to make the right decision.