Sunday, January 25, 2009

Phils' search for righthanded bat continues

General Manager Ruben Amaro's search for a righthanded bat to come off the bench continues. Aside from Nomar Garciaparra, Amaro has also been in contact with free agents Moises Alou, Kevin Millar, Ty Wigginton, Rich Aurilia and Mark Grudzielanek, Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Money should be a huge factor. The Phillies need to be frugal, as their payroll is 2009 is already exceeding that of last year's, which does not yet include Ryan Howard's salary.

The team seems to need an outfielder more than an infielder, due to lack to depth. Geoff Jenkins remains the fourth outfielder, but struggled to produce and find any sort of consistency last season. If Jenkins does not improve in 2009, they are currently without a solid back-up in the outfield.

Meanwhile, the infield is stacked with options including Greg Dobbs, Eric Bruntlett, Jason Donald and Marcus Giles.

The majority free agents on the list above are infielders, with the exception of Millar and Alou. Either of those two could provide a solid option for the Phils, even though players like Grudzielanek and Aurilia would likely post better numbers.

There seems to be a greater need for a righthanded outfielder, especially with Jason Werth being the only true righthanded batter currently in the outfield. Rual Ibanez, Geoff Jenkins and Matt Stairs all bat left, while Shane Victorino is a switch-hitter.

Given Alou's injury problems of late, Millar seems to be the best option. He is a solid veteran, playing for the World Champion Boston Red Sox in 2004. Millar has played more games at first base, but has been a solid outfielder as well throughout his career.

Hopefully the Phils find a nice righthanded compliment to the lefthanded pinch-hit extraordinaire Greg Dobbs off the bench, and someone who could fill in nicely in the outfield.

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