If you have been caught up in the Allen Iverson hoopla lately then it would have been easy for you to have missed the Phils latest crop of free agent signings. In an attempt to sure up their non-productive bench from a season ago, Phils brass threw 850,000 million dollars at Jayson Werth for the duration of 2007. If you’re thinking to yourself "Who is Jayson Werth?" you’re not alone. He has missed 193 games for the Dodgers over the last 2 season, including the entire 2006 season.
The former first round pick (22nd Overall in 1997) fought through an injury plagued season in 2005 and posted a .234 average in 337 at-bats. The best performance of his four major league season’s came in 2004 when he belted 16 home runs in 290 at-bats while mustering a .262 batting average after taking over the starting left field spot on May 25th of that year.
In other news, pending a physical scheduled for today, the Phils will also acquire the services of Free Agent catcher Rod Barajas. You may remember Barajas as the guy who hit that huge home run in a spot start against the Yankees during Game 5 of the 2001 World Series. Recently, over his last three seasons for the Rangers, his best offensive seasons came while playing at the hitter friendly confines of Arlington,Texas. There he belted 57 home runs and hit for a career high 60 RBIs in 2005, his best professional season.
At best, these moves give the Phillies a better offensive option in the late innings of crunch time. I’m reminded of the game played at Shea Stadium last season where the Phils eventually lost in the 16th inning on that ridiculously huge Carlos Beltran home run. I was in attendance that night and I honestly believe that the only reason the Phils lost that game was because of their lack of bench depth. While the Phils were trotting out Danny Sandoval, Chris Roberson and Sal Fasano as pinch hitters. The Mets where countering with Jose Valentin, Chris Woodward and Julio Franco. Sure, these guys aren’t anyone special but they look like the heart of the 1927 Yankees in comparison to the Sandoval’s, Roberson’s and Fasano’s of the world.
Maybe next year, the Phils will come out Fightin’. Maybe.