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Matt Yaloff, Our New Centerfielder

Since we’re in the habit of occupational cross-overs, why not?  If you don’t already know what I’m talking about, you may have missed the Fox broadcast between the two LCS games last night.  There was Kenny Lofton smack in the middle between Jeanie Zelasko and Kevin Kennedy.  I’m not sure if that was his debut, but it was new to me.  It was disheartening to watch him go on about his experiences in the playoffs back while in Cleveland.  Because that is exactly who Kenny Lofton is and will always be remembered for: he was the Indians’ centerfield during their sustained, albeit unsuccessful, playoff run from 1995-2001 (except for the ’97 season when he was with Atlanta).  Fortunately for him, he has ridden that wave the past 4 years, though 6 different ballclubs.  Unfortunately for us, that wave has washed ashore in Philadelphia.

Sure, Kenny has the experience the Phillies lack and from what we’ve heard he’s helped Jimmy Rollins out a lot.  But I don’t like the guy.  Why? Because he has yet to come to terms with the twilight of his career.  He went from making $8 million in 2001 in the last year of his contract with Cleveland to making just over $1 million the following year in Chicago (AL).  The Phils have him on the payroll for $3.1 million, but I’m not sure if the Yankees are paying any of that.  Regardless, the pay cut in 2002 alone should have been a wake up call to him.  He often misplays balls in center because he plays at depths he used to when he was worth $8 mil.  If he can wake up and recognize his limitations and play within them, he will be a better team player and worth the spot on the Phils roster (read: bench).  Otherwise, there’s no point in keeping him around to platoon.  Although he had a decent season with .392 OBP and 22 stolen bases, there’s no improving on those numbers with each passing year.

Not that Kenny Lofton can’t help the team, but the Phils need a legitimate everyday centerfielder.  Of course, Torii Hunter’s name has surfaced this off season.  However, besides the Twins insistence that he isn’t available, the talk in both New York and Minneapolis is of him being traded to the Yankees if anyone.  So moving on, check out this trade gossip from the NY Post:

Jim Thome to the Yankees for Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright and Tony Womack. Thome is due $43.5 million over the next three years and the Yankee trio is owed $42 million. This is the crossroads of desperation and inspiration.

Ha! I like that last line.  There you go, Tony Womack could be our centerfielder.  Though my friends in New York absolutely hate the guy due to his suckiness last season, but he would be no worse than Kenny Lofton.  Plus not only has he won a World Series, we’d get two mediocre pitchers to add to our bunch AND send Thome packing! The Phils would certainly be no worse off than they are now.

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