Outlining the Outfielders

Before the Thanksgiving holiday, the Phillies purchased the rights to outfielder Chris Snelling from the Tampa Bay Rays. The 25-year old Snelling hit .246 with a single homer and 7 RBIs for the Nationals and Athletics last year but missed most of the season due to a left knee injury. With the prospects of resigning Aaron Rowand become less likely by the day and the trade of Michael Bourn, the Phillies have begun to piece together a potential replacement strategy. Ruben Amaro Jr. summarized the signing by saying, “Chris has always had a great bat, but he has battled some injuries in the past. We feel he will be healthy this coming year and adds a lefthanded hitter and some depth to our outfield.” Still, it is likely that Snelling will have to compete for a spot during Spring Training.Another slightly more prominent outfielder signing over the holiday came with Torii Hunter and the Angels agreeing to a 5-year, $90 million deal. Although Torii was never a top priority for the Phillies, it does show that the talent pool for outfielders is quickly shrinking. This begs the question, do the Phillies need another outfielder? Here’s who is on their current depth chart with some notes on each.Phillies Depth Chart

  • Pat Burrell – probable starting left-fielder; inconsistent but useful at the plate; legs like a rusted Tin Man; 1 year/$14 million remaining on his contract
  • Shane Victorino – probable starting center-fielder, moving over from the right field position last year; dynamic at the plate and in the field; had a 1-year/$410,000 contract last season
  • Jayson Werth – probable starting right-fielder; played 92 games last season in a career year stats-wise; may not an everyday player; had a 1-year/$850,000 contract last season
  • Gregg Dobbs – played 14 games in left-field with 1 error last year; more of a third-baseman or pinch-hitter; had a 1-year/$385,000 contract last season
  • Chris Roberson – speedy yet inexperienced; saw minimal time last season mostly as Burrell’s late-game replacement
  • Chris Snelling – (see above)
  • T.J. Bohn – played 18 games with Seattle in 2006, picked up off waivers from Atlanta

So that’s what we’re working with if the season started today. The front office is still committed to bolstering the pitching staff this off-season, but there wouldn’t be any harm in exploring potential outfielders. Below is a list of free agent outfielders (including Aaron Rowand) courtesy of the ESPN Free Agent Tracker.

Left fielders Center fielders Right fielders
Barry Bonds
Milton Bradley
Luis Gonzalez
Geoff Jenkins
Rob Mackowiak
Orlando Palmeiro
Shannon Stewart
Rondell White
Mike Cameron
Jeff DaVanon
Darin Erstad
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Andruw Jones
Kenny Lofton
Corey Patterson
Aaron Rowand
Cliff Floyd
Shawn Green
Jose Guillen
Bobby Kielty
Trot Nixon
Reggie Sanders
Preston Wilson

Out of the center fielders, Andruw Jones stands out a possibility. He had an off-year last year, which is why he is having a hard time garnering the contract he thinks he deserves; but that might be exactly why he is attractive to the Phils. Jones is asking for $14 million a season and might settle for a 1-year deal for the chance to prove that he’s still got at least half decade in the tank. Although the Phillies are already on the hook for Burrell’s $14 million next season, they were offering Mike Lowell $12 million. Other than that possibility, the Phils might have to work with what they got.

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