Paul Hagen is reporting the Phillies have been in talks with the Giants and Reds about Wes Helms. With the Giants, the target is seemingly LHP Steve Kline. With the Reds, Hagen says it’s LHP Mike Stanton.
In both cases, I ask, “why?”
The Phils already have a grizzled veteran LOOGY in Vic Darensbourg. Clay Condrey (lifetime AVG against lefties) and JC Romero round out the lefty contingent in the bullpen.
Here’s what I wrote about Kline:
Kline will cost $1.85MM this season, which means the Phillies may have to eat $1MM. Not terrible. Kline, 34, is from Sunbury, Pa. (near Bloomsburg University), and carries a career 3.51 ERA. 2007, however, was his worst season since his rookie year. He went 1-2 in 46 innings with a 4.70 ERA and a rough 1.652 WHIP. And lefties hit .318 off him last season â€” that isnâ€™t promising (career lefty AVG is .238). Kline would probably work in a limited role, like a mirror image of Francisco Rosario. Would Vic Darensbourg be that much worse? I also found this quote from Kline about being booed in Baltimore: â€œThereâ€™s nothing worse than getting booed at home. St. Louis fans are too good for that. They understand the game more than most people.â€ Sounds like trouble, eh?
For the 40-year-old Stanton, it’s as simple as his 5.93 ERA last year with the Reds. I’m much more comfortable going with Darensbourg, whose spring stats weren’t that bad. Lefties are hitting .243 off him, which could be better, but isn’t bad.
The main argument, however, for me being against these moves is the Phillies really need a right-handed middle reliever. Currently, it’s JD Durbin out there, and I have no faith in him anymore. It’s likely they’d rather wait on Francisco Rosario to get healthy, but is that the smart move? Why not have a seasoned righty to balance a seasoned lefty like a Darensbourg?
With Helms, it’s true we should be happy with what we get, but they’re pointing the dart just a bit off center here.