As free agent filings occur today, let’s look at what the Phillies need this offseason:
Strongest Need: Starting Pitcher
Though the Phillies have up to eight options for their Opening Day rotation, one of the options is a free agent, and four aren’t quite set in stone. A starter that can fill one of the middle spots would be extremely welcome. If not, a veteran filler piece wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Consider: Ben Sheets, Jon Garland, Paul Byrd, Odalis Perez
Strong Need: Right-handed hitting left fielder
Pat Burrell might get scooped by another team. If so, it leaves a hole that the Phils can patch in a few ways. The internal option is going with a platoon of left-handed hitters, but that means the Phils still lack a powerful right-handed bat. Look for the Phils to do something, whether it’s signing a cheap platoon option, or trading for an expensive everyday guy.
Consider: Milton Bradley, Jermaine Dye, Rocco Baldelli, Juan Rivera
Strong Need: Right-handed Reliever
The Phillies bullpen was unstoppable for most of 2008, but with Rudy Seanez leaving and the potential for a couple drop-offs, getting a right-hander who can work middle and late innings might be crucial. A veteran might be in the cards.
Consider: Doug Brocail, Russ Springer
Moderate Need: Right-handed-hitting outfielder
The Phils might still need a bench-worthy right-handed hitter, as the group is already heavy to the left. That means a Baldelli might still be in the cards. Or the Phils can go the utility route. But this isn’t a strong necessity.
Consider: Baldelli, Rivera, Emil Brown, Jerry Hairston Jr.
Low Need: Backup First Baseman
Greg Dobbs and Chris Coste can back Ryan Howard, but who knows if Coste gets a 25-man job, and if Dobbs won’t be in the outfield. Moreover, having a right-handed bat in place of Howard might be vital in 2009.
Consider: Richie Sexson, Miguel Cairo
Low Need: Backup Catcher
It doesn’t make too much sense for the Phils to add a veteran catcher, but you never know. They might want a solid transition piece from Carlos Ruiz to Lou Marson without needing Coste behind the dish.
Consider: Josh Bard, Chad Moeller, David Ross