Four Bats That May Interest The Phillies

The Phillies have a definite interest in a nice, strong, veteran bat to bring off the bench. There are four players that the Phillies would have a shot at acquiring as we get closer to the trade deadline on July 31.

Mike Cameron - To say that Cameron struggled in his time with Boston this season, would be a huge understatement. Hitting just .149, Cameron was cut loose by the Red Sox just after the Sox left Philadelphia. With lots of money guaranteed to Cameron for the rest of the season, it's likely that he'll clear waivers and become a free agent. Any interested team would only have to chip in the major league minimum - approximately $200,000 - for the rest of the season. Cameron would provide a right-handed bat and could spell either Raul Ibanez in left or Domonic Brown in right against the tougher lefties in the league.

One concern would be that after his release, Cameron blamed his poor performance on the fact that he wasn't playing on a regular basis this season and that wouldn't change if he were to be in Philadelphia. Of course, considering that Cameron was hitting just .143 against left-handers this season and .161 against righties, having him available to face southpaws may not be the best of options.

On the upside, Cameron is cheap and wouldn't cost the Phillies any players. He has also been a positive part of the clubhouses that he's been a part of throughout his career.

Michael Cuddyer - About six weeks ago, the price tag on Cuddyer wasn't nearly as high as it is now. At that point, the Twins appeared on the verge of slipping into the "sellers" category until an 18-9 record in June put them back into the American League Central race. Cuddyer was a big part of their resurgence, hitting .323 in June and posting team-highs in both home runs (5) and RBI (17).

At this point, it's not even clear that Cuddyer would still be available in a deal, but if he is, the Twins would be looking for a nice return in exchange for Cuddyer. They're also a lot less likely to eat a whole lot of the remaining $5 million on the last season of Cuddyer's deal and the Phillies are not only at the upper limits of their payroll, but are also right on the cusp of the luxury tax and they're not at all willing to start handing out money to other clubs.

All of that doesn't mean that they couldn't pull off a deal to get Cuddyer, it just means that they would have to give up a nice package of players, especially since they would need the Twins to eat some of Cuddyer's salary. Don't be surprised if Minnesota would throw names like Vance Worley, Jonathan Singleton, Jared Cosart or other top prospects around if the Phillies were to ask about Cuddyer.

Ryan Ludwick - Ryan Ludwick isn't tearing things up for the Padres, but he has hit 10 home runs in 295 at-bats and is hitting .279 against left-handers. Most of Ludwick's power though comes against right-handers, so he may not help too much in that area. Ludwick hit 17 home runs split between St. Louis and San Diego last season and has hit as many as 37 in a season as a member of the Cardinals in 2008.

The Padres are putting For Sale signs on many of their players and Ludwick could be had at a reasonable price. Ludwick has a little over $3 million remaining on his salary for this season, but it's not clear that the Phillies have even that much money to spend. There is always the chance that an extra prospect thrown into the deal could get San Diego to keep a chunk of that salary on their books.

Josh Willingham - The Phillies have had a long-time interest in Willingham. There were reports that they were close to acquiring him from the Nationals last season. Willingham is hitting just .231, which would be the lowest mark of his career since his debut season when he played in just 29 games. This season, Willingham is hitting 30 points lower against left-handed pitchers than against right-handers, but over his career, his stats are very similar no matter which arm the pitcher throws with.

Like Ludwick, Willingham is also owed about $3 million over the rest of the season and Oakland is willing to entertain offers for the veteran outfielder.



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