In what could signal an end to the Phillies career of popular outfielder Jeff Francoeur, the Phillies Wednesday claimed veteran Peter Bourjos off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals and just a few hours later, announced that they had agreed to a one-year, $2-million deal with Bourjos for the 2016 season, avoiding arbitration. In announcing the move on Bourjos, they also announced that 31-year old utility infielder Andres Blanco had also agreed to a deal for next season at $1.45-million, also to avoid arbitration.
With a midnight deadline to tender offers to arbitration eligible players, the Phillies announced that recently acquired starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, reliever Jeanmar Gomez and infielder Freddy Galvis would also be offered qualifying contracts. If the three don't agree to deals with the team, they would go before an arbitration panel to determine their salaries for the 2016 season.
Bourjos, 28, hit 4-13-.200/.290/.333 in 117 games with the Cardinals last season, his second in St. Louis. Over all or part of six major league seasons with the Angels and Cardinals, Bourjos is a career .241 hitter with a .302 on-base percentage, 32 home runs and 126 RBI. In his major league career, Bourjos has played exclusively in center field and has played just five games in left field and one in right field during his time in the minors. With his emphasis on playing center field, there could potentially still be room to add Francoeur, who has played primarily in corner outfield positions.
Blanco played second, short and third for the Phillies last season and even added one game - his first ever - at first base. The veteran infielder hit .292 with a .360 on-base percentage last season, playing a surprisingly high 106 games with the Phillies after splitting time between Philadelphia and Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2014. Blanco joined the organization in 2012, playing in 120 games for Lehigh Valley, but missed all of the 2013 season with an injury before returning in 2014.
Hellickson was recently added in a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks that sent pitcher Sam McWilliams to the D'backs. The Phillies signed Gomez last winter and he made 65 relief appearances, going 2-3 with a 3.01 ERA with the Phillies after making the club as a non-roster invitee last spring. The 27-year old pitched in the majors with Cleveland and Pittsburgh prior to signing with the Phillies.
Galvis has spent his entire career in the Phillies organization and played a career-high 151 games with the Phillies last season, batting a career-high .263 as a shortstop (146 games) and second baseman (5 Gs). Galvis, who turned 26 last month, is a career .241 hitter in 322 major league games, and is best known for his defensive play at shortstop.