A year from now, the Phillies may be much more involved in the free agent market than they are now. Presently though, if the Phillies have any thoughts of signing a free agent, it's going to be from the list of lesser names that are still unsigned. We've found five players that might make some sense for the Phillies to sign to add some value and veteran presence to their roster.
Brandon Moss, 33, B: Left, 1B/LF/RF
The Phillies had Moss in their organization and he actually played in five games with the Phillies in 2011. At that point in his career, Moss had played in 244 major league games, with 15 home runs, 78 RBI and a career average of .238 in his time with Boston and Pittsburgh.While he was 0-for-6 with the Phillies, Moss tore up the International League, with a line of 23-80-.275/.368/.509 in 124 games at Lehigh Valley, where he was also a fan favorite.
Following the season, the Phillies made the ill-fated decision to cut Moss loose and hang onto John Bowker. Ironically, before they even made it to Spring Training, the Phillies would also release Bowker, while Moss signed with Oakland and hit 21 home runs in 2012 and has hit a total of 123 major league longballs after being released by the Phillies in October of 2011.
Moss would be attractive to the Phillies, because he's a left-handed hitter that can play first base and corner outfield. Most of Moss' power comes against left-handed pitchers,which would be a good compliment to Tommy Joseph at first base and could also provide some help in the outfield. Moss made $8.25-million last season with St. Louis, but he's smart enough to know that at age 33 and with falling productivity over the past couple of seasons, he's not going to get a big money contract, nor is he likely to get a bunch of years. The Phillies could easily take on the salary and they could potentially get him with a one-year deal, two at the most.
James Loney, 32, B: Left, 1B
At one time, Loney was a pretty decent everyday first baseman for the Dodgers. Those days are gone and the 32-year old is nothing more than a utility player at this point in his career, but he can still help a team in the right situation. The Phillies could be a good fit, since they have a need for a good left-handed bat off the bench and Loney can still hit an occasional home run - he had nine in 343 at-bats last season - especially against right-handers.
One drawback to Loney is the fact that he really can only play first base. With Joseph set to get the lion's share of at-bats from first, Loney wouldn't have too much playing time and would decrease the Phillies flexibility off of the bench.
Joe Blanton, 36, T: Right, RP
Ah, yes. Another former Phillie. Blanton came to the Phillies during the 2008 season and pitched pretty well over 13 starts, helping to lead the Phillies to a World Series Championship. In 2009, Blanton made 31 starts for the Phillies and finished with a 4.05 ERA on their National League Championship team. From there though, things went downhill for the right-hander and during the 2012 season, the Phillies dealt him to the Dodgers for a player to be named later, who turned out to be Ryan O'Sullivan. By April of 2014, Blanton seemed to be done and announced his retirement, but worked to reinvent himself and return as a reliever in 2015, going 7-2 with a 2.84 ERA with Kansas City and Pittsburgh. Last season, Blanton returned to the Dodgers and made 75 relief appearances, pitching 80 innings and posting a 2.48 ERA.
The Phillies are working to revamp a rather lackluster bullpen and they've taken a couple of good steps to do just that. Blanton, with the ability to be a workhorse, throw strikes, and keep the ball in the park - he allowed just 0.8 home runs per nine innings last season - would be a strong fit for a team with relief needs. The additions of Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit will help the back end of the bullpen, but the Phillies could use someone capable of getting them to those innings and Blanton could be perfect for that role.
Neftali Feliz, 28, T: Right, RP
At 28 and coming off a strong season with Pittsburgh, Feliz is likely going to be looking for a pretty decent, if not sizable contract for 2017 and beyond. While that's a bit of a drawback, it's not a deal-breaker for the Phillies, who could conceivably look to keep their future bullpens strong with Feliz locked up longer term. It's been a while, but Feliz has been a major league closer, saving a total of 72 games in 2010 and 2011 while with the Texas Rangers.
While the back end of the Phillies bullpen should be better, Feliz would be another strong arm to add to the mix, especially given the way manager Pete Mackanin likes to use - or overuse - his bullpen in a lot of situations.
It's hard to gauge exactly how large of a contract Feliz will be able to get, but as we get closer to Spring Training, the price will likely drop, so the Phillies would do well to keep in touch with him and try to get him at a price and for a number of years that makes sense for them.
Boone Logan, 32, T: Left, RP
The Phillies currently have three left-handers on their 40-man roster; starter Adam Morgan, reliever Joely Rodriguez and minor leaguer Elniery Garcia. They also have reliever Sean Burnett signed to a minor league deal. Rodriguez put up good numbers, including a 2.79 ERA with the Phillies last season, but it was in just 12 games at the major league level. His history in the majors isn't spectacular, so he's an unproven commodity, at best. Burnett came back from injury last season and pitched well in the minors and in a 10-game audition with Washington, but he's certainly not to be considered a lock to help out of the pen on a regular basis, either.
Enter veteran Boone Logan. The Rockies used Logan primarily just to face left-handers, but guess what? He pitched well against right-handers, too, although that hasn't always been the story. Even if you consider Logan to be a guy only to face left-handed hitters, he has always pitched well against lefties, even in Coors Field, where he allowed just 0.5 home runs per nine innings pitched in his career.
In other words, Logan is a guy who keeps the ball down in the zone and can get left-handed hitters out, which are things that you can't rest assured on with Rodriguez and/or Burnett.