Oh, hey, look. Ty Wigginton is a free agent. This is a guy who quietly hit 23 home runs for Houston last season, while hitting .285, with a .350 on-base percentage. Plus, he played third base and left field last season and can also play at first, second and in right. And - wait for it - he hits right-handed!
With Ed Wade's decision not to retain Wigginton in Houston and make him a non-tendered free agent, Wade's former protege Ruben Amaro should have been jumping for joy, and the phone. Wigginton is a legitimate right-handed bat that can fill in at third base while Pedro Feliz rehabs from back surgery and can also spell Ibanez against some of the tougher left-handed hitters in the league. Plus, he could slide into second base if Chase Utley is out for longer than expected and provide a quality bat off the bench.
Plus, adding Wigginton to the Phillies roster would keep him from facing Phillies pitchers, who he has victimized to the tune of a .319 lifetime average.
The 31 year old Wigginton is being courted by a number of teams, including the Indians, Giants, Pirates, Reds and Twins.
So, just how could Wigginton fit into the Phillies lineup?
First, Chase Utley reiterated that he plans on being in the lineup for opening night, but many medical types believe that's a long shot. The same goes for Pedro Feliz. Wigginton would start the season filling in for either Feliz or Utley, leaving potentially just one spot to fill, unless one of the regulars does make it back in time for the opener. Even if both are fine, a few extra days off here and there wouldn't hurt and Wigginton would provide an adequate bat to replace them when needed.
When everybody is healthy, Wigginton could still make one start a week in left, one at third and possibly one every couple of weeks at second. He would also provide great insurance against injuries to just about any player in the starting lineup, with the exception of center field, shortstop or behind the plate. And coming off the bench, Wigginton would be the first option against one of the many left-handed relievers that the Phillies should expect to see in 2009, thanks to their left-leaning lineup.
The problem is that Wigginton may be too good for the Phillies, in that he can likely grab a starting job for some club. Most of the teams interested in him would put him immediately into their starting lineup and not have to demonstrate to him how they would find at bats for him throughout the season. In other words, Philadelphia might be a tough sell, but if the sales job can be done, Ty Wigginton would provide a great measure of insurance for a club needing a right-handed insurance policy.