As pitchers and catchers prepare to report to spring training next week (thank goodness the wait is over), the hot stove simmers down and cools off.
It's been a good, productive offseason for the Philadelphia Phillies. They got the man they wanted to close out the ninth in Jonathan Papelbon for the next four years, brought back fan favorite and left-handed power bat (and occasional first baseman) Jim Thome, and they made many moves to strengthen both the bullpen and the bench.
While it might not have been the most memorable offseason, GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. and Co. did a nice job of filling empty holes. The only thing they need to do next is extend Cole Hamels—but that's a story for another day.
However, there have been some moves the team has made that have gone relatively under the radar. Some have been moves that make perfect sense, while others are questionable. Nevertheless, for the most part, Amaro knows what he's doing, and the players he's signed and acquired, both major and minor league-caliber, could prove to be invaluable to the club.
We'll examine the five smartest, savviest moves that Amaro has made this offseason, and they will each receive a letter grade based upon how important I think they will be to the club, whether in terms of playing time or just for expanded depth.
I did consider putting Thome on this list, but considering how his signing was the first major move by any team this offseason, I didn't qualify it with the standards for this article, though it was a fantastic move nevertheless.