5 Free-Agent Sluggers Who Could Fix Philadelphia Phillies' Power Outage
Throughout the mid-to-late 2000s, the Philadelphia Phillies played long ball with the best of any team in Major League Baseball. Now, however, that power is starting to flicker.
In 2009, the Phillies hit 224 home runs when they returned to the World Series to defend their championship.
But in the last two seasons, the Phillies have hit just 311 home runs combined—153 in 2011 and 158 in 2012—finishing 18th in the league in both seasons.
It's pretty telling when your shortstop—Jimmy Rollins—is your home-run leader with 23 and the second-place man—Hunter Pence with 17—left the team in late July.
Some of that missing power obviously has a lot to do with extended absences of both Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, but they still need a little assistance.
Bob Brookover of Philly.com believes the answer is in the power, and re-energizing that power. That's certainly hard to argue his point, especially with Citizens Bank Park being known as a hitters' park.
So, just who could the Phillies look toward to find that power?
Let's take a look.
The Phillies are on the search for a third baseman after declining the option on Placido Polanco's contract for the 2013 season.
Kevin Youkilis could be looked at to help add additional power to the middle of the batting order.
Youkilis is certainly capable of 20-25 long balls a season. While his numbers slipped last season, there's no reason to think a pattern of regression has started for Youk.
Definitely more of a long shot here, but right fielder Nick Swisher is nothing if not remarkably consistent during the regular season.
Swisher is good for 25-28 HR and 85-90 RBI per season, and that likely wouldn't change much playing half his games in Citizens Bank Park.
This is another definite long shot, but don't you think adding outfielder Josh Hamilton to the Philadelphia Phillies lineup would help in solving power issues?
I can't think of too many GMs who would pass on adding the potential of 40 homers a season.
Stranger things have happened, and Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro isn't shy when it comes to making deals. Hamilton's presence in the lineup would certainly help in putting the Phillies back on top in terms of power.
Highly doubtful, but one never knows.
A cheaper option than Josh Hamilton for the Philadelphia Phillies might be outfielder Ryan Ludwick.
Ludwick put up solid numbers last season with the Cincinnati Reds, hitting 26 HR with 80 RBI. And he'll cost about 80 percent less than Hamilton as well.
Center fielder B.J. Upton is only 28 years of age, arguably just reaching the prime years of his career.
The Phillies could have Upton around in those prime years, and considering he hit 28 home runs last season, those prime years could be pretty darn good.
My personal preference is for Amaro to bring in both Kevin Youkilis and Upton. They're both right-handed bats to complement Ryan Howard and Chase Utley from the left side.
In Upton, they get a long-term solution for center field. In Youkilis, they get a dependable glove at two positions with the ability to produce.
The long ball has helped the Phillies in the past—and if their starting pitching holds up, they can use that power to make the rise back to power in the National League as well.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.