MLB Rumors: 10 Players the Philadelphia Phillies Should Aim For This Winter

Jeff KerrContributor IOctober 7, 2010

MLB Rumors: 10 Players the Philadelphia Phillies Should Aim For This Winter

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    The Philadelphia Phillies won't have a lot of holes to fix prior to the 2011 Major League Baseball season.  They finished the 2010 regular season with a 97-65 record, which was the best in MLB.

    The Phillies are favored to win the World Series for the second time in three years.  With one of the best offenses in baseball and a starting rotation compared to the Atlanta Braves' dominant staffs in the 1990s, the Phillies are on the verge of creating a dynasty. 

    Even if the Phillies win a world championship, how can this team improve for 2011 and beyond?  

    Here are 10 players the organization should pursue over the offseason…

Willie Bloomquist

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    Assuming Jayson Werth leaves for free agency, the Phillies are going to need a right-handed bat in their lineup.

    Bloomquist provides that and excellent defense from multiple positions. 

    Given the Phillies' injury woes this season, the front office would be crazy not to take a look at Bloomquist (.267 avg., 3 HR, 27 RBI, 8 SB in 83 games). 

    Bloomquist can play second base, shortstop, third base, and the outfield. 

    Willie allows Charlie Manuel to give aging players like Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, and Raul Ibanez a well-deserved day off.  He can also platoon with Domonic Brown in right field next season, batting against left-handed pitchers. 

    Bloomquist is one of the most valuable position players for playoff teams in free agency and would fit right in with the Phillies' system.

Garrett Atkins

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    The Phillies can sign Atkins to a minor-league deal and hope they receive major-league production. 

    From 2005 to 2008, Atkins was one of the best offensive third basemen in baseball for the Colorado Rockies. He averaged .300 with 22 HR and 104 RBI over those seasons.

    Atkins has struggled with numerous injuries and adjusting his swing over the past two seasons, but the Phillies can take a gamble on the 30-year-old. 

    Garrett can regain his stroke with the help of hitting genius Charlie Manuel and the short left field at Citizens Bank Park. 

    Atkins can revive his career as a valuable right-handed bat off the bench in 2011 if he makes the 25-man roster.

    He could receive a contract extension with the Phillies and can fight for a starting position in 2012 with a strong season.  

Justin Duchscherer

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    Duchscherer may be the best starting pitcher available not named Cliff Lee in free agency.  He is one of the top 20 starting pitchers in baseball when he is healthy. 

    Unfortunately, he might be the most injury-riddled player in the Major Leagues.

    Duchscherer has missed parts of seasons with hip, shoulder, bicep, and back injuries along with a depression battle in 2009. 

    So why should the Phillies sign him? 

    Duchscherer is 33-25 with a 3.13 ERA in his major-league career as a starter and a reliever with two All-Star selections. 

    At 32 years old, Duchscherer can help the Phillies solidify the back end of their starting rotation or provide strong middle relief in the bullpen. 

    The Phillies will be able to afford him because of his injury history and hope he can win a job in spring training. 

    If Duchscherer can stay healthy for a full season, the Phillies will possess one of the best arms in the game and add him to their arsenal of Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt.    

Pedro Feliciano

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    Feliciano might be the only member of the New York Mets to shut down the Phillies over the past four seasons. 

    Pedro has been the Mets left-handed specialist out of the bullpen and gets outs. 

    Since 2006, Feliciano has pitched an average of 86 games a season with a 3.11 ERA.  Hitters have only a .246 average against him over the last five seasons.

    If the Phillies decline to pick up J.C. Romero’s option after this season, Feliciano should get a look.

    He has more control of his pitches and can pitch in a clutch situation despite playing for the New York Mets. 

    Feliciano is not a type A or B free agent, so the Phillies do not have to give up draft picks for him.  He will solve the questionable left-handed reliever situation in the Phillies' bullpen for 2011.

Jon Rauch

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    Rauch has been outstanding for the Minnesota Twins since was traded there late in the 2009 season. 

    He has been one of the most reliable set-up relievers in baseball and was excellent as the team’s closer this season (for the injured Joe Nathan). 

    Rauch is 8-2 with a 2.42 ERA with 21 saves in 76 appearances for the Twins. 

    The Phillies could use Rauch as the replacement for Jose Contreras if they do not re-sign him. 

    Rauch could be the team’s seventh-inning reliever and get innings on nights that Joe Blanton, Kyle Kendrick, or Vance Worley pitches. 

    Rauch can pitch multiple innings and still be as effective, which is what the Phillies' bullpen lacks. 

    Jon Rauch will come with a price tag as a type B free agent, but he will pay big dividends as a role player in the Phillies' bullpen.      

Andruw Jones

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    Jones still has pop in his bat after a revitalized 2010 season. 

    Andruw played in 102 games for the Chicago White Sox, hitting .230 with 19 home runs and 48 RBI.  He can still play Gold Glove caliber defense as a right fielder, albeit with bad knees. 

    Jones’s average can improve if he signs with the Phillies because he will not be used as an everyday player. 

    Jones could be the power right-handed bat the Phillies need in a platoon role with Domonic Brown.  He can also provide a quality power right-handed bat right off the bench that only hits home runs, sort of the Matt Stairs role. 

    The Phillies could have trouble signing Jones because he is a Scott Boras client, but he is a valuable asset to any baseball team that signs him.

Chris Young

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    After the San Diego Padres declined his option for 2011, Young is another starting pitcher that the Phillies can acquire at a bargain price.

    Young would be a solid fifth starter for the Phillies only if they are not confident in Kyle Kendrick or feel Vance Worley is not major-league ready. 

    Since being traded to the Padres after the 2005 season, Young is 33-25 with a 3.60 ERA and a WHIP of 1.19.  

    He has battled a torn labrum and shoulder inflammation the past two seasons, which allows the Phillies to take a gamble on him.

    Young would provide added depth to the rotation or the Phillies could add his middle 90 MPH fastball as a weapon in their bullpen.

Reid Brignac

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    This one is a stretch, since the Tampa Bay Rays are unlikely to give him up. 

    However, the Phillies need to address their shortstop situation as Jimmy Rollins will enter free agency after next season. 

    Rollins’s production has declined in the Phillies' lineup over the past few seasons and the front office may decide to let him go after 2011. 

    Brignac is a young, athletic shortstop who hit .256 with eight homeruns and 45 RBI in 113 games this season and will only get better.  He is a quality shortstop who Tampa Bay could be willing to give up due to the presence of Jason Bartlett.

    The Phillies would most likely have to trade two prospects and a position player to get Brignac.  Tampa Bay covets young prospects, which the Phillies have plenty to choose in single-A ball. 

    If the Phillies could acquire Brignac, he likely would play as a utility infielder for 2011 and be primed to take over the starting shortstop role in 2012.

Jamie Moyer

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    If Moyer returns to pitch for a 25th major league season, he most likely will pitch for the Phillies. 

    The Phillies should bring him back, but not as a starter. 

    Jamie Moyer can still get batters out with his off-speed pitches the first time through the lineup. 

    So why don’t the Phillies try him out as a left-handed reliever? 

    Moyer can still get left-handed batters out and has the ability to be effective in that role. 

    The Phillies can use him to get a few batters out late in the game and he can turn the ball over to Ryan Madson.  Madson’s mid 90s fastball will look like a 105 MPH blur to opposing hitters after facing Moyer. 

    Jamie can still teach the young pitchers how to pitch in the Major Leagues and could be in line to succeed Rich Dubee as pitching coach of the Phillies.

Jayson Werth

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    The Phillies will not have to search for a right-handed bat if they can keep the one they have. 

    At this point, it seems like a miracle for the Phillies to keep Werth.

    However, it can happen.  Phillies' president David Montgomery says the Phillies can re-sign Werth if he signs a short term contract with the club. 

    Maybe a World Series title with the idea of still getting $15 million a season can change Jayson's mind. 

    Replacing Werth’s production would be a monumental challenge for the Phillies if he is let go, which is why they should aggressively pursue him. 

    Werth has averaged .282, 29 HR, 83 RBI, and 17 SB over the past three seasons.  He provides backup to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, and makes the Phillies' offense more dangerous. 

    If the Phillies want to dominate Major League Baseball the next few seasons, they should resign Werth no matter the cost.