MLB Rumors: Free Agents Available Who Could Fit the Phillies in 2012

Adrian FedkiwAnalyst IIIFebruary 7, 2011

MLB Rumors: Free Agents Available Who Could Fit the Phillies in 2012

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    I hate to try to look into the future, but it's looking like the 2012 free agency period may be an important one for the Philadelphia Phillies.

    Many of the main cogs of the franchise will be over the age of 35 or close to it.  The window of opportunity isn't exactly opened all the way.

    Not only do some of the Phillies prospects have to prosper down the line, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is going to have to make some tough decisions.  Who does he want to re-sign or sign during this time frame?  Philadelphia's farm system is ranked in the top five, by the way.

    I think there's two focal points that Amaro will target: a power hitting right-handed outfielder, and arms in the back of the bullpen.

    Here are 10 guys I can see Amaro targeting after the 2011 season....



    Power Ranking the Starting First Basemen

    Power Ranking the Starting Second Basemen

    Power Ranking the Starting Shortstops

    Power Ranking the Starting Third Basemen

    Power Ranking the Starting Left Fielders

    Power Ranking the Starting Center Fielders

Omar Infante

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    If there was a bench player award, like the sixth man of the year award in the NBA, then Infante would be that guy.  If the Phillies do intend to re-sign Rollins, Infante would be great in a utility role like Wilson Valdez and Eric Bruntlett have been in season's past.

    He's hit over .300 in each of his last two seasons with Atlanta.

    Here's the thing: Infante has earned himself starter status with the Marlins after the Uggla trade.  Would he want to go back to the bench in Philadelphia?

    Charlie Manuel selected Infante as a surprise choice in last year's MLB All-Star Game.

Jose Bautista

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    Before last season's 54 home run campaign, Bautista's career single season home run high was 18 in 2006 with Pittsburgh.

    With the departure of Jayson Werth to the Washington Nationals, Bautista would be a guy who could fill the void of a power right-handed batter. 

    With Citizens Bank Park's short porch in right, Bautista could prosper hitting here. 

    Bautista may be a guy who takes over for Raul Ibanez in left.  He currently plays third base, but he has experience playing the outfield.

Michael Cuddyer

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    Cuddyer, in my opinion, would be the second-best right-hitting outfield option available in free agency.

    Cuddyer hits in the .275 range, and he'll hit you 25 home runs.  He's very consistent.

Jonny Gomes

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    Gomes would be another option if the Phillies choose to get a right-handed hitting outfielder.

    He's got a solid bat, not great, but it's got some pop.  He hit 28 home runs in 2009.

    He's not going to hit for a great average; Gomes hits in the .265 range.

Josh Willingham

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    Yet another option for a right-handed hitting outfielder. 

    He's essentially the same player as Gomes.

    They both hit for about the same average, same home run totals.

Heath Bell

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    If the Phillies and reliever Brad Lidge part ways, Bell will be the top closer in the free-agent market.

    Bell has back-to-back plus-40 save seasons with the Padres; 42 in 2009 and 47 last year.

    His ERA was a slim 1.93 last year.  Bell is simply rock solid.

Jonathan Papelbon

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    Papelbon had a down year last season, at least to his standards. 

    He still saved 37 games, but his era rose to 3.90.  Before last season, Papelbon had never had his season ERA above three.  He was Boston's version of Brad Lidge last season. 

    We'll see if Papelbon can bounce back this year.

Jose Valverde

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    Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge will be free agents.  It's possible that one or none may be back.  Valverde does have a $9 million dollar club option.

    I don't see Valverde as a closer anymore at this point, but he could be a nice set up guy if Ryan Madson leaves.  Valverde would enter the season as a 34-year-old.

    Last season with the Tigers, Valverde saved 26 games with a 3.00 ERA. 

    The splitter is his signature pitch.

Kerry Wood

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    Wood has had an interesting career to say the least. 

    Wood would be 35 by the 2012 season, but he throws a heavy fastball.  With Mariano Rivera's help, Wood developed a nice cutter to his arsenal.  Wood probably had his best season in the last five years.

    Wood is another option to be the set-up guy for the Phillies if Ryan Madson leaves.

Javier Lopez

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    Philadelphia saw first-hand how dominant the situational lefty can be in the NLCS. 

    He had his best season as a pro last season with a 2.34 ERA and a 1.21 whip.

    He'd be perfect in a J.C. Romero type role.

Which of These Three Re-Sign?

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    Jimmy Rollins, Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson are the three names that I'm most curious about.

    If Lidge departs, I can see Madson coming back to be the closer for this team.

    I think Rollins re-signs.

    I also think Raul Ibanez will not re-sign.