MLB Free Agency: 10 Players the Philadelphia Phillies Should Consider Signing

Shawn SottosantiContributor IIINovember 3, 2011

MLB Free Agency: 10 Players the Philadelphia Phillies Should Consider Signing

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    When you win 102 games, it's pretty obvious that you don't have many holes to fill. But with the Phillies not living up to their World Series expectations, my fellow Phillies fans and I are wondering: How can we make this team better?

    I have come up with 10 potential targets the Phillies should consider to do just that and bring another championship to Philadelphia.

10. Wilson Betemit

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    Not a lot of people are familiar with Betemit, but what he brings to the table is exactly what the Phillies need. He has the ability to play multiple infield positions, and with the Phillies infield's injury woes, they can use steady production out of a potential fill-in.

    Splitting time in Kansas City and Detroit this season, he hit .285 and is also a switch-hitter—extremely important for a key reserve. 

9. Joe Nathan

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    Coming off of Tommy John surgery in 2010, Nathan was not very good early on. His first half was terrible and lost his closer role to Matt Capps before the end of April. He did pitch somewhat well at the end of the year, but his ERA finished at a mediocre 4.84.

    It was only two years ago that Nathan was considered one of the best closers in baseball, and I fully expect Ruben Amaro to at least look into this option.

    He won't be able to demand a lot on the open market. There is very little risk here, and the Phillies could strike gold if he pans out. 

8. Grady Sizemore

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    Let's go from one low-risk, high-reward player to another, shall we? Grady Sizemore was once seen as the face of the Cleveland Indians, and with three All-Star appearances and two Gold Gloves, it seemed like a sure thing.

    The problem? Over the past three seasons, Sizemore has been on the DL more times than I can count.

    With that said, he is another player that won't receive a huge paycheck this winter, and with Ryan Howard out until who knows when, Grady could play left field while John Mayberry fills in at first base. 

7. Jim Thome

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    When you're an opposing player stepping into the batter's box in Philadelphia, you fully expect to get booed. The lone exception to the harsh Philly Phaithful: Jim Thome. During his time in Philadelphia, he was beloved and was extremely productive.

    He obviously can't put up those numbers anymore, but at the trade deadline, the Phillies were looking for a power lefty off the bench and Thome's name surfaced as a possibility.

    This move makes sense on a few different fronts and, let's face it, everyone loves a good comeback story. 

6. Josh Willingham

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    I'm guessing when some of you saw Josh Willingham, the thoughts that went through your head were along the lines of "Eh" or "He's not terrible." But Willingham put up the most unnoticed 29 home runs and 98-RBI season in baseball history. Doing that is no joke, especially in Oakland where they aren't necessarily known for their offense.

    He is another guy who could fill in at first in Howard's absence and should hit for a good amount of power in Philadelphia. Willingham is also another guy that the Phillies have been rumored to get for some time now, and I don't expect that to change. 

5. Ryan Madson

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    As much as I personally want Madson to return, and as much as Ruben will try to bring him back, it may be unlikely. He was a rock at the back end of the bullpen for the Phillies this season, and it is apparent we would welcome him back with open arms.

    So what's the problem here? Scott Boras.

    The "super agent" is likely to get a team to vastly overpay for Madson's services, and after the contract given to Brad Lidge a few years ago, I'm guessing they would be reluctant to do the same for Madson. Expect the Phillies to make a big push for him, but Madson ultimately landing elsewhere. 

4. Jimmy Rollins

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    Now before I continue with this, I'll admit that I am not the biggest advocate in bringing J-Roll back, but as a whole, the Phillies Nation would like their captain back. I am starting to soften my stance a little, but if his demands for a five-year contract are legitimate, then I don't think it's a good idea to re-sign him.

    If Rollins is willing to take a three-year deal, I would not be opposed to bringing him back. At this point, bringing in Jose Reyes seems unreasonable, and the rest of our options at shortstop are clearly a step down from Rollins. 

3. Heath Bell

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    Ruben Amaro has stated that if the Phillies are unable to bring back Ryan Madson, he would like to pursue a proven veteran to take his place. There were some serious rumors going around at the trade deadline that, if the Phillies were willing to part with Domonic Brown, they could have gotten Heath Bell. 

    At that time, the Phillies were not willing to do that, and now that Bell will be on the open market, it seems like he'd draw some interest yet again. Bell has expressed his desire to stay in San Diego, but also would like to pitch for a contender. Expect Bell to be on the market for a while before making his decision. 

2. Jonathan Papelbon

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    Sticking to the "If Madson leaves" logic, the best closer on the market is Jonathan Papelbon.

    Some people in the Red Sox organization believe that Daniel Bard is ready to take over the reigns as closer, and I'm starting to believe it is becoming much more possible that they let him go.

    Papelbon might be a more expensive option than Madson, but not expensive enough for the Phillies to stay away. If negotiations with Madson go south, I fully expect the Phillies to make an equally big push for Papelbon. 

1. Michael Cuddyer

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    When I look at the list of free agents, I think the most perfect fit for the Phillies is Michael Cuddyer. He could bring a lot of consistency into an inconsistent lineup and could play almost anywhere in the field. Granted, it will be extremely tough to pry him away from Minnesota, but if he goes anywhere else, I believe it'll be Philadelphia.

    He would end up being another guy who early on would play first base during Howard's DL stint, be able to give much-needed days of rest to Chase Utley and Placido Polanco and would likely see time in left field as well.  

Conclusion

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    There you have it, everyone. I believe that if the Phillies can bring in any of these guys, they'll be that much closer to another World Series.

    Do you agree? Disagree? Feel like I left a key free agent off the list?

    I strongly encourage you all to share your thoughts and opinions with me and would like to thank you all for reading.