The offseason is not over yet, but the Philadelphia Phillies have been relatively active already. This really shouldn't come as much of a surprise, because the Phillies always seem to be pretty busy.
However, activity doesn't always mean success. Therefore, let's take a look at the six biggest moves of the offseason for the Phillies so far and give each one a grade.
Despite some initial questions, Jimmy Rollins will be back in Philadelphia this spring. Rollins is not only the emotional leader of the Phillies, but he is also the best alternative available at shortstop— besides Jose Reyes of course. I have been saying all along that perhaps it would have been better for the long term to let Rollins leave and have Freddy Galvis start.
However, the Phillies are eventually going to get old, and they're still in a position to win right now. Yes, it may be shortsighted, but it is kind of the position that they are in right now.
Because of this, bringing back Rollins—even though he is older—is a move that is most consistent with the goal of the team right now.
The Philadelphia Phillies had agreed to a four-year, $44 million deal with Ryan Madson. Somehow, that fell apart, and they ended up signing Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year contract worth $50 million.
I personally would have preferred the Phillies keeping Madson, just because I have built up a lot of confidence in him over his years in Philadelphia. But if they had to acquire another closer, Papelbon was a very good choice. He had a career 2.33 ERA and 219 saves in a Boston uniform.
The Phillies probably overpaid for Papelbon, because $12.5 million per year is a lot of money for a closer. But he does have the potential to do well.
Ty Wigginton was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for either a player to be named later or cash. He will join the bench in perhaps many capacities. First of all, over his career, he has appeared at six of the nine positions on the diamond (he has never played center field, pitcher, or catcher). They type of versatility is always appreciated.
Also, the Phillies had problems with a right-handed power bat off of the bench last season. He will definitely help solve that, after he hit 15 home runs last season.
The price wasn't that high, and he could be a very valuable piece to keeping the Phillies in a good position.
Another veteran presence was added to the Philadelphia Phillies bench this season, with the signing of Laynce Nix. Last season, he hit .250 with 16 home runs and 44 RBI. Apparently, the Phillies wanted to bolster the left-handed side of their bench as well.
He will definitely be a nice insurance policy for the Phillies outfield, and I also believe that he will be productive. Unfortunately, this meant that Ben Francisco had to be traded, or else there would be an overload of outfielders. But I understand why that had to happen.
Again, the Phillies did not have to pay a high price for him, and I think that he has a lot to offer.
The D-Train is rolling in Philadelphia. Dontrelle Willis is well known for his time beating the Phillies, but hopefully he will be able to reverse that trend this coming season. He is definitely coming in to pitch out of the bullpen as a left-handed specialist.
I think that this move will work out, but Willis has definitely been plagued throughout his career by inconsistency. He seems to have overcome that against left-handed hitters, but I am still a little bit nervous.
In terms of my final grade for this move, I am sorry that it will be lower than the other ones. It is not that I do not think that he has potential, but I am a little bit concerned about his career of consistency.
Jim Thome is making his comeback to the Philadelphia Phillies. I have to admit, he was one of my favorite players while he was in Philadelphia, so this move makes me very excited. With Ryan Howard out for a substantial amount of time, it does make sense to bring in another first baseman.
I envision a sort of platoon situation developing between Thome and John Mayberry Jr.; but that is obviously negotiable.
I am highly biased, but this move makes me very happy, and I think that it could work out very well. Thome adds a powerful left-handed bat in the middle of the lineup that will really be missing Ryan Howard for a good portion of time.