Will Venable to Phillies: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2016

Cleveland Indians' Will Venable, right, hits a grounder as Chicago White Sox's Omar Narvaez, left, watches during the second inning of a spring training baseball game Monday, March 21, 2016, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Will Venable didn't have to wait long to find a new team. One day after the Cleveland Indians announced they released the 33-year-old outfielder, he reportedly agreed to a minor league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday, per MLB.com's Todd Zolecki and CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury.  

The Phillies confirmed the deal on Twitter.

In 135 games with the San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers in 2015, Venable hit .244 with six home runs, 33 runs batted in and 16 stolen bases.

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Matt Gelb posited Venable could be a good platoon option in right field with right-handed bat Tyler Goeddel. Historically, Venable is a much better hitter against right-handed pitching than he is against lefties, per Baseball-Reference.com:

Will Venable—Career Platoon Splits
vs. RHP2,6013671.256.324.422
vs. LHP526310.222.280.329
Source: Baseball-Reference.com

Despite his struggles over the past two seasons, Venable can still be a valuable member of an MLB outfield, especially if he's splitting time and not playing every day.

He ranked 25th in FanGraphs' baserunning metric among hitters with at least 350 plate appearances in 2015. Not only is Venable a threat to steal, he can also advance an extra base on base hits on occasion. In addition, he will help Philadelphia defensively, especially given his ability to play all three outfield positions.

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The Phillies almost certainly aren't going to be a playoff contender in 2016. PECOTA projects them to win an MLB-worst 66 games, per Baseball Prospectus. Adding Venable won't make them contenders overnight, but he'll add depth to the outfield and provide security in the event Goeddel struggles in the majors.


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