Chris Coghlan to Phillies: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2017

Chicago Cubs' Chris Coghlan drives in three runs with a bases loaded triple off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong in the second inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The Philadelphia Phillies and utility player Chris Coghlan agreed to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com and Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball.

Coghlan, 31, split the 2016 season with the Oakland Athletics and Chicago Cubs. He played some of the worst baseball of his career before turning things around a bit in Chicago, finishing with a .188/.290/.318 slash line, six home runs and 30 RBI for the season. 

It was a far cry from his successful run with the Cubs in 2014 and 2015, when Coghlan emerged as one of baseball's most underrated utility players. He posted 5.7 wins above replacement across those two campaigns, per FanGraphs—representing a majority of his career total.

"His attitude's been fabulous, he's been a great team guy when he's not playing, he's ready to pinch hit when it's possible," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said in August, per JJ Stankevitz of CSN Chicago. "He's undergone a lot of changes over the last couple years, but I know how much he likes being here. We love having him here."

Coghlan has primarily played the outfield in his career but can play infield spots as well. The Cubs and Athletics played him at first base, second base and third base in addition to both corner outfield spots. The Phillies will likely look for him to play a similar role—hopefully with better production.

Coghlan belted a career-high 16 home runs and drove in 41 runs in 2015. A regression to the mean was expected—he had never reached double-digit homers before—but such a steep decline was jarring.

If Coghlan can return to even 70 percent of the player he was two seasons ago, Philadelphia will have found a bargain. Utility guys who are above-average defenders and good at the plate are exceedingly rare. 

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