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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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 08:  General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. of the Philadelphia Phillies watches batting practice before game 2 of the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park on October 8, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chri
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    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....


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Omar Infante

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 10:  Omar Infante #4 of the Atlanta Braves against the San Francisco Giants during Game Three of the NLDS of the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Turner Field on October 10, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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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    TORONTO - SEPTEMBER 23:   Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats during the game against the Seattle Mariners on September 23, 2010 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Blue Jays defeated the Mariners 1-0. (Photo by Brad White/Getty
    Brad White/Getty Images

    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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    MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 06:  Michael Cuddyer #5 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates his two run homer against the New York Yankees during game one of the ALDS on October 6, 2010 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    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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    PHOENIX - AUGUST 18:  Jonny Gomes #31 of the Cincinnati Reds on deck during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 18, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Reds defeated the Diamondbacks 11-7.  (Photo by Christi
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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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    NEW YORK - MAY 10:  Josh Willingham #16 of the Washington Nationals connects on a eigth inning base hit against the New York Mets on May 10, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Get
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    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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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 01:  Heath Bell #21 of the San Diego Padres pitches against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on October 1, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    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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    ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 27:  Closer Jonathan Paplebon #58 of the Boston Red Sox sets to deliver a pitch on his way to picking up the save against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on July 27, 2010 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. The Red Sox won 4-2.
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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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    NEW YORK - AUGUST 16: Jose Valverde #46 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates the final out of the game against the New York Yankees on August 16, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Tigers defeated the Yankees 3-1.  (Photo by Jim
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    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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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22:  Kerry Wood #39 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers in Game Six of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers won 6-1
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 21:  Javier Lopez #49 of the San Francisco Giants throws a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies in the eighth inning of Game Five of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at AT&T Park on October 21, 2010 in San Francisco, Califo
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    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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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 21:  Brad Lidge #54, Ryan Madson #46 and Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-4 to advance to the World Series in Game Five of the NLCS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Citizens
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    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.