Phillies Infield Grasping at Straws
After trading utility infielder Wilson Valdez for a minor league pitcher in January, things have gone steadily downhill since then. In an interview on 97.5 The Fanatic earlier this month, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. finally admitted that the Valdez trade was “foolish.” His exact quote was, “It was foolish to trade Wilson Valdez” and Amaro then admitted if he could go back in time, he would take Valdez back.
I knew that in January. Why didn’t Amaro? Obviously, he did not see the train coming before it ran him over this spring training. You cannot predict injuries, but even I knew that Chase Utley would be a big question mark this year after last year’s chronic knee issues. Sure enough, he is out and no one knows when he will return.
Adding to the disaster at second base, Michael Martinez has a broken foot and will be out until at least May. To begin with, I’d have taken Valdez over Martinez anyway. But again, Valdez is gone. And first base is going to be an adventure as well with Ryan Howard out until…??? No one knows.
Now the Phillies are stuck with a rookie short stop as their starting second baseman. Don’t get me wrong, Freddy Galvis is a wonderful prospect, but can he handle this type of pressure so early in his career? Switching positions makes this even harder on a very young player who may not be ready for the big leagues yet.
Galvis may be just fine. But this is certainly not the kind of uncertainty the Phillies wanted to start the season with.
Pete Orr may wind up being the back-up for Galvis, although the roster will not be set in stone until probably Sunday night. We do know outfielder Juan Pierre has made the team, but the rest of the roster is still in limbo.
You can see the Phillies are very worried though…today they signed a Nationals reject, just in case. Andres Blanco, a 27-year-old utility infielder who hit .224 with the Rangers last season, was given a minor-league deal. This is the Phillies idea of a back-up plan. Yikes.
A few other bonehead moves by Amaro this offseason include signing outfielder Laynce Nix to a 2-year deal. This guy has hit above .255 only ONE time in a nine-year career. And this spring, he is hitting .200. And how about first baseman Ty Wiggington? His career has been on a steady decline the last two seasons, hitting .248 and .242 respectively. This spring, Wiggington has hit .190.
The good news is, both guys were cheap and Wiggington was given just a one-year deal. But in case anyone is wondering, Valdez is hitting .318 in 44 at-bats this spring with the Reds. Just saying…
Ok, so maybe all these new guys will surprise us all and get some big hits? But I do not see any of them volunteering to pitch the 19th inning and risk making a total idiot out of themselves for the team. That guy is gone….Wilson! Miss you already…
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Valdez Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography