Philadelphia Phillies Post Free Agent Outlook Following Ty Wigginton Acquisition

21 11 2011

by Jim Salisbury of Comcast Sportsnet

The Phillies continued to change the look of their bench by acquiring versatile Ty Wigginton from the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named later or cash on Sunday.

Wigginton, 34, bats right-handed and plays infield and outfield. He joins Jim Thome as additions to the bench this off-season.

“I like three things about him,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “I like his makeup. I like that he fits our club in that he can play first base and third base. And I like that he gives us another guy with power off the bench. We had been looking to add depth to our bench.”

Wigginton is signed for 2012 at $4 million. The Phillies are getting $2 million in the deal. The two teams have six months to complete the deal with a player to be named or cash.

The acquisition of Wigginton may be a signal that the Phillies do not believe they will sign free-agent Michael Cuddyer, another versatile right-handed hitter. It is believed that the Phils have an offer on the table to Cuddyer, but it is probably short in dollars and years of what he is seeking at this point of the off-season. Amaro made a point of saying that Wigginton’s acquisition “doesn’t preclude us from doing any of our business.” He added that acquiring an outfield bat was still a possibility. If that’s going to be Cuddyer, he will probably have to come at the Phillies’ price.

Having signed closer Jonathan Papelbon and bolstered their bench, the Phillies’ main remaining focus is on shortstop. They are in negotiations to bring back their own free agent, Jimmy Rollins, and are talking with a number of other candidates to fill the position.

Amaro said talks with Rollins were going “slow.” He added that he does not believe he will have the position filled by the winter meetings, which begin Dec. 5 in Dallas.

“We’re a ways away from doing anything with anybody at shortstop,” Amaro said. “We’re having dialogue with Jimmy and several other possible fits.”

Wigginton, 34, hit .242 with 15 homers and 47 RBIs in 130 games for Colorado in 2011. He was just 20 for 123 (.163) with runners in scoring position. He played first base, third base, left field and right field last season. He has also played second base in his career.

That versatility is attractive to the Phils, who are looking for depth at first base and third base. First baseman Ryan Howard will miss the start of the season as he recovers from surgery on his Achilles tendon, and third baseman Placido Polanco is recovering from groin surgery. The Phils believe Polanco could be more productive if his playing time is monitored in 2012. Wigginton can play some outfield, but Amaro said he was being viewed mostly as a corner infielder.

The Phillies tried to acquire Wigginton from Baltimore in 2010, but the cost was too high. He hit .248 with 22 homers and 76 RBIs that season and made the American League all-star team.

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