As you have probably noticed, the Phillies struggled in a couple different categories this season, struggles they hadn't faced in some time (bullpen, defense, intense NATITUDE). This year's free agency class is not exactly what fans want to see, but a closer look reveals a plethora of useful players that could be available for a pretty cheap price. In order for the team to return to a winning and successful season, I feel the team needs to address their bullpen needs, as well as third base and the outfield. So here is my 2012-2013 free agency wish list:
1) Ryan Madson, RHP
When he was with the team, Madson was as close to clutch as you could be without truly being clutch (figure that one out). His ERA was well under 2.50. His K to IP ratio was over one. And he was giving up between 2 and 3 walks per 9 IP. He also had 32 saves, only blowing his first late in the year. The guy is good. I understand Tommy John surgery is tough to come back from, but look at our southern neighbor's rising prodigy, Stephen Strasburg (no, I'm not comparing them, just their recovery). He came back looking stronger than ever, and it's a very real possibility for MadDog. Plus, he'll be looking to make a new name for himself, and him declining his option with the Reds give me all the more reason to believe he wants to come back. Not to mention, he'll be cheap.
2) Torii Hunter, OF
Past his prime, aging outfielder coming to Philly. Stop me if you've heard this before. However, this is a bit different. Torii Hunter has not been falling off recently. In fact, he seems to be getting better with age. He's maintained an average of 89 RBIs, over 20 HRs, and a fair share of XBH his last four years in an offense he had to carry much of alone (that is, until the son of sunny South Jersey arrived). A few may be discouraged by his OBP, but it can only improve in Philly's Tin Can Bank Park (jokes!). With him being 37 years old, a 2 year deal with an option for 2015 isn't out of the question.
3) Kevin Youkilis, 3B
THE YOUUUUKKKKK!!! Sorry. But could you imagine the Philly fans chanting this and CHOOCH in consecutive at bats? The media would have a field day comparing the booing to batteries and Santa Clause. Anyway, back to the point. It's no secret the Phillies have gone years without an All-Star caliber third baseman. It's also no secret that Youk isn't the same guy we saw in Boston from '07 to '10. But if you look at the league from a wider view, there aren't very many options. It's quite reminiscent of the J-Roll™ situation last year: a depleted market and hands tied. Seeing as the White Sox declined his $13M option for next season, most teams probably won't be willing to play a bidding war with him. A 1 year deal with an option is not unbelievable, something I could certainly see a player seeking to redeem himself accepting. RAUUUULLLLL (I miss that) did it with the Yankees, so why can't Youk?
4) Cody Ross, OF
I understand Babe Ruf is tearing it up right now in some far off land, and Domonic Brown showed some promise last season, but we need outfielders. Bad. I can't take another Schierholtz, Mayberry 1-2 punch. Cody was a Philly killer when he was with Florida. Cody was a Philly killer with San Fran. Cody was a Philly killer with the Bo Sox. Why not try to entice his bat into a stadium he has always rocked? His numbers are great. His attitude would go over well with this team. His height would make J-Roll™ smile (kidding). There is only one issue I can see with the 31 year old is his contract demands. Boston loves him and are pushing hard. The problem is he is demanding a bunch of money he doesn't deserve. If he can be talked down, a 3 year, $18M deal sounds pretty good.
5) Brett Myers, RHP
Please. Just hear me out. I can hear half of you cheering for a return of the controversially love able guy, while the other half wants me shipped to Houston, where all Phillies children come from. It's also where Brett took his depressingly epic beard in 2010. Look, I realize his numbers aren't the greatest. But, by comparison, they're pretty impressive, especially considering the teams he's gone to. A consistent 3.00-3.50 ERA would be accepted in Philly, and a return to his first team may boost Myers. We need a guy that can fill several roles, and Myers has done it all. A fill-in closer when Ocho Cinco needs some rest. A long reliever in those blowout games. A spot-starter when Kyle Kendrick inevitably blows his 347th chance. Think about it. Give the guy a 2 year deal and let him embrace his Philly family once again.
So that's my list. There are a few names I left off, and let me explain (quickly) why:
1) Josh Hamilton, OF
Too much off the field drama. He seems too self-satisfying and not a team player. Not worth the money or distraction.
2) B.J. Upton, OF
Doesn't impress me. His power numbers are there, but he's much too inconsistent. Probably demands too much money and not enough payback.
3) Melky Cabrera, OF
Before using PEDs, Melky was not very impressive. It seems to be forgotten how many teams he bounced around. Who's to say we won't see a 100 game suspension this season? No thanks.
4) Alex Rodriguez, 3B (not a FA)
I initially believed a cheap A-Rod would be worth it, but my interest dwindled. Any team that brings him in would have 10+ years worth of drama on their hands, as well as his phone number escapades with the ladies. Unless he's free, don't bring him here.
There it is. My Phillies wish list. Here's hoping for a return to the postseason in 2013! *Here! Here!*
Andrew Gillen has followed Baseball Talk: Philadelphia since 2011.