Kicking Darin Ruf out of camp meant a couple of things.
One, that Darin Ruf sent a few unsubtle signs that he was not yet ready to be an everyday or even platoon Major League outfielder. Two, that the Phillies would need a body to put in left field who see the ball, move toward it, and guide it into their glove, producing 1-3 outs per inning.
It has been widely presumed that a Laynce Nix/John Mayberry concoction is headed our way, or even a Rule 5 underdog Ender Inciarte story, but the Phillies have hinted that hell, maybe they’ll even go outside the club for answered. Hey, is Hunter Pence available?! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, h
So anyways, you might be asking, where could they possibly be looking? Vernon Wells has already been signed by the Yankees, taking the hottest bat off the market. I mean I haven’t seen the guy’s numbers, but if he’s got the Yankees attention, he’s got to possess that elite baseball spirit that allows players access to those pinstripes.
There are two names specifically jutting out from these Phillies threats.
One is former #1 White Sox prospect Ryan Sweeney of the Red Sox. He is 10-for-41 this preseason, with a double and two RBI. He has walked four times. He is only 27 and has put up some impressive hitting stats here and there while in Oakland. In 2009, the year he got the most exposure (134 games), he batted .293 and built a 2.7 WAR. Since then, he has played in an average of 84.3 games per season and at the moment costs a quarter shy of $2 million. However, Sweeney appears to be the most likely internal option to fill in any Boston outfield holes, so they may want to hold onto him or get some Major League-ready outfield talent in return.
Then there is Caspar Wells out of Seattle’s camp; a sad and weary place where Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay have gone to exist for another season. Wells’ spring numbers are actually even worse than Sweeney’s, and he doesn’t have the “I was once the White Sox best prospect” thing to fall back on. Wells doesn’t bring a whole lot of anything offensively, and he may not even make the Mariners’ roster now that they’ve brought on Endy Chavez. Michael Barr of FanGraphs speculated that Wells, with regular playing time, could knock 20 dingers for a team. But if that exposure doesn’t present itself, he’d be most effective against lefties in a platoon.
So things won’t get much more exciting for the Phillies’ left field position, just a little different. And don’t forget, they’ve still got Delmon Young to oh whatever.