It seems like this is becoming a trend. Today, the Phillies announced the minor league signing of one-time hospital patient groping swingman Chad Gaudin (with an invite to Spring Training).
I’m not going to harp on the off-the-field stuff too much, but let’s say he’s this year’s Delmon Young signing. To be fair, though, there’s already a few of those added to the mix:
Phillies FA class features outfielder suspended for PEDs, pitcher suspended for falsifying identity, reliever arrested for gurney groping
— David Murphy (@ByDavidMurphy) January 21, 2014
Add in returning PED-er Antonio Bastardo, and we’ve got quite the …ragtag? group on our hands. The team still only has an outside chance of making the playoffs, but I’ll be damned if it’s completely boring to watch.
Anyway, from a baseball perspective it’s actually not a bad deal. Last week I wrote about potential depth pitching candidates to receive invites to Spring Training and didn’t consider Gaudin – I thought he’d get a major league deal of some kind (AKA is overqualified).
He’s coming off of a good year in San Francisco, pitching to a 3.34 FIP over 97 IP. He split time between the bullpen and rotation (making 12 starts), had 8.2 K/9, a 1.247 WHIP, and of was worth over 1.0 WAR regardless of your preferred flavor (1.1 fWAR/1.3 rWAR).
As far as Spring Training invitees go, Gaudin looks to be a pretty good signing. His chances of breaking the rotation are next to nil, but he does seem to have a good shot in a crowded bullpen field, due to his versatility.
The likely scenario would be one of the younger relievers with options starting the season in Lehigh Valley, until Gaudin either proves ineffective (and released) or is forced into the rotation due to injury.
Again, teams almost can’t go wrong with Spring Training invites, as they are lower than low risk, and cost almost nothing.
He showed talent last season (off-the-field issues aside), the Phillies swooped in, and made a smart pickup. He’s no impact player, but it’s a good move.