Phillies Sign Outfielder Will Venable
By Matt Veasey
The Philadelphia Phillies added a veteran outfielder to their mix on Monday.
The addition of the 33-year old, 9-year veteran creates a likely ripple effect for the Opening Day roster, assuming that he makes the team. It would appear that Venable will platoon with Rule 5 rookie Tyler Goeddel on an outfield corner.
That eventuality would allow the team to ease Goeddel’s baptism by fire to Major League Baseball, already coming perhaps a half-season or full season early due to that Rule 5 draft status. The lefty-swinging Venable would start against most righty pitchers, and the right-handed Goeddel against the less frequent lefties.
Another effect on the roster would be that there would now appear to be just one outfield spot open, which would likely go to either Cedric Hunter or David Lough.
A California native, Venable is an Ivy Leaguer, the 7th round choice of the San Diego Padres in the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft out of Princeton University. He made his big league debut in 2008, and became a full-time starter during the 2010 season with the Padres.
In August of last season, the Friars dealt Venable away to the Texas Rangers for a package that eventually included catcher Marcus Greene and pitcher Jon Edwards.
Venable then became a free agent in the off-season. He signed with the Cleveland Indians in February, but was informed yesterday that he would not make their opening roster. He asked for and was granted his release, and chose to sign with the Phillies.
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Over 3.127 plate appearances in Major League Baseball, Venable has a career .251/.317/.406 slash line with 81 home runs and 135 stolen bases. He had 22 homers with the Padres in 2013, but has never approached that number in any other season. He has stolen more than 20 bases four times in his career, but has not reached that figure since 2013.
Here is a nice highlight video from Venable’s best season in 2013. It should at least give you an idea of the kinds of tools that the veteran brings to the Phillies roster.
Defensively, Venable has the speed to cover center field, and the arm to play right field. He is not a great defender, but he is athletic enough and experienced enough that he will not be a defensive liability when playing either position for the Phillies.
I see this as a wholly unnecessary move, something that I have stated previously almost two weeks ago when the first rumors began to surface that the club might be looking at available outfielders. However, it’s possible that the club decision makers simply feel that Goeddel is not ready for a full-time role.