Phillies Offseason Acquisitions Bring A Veteran Presence To Young Roster

sduckworth
Oct 19, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Michael Saunders (21) hits a single during the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians in game five of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 19, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Michael Saunders (21) hits a single during the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians in game five of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Philadelphia Phillies and general manager Matt Klentak have done quite the job reshaping the team over the past couple months.

No longer do the familiar faces of Phillies past roam the confines of Citizen’s Bank Park. Taking their place are new faces, both young and old. The future is bright for the Phillies youth movement as players such as Maikel Franco and Aaron Nola attempt to make their names in Philadelphia folklore.

However, with youth, comes the need for veteran leadership. GM Matt Klentak has attempted to fill the void this offseason through a plethora of acquisitions. Philadelphia was able to land Daniel Nava (33), Michael Saunders (30), Bryan Holaday (29) and Joaquin Benoit (39) through free agency while also adding Howie Kendrick (33), Clay Buchholz (32) and Pat Neshek (36) in separate deals.

The Phils have done well to not only address pressing needs in the outfield and bullpen but also to ink players with potential upside come the trade deadline. This is most notably the case with Kendrick, acquired from the Dodgers, and free agent signing Saunders. 

More from Phillies News

It is unlikely that either move will contribute to the long-term success of the team. However, they do provide for needed veteran leadership while filling the gaping void that is the Phillies corner outfield. 

Saunders is coming off a season in which he made his first All-Star appearance. The former Blue Jay posted a tremendous .298 average while belting 16 home runs in the first half of last season with Toronto, numbers that will no doubt draw interested if re-created.

In addition, Saunders will be playing on a one-year deal worth nine million dollars, making him a cost efficient rental to a team pushing for the postseason. 

Kendrick is looking to bounce back in 2017 after coming off what was considerably the worst year of his career. Kendrick appeared in 146 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers while managing career lows in batting average, hits, slugging percentage and OPS. Kendrick, a career .289 hitter, has put up consistently above average numbers since breaking into the league in 2006 and may benefit from the change of scenery. Only time will tell if Kendrick’s 2016 campaign was a fluke situation or if time in taking a toll on the Los Angeles staple. 

Philadelphia is also afforded this same kind of flexibility with the pitching staff. Neshek, Buchholz and Benoit all have the potential to bolster Philadelphia’s young  staff while providing possible trade value at the deadline.

More from That Balls Outta Here

Neshek brings with him a career 2.93 earned run average over 423 appearances. He has 2.45 ERA in his two seasons in the National League. The veteran side-slinger is entering into the last year of his contract and, much like Saunders, provides a cheap rental alternative for a playoff contender.

Buchholz is much more of an enigma. The two-time All Star has spent his whole career in Boston to this point and has been erratic at best, posting an ERA over four every other year since 2012. It may do Buchholz well to get away from the power bats of the AL East.

Being able to face Bartolo Colon is good for any pitcher’s mindset, and hopefully Buchholz continues to produce solid numbers. The righty has a 2.87 ERA since 2011 in years ending in an odd number. A solid start could produce big returns in a trade come late July.

Benoit, much like Neshek, is another solid veteran reliever with an extensive track record. He was phenomenal for Toronto down the stretch after being traded in July for Drew Storen and cash considerations.

In 23.2 innings as a Blue Jay, Benoit posted a 0.38 ERA while striking out 24 and allowing just one run on a solo home run. This after having a choppy first half in the Pacific Northwest with Seattle(5.18 ERA and 14 earned runs in 24.1 innings). At 39, Benoit is closer to the end of his career and will be looking for one last shot at a World Series title and it is likely the Phillies will afford him the chance if a contender comes knocking.

Next: Phillies Prospects to Watch During Spring Training

Philadelphia will continue its’ rebuilding process in 2017 and, thanks to Matt Klentak and his front office staff, the team will enter the season with a more balanced roster consisting of young talent as well as an established veteran presence with upside trade potential.

Consider it a win-win.

facebooktwitterreddit