Philadelphia’s had a busy offseason thus far, addressing significant needs in both center field and at third base. The team has paid a steep price in young pitching, but both Ben Revere and Michael Young will serve as immediate upgrades for the Phillies and will help round out an offense you already can’t take for granted. The pickup of Young, in particular, will complete what could arguably be one of the best infields in all of baseball with Ryan Howard at first, Chase Utley at second, Jimmy Rollins at shortstop, and Young at third. That’s assuming, of course, that the quartet is able to remain healthy for the whole season.
Health can never be assumed – let’s not forget that all four are 33 or older – so the organization knew there would be a need to add some potential depth, both off the bench and to the organization. The team announced a total of nine minor league signings, including four infielders. Two of these guys the Phillies faithful will already know, which can be both good and bad depending on who you ask.
Michael Martinez was re-signed to a minor league deal, having spent parts of the past two seasons coming off the Phillies bench. Joining the team via the Rule 5 Draft two years ago, Martinez has hit just .188/.241/.272 over 356 plate appearances. While he doesn’t offer much value from an offensive standpoint, he is versatile in the field having seen time at every position aside from first base, pitcher, and catcher. Unless he surprises in Spring Training and wins a bench job, Martinez may prove to be a nice organizational piece to have stashed away at Triple-A (where he’s a career .300/.343/.429 hitter), similar to the role that Pete Orr played for much of last season.
Orr, meanwhile, was brought back once again on a similar contract for another season. The 33 year old veteran saw more success at the plate than Martinez in a couple of stints with the team in Philadelphia. He hit .315/.327/.444 in 57 plate appearances, mostly filling in for an injured Utley. He spent most of the year at Lehigh Valley, batting .258/.314/.354 in 332 plate appearances while seeing time at three infield positions and left field.
Having also spent their 2012 season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Andres Blanco will return to the fold to offer up some additional organizational depth. Blanco hit .235/.301/.346 this past year over 460 plate appearances and likely will land lower on the depth charts that the rest of these guys. He’s still just 28, having started his minor league career at 18 with the Kansas City Royals, but does have some Major League experience under his belt. Over 654 plate appearances with the Royals, Cubs, and Rangers he’s a career .255/.301/.333 hitter with time across the infield.
Josh Fields – not the reliever who just went first in this month’s Rule 5 Draft but the former third base prospect who ranked 47th overall on BA’s Top 100 before the 2007 season – also joins the organization after spending 2012 with the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 30 year old hit .322/.392/.488 in 561 plate appearances, adding 13 HR, 32 doubles, and 71 RBI. His last appearance in the Major Leagues was during the 2010 season with Kansas City and he’s a career .234/.303/.421 in 796 plate appearances, mostly with the White Sox.
Five other minor league signings were announced by the Phillies including outfielder Jermaine Mitchell, catchers Steven Lerud and Humberto Quintero, and left-hander Cesar Jimenez. Zach Miner’s signing, which was first reported about a week ago, was also confirmed.