No word yet on who the Phillies will sign from the vast pool of minor league free agents. In the meantime, the Nationals have signed pitcher Tim Redding and utility infielder Joe Thurston, who played briefly with the Phils last season.
As discussed earlier, the Phillies could be searching for a few spare arms from this list, specifically castoffs from better teams with deep systems and stable bullpens. Believe it or not, a number of the relievers featured in the World Series were unheralded minor league FAs, or even one-time indie ballers, so quality can certainly be discovered this way. I have yet to see the Phillies truely take advantage of this process.
Pickings are often slim, but a pitcher like Redding, who went 12-10 with a 3.40 ERA with Class-AAA Columbus (Yankees) will probably get a shot at a starting job in the Nationals rotation. It’s probably why he decided to sign there. The Nats will present a similar opportunity for journeyman left-hander Chris Michalak, who’s also a quad-A brand starter who pitched briefly for the Reds last season, going 2-4 with a 4.89 ERA. In total, the Nationals signed 15 minor league free agents yesterday.
As discussed earlier, there is a need for experienced pitchers like Redding, as either a sixth or seventh starter, or as a mop-up long man, something the Phillies lacked last season.
Speaking of pitching, no one has so eloquently illustrated this idea of dancing around the real issue quite like Daily News scribe Rich Hofmann. In it, Hofmann calls for pitching solutions in the eighth inning, fifth starter, seventh inning and Jon Lieber’s weight before the Phils even think about Alfonso Soriano, or even moving Pat Burrell. Read it here.