Brewers outfielder Geoff Jenkins and the Phils have come to terms on a two-year deal worth about $13 million, with a third-year option that vests based on plate appearances.
Jenkins, 33, hit .255/.319/.471 with 21 home runs and 64 RBIs last season. He became a free agent when the Brewers decline his $9 million option for 2008. He had also been negotiating with San Diego.
Beerleaguer: A comfortable, positive signing for the ol’ ballclub intended to add outfield stability and a solid veteran presence for the post-Rowand Phillies. Batting from the left side, Jenkins represents another power threat who will make life even more uncomfortable for opposing right-handers, against which he is a lifetime .288/.358/.525 hitter. Teamed with Jayson Werth, who’s much better against lefties, they will be a force in right field able to make up the difference they’ll lose with Shane Victorino taking over for Rowand in center field. They could even surpass that. He's also a capable corner with good range and a strong arm. In 10 seasons in Milwaukee, he was a leader and helped set clubhouse policy. They've essentially replaced Rowand's bat and high character.
I had asked earlier whether the safe choice is always the best choice, because frankly, this feels a little like some other recent acquisitions that made fans feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Wes Helms. David Bell. Freddy Garcia. Kevin Millwood. All were considered positive, low-risk additions at the time and generally resulted in disappointment.
There would be a healthy amount of good and bad to the signing, more good than bad. The bad is Jenkins would cost them speed and add strikeouts to a team that already has too many. It wouldn't surprise me if Werth, who's finally healthy, emerged as the more valued piece in right field. I’m not looking forward to Charlie Manuel's handling of the platoon situation. What if Jenkins stinks for a month? Would he continue to blindly platoon, or sit the free agent?
For now, the Phillies have bought themselves peace of mind. With almost no power outfielders coming through the pipeline, along with the imminent departure of Pat Burrell, the length, the vesting option and total sum are fair and justified for Jenks, who’d been on readers’ radars from the beginning.
Also: The deal for Chad Durbin is official. The Phillies have scheduled a 3:30 p.m. ET conference call to officially announce the signings.