Gload, 33, bats from the left side and can play first and corner outfield. Reportedly a two-year deal, he's coming off a season in which he hit a capable .261/.329/.400 and led baseball in pinch hits.
Beerleaguer: With Gload, Ben Francisco, Brian Schneider, Greg Dobbs and Juan Castro, the Phillies have a "presentable" bench headed into 2010. It wasn't long ago that Gload was an everyday first baseman in this league, but it was with Kansas City in 2008 and he was considered the worst regular at the position in all of baseball. Baseball Prospectus said after 2008 that the last time a regular first baseman posted a sub .665 OPS in 400 or more PAs was Pittsburgh's Kevin Young in 1993, and the last time a first baseman went yard fewer than four times in a season was Todd Benzinger in 1991.
None of that really matters for the Phillies; what matters is that at age 33, soon to be 34, Gload has successfully transitioned to his second career as a pinch hitter in the National League, hitting a robust .318/.418/.455 with a pair of homers in the role for the Marlins. He's got marginal pop from the left side, sound defensive skill at first base and can be used sparingly in the outfield, so he's an upgrade over Matt Stairs and more in the mold of primary pinch option Greg Dobbs, who had a shaky year. Unfortunately, he doesn't hit lefties, so the bench will remain imbalanced. Interestingly, Dobbs is signed only through 2010, so if this is indeed a two-year pact to Gload, or even if it isn't, we could be seeing the last of Dobbs after this season.
Gload, who earned $1.9 million last season and is expected to command a similar payout, was also pursued by the Braves and Marlins. Good signing by the Phils.