Stairs, 42, had trouble getting on the field for the Phillies last season, hitting just .194./.357/.379 with five homers, failing to record a hit between July 11 and Sept. 10. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, who first reported this deal, also says that the Canadian has shed 31 pounds this winter in an effort to boost his defensive game. The Padres had been searching for a left-handed bench bat and plan on using him as their designated hitter during interleague play. If nothing else, Stairs remains a respected home run threat who will draw walks.
More on Contreras: The Phillies' preliminary agreement with Jose Contreras is a move I like more with every passing report, especially if Jim Salisbury's source correctly estimated the dollar amount at $1 million. The 38-year-old right-hander has a chance to become a valued workman in a swing role, and when you dissect the numbers, Contreras brings excellent sleeper potential starting fresh in a new league. His 6-13, 4.92 mark between the White Sox and Rockies is a shallow indication of performance based on several factors, including the quality of the ChiSox defense and the fact that he was still mending from a 2008 ruptured Achilles, an injury that typically takes a year to heal. His strikeout totals stood at an encouraging 7.2 S0/9 last season, his highest mark since 2004, and he's still quite good at forcing grounders and keeping the ball in the park.Minor league transactions: Right-hander Jordan Meaker and utilityman Brandon Pinckney become the latest names added to the Phillies' minor league inventory. Meaker, 23, was a 20th round choice by the Diamondbacks in '08 and pitched for Class-A South Bend last season, primarily in relief. Pinckney, who will turn 28 in April, hit .291/.309/.358 over 267 plate appearances with Triple-A Norfolk (Baltimore). In seven seasons, most of his action has come at shortstop, second and third. The signings were first reported by Baseball America.