In a minor move that could pay dividends for the floundering offense, the Phillies have inked 35-year-old Scott Podsednik to a minor league deal. He was recently granted his release by the Blue Jays. [Signing first reported by Ken Rosenthal]
Beerleaguer: This is a good move. I'd like to see him in an IronPigs uniform by Monday and in Phillies road grays for the start of the Mets series. Clearly, it's time to get serious about this offense. It starts tomorrow with Chase Utley's official return, meaning the Wilson Valdez and Pete Orr party has ended. Orr was demoted today. Podsednik can be another small step forward as long as he's over his foot issues. The sad fact is that if he produces a line anywhere close to last season's .297/.342/.382 with 35 steals over 595 plate appearances between KC and the Dodgers, the former All-Star and stolen base king can be more productive than over half of the starting lineup at their current levels.
The Phils will need to see if his foot has finally healed, a setback that cost him an almost certain shot at cracking Toronto's roster this spring. He was hitting .254/.366/.356 in 71 plate appearances with Toronto's Triple-A affiliate before requesting and being granted his release. It certainly sounds like he has something to prove. He was pursued by a couple of teams this winter, including the Reds and Angels, but the market, perhaps scared off by foot problems that started at the end of last season, just didn't meet his expectations.
The timing of this couldn't be better as the Phils' offense, and outfield in general, has fallen into shambles. He won't walk or homer, but I like that he's a veteran with some life still in his legs. He stole 35 bags and appeared at the plate almost 600 times last season. He's passable in center field, but definitely better suited for the corners at this stage.
Quite frankly, there's a decent chance he can be just as useful as Raul Ibanez and his intollerable .657 OPS, even knowing that Ibanez has had a better May.
The Phils already know what Podsednik can do. Here's someone who hit .300/.349/.406 against lefties last season. If healthy, bring him up quickly in this stretch without Vic and get him there against righties to start.
Weekend wrap: While I was away, the Phils did this: They took two-of-three from the Rangers, but were shut out again today. They've scored three or fewer runs in nine-straight games. A sweep would have been sweet; it would have upped their record to 8-8 during this recent run against winning teams. Instead, they fell to 7-9 with the Reds in for four. On Friday, the Phils sent Victorino to the DL and demoted Scott Mathieson. Domonic Brown and David Herndon came up. Today, Joe Blanton was officially placed on the DL with elbow soreness. Vance Worley was recalled and will start Tuesday.
... and of course, Chase is back. What are your expectations?