According to sources for CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury, the Phillies have acquired Ty Wigginton from the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named later or cash. [Full story]
Wigginton, 34, hit .242/.315/.416 (87 OPS+) with 15 homers and 47 RBIs in 446 plate appearances for Colorado in 2010. Over those games, he saw action at first, third, left and right. He also started 35 games at second base as recently as 2010 with the Orioles. The Phillies had been courting free agent utilityman Michael Cuddyer, but the bargain acquisition of Wigginton, who is owed just $4 million in 2012 in the second year of a two-year deal, solves the team's need for corner infield and outfield versatility.
Wigginton could see plenty of early action at first base while Ryan Howard recovers from Achilles surgery, then shift to left field possibly in a platoon - or become the Phillies' primary right-handed pinch hitter; he had 16 pinch hits last season for the Rockies. The move could leave Ben Francisco's status in doubt as he's due to be tendered a deal in the next few days.
Update: Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that Colorado will cover half his 2012 salary. Wigginton is also signed to a 2013 option at $4 million.
Beerleaguer: In 10 seasons with six different clubs, Wigginton is a .265/.325/.443 hitter (100 OPS+), including a .274/.353/.461 career line against lefties, but he hasn't been an "above-average" run producer since 2008, which is one reason why the Phillies' found him on the clearence rack. The fact that he's a poor fit in the field - really everywhere - is the other. According to Fangraphs' UZR, tallied over his his entire career, right field is his best position, and the only one where he rates in the black. Everywhere else, he stinks.
Still, Wigginton is a pretty decent compromise to a need that just wasn't on par with shortstop or closer. Plus, between Wigginton, Jim Thome, Francisco and John Mayberry, the Phils have some serious thump on the bench. The Phils obviously decided Cuddyer wasn't enough of a difference-maker to commit Raul Ibanez-type money, and they might be right about that.
I'm eager to see the Phillies' next steps. Personally, I'd lean toward a high risk/high reward free agent outfielder now, the kind that help you win titles. Wigginton's a good grab, but he's not a major difference maker and he's limited to PH-1B-5th-OF.
Ruben Amaro quotes (via CSNPhilly.com): “I like three things about him. I like his makeup. I like that he fits our club in that he can play first base and third base. And I like that he gives us another guy with power off the bench. We had been looking to add depth to our bench.” Amaro downplayed Wigginton's role in the outfield and didn't rule out Cuddyer.