Free Agent Signings

As early December approaches, minor league teams attempt to fill in their organizational holes and the Phils are no exception.  First, they have re-signed a group of players including 1B Andy Tracy, P Jason Anderson, P Alex Concepcion and OF Rich Thompson.  Having watched many a Lehigh Valley game last year, these are excellent signings from an organizational perspective.  Tracy, although in his late thirties continues to be a team leader and a very positive presence in Allentown.  He plays a very good first place and has consistenly placed among league leaders in HR’s, RBI’s, Walks, and On Base %. He also gives you some organizational depth in that he can give you a professional at bat from the left side if called upon at the major league level. OF Rich Thompson is a personal favorite of mine as he personifies the word “hustle”.  The 30 year old Reading native had a cup of coffee in the bigs a few years back, but is now viewed as an organizational guy that does many things at an above average AAA level.  Good speed, a decent bat, and excellent fielding.  More than likely Thompson will be the 4th outfielder in a crowded Lehigh Valley outfield.

Right Handed reliever Jason Anderson was probably the most consistent pitcher in the Lehigh Valley bullpen last year, graduating from a middle inning “inning eater” to a late game stopper, even closer at times, whose ERA hovered mostly around 2 for the year.  Again, Anderson isnt necessarily a guy who is going to help the Phillies, but will be a guy that helps Lehigh Valley become competitive.  24 year old Alexander Concepcion saw time as a starter in Reading, pitching effectively and was called up to Lehigh Valley for a short time, pitching mainly in relief.  Concepcion has shown a steady progression through the Phils system and should be a main cog in either the Reading or Lehigh Valley bullpen this year.

Signed as a free agent was 31 year old Wilson Valdez who played primarily SS in the Mets system at AAA Norfolk last year, but has the versatility to play all over the diamond.  Valdez hit .247 in 91 games in AAA last year and is a solid fielder.  Both Miguel Cairo and JJ Furmaniak saw duty as SS last year for the ‘Pigs, and absent their re-signing which seems unlikel, Valdez looks to be the man for the ‘Pigs next year at SS.

Finally, 31 year old DeWayne Wise was signed as a free agent to a minor league contract out of the White Sox organization.  Wise, an outfielder who is best remembered for an amazing catch saving Mark Buehrle’s perfect game this year has very good defensive skills but is limited offensively.  He could land in Allentown, but Philly seems more likely for Wise who has in excess of 650 major league at bats, good speed and can play all three OF positions.  As the Phils heirarchy has stated that they want to concentrate on defense, the Wise signing seems to be a likely result. Wise hit .225 with 2 HR and 11 RBI in 152 AB’s for Chicago last season.

20 thoughts on “Free Agent Signings

  1. I’m a big fan of both the Valdez and Wise signings. Both could very well see time in Philly next year.

    Both are pretty good with the glove so that’s nice.

  2. Sounds like the Phillies are trying to make their bench worse from the offensive side of things. Hate to comment on MLB matters here, but I couldn’t resist. Very underwhelmed so far, although all players would be fine AAAA guys.

  3. I am for anyone not named Bruntlett. Wise could be very useful. Castro being so up and down Valdez may see a lot more time than you would think. In a few words” can’t hurt”

    PS I thought we would of signed Figgins by now.

    PPS Sellers was hitting great in winter ball but not walking I guess the plan was to be more aggressive. AAA for him.

  4. I tend to think that Valdez and Wise were strictly AAA filler signings much like Ellison, Majewski, and Lopez last year.

  5. No doubt Nepp but it seems to me a step up from last year .

    Nepp do you know anything about Sellers defensively??


  6. I can honestly say I do not know anything about Neil Sellers unfortunately. I’ve never seen him play and I do not recall any of his scouting reports from here or anywhere else either. I vaguely recall him being fairly old and not really a true prospect.

  7. Sellers is supposedly a very poor defensive third basemen. And his numbers indicate such. But when I saw him last summer, he made 3 really good plays, so I was impressed. Whether or not that is an aberration, I’m not completely sure, but as a pinch hitting option, I’ve been saying time and again they should give Sellers a shot.

  8. all 3 signings valdez, castro, and wise are roster blockades imo. if your going to use a roster spot at least reach a bit higher. hopefully they’ll start usung ready minor leagers. 3 i can mention are taylor, yes play him now, drabek, if your worried about your payroll then he better be ready, and mathieson, same as above. resign feliz and sign derosa for bench use. i’m very worried that the phils are worried about the dollar, which is the worst thing to do if you want 46’000 in the stands every night. another year in aaa will only hurt taylor. he’s ready now. agree with gregg about tracy.

  9. How are Valdez and Castro roster blockades? This organization does not have a physical body besides Ozzie Chavez ready to play at the AAA/AA level. These guys are minor league signees, if they take a spot on the 40 man roster they have to earn it in Spring Training. Otherwise they’re organizational depth. And quite frankly, they are better at their positions than any player we have in our system right now.

  10. Here is another signing from Phillies website: Paul Hoover who also is a non-roster invitee to Spring Training as are Tracy, Wise, and Valdez.

    These are minor league deals , so they do not block anyone, nor were they added to the roster. Castro will the Middle Infield back-up, Francisco the OF back-up plus Dobbs and a back-up Catcher. They should get a Left Handed CF capable OF for the 5th spot, so that leaves no room on the bench for a laundry list of internet prospect favorites or for the signing of both Feliz and DeRosa.

    I still have Ozzie Chavez as on board orgainizationally , I would hope that is so, and he plays some over Valdez and the subsequent signing of the minor league veteran similar to Miguel Cairo , if not the man himself.

    They do it every year, bring in Minor League Veteran Warhorses, and all they do is sop up playing time, over more talented youngsters who could develop into something. Of course, they do the same thing in the Entry Draft when they draft alot of non-descript College Position Players. Happens every year.

  11. Ozzie Chavez is a marginal player at best. The Phils can do much better, even from an organizational perspective.

  12. Agree with Gregg. I went to about 10-15 Reading Phillies games last year and Chavez is nothing to write home about.

    As for Sellers, he really did improve his defense last year, but I still think he only has a slim chance of making the majors, even as a bench player. In a lower standard org, I’d say he could become a bench player, but not in Philly. Having said that (Curb ref, for those of you who watch it), I’d really like to see the Phillies hold onto him for the long haul. Everything I’ve read about him indicates he’s a great teammate. Hell, he could hold down the AAA job for the next 4 years if he wants it, with no obvious prospects at that position.

    And as for the Phillies signing these org filler AAA guys, it’s not like they have a lot of prospects beating down the door at the positions they are signing. I suppose Wise could potentially cut into Berry’s time, assuming he’s promoted. As I’ve said earlier in the year in a post, AAA is really turning less into a prospect league as it is a holding league. Real prospects really make their bones at AA and then use AAA for a little polish before being promoted to the big leagues.

  13. Wise wouldn’t have signed so quickly with the Phillies unless there was some commitment to at least give him a very long look as one of our extra outfielders. He’s a pretty terrible hitter though, so here’s hoping we can do better.

  14. Neither Wise nor Valdez will be blocking anyone. Wise will likely play CF in AAA…our only real CF prospect is Gose and he’ll likely be in Clearwater at best.

    Valdez will be a SS in AAA and again our only SS prospect is Galvis who will be in Clearwater as well.

    Both are good signings as they give us organizational depth and they have MLB experience so it won’t kill us to call them up. These are the types of minor filler signings that can save a roster if injuries strike.

  15. I think it’s great that Tracy is being brought back again. He’s a good ballplayer, especially offensively. He’s easy to cheer for. A new franchise like the IronPigs can really use a player like him in its early years. He anchors the club, as the clean-up hitter, in the community, as a fan favorite. And, it’s not like there is some hot 1B prospect in the Phillies system pushing for his job.

  16. NEPP – I slightly disagree with your assessment that our only CF prospect is Gose. I think Berry is a fringe prospect guy who would become a valuable 4th – 5th OF type guy if he can hit a little more. I think he should be playing every day at LV.

    As for Galvis, I’d be surprised if he didn’t start the year in Reading. That’s where he spent his last 2 months in 2009.

  17. I attend my fair share of Lehigh Valley games during the season. I appreciate the Phillies’ need to develop prospects, but Quintin Berry still has a .335 career minor league slugging percentage. At some point, I WANT to see the minor league veterans ply their trade. They are simply better players at the moment. And it’s small comfort when you watch your local club lose badly but say, “at least one of these guys will help the Phillies.” Maybe I’m alone on this, but I think it’s a damn shame that real competition no longer exists in the minor leagues.

  18. IIRC, Galvis only moved up to Reading at the end of the year due to an injury. His .197 avg was a good sign that he wasn’t ready for that jump. I tend to think that they might give him a bit more time but with the lack of any other middle infielders in the system I guess they might start him at Reading again and have Hanzawa at Clearwater. The good thing about Galvis is that he’ll only be in his Age 20 season next year. He’s got time to figure out how to hit. At 20, he’ll still be young for AA.

    I agree that Berry is a fringe prospect. He might top out as a 4/5 OF. Wherever he is, he’ll be starting everyday. The AAA OF might be Berry/Wise/Taylor to start the year…with Brown still in Reading. There’s also a chance Wise makes the roster out of ST and this is a moot point.

  19. polanco hasn’t played 3rd in 5 years. he has gone downhill in each of the last 2 years. 3 years at 18 mil ? i hear that halliday will have to sign for the range of 80 mil. for 5 years. wouldn’t it be worth harden or the guy who pitched for milwaukee at a 1 year contract?

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