Ruben Amaro Jr. was very busy today. He started off his day by announcing that the Phillies have signed a minor league deal with OF Juan Pierre. For his next act, Amaro announced that the Phils avoided arbitration with OF Hunter Pence by agreeing to a 1-year deal worth $10.4 million.
The Phillies signing Juan Pierre is a bit exciting. His speed is what put him above the rest of the outfielders in the MLB and what has kept him in the big leagues for all these years. Last season with the White Sox, Pierre hit .279 and had 27 stolen bases. Pierre’s main goal will be to make the 25-man roster and get substantial playing time up in the big leagues. Realistically, he will probably be spending the beginning part of the season down in AAA Lehigh Valley. He will be a good key bench player in the playoffs. Pierre said in an interview on, 97.5 The Fanatic, today that a big part of his decision to sign with the Phils is that Dontrelle Willis, who the Phillies signed earlier this off-season, is the god-father of all of his children. Pierre is mostly an experiment. He could turn out to contribute well to the organization or just flame out in the minor leagues. The details of the contract were not announced, but I’m sure he is a cheap experiment.
Pence was a great addition last season for the Phillies. He is just a great ball player. He is a good hitter and an even better fielder. Pence was asking for $11 million in arbitration and the Phillies were offering $8 million. The contract they signed today is worth $10.4 million. I believe he is worth every penny of that deal. He is a great outfielder. He is a solid right fielder and the Phillies have had one of them since Bobby Abreu. Pence was the last of the arbitration-eligible players the Phillies had.
With theses signings, the outfield situation of the Phillies is cluttered. John Mayberry Jr. is developing in to a great left-fielder. Ibanez is an aging left-fielder. Shane Victorno is a solid guy in centerfield and Hunter Pence is in right-field. Dom Brown looked awful in the big leagues and in AAA in 2011. I’m sure he will spend most of the season is AAA. Pierre should also be in AAA most of the 2012 season. Also, Laynce Nix should be on the MLB squad being a bat off the bench, but he can also play the outfield.
The Phillies have had another productive and successful off-season. They have signed the players they needed to sign. They acquired a few players that could be good pieces for the Phillies 2012 plan. I’m very excited for this upcoming season. This has to be an all or nothing season. Hopefully it turns out differently than the Eagles all-in season did.
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