A flurry of Phillies news today.
First, the team announced that righty Chan Ho Park has won the fifth starter’s job, besting lefty J.A. Happ. Both had good springs, but I suppose the move was made with designs of lessening the impact of sending Happ to the minors, should he require the seasoning.
That’s just speculation. Whatever the case may actually be, don’t expect Happ to be absent from the rotation for long. He’ll be the first option to spot start should injury or ineffectiveness strike. As it stands right now, he’ll work in long relief.
This move really is of little consequence, as no team should really expect much from its fifth starter.
Further from the center of the diamond, news came earlier today that OF Geoff Jenkins and his $8M salary will be playing elsewhere. Well, the salary will still have a home in Philly, anyway. Jenkins was mostly unimpressive in more than 300 ABs in 2008. The emergence of Jayson Werth and the signing of Raul Ibanez made him expendable, but no team was willing to trade for him (much like Adam Eaton).
His replacement may be the violent bat-swinger Gary Sheffield. Sheffield and $14M salary (!) were released by the Tigers earlier today. MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that the Phillies have indeed made contact with Sheffield’s agent.
Hey, he’ll be signed for the league minimum and be better than Miguel Cairo.
This is all seems like a lot of big news, but really none of it is. Everything had been going so status quo – outside of concern over Cole Hamels’s elbow – that having three different tidbits spring on us in mere hours seems almost overwhelming. This team made under-the-radar additions a staple of its title run, and may just do that again here, should they sign Sheffield. But as it stands, the team is the same.
Though, I’ll admit, that short left field porch probably looks mighty appetizing to Mr. Sheffield. Though he has zero homers in just eight career ABs at the Cit, he has a career .301/.394/.508 against the Phillies in 123 games.
As an afterthought: should he sign, how long will it take before a fan section dubs itself “Sheff’s Chefs” and set up camp in foul territory in the upper deck by left field?