Free Talent Alert – Free Talent Alert
Lee, I know you’re not going to be GM for much longer, but you still have a chance to help this franchise, and that can only look good for you in future endeavors. So, take this as an opportunity, if nothing else, to leave on a good note.
Josh Phelps was designated for assignment by the Cardinals today to clear a spot on their 40 man roster. Really, with this guy named Pujols, they weren’t going to have much use for a 30 year old first baseman anyway, so by DFA’ing him, they’ll be able to find a team that would be more inclined to give him big league at-bats. Because boy has he earned them. Here’s Phelps’ career since 2002, when he got his first shot at the big leagues with the Blue Jays.
2002: 265 AB, .309/.362/.562
2003: 396 AB, .268/.358/.470
2004: 371 AB, .251/.304/.450 (traded to Cleveland mid-season)
2005: 158 AB, .266/.328/.424 (with Tampa)
After a promising start, he didn’t hit well enough to establish himself as an everyday DH, and got the busted prospect tag. So, in 2006, he ended up in Triple-A with the Tigers organization, trying to prove to everyone he was worthy of another shot.
2006: 464 AB, .308./361/.532 (Triple-A)
This was good enough to get him back in the big leagues, so 2007 was split between the Pirates and Yankees.
2007: 157 AB, .306/.399/.503
Remarkably, baseball couldn’t find room for a guy who had just posted a .900 OPS, even as a platoon guy, and he ended up back in Triple-A for 2008, with the Cardinals this time. Seriously.
2008: 461 AB, .291/.368./568 (Triple-A)
Now, if you see any evidence in there, anywhere, that Josh Phelps isn’t a good enough hitter to get at-bats on a major league team, I’d love to see it. He had the equivalent of one mediocre year in 2004-2005 after a couple solid seasons to start, and he’s continued to flash legitimate major league power in a couple minor league stops, as well as hitting the crap out of the ball in the majors when given the chance in 2007.
There’s not any star potential here, as he’s an aggressive free swinger who gets himself out by chasing bad pitches, but he can really hit a fastball, and he crushes left-handed pitching. He’s what the Mariners thought they were getting when they traded Asdrubal Cabrera for Eduardo Perez a few years ago (#$%!). One of the upsides of being a bad team is that you can take shots on guys like Phelps and get good value, because you can offer him a lot more at-bats than a team that needs to maximize their chances of winning in 2009. If he turns himself into a full time player, all the better – you’ve found a first base solution for free.
I know you ignored us when we asked for Nelson Cruz, but hopefully watching him terrorize pitching down the stretch was something of an eye-opener. These undervalued guys can hit, and this team needs more guys who can turn on a fastball. When they’re free, take the opportunity.