Phillies Notes: Phillies Interested in Upton, Set-up Men?
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Philadelphia Phillies are viewed as the favorites for Upton's services. Keep in mind Upton received a qualifying offer from the Rays and therefore will require giving up a pick should the Phillies sign him. Upton has one week to accept or decline the Rays offer.
The Phillies are definitely in the market for a centerfielder but could look at a guy like Giants centerfielder Angel Pagan or Twins centerfielder Denard Span at a cheaper price. Ruben Amaro told ESPN Insider's Jim Bowden that two area's they want to improve are centerfielder and set-up man.
One centerfilder who recently hit the market is Tori Hunter of the LA Angels, the 37-year-old outfielder batted .313 with 16 home runs and 92 RBI this season. He'll turn 38 at midseason next year, but if the Phillies could get him at the right price he could have one more solid season left in him.
As for the set-up man position, that should be a open competition in Clearwater unless the Phillies being someone in. Currently the battle for the eight inning and the rest of the bullpen would consist of Phillippe Aumont, Antonio Bastardo, Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman, Jeremy Horst, Josh Lindblom, B.J. Rosenberg, Mike Stutes, Raul Valdes, and Michael Schwimer - not exactly an attractive bunch.
Here are three names I have my eye on to compete in the Phillies eighth inning mix.
Ryan Madson is a name many Phillies fans are familiar with having pitched 491 games with the Phillies dating back to 2003. Now 32 years old and coming off major surgery he would be a risk, but might come at a discounted rate.
Another relief pitcher coming off injury is former Royals closer Joakim Soria. The Royals declined Soria's $8 million option for 2013, making him a free agent - he should be an attractive name on the market, even though he is coming off Tommy John surgery. Barring any setbacks, the 28-year-old right-hander should be ready to go around the start of the 2013 season.
A third name to keep an eye on would be lefty Jeremy Affeldt, who has been one of baseball's best lefty setup men and big game pitchers pitching for the Giants. The one issue with Affeldt would be his price tag.
If I am Amaro I will take a pass on Upton, who did hit 28 home runs in 2012. However, his .248 batting average and sometime lack of hustle will drive Phillies fans mad. The better way to go would be to make a call to Pagan, and spend your money on Madson, and Soria and hope one of them is back healthy and ready to contribute in 2013.