Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Wise move by Phillies

With everyone waiting for the Phillies to haul in a big free agent catch, not much was said about the team's signing of outfielder DeWayne Wise to a Minor League contract last week.

A Wise move by Phillies

Outfielder Dewayne Wise has signed a Minor League contract with the Phillies. (AP Photo/Chris O´Meara)
Outfielder Dewayne Wise has signed a Minor League contract with the Phillies. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

With everyone waiting for the Phillies to haul in a big free agent catch, not much was said about the team's signing of outfielder DeWayne Wise to a Minor League contract last week. And with good reason -- it doesn't even amount to a ripple in baseball's free agent pool.

But the acquisition of Wise could pay dividends for the Phillies. Not the "embarrassment of riches" kind of dividends, but the "a little extra change in your pocket" kind.

Everyone, of course, now knows Wise as the man who preserved Mark Buehrle's perfect game in July as a member of the Chicago White Sox, making a leaping grab at the wall in the ninth inning.

It wasn't the only fielding gem Wise made for Chicago in 2009.

"It seems like every time we put this guy out there, he does something special," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told MLB.com in September. "I wish he'd help me a little bit more with the bat, but every time we put him out there he does a good job."
 
Wise won't generate much excitement at the plate - he was a .225 hitter last season and has a career .216 average - but he plays all three outfield positions, and plays them well. He could pair with Ben Francisco to give Charlie Manuel some serious flexibility in the outfield.

Not only is Wise good with the glove, he also gives the Phillies another strong and accurate outfield arm. He had six outfield assists in 70 starts in the outfield in 2009. The Phillies' big outfield guns, Jason Werth and Shane Victorino, had 11 and eight, respectively, but started more than twice as many games as Wise.

If you want a visual, MLB.com has video of Wise throwing out runners at the plate against the Tigers and the Indians.

Wise has never had more than 162 at-bats in a season, but has said he wants the chance to be a starter. He won't get that chance in Philadelphia, but he could stick with the team out of Spring Training and carve out some playing time, especially with Manuel looking to give his starters more rest during the season.

At worst, he should be the Miguel Cairo of 2010, playing every day for the IronPigs and providing the Phillies some veteran insurance in case of any injuries.

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Speaking of Wise, his catch is up against Eric Bruntlett's unassisted triple play for Play of the Year in MLB's This Year in Baseball Awards. You can see video of the nominees here and cast your vote here until Dec. 11.

Though Bruntlett earns style points for turning a triple play while simultaneously looking like the crazy brother-in-law from The Hangover, the magnitude of the moment makes Wise's catch pretty hard to beat.

A great YouTube video of Wise's catch, from a fan's perspective, is below. Enjoy.

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