The Phillies have released outfielder Geoff Jenkins and are hoping to sign Gary Sheffield, who was released by the Detroit Tigers today. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the Phillies have contacted Sheffield's agent and are in a wait-and-see mode.
Jenkins appeared in 115 games and hit .246 with nine home runs and 29 runs batted in. The lefthanded-hitting Jenkins signed a 2-year, $13 million deal as a free agent before last season and seemed likely to platoon with Jayson Werth in rightfield. Jenkins landed on the disabled list in August with a quad injury and was largely an afterthought for the end of the season and the playoffs. He will, however, be remembered for the double in the resumption of Game 5 of the World Series that led to the go-ahead run.
Jenkins seemed to get caught in the glut of lefthanded hitters coming off the Phillies bench.
"I knew there were a lot of left handed hitters so it seemed like somebody was going to be the odd man out at some point," Jenkins said. "So it's real tough. I care a lot about those guys in the clubhouse. We'll just deal with this. It's like anything else, and try to find a new spot. It's obviously something I've never had to deal with before. But I guess what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. But I don't regret anything from one moment that I was here."
The Phillies owe him the remainder of his $6.75 million salary for this season, plus a $1.25 million buyout for next season. Any team can pick him up, but they will likely owe him the veterans minimum of $400,000, which will be deducted from the Phillies' obligation.
Speaking with reporters moments ago, Jenkins said he was planning to take a couple of days to clear his head after flying back to his home in Arizona.
Jenkins said he had no hard feelings toward the Phillies.
"Absolutley not," he said. "What's there to be mad about? I picked a great year to be here. Obviously I wish things had worked out better and I coudl be with them. But I don't regret one minute. I wouldn't change a thing. Being with these guys, going what we went through last year, was tremendous."
The Phillies now have 29 players in the running for the 25-man roster. That 29 includes suspended reliever J.C. Romero, who will miss the first 50 games. The move to release Jenkins, for the moment, gives second baseman Miguel Cairo a spot on the squad, although the Phillies could still add a right-handed bat. Outfielders Wily Mo Pena and Gary Sheffield were both recently released by the Nationals and Tigers, respectively.