Questions about the durability of Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco will dominate much of this winter and spring training. Ruben Amaro Jr. has maintained his faith publicly in those two players staying healthy, but when a trade for Ty Wigginton presented itself, the Phillies general manager acquired an insurance policy.
"I don't think we had to [make the trade]," Amaro said. "But this was the right fit for us."
The Phillies traded a player to be named later or cash to the Colorado Rockies for Wigginton, a 34-year-old utility bat. Wigginton is due to make $4 million in 2012 and has a $4 million team option for 2013 with a $500,000 buyout.
The Denver Post reported that the two teams will split the cost of Wigginton's 2012 salary. If the Phillies exercise his option, the teams would exchange a player or more cash. The Rockies agreed on a predetermined list of minor leaguers from which to choose.
Amaro said Wigginton, who has played six positions in his 10-year career, projects to mostly being a corner infielder for the Phillies. He hit .245 with a .731 OPS in 2011 but has slugged at least 15 home runs in five of his last six seasons.
"We've actually talked about Ty for years," Amaro said. "We've talked about him as a third baseman in the past. We've talked about him as a utility guy in the past. We had some discussions with the agents in the past. We just feel like this gives us a different look on the bench and on our club. Who knows how much he'll play, but at least he's a guy who can fill in for an extended period of time."
Effectively, Wigginton allows the Phillies to carry another bat with power potential on the bench and eliminates the need for two light-hitting utility players in Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez. Now, the Phillies will probably keep only one of those two at the major-league level.
Amaro said the acquisition of Wigginton does not preclude the Phillies from signing another bat in addition to re-signing Jimmy Rollins, which remains the top priority. The Phillies like Michael Cuddyer, but a baseball source said they are turned off by his current asking price of three years.
Said Amaro: "We're still looking at our options."
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