Six seasons ago, Josh Fields was a 24-year-old rookie third baseman who mashed 23 home runs in 100 games and a future cornerstone of the Chicago White Sox. You know, the kind of guy the Phillies currently dream of to fill a gaping hole.
He has played in 103 major-league games since 2007, been labeled as a first-round bust, and is now property of the Phillies as he attempts to revive a career that has taken him from Arkansas to Japan to Albuquerque.
Fields is the Phillies' first minor-league free agent signing, as reported by Baseball America. He'll come to spring training looking to win a bench job but is probably ticketed for triple-A Lehigh Valley for depth.
It's depth, though, at a position of need.
Fields, who turns 30 in two weeks, has not appeared in a major-league game since 2010 with Kansas City. Before that charmed 2007 season, he was rated the 45th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America. He was a two-sport star at Oklahoma State and set all sorts of passing records since broken by Brandon Weeden.
Fields spent all of last season at the Dodgers' triple-A affiliate and raked in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League to the tune of .322/.392/.488. He played at third base a majority of the time.
The Phillies think they hit on Kevin Frandsen, a player with a similar trajectory. Maybe Fields can emulate that success. Maybe not.
And that was 236 words on Josh Fields. Happy Black Friday.
Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.