Getting to know lower profile Phillies 2014 signings
The Phillies have made a few deals this winter, and it'd be tough to make the argument that they've overspent.
We're not talking about the fancy-shmancy high profile Marlon Byrd and Brad Lincoln deals. We're talking about the subsurface, minor league transactions that take place on Twitter at three in the afternoon when you're asleep at your desk.
Let's meet the crew.
Ronny Cedeno, SS
Signed: January 13
Career: .246/.289/.354, -1.4 WAR, $7,290,500 over nine seasons
@MJ_Baumann when it comes to light-hitting utility infielders, just Cede-no— Bill Baer (@CrashburnAlley) January 13, 2014
The first post-TV deal signing is Ronny Cedeno, a soon to be 31-year-old journeyman infielder who can't seem to put together a decent whole season. Cedeno's .230-.250 career featured a 2013 in which he struck out more precentage-wise than ever and walked less percentage-wise than ever.
The main point of this deal is that Ronny Cedeno is not Michael Martinez.
"Fun" fact: Ronny has played exactly one inning of his career in center field.
Andres Blanco, IF
Signed: November 21
Career: .255/.301/.333, 1.2 WAR, $1,030,000 over six seasons
Blanco's deal was repurchased by the Phillies, after signing him to a minor league contract in 2013. Prior to that, he was tossed around the AL a bit for a few uninteresting years, tearing a labrum in his left shoulder at one point in 2006.
Blanco played for Ryne Sandbergs' 2012 IronPigs, sidelined partially by injury, and put together a .235 average in 120 games.
"Fun" fact: Andres is named after a Venezuelan poet, Andres Eloy Blanco.
Reid Brignac, IF
Signed: November 19
Career: .221/.262/.311, 0.3 WAR, $2,219,100 over six seasons
Brignac's career began in Tampa, where he showed up on the Opening Day roster in 2010, but spent time getting sent to and from Tampa and its nearby minor league affiliates as the Rays started focusing on offense (which Brignac isn't known for). Finally, he was in designated for assignment in 2013, the first of several DFAs in quick succession.
Then he was DFA's by the Rockies, then he was DFA'd by the Yankees, then he was picked back up by the Rockies for a minor league stint before hitting free agency and catching Ruben Amaro Jr.'s fancy. He provides depth for the middle infield, as does Cedeno, and should he make the roster, serve as an indication of the Phillies' awareness that their core group - the one they're relying on so much for a bounce back year - is vulnerable to injury in a long season.
"Fun" fact: Reid had struck out in over a quarter of his professional at-bats. Also, he's dating a Playboy playmate.
Tony Gwynn, Jr., OF
Signed: December 18
Career: .244/.312/.318, 6.8 WAR, $3,128,300 over seven seasons
@PhilliesFrank wasnt really ready for twitter then.— Tony Gwynn Jr. (@tonygwynnjr) December 31, 2013
Most of the younger Gwynn's accomplishments have to do more with his father than his playing: he was notified of a trade to the Padres by his father, his first Major League hit was 24 years to the day after his father's, he was part of a Dodgers lineup that featured five sons of former Major Leaguers, etc. Along the way, he hit inconsistently and fielded unimpressively.
"Fun" fact: His father is Tony Gwynn! Didn't see that coming, did you? Yeah.
Lou Marson, C
Signed: December 18
Career: .219/.309/.299, 1.6 WAR, $2,717,200 over six seasons
Sorry that I have not tweeted in a while.— Lou Marson (@LouMarson30) November 24, 2010
Hey, you remember Lou, don't you? Ruben Amaro's plan to get Cliff Lee without losing his old catching prospect has come complete, it seems. But Lou isn't a prospect anymore. He's been a Major Leaguer for years, even winning a World Series with... the Phillies? Oh, right.
Marson never quite caught on in Cleveland, baseball-wise. He was labeled a "catch-and-throw" guy at only 24; a term usually reserved for middle-aged backups. His confidence remained inappropriately high, and his offense - which he had been known for with the Phillies - never caught on.
In 2013, he went 0-for-5 for the Tribe before being non-tendered for 2014, along with former Lehigh Valley IronPig and International League Pitcher of the Year Tyler Cloyd.
"Fun" fact: Lou is an Olympic medalist, taking home the bronze in 2008. For baseball. His play with the U.S. National team earned him the praise of Davey Johnson.
Jeff Manship, P
Signed: December 5
Career: 6.42 ERA, 67 ERA+, 1.616 WHIP, -1.6 WAR in 116.1 IP
Manship said he had no clue his jersey was mispelled when he went out to the mound. #Twins— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) June 7, 2012
Poor Jeff may be best known for his name being misspelled on his uniform in 2012 than anything else. In five years, he's appeared in 52 games and his best yearly ERA was 5.28 in 2010. Last year, he threw for a 7.04 ERA and qualified for his fifth year in a row with a negative WAR, giving him 100 percent negativity throughout his MLB career.
"Fun" fact: Jeff Manship becomes "Jefferson Manship" if you add a few letters.