Friday, March 28, 2008

Phillies claim Tim Lahey, sign Chris Woodward

The Phillies made a flurry of minor moves today, none of which will get Phillies fans too excited.

Tim Lahey, a righthander, was claimed off waivers of the Chicago Cubs and placed on the 25 man roster. Lahey, who had been with the Minnesota Twins, was selected by the Cubs in the Rule 5 draft last winter. Lahey is 26 and has never pitched in the majors, making this a questionable move. He spent most of last season in Double A, where he had an 8-4 record with a 3.45 ERA.

Is Lahey really the final piece to a championship puzzle? calls him a "weak choice" for the Phillies bullpen, and they go on to speculate that he will likely end up back with the Twins. Lahey had a mediocre spring, pitching 11 innings and posting an ERA of 6.55. It's a curious move, seeing as how the Phillies were saying all along they wanted another lefthanded pitcher, and Aaron Fultz, Mike Stanton and Rudy Seanez were all recently made available.

To make room for Lahey, the Phillies outrighted J.D. Durbin, Chris Snelling, and Ray Olmedo to the minors. Durbin and Snelling were recently waived, so they both must have cleared waivers, otherwise they couldn't have been sent down. Barring any other moves, this means that the Phillies will go with 11 pitchers on Opening Day, and Wes Helms will be on the roster. When Brad Lidge comes back, Helms, or even possibly Lahey, would be the first to go.

The Phillies also signed infielder Chris Woodward to a minor league deal. Woodward is a nine-year veteran who spent last season with the Atlanta Braves. He played for the Yankees this spring, and hit a solid .393 in 28 at bats. Woodward is a career .243 hitter who is the very definition of a utility player, having played every position except pitcher and catcher. Woodward is very similar to Eric Bruntlett, and outside of injuries or trades, he is likely to spend the entire season in the minors. He could just be a depth signing, or the Phillies could be close to moving Helms or Bruntlett.

Barring trades, the Phillies appear to be set for Opening Day. The acquisition of Tim Lahey looks disappointing, so let's hope Pat Gillick has something else up his sleeve.

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