According to a story that broke Thursday night, the Phillies have reached agreement on a minor-league contract with veteran infielder Ronnie Belliard. Naturally the deal is pending a physical examination. We take these for granted but the physical exam actually negated a deal to sign relief pitcher Dennys Reyes this summer. Then again, that one took NINE DAYS. This one should be completed before the weekend if all goes well. While there is no reason to believe the physical exam will hold up the process, the question of why the Phillies choose now to make this move remains.
Belliard turns 36 next week and had been released by the Yankees after hitting .136 (3 for 22) in Spring Training for his native New Yorkers. He hit .216 with a .295 OBP (on-base percentage) in 2010 over 82 games with the Dodgers (having played for the Brewers, Indians, Nationals and Rockies previously) and thought he would be headed for AAA Scranton before being cut. Belliard will be headed for AAA Lehigh Valley because Michael Martinez (Rule 5) and Pete Orr both made the Phillies Opening Day roster in addition to Wilson Valdez who opens as the starting second baseman.
Belliard has played all four infield positions in 13 seasons, predominantly second base. He is expected to compete for playing time with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs who feature a stockpile of veteran infielders. Chase Utley begins the season not just on the disabled list but on the endangered species list. Medical staff still cannot accurately predict how long Utley will be shelved, nor can they forecast potential recovery from a number of treatments or surgery. Utley and Placido Polanco are both injury concerns as the Phillies organization evaluates potential infield depth.
Veteran Kevin Frandsen was signed to a minor-league deal last week adding to the circus of Josh Barfield, Pete Orr, Michael Martinez, Brian Bocock, Harold Garcia and Carlos Rivero. Ironically, they will be managed by Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg.
Veterans Troy Glaus and David Eckstein both remain on the free agent market for the time being. It seems the Michael Young issue has been shelved until midseason in favor of the Dollar Store approach. Let’s see how this works out. How much do the Phillies wish that Ryne Sandberg could come out of retirement?
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org