It is reported that the Phillies have agreed in principal to a 1-year deal with utility infielder, Juan Castro. Castro was appealing to the Phillies based on his versatility and minimal price tag. Castro will be taking over Eric Bruntlett's responsibilities. The Phillies have said that they would like to give Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins more time off than they have in the past. Because of this, the Phillies were emphasizing an infielder who could successfully field both second and short.
Castro does fit the bill of that type of player as he can play the middle infield positions. Castro represents almost no increase over Bruntlett offensively or defensively. Castro did hit .277 last year, but in only 112 at bats, and is a career .230 hitter. It is sad to admit but Bruntlett is a career .231 hitter.
It was clear going into the offseason that the Phillies were not willing to invest too much money into this position. Still, the signing of a 38 year old infielder who scrapes to hit .230 isn't incredibly inspiring, especially for the first signing of the offseason. I was hoping for Jamie Carroll and still would rather have had Miguel Cairo. Juan Castro could have been quite possibly the cheapest option that existed. If this signing represents anything, it could be that the Phillies are more concerned about increasing payroll than previously thought. Hopefully this just means that the Phillies are saving money so they can invest more in other areas.
I was happy to see Bruntlett leave Philadelphia as he was an embarrassment to all professional and amateur athletes alike. I am almost equally as disappointed though, as we basically got the same player to replace him.
A note on the Phillies payroll. The 2009 payroll was $132 Million. The Phillies will not be losing much payroll as basically everyone is returning. Adam Eaton and Geoff Jenkins will not be getting paid by the Phillies anymore but the standard raises of the current players offsets the amount saved. If the Phillies don't add anymore payroll they will have about the same payroll as 2009. This represents a minor issue as the Phillies still need to address the bullpen and thirdbase and I can't see the Phillies willing to go much past $135 Million.