The Phillies spent on one big ticket item (closer Jonathan Papelbon) and they spread the rest of their spending money around on solid players at the right price. Here is a look at the new faces for 2012 so far:
In the field: With Ryan Howard likely to miss the start of the 2012 season, the Phillies dealt for Ty Wigginton and signed Jim Thome as a free agent. They should be able to hold the fort at 1B until Howard is ready to return to action. When Howard does return, Wigginton and Thome will give the Phillies two really solid bats off the bench. The Phillies also signed outfielder Laynce Nix and he should provide power against righty pitching.
On the mound: Jonathan Papelbon will allow Phillies’ starting pitchers peace of mind late in games as he is one of the best closers in all of baseball. Righties Dave Bush and Joel Pineiro give the Phillies a couple of guys to compete with Joe Blanton for the #5 spot in the starting rotation. They could also serve as long relievers in 2012 for the Phillies. Righty reliever Brian Sanches should be able to help out the Phillies in middle relief as he has been solid the last couple of years for the Marlins. The Phillies have signed lefty Dontrelle Willis with the idea of using him out of the pen against lefties only. Willis might just get his career back on the right path in his new role. The Phillies also loaded up on lefty relievers as they have signed Raul Valdes, David Purcey and Pat Misch to minor league deals.
Overall: I give the Phillies’ front office for not overspending and getting players at the right price. I really like the pickup of Papelbon.