Saturday, February 11, 2006

Guess Devon White Wasn't Available...


Looks like Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com is the bearer of bad news today…

(before we go on, this is a WARNING: if you aren't interested in reading 500+ words based solely on a rumor about something as uncertain as reported interest in a player who is likely to be a 25th man on a middle of the pack National League ballclub anyway...then I'd suggest you back up from the computer and just walk away now - I won't be offended, honest)

The Phillies, seeking a backup outfielder, have contacted free agent B.J. Surhoff to gauge his interest. Philadelphia could be viable for Surhoff, who lives outside of Baltimore with his wife and four children and probably will put off retirement only if he could play close to home. Surhoff turns 42 in August.

Seems to me that the marriage between Surhoff and the Phillies was preordained – this move makes too much sense from the Phillies perspective not to happen. A large part of Pat Gillick’s offseason plan has revolved around the acquisition of “proven veterans.” Well, you can’t get much more of a “proven” guy than a player who Gillick saw up close and personal during their time together with the Baltimore Orioles in the mid to late nineties. You definitely can’t get someone who is too much more of a “veteran” than a 41-year old guy with 19 major league seasons under his belt (especially considering Julio Franco is taken). Surhoff has contemplated retirement this entire offseason; it had been assumed by many that last year was his swansong as a professional. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Surhoff himself had resigned himself to the fact that his long career had finally wrapped up. Then, in what really shouldn’t have come as a surprise to any fan of this organization, the Phillies came calling.

Again, I try to be as positive as I can in this space, but this offseason has really tried my patience. This may be a huge stretch, but I think I see one plus in a potential Surhoff signing. If the Phillies do wind up signing B.J., they will have accomplished something unique enough that only one other major league team can say the same – just two teams have the ability to field a 2006 roster that includes two first overall draft picks. B.J. Surhoff was the first overall pick of the Milwaukee Brewers out of the University of North Carolina in 1985 and Pat Burrell was the first overall pick out of the University of Miami in 1998. The only other team with two number one picks – the Cincinnati Reds with Paul Wilson (’94) and Ken Griffey Jr. (’87). There may be no real point to this after all, but it is a good piece of trivia you can use to impress your friends and family…assuming you associate with people who are rather easily impressed by obscure baseball knowledge (my favorite kind of people, by the way).

Now that the positive portion of this post is out of the way, it is time for some truth (negativity, truth…same thing). B.J. Surhoff will turn 42 years old in August and is coming off of a year in which he hit .257/.282/.356 in 303 at bats – that amounts to an OPS+ of 74. Not good. To his credit, Surhoff is still a versatile asset in the field – he played 46 games in left, 18 games at first, and 16 games in right in 2005. The only problem is he plays each position as one would expect a 41-year old man to play.

In summation: Surhoff is old. Surhoff is no longer a particularly good hitter. Surhoff is a liability in the field. Surhoff is lefthanded. I have nothing against B.J. Surhoff personally. I actually tend to think that he could go somewhere else (far, far away from Philly) and have a reasonably successful season as a bench player – he did post slightly better than league average OPS numbers in ’03 and ‘04. This doesn’t change the fact that he is a bad fit for this Phillies roster as currently assembled. Adding B.J. Surhoff to this baseball team is a terrible, terrible idea.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Garbage Truck of Baseball rolls on. I have never been so disgusted with an offseason as I am now. It seems like an ice age ago that Pat Gillick came here and immediately made a splash withg the Thome-Rowand trade, making all us ticket-buying dopes think there were bright days ahead. Since then it's been one broken-down piece of crap after another, from Tom Gordon down to B.J. Surhoff. Pat Gillick, and the skinflints who hired him, can rot in hell.

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the Post but not that last comment. Gillick has masterfully gotten us our of the finacial straight-jacket we were in.

As for B.J. stupid move when we can give Kata a chance or carry 3 catchers. If we are going for a Vet it should be a Del Unser - Jay Johnstone type.

If it is a way do bring B.J. 's winning way to the coaching side of the organization - we should have given that assignment to Todd Pratt he is the future winning guy we should have here getting the best out of pitchers and young starters. That was the only bad move so far this off-season. If this happens, and it was not floated by B.J.'s agent and wife, it is a bad bad move for the future.

SirAlden

9:25 PM  
Anonymous braveswin said...

Surhoff is on my top ten of most annoying crappy players.

3:54 PM  
Blogger XXX said...

SirAlden -

I think a lot of what you say is true and your optimistic outlook of the offseason thus far is admirable - I can't say I share quite the same positive feelings, but I see where you're coming from for sure. And whether or not you agree with the first comment, you gotta admit "The Garbage Truck of Baseball rolls on" is a funny line.

Unser ony has 20 years on Surhoff by the way - I'm sure he could still do a solid job off the bench at the age of 61. He'd still be younger than Julio Franco anyway...

Braveswin -

I was actually curious as to what your thoughts on Surhoff was while writing about him. I wanted to know if you were a fan or not. Judging by your comment, I guess not...

1:18 PM  

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