Last night the Phillies sent a player to be named later to the Rockies for Ty Wigginton, but general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that acquiring Wigginton’s right-handed bat “really doesn’t have anything to do with what I may do in the outfield or infield.”
In other words, Wigginton won’t stop the Phillies from continuing to pursue Michael Cuddyer.
Which makes sense, because while useful in the right circumstances Wigginton is nowhere near the hitter that Cuddyer is and with the Rockies paying half of his $4 million salary for 2012 his addition doesn’t have a big impact on the Phillies’ payroll anyway.
Amaro explained that he views Wigginton as mostly a bench player, although he could be used in a bigger role depending on Ryan Howard’s recovery from a torn Achilles’ tendon and Placido Polanco’s performance at third base.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.