Earlier today the Phillies locked up their final player eligible for arbitration, when the team and All-Star Right fielder Hunter Pence agreed to a one-year, $10.4 million contract. The figure is the midpoint between the $9 million offer from the organization and the $11.8 million that Pence was seeking.
Pence was a key part of the Phillies’ lineup after coming from Houston at the end of July last year, batting .324 in 54 games, including 11 home runs and 35 RBI.
The signing adds some stability to a quickly changing lineup, as yesterday, 2008 hero Brad Lidge ended his tenure with the Phillies by signing a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals, and utility infielder and one-time pitcher Wilson Valdez was traded to Cincinnati for reliever Jeremy Horst. The Phillies also signed Juan Pierre to a minor-league contract today.
Horst pitched appeared in his first 12 major league games this year with an ERA of 2.93, and a batting average against of .290. However, Horst was unable to earn a win, leaving Valdez with more wins in his career. Horst also went 1-1 batting last year, making this likely the first trade ever in which a pitcher was traded for a position player, the pitcher had a better batting average than the position player, and the position player had more wins and a better ERA than the pitcher.
Pierre on the other hand is a seasoned vet, having played 12 seasons in the MLB. Pierre, a career .296 hitter and the active steals leader, had a spring training invitation put in his contract, so if it’s not at the beginning of the year, it certainly seems like he will be with the major league club at some point in the season.