Phillies Release Geoff Jenkins; Park Wins #5 Spot

Per Todd Zolecki.

Jenkins is classy, though:

What’s there to be mad about? I picked a great year to be here. I wish it worked out better and I could be with them, but I don’t regret one minute. I wouldn’t change a thing being with these guys going through what we went through last year.

Thanks, Geoff.

The Phillies had two left-handed hitters — Jenkins and Matt Stairs — vying for a spot on the bench and with the left-handed Greg Dobbs guaranteed a spot, one of the two clearly wasn’t going to make it through spring training.

Due to Jenkins’ large salary ($6.75 million for ’09 and a $1.25 buy-out for ’10), he was essentially untradeable. Stairs is only owed $1 million through 2009 and will become a free agent after the season, thus he can be appealing to a team looking for a lefty masher at the trading deadline.

Gary Sheffield was also released by his team, the Detroit Tigers, as well and Zolecki thinks he fits in with the Phillies:

Sheffield is a right-handed, power-hitting corner outfielder.

The Phillies are looking for a right-handed, power-hitting corner outfielder.

[...]

the Phillies only would have to pay Sheffield $400,000. In essence, they would be paying Sheffield $8.4 million to get a right-handed bat for their bench compared to paying Jenkins $8 million.

Aside from Sheffield, there aren’t any other right-handed outfielders that the Phillies would be interested in, so the right-handed bat could be Miguel Cairo or John Mayberry. At this point, the chances of Mayberry getting that spot are slim. Although he impressed spectators with his power during spring training, he still needs a lot of polish (including better knowledge of the strike zone) before you can trust him with 150 at-bats.

Additionally, while Mayberry — offensively — would likely outperform Cairo, who has a career OPS+ of 75, he lacks versatility; he’s just an outfielder. Cairo can fit in at any infield or outfield spot, giving the Phillies plenty of versatility.

Back to Sheffield: whether you like it or not, his effect on the team’s chemistry will be a factor brought up with the Phillies’ brass. He’s been a troublemaker plenty of times throughout his career, and it may not be a wise move to import a player with such baggage. I’m not advocating this as a reason to keep him away; it’s just the elephant in the room.

Further, Sheffield is on the cusp of a career milestone and baseball history as he sits on 499 home runs. That certainly would be a reason that more fans would come out to the stadium, but with the Phillies, would that really have an effect? They just won the World Series and tickets have been selling like hotcakes. In other words, would Sheffield making history — which is dwarfed in importance by the Phillies’ World Series championship — give the organization a significant and worthwhile return on its $400,000 investment?

Elsewhere… Zolecki reports that Chan Ho Park has beat out J.A. Happ for the #5 spot in the starting rotation.

Happ’s fate with the team has not been decided, although Amaro said Happ, Gary Majewski, Jack Taschner and Bobby Mosebach are comepting for two bullpen jobs.