The Phillies finally pulled the trigger on a deal for a left-hand-hitting outfielder, acquiring oufielder David Dellucci from the Rangers for pitcher Robinson Tejeda and outfielder Jake Blalock. Texas will also pick up part of Dellucci's $950,000 salary.
Dellucci set career highs in homers (29), RBIs (65) and games played (128) last season and will serve as their primary power threat off the bench. The 32-year-old had an impressive line of .257/.369/.513, generating all but one home run off right-handers. He only saw 33 ABs against southpaws all season.
Tejeda went 4-3 with a 3.57 ERA in 26 appearances (13 starts), while Blalock hit .279 with 11 homers and 65 RBIs for Class A Clearwater.
Say what you want about the loss of Tejeda (Blalock is no longer a premium prospect), the Phillies went from having a below-average bench to a good bench with this move for Dellucci. His production is right up there with Johnny Gomes and Jason Lane.
The Phillies probably have the best outfield in the National League with this addition of a bona fide four, with Bobby Abreu, Aaron Rowand, Pat Burrell, Dellucci and Shane Victorino manning the yard. They can afford to give the starters more rest, and wouldn't be in terrible shape if one of them went down. The days of Burrell and Abreu playing every single day are over. The Phillies will get more use out of Dellucci than you think.
This is actually a player I was hoping the Phillies would get last offseason when he was a free agent, just in case Burrell went in the tank.
Dellucci will be given a short leash among fans, because 33-year-old rookie Chris Coste has grown into a sentimental favorite, and Tejeda won affection for his moxie last season. Coste still has a shot of sticking if David Bell begins the season on the DL.
I defend this deal because they needed a left-handed bench hitter with pop, and they needed him to be an outfielder. They answered by adding an outfielder with 20-25 home run potential, and all it cost the Phillies was a marginal prospect, and a pitcher who doesn't have the proper makeup for Citizen's Bank Park.
Expect far fewer homers from Dellucci of course, with about 225-250 ABs thrown his way, with work as their primary pinch hitter. Last season, he worked 64 games as a DH and 52 in the outfield. He held the leadoff spot for much of the season. He drew a fair share of walks (76) and has some speed. The negative is that his prodcution fell off after the break, causing a nearly .130 slide in OPS. He's also not much of a defender, and he's another high strikeout guy.
The Phillies made this deal because it's more important at this stage to have Dellucci than Tejeda, who had an impressive rookie year but never figured to have much of a future with the team.
This is not a surprising deal in the least, considering Tejeda's career-long battle with keeping the ball in the yard and allowing walks (55 in 83 2-3 innings last season), along with the emergence of Gavin Floyd, who wiped out any shot he had in the opening day rotation.
Tejeda had a nice season, but a lucky season. The Rangers will be hard-pressed to get much on this return. The Ballpark at Arlington is a true bandbox. This will turn into Tejeda's worst nightmare.