The Phillies announced on Monday that they have signed veteran outfielder David Lough to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
Lough, who turned 30 last week, has seen action in parts of four big league seasons — 2012-13 with the Royals and 2014-15 with the Orioles. This past season was, unequivocally, a struggle for the left-handed-hitting Lough, as he batted just .201/.241/.313 in 144 plate appearances with the O’s before being designated for assignment and eventually outrighted to Triple-A. Lough did return to the Majors in September for a bit, but because he finished the year having qualified as a Super Two player, the O’s non-tendered him rather than going through the arbitration process.
Prior to his 2015 struggles, Lough was a solid platoon option in the corner outfield. He’s never had much pop, but Lough combined respectable average and OBP marks against right-handed pitching with strong defense to provide value in K.C. and Baltimore. From 2013-14, Lough posted an overall batting line of .272/.310/.403, including a .277/.319/.411 slash against righties in that span. In 726 innings as a left fielder in his big league career, Lough has posted huge marks in Defensive Runs Saved (+20) and Ultimate Zone Rating (+13.5). He’s had similar success in right field (+9 DRS, +9.2 UZR in 639 2/3 innings), and he’s even drawn positive marks in a small, 347-inning sample in center field.
The Phillies currently have Cody Asche, Aaron Altherr, Peter Bourjos, Odubel Herrera and No. 1 overall Rule 5 Draft pick Tyler Goeddel in the mix for regular at-bats in the outfield this year. Lough will compete for the right to join that group, and if he’s able to land on the team and stick all year, he’d be controllable through the 2019 season, should the club keep him around.