With the Phillies thin in the outfield, they’re “showing strong interest” in newly-available veteran Will Venable, CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury reports. Venable became a free agent after the Indians released him from his minor league contract yesterday.
Venable, 33, hit .244/.320/.350 over 390 plate appearances with the Padres and Rangers last season. Though his batting numbers have declined quite a bit since his 22-homer season/.796 OPS season for San Diego in 2013, Venable has a decent .256/.324/.422 slash line against right-handed pitching over his career. Beyond his bat, Venable perhaps has more value at this point due to excellent baserunning and his above-average defensive metrics at all three outfield positions.
Phillies GM Matt Klentak said last week that the team wasn’t necessarily actively looking for outfield help, despite losing both Aaron Altherr and Cody Asche to injuries. Center fielder Odubel Herrera is expected to play every day but there’s plenty of uncertainty in the corner outfield spots, with Peter Bourjos, Cedric Hunter, David Lough and Rule 5 pick Tyler Goeddel all in the mix for playing time. Goeddel and Bourjos are right-handed hitters, so they could mesh well with Venable in a platoon.