The Phillies have signed outfielder Will Venable to a minor league contract, the club announced. The deal contains an invitation to Philadelphia’s big league spring camp. Venable is represented by Turner Gary Sports.
The move comes just a day after Venable was released from his previous minors deal with the Indians. CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury reported earlier today that the Phils had a serious interest in adding Venable to their outfield mix.
Venable is a fit as a platoon partner in either left or right field for the Phillies, with his left-handed bat in tandem with either Peter Bourjos or Rule 5 draft pick Tyler Goeddel (both right-handed hitters). The 33-year-old has spent much of his career as a part-time player with the Padres and Rangers, with 2601 plate appearances against right-handed pitching (with a .256/.324/.422 slash line) and only 526 career PA against southpaws. Venable isn’t known much for his power, though he rather surprisingly socked 22 homers for the Padres in 2013.
The versatile Venable has been an above-average defender at all three outfield spots as per the UZR/150 and Defensive Runs Saved metrics over his career, though his numbers took a bit of a dip last season. Venable is also considered to be an excellent baserunner, with 135 steals over 166 career attempts.
Venable would appear to have an advantage over the other left-handed hitting outfielders trying to make the Phillies’ roster, namely David Lough and Cedric Hunter. Lough is known as a defense-first player with little pop, while Hunter’s MLB experience consists of six games for San Diego in 2011.