The Phillies have signed veteran outfielder Matt Joyce to a minor league contract, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced to reporters Wednesday (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Matt Gelb). The ACES client will compete for a job in Spring Training.
Joyce, 36, had a noticeable dip in power with the Marlins in 2020 but remained a strong on-base threat, as is typical for the 13-year big league veteran. In 148 plate appearances with the Fish, Joyce batted .252/.351/.331 with a pair of homers and four doubles. A career-worst 27.7 percent strikeout rate does create some cause for concern, but that came in a small sample and punchouts have never been too large a problem for Joyce.
Dombrowski is quite familiar with Joyce, having selected him in the 12th round of the ’05 draft, developed him with the Tigers (for whom he made his MLB debut) and traded him to the Rays (in exchange for the also-well-traveled Edwin Jackson when both were still in their mid-20s). The pair will reunite with a Phillies club that is largely set in the outfield, where Andrew McCutchen, Adam Haseley, Bryce Harper, Roman Quinn and Scott Kingery are all options. (Dombrowski said on today’s call that the club hasn’t decided whether Odubel Herrera will be invited to Spring Training.)
Joyce, however, can give the Phils the quintessential “professional” bat off the bench. He walked at a 13.5 percent clip this past season and hasn’t posted a walk rate south of 10.6 percent in any year since 2011. He’s a lifetime .253/.355/.448 hitter against righties.