Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Philadelphia Phillies: Park Named Fifth Starter, Who Will Replace Jenkins?

by Jeff Danziger

Geoff Jenkins was released today by the Philadelphia Phillies. He was initially signed to help Jayson Werth out in right field, but as Werth developed and injuries held back Jenkins, he was forced to take a secondary role.

Jenkins one year in Philadelphia was way below par statistics wise, but at the same time, Jenkins will always be remembered in Philly for his postseason magic.

Jenkins lowly .246 batting average was only enough to land him a spot on the bench. Plagued by chasing the high fastball, Jenkins struck out way too often and by the time the playoffs started, and even most of the way through the playoffs, Jenkins was a nobody to Phillies fans.

Then Jenkins did something to solidify his remembrance in Philadelphia for eternity. Coming off of a 48-hour rain delay, Jenkins was set to lead-off pinch-hitting for Cole Hamels. Hours before the game, I can recall the Philadelphia bashing Charlie Manuel for picking Werth to pinch hit.

Jenkins silenced critics with a huge, clutch double that will forever be remembered in the city of Philadelphia.

Despite the emotional attachments some Philly fans may now have for Jenkins, he was stuck coming off a bench with a plethora of lefties. The Phillies will pay the remainder of his salary this season, which is roughly $6.75 million, as well as a $1.25 million buyout for next season.

Jenkins has been gone only hours, but rumors are already being thrown around about his successor (I never realized the successor of a bench player was such a big deal; only in Philly.) With Gary Sheffield being released just before Werth, rumors are starting like wildfires.

It has been confirmed that the Phillies have contacted Sheffield's agent, but specifics of the conversation were not discussed. Either way, odds of him landing in Philly are slim.

His batting average was lower than Jenkins, although he did hit 10 more home runs (with a total of 19.) Also, Sheffield may not be ready for a bench role, which he will be forced to take in Philly.

In other news, the Phillies announced Chan Ho Park as their fifth starter today after one of the most intriguing "battles" this offseason. J.A. Happ, who was the last competitor standing for Park, will be competing with two others for a bullpen spot.

Source: bleacherreport.com

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