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Phils Fit to be Ty'd?

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Here's an intriguing note in David Murphy's blog post today:

Add Ty Wigginton to the list of names the Phillies have investigated as potential additions to the team. Wigginton, who can play either corner outfield or corner infield position, plus second base, hit .285 with 23 home runs last season in just 386 at-bats for the Astros.

The Phillies have spoken with a number of free agents with experience at third base, including the Giants' Rich Aurilia, and are expecting Jason Donald to work out at third and second during spring training.

It appears the Phillies are determined to protect themselves in case third baseman Pedro Feliz's back injury - he had surgery in November - continues to be a problem.

Wigginton was perhaps the most surprising name on the list of players who were not tendered contract offers by their teams before the early-December deadline to do so. The journeyman was coming off probably the best season of his career for Ed Wade's Houston Astros, a year after hitting 22 homers in 547 at-bats with the Devil Rays (as they were then called) and Houston. He's hit over 20 home runs in each of the last three seasons. While Wigginton has appeared at five different positions (both infield corners, both outfield corners, second base) in the field over the course of his career, the Astros deployed him solely at third base and left field in 2008. 

After the Astros declined to offer him a contract, Wigginton reportedly was looking for a multi-year deal in the neighborhood of $5-6 million per--starter's money, in other words. He hasn't gotten that from anyone, of course, and would not get it from the Phillies. As a right-handed power source who plays multiple positions, he'd obviously fill a need for the club. But unless one or more of Feliz, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard or Jayson Werth missed significant time, it would be difficult to imagine Wigginton even matching the 386 at-bats he got for Houston in 2008. It's also difficult to imagine the organization, already facing a payroll $20 or $30 million higher than any in club history, offering more than a couple million dollars for a part-time role. As with Ben Sheets, Juan Cruz and other desirable free agents who have yet to secure a job for 2009, the question is whether a weak market and the cachet of a defending champion might be enough for the Phils to gain a contributor on the cheap.