Mailbag: Who could fill void in left?
Beat reporter Ken Mandel answers Phillies fans' questions
Do the Phillies have any interest in free agent Juan Rivera as a possible left-field replacement? I think he would be a better fit than Rocco Baldelli or Jerry Hairston Jr.
-- Eric S., Cherry Hill, N.J.
-- Mike K., Glen Rock, Pa. No. Donald, 24, has been playing some third in the Arizona Fall League, as he's blocked at shortstop by Jimmy Rollins. It's a still a question as to how much Donald will hit in the Major Leagues. Scouts feel Donald is a decent hitter who lacks the power of a traditional third baseman -- maybe 10 to 15 homers and a .270 batting average.
Obviously, it's difficult to predict, and Donald could develop into a solid regular. He did bat .307 with 14 homers and 54 RBIs for Double-A Reading and was the best hitter on the U.S. Olympic team in Beijing.Are the Phillies interested in Ryan Ludwick? He was offered to Colorado for Matt Holliday and had a pretty good season in 2008.
-- Tim S., Oreland, Pa. Even if they were, the Phillies don't have a Holliday-type player to offer in return. St. Louis exhibited creativity in trying to add an MVP-caliber bat by giving the Rockies a more affordable player. It's important to keep in mind that Holliday was dealt for financial reasons, and Philadelphia wouldn't be in a position to deal such a player for this reason.
So Ludwick may not be available without some other type of return, i.e., a player of that stature on a team in a similar situation. The point is that there are always factors that provide the genesis for every deal, and it can never be as easy as Player A for Player B. Finding fits in the unlikely places is what can makes a general manager, but the reality is that each works with a separate set of budgetary rules.What do you think about the Phillies signing Richie Sexson? He could be a right-handed pinch-hitter and back up Ryan Howard at first base. That could then mean that Greg Dobbs could move to the outfield and Chris Coste might not make the roster.
-- Dan S., Philadelphia I don't see it happening, unless Sexson can still move around a bit in left field, something he hasn't done since 2000, while playing for Charlie Manuel's Indians. Though capable of hitting home runs, Sexson hasn't been able to do much else, and that isn't the type of player the Phillies are seeking, especially since Howard rarely comes out of the lineup.
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Do any Phillies have New Mexico roots?
-- Jerry M., Gallup, N.M.
-- Bobby S., Allentown, Pa. The Phillies expect Zagurski to be fully recovered from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in Spring Training. He's probably not a candidate to make the '09 team, as he'll likely be brought along slowly. Are the rumors true about Manny Ramirez wanting to play for Manuel and the Phillies?
-- Robert B., Ephrata, Pa. Ramirez will play for whichever team meets his contract demands of his agent, Scott Boras. That team won't be the Phillies. Though Phils general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. didn't completely rule it out, he strongly suggested that Ramirez is likely too expensive for the Phillies, who are focusing on re-signing starter Jamie Moyer and adding a reliever.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.