The Cardinals added more depth for their bench today, signing right-handed hitting first baseman, Josh Phelps, to a minor league deal. The contract is said to include an invite to Spring Training, where he’ll earn $750,000 if he makes the big club, with possible incentives adding another $250,000. Phelps, 29, has played for five different teams, including Pittsburgh in ’07, where he hit .351, with 5 homers in 77 at-bats. All of his stats can be found here. Derrick Goold, of the Post Dispatch, has more on the signing here.
The way I see it, Phelps is merely a replacement for Tagg Bozied, who recently signed a minor league deal with the Florida Marlins. Although Phelps offers decent power off the bench, I just don’t see room on the roster for him. I imagine he’ll start the year in Memphis, and act as insurance in case of an injury to Pujols or one of the catchers. We’ll see how things shake down in Spring Training.
I’ll go ahead and pass a few more links your way. Jeff Gordon give a rundown on the Cards’ moves thus far here, while Goold talks about the front office new hire, Gary LaRocque, here. And, if you’re wondering how to spend an extra $4000 to $400,000, check out the Cardinals’ new Ballpark Founders Marketplace.
And finally, I stumbled across a nice story about a Cubs fan getting an autograph from Matt Clement:
In ‘03, my cousin and I went to ‘Fan Photo Day’ at Wrigley (where the fans got to go down of the field and meet some of the players and take pictures). Neither one of us were terribly interested (we were both much more interested in just seeing Wrigley from the field, more than anything), with one exception. He absolutely had to get a picture with Matt Clement (who, for various reasons, is his favorite player – so much so, that his license plate reads “HMC 30” – the H stands for Honest). The way this whole thing was set up, there was a rope and the players would sort of walk along the rope from one end of the field to the other, posing for pictures and shaking hands along the way. It got pretty crowded along the rope and the crowd was probably 5 or 6 people deep at this point. When my cousin saw Clement, he politely pushed his way through the crowd to get up to the front, yelling “Matt! Matt!” the whole way to get Clement’s attention.
My cousin is a big guy (6’6”, probably 280). He gets to the front of the line, directly in front of Clement, and my cousin says “Matt! I’m your biggest fan!” At this point, the chucklehead standing next to him yells, “Literally!”, due to my cousin’s size. My cousin and Clement both crack up (at which point I snap the picture from the back of the crowd – one of my favorite pictures ever) from the joke. It became one of those stories that gets told over and over again and “Literally!” became something of a catchphrase within our circle of friends.
Around this time last year, I’m starting to think about my upcoming wedding and what to get my cousin for a best man’s gift. I wanted to get him something really, really special, because he’s done a lot for me over the years and the traditional stuff just wasn’t going to cut it. I was thinking about getting an autographed ball from the internet or something, but I decided that wasn’t good enough, so I wrote Clement a letter telling him the story and what a big fan my cousin was and asked him if he would mind signing the ball that I sent. A few months pass, and I get a package in the mail from Boston. I open it up and Clement signed the ball, “To Ben, My Biggest Fan – Literally! Matt Clement # 30”. This absolutely made my freakin’ day. I don’t think I stopped laughing for a week.
The night of my rehearsal, I give my cousin the ball and he was just stunned. I mean, he practically cried. He got me a truly great wedding gift (the best gift we got from anyone, in fact), and he later told me that he was embarrassed about how crappy his gift to us was compared to the ball. It’s one of his prized possessions now.
So that’s the story of the best autograph I’ve ever gotten. Very cool of Mr. Clement to do that for us.
Here’s the link.