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Veteran Outfieder So Taguchi signed Sunday December 23rd, 2007

Posted by Sean in Geoff Jenkins, Jayson Werth, Pat Burrell, Phillies, So Taguchi.
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Part of Pat Gillick’s Christmas Wish List:

  • Japanese player to replace Gooch,
  • Veteran hitter not named Jenkins,
  • Versatile outfielder for bench.

Those three things were filled today (12/23), with only two more days until the “big day” for most of us. With the signing of ex-Cardinal Taguchi, the Phillies now have a versatile, Japanese outfielder on the bench. The terms are believed to be a million dollars fora year, with an option for 2009. His ’07 numbers, courtesy of the baseball cube: 3 HR, 30 RBI, 7 bags stolen, 23 walks, 33 K’s, .290 AVG, .350 OBP.

Click for more.
Taguchi was drafted in the first round of the 1991 NPB (Japanese league in lamen’s terms), by the now defunct Orix BlueWave (who merged with the Kintetsu Buffaloes in 2003 to become the present-day Orix Buffaloes), three rounds ahead of Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. He debuted with the ‘Wave in 1992, and stayed with the team through 2001, when he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. He then worked his way through the Cardinals system (starring for AA New Haven Ravens, and AAA Memphis Red Birds), before earning a permanent big-league job in 2005. Since joining the Cardinals, Taguchi has always been a great player off the bench (especially for his defense), but has never earned a starting job. He may never earn that starting job, seeing as he is 37 at the time of writing. I see him as a late-inning defensive replacement for Burrell on most days, and as a fourth/fifth outfielder the rest of the time. Also, if recently-reconverted center fielder Shane Victorino gets injured like he did at the end of last year, Taguchi will be the go-to guy as replacement. His presence is largely due to the trade of Michael Bourn to the Houston Astros for Brad Lidge. If he performs well enough in Spring Training, he may even be in the running for the starting right field job, along with Geoff Jenkins and Jayson Werth.

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