FIRST-YEAR general manager Matt Klentak continued to tidy up the Phillies' roster prior to next week's Winter Meetings with the addition of a veteran outfielder on Wednesday.
The Phillies claimed centerfielder Peter Bourjos off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals. Additionally, the team agreed to a one-year deal with Bourjos and with veteran utility infielder Andres Blanco.
According to multiple reports, Bourjos will earn $2 million in 2016 while Blanco, who had been eligible for arbitration for the third year, will make $1.45 million.
Major league teams had until midnight on Wednesday to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Heading into Tuesday, the Phillies had four such players: Blanco, shortstop Freddy Galvis, righthanded starter Jeremy Hellickson, and righthanded reliever Jeanmar Gomez.
Gomez, a useful but replaceable 28-year-old, arguably would be the only one among that group the front office might have considered non-tendering a contract. Gomez, 2-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 65 games last season, earned $800,000 in 2015.
Bourjos, meanwhile, is a defensive-first veteran who joins an outfield with little big-league experience in the outfield. Among the four other outfielders on the Phillies' 40-man roster are three converted infielders: Cody Asche, Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr.
It's unclear where Bourjos, who once supplanted Mike Trout as the Los Angeles Angels' regular centerfielder, will fit into regular play on the Phillies' roster. Among the aforementioned group, Herrera is the only thing close to a lock for regular playing time, and he played the majority of his first season with the Phillies in centerfield.
Bourjos, who turns 29 in March, is the second righthanded hitter among that group, along with Altherr. With Darin Ruf also on the roster as a potential, righthanded-hitting corner outfielder, the addition of Bourjos likely means there is no longer room for veteran free agent Jeff Francoeur, who hit .258 with 13 home runs in 119 games with the Phillies last season.
Bourjos is a career .241 hitter with a .682 OPS in 590 big-league games in six seasons with the Cardinals and Angels. He hit .200 with a .290 OBP in 117 games with the Cardinals last season.
But the Phillies have long been fans of Bourjos' defensive prowess - they have been rumored to have interest in him since the winter of 2012-13, when they traded for Ben Revere. The Phils made sure to highlight Bourjos' defensive capability in a news release announcing the roster move on Wednesday.
"According to FanGraphs, since Bourjos made his major league debut in 2010, he is averaging a 16.1 ultimate zone rating per 150 defensive games (UZR/150)," the news release read. "That ranks third among all major league outfielders with at least 3,500 defensive innings played in that span, trailing only Lorenzo Cain (19.0) and Jason Heyward (18.3)."