The Phillies have signed utility player Adam Rosales to a minor-league contract with an invitation to major-league spring training, per USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale. Rosales will earn $1.75 million if he makes Philadelphia’s Opening Day roster.
Philadelphia was desperately in need of middle-infield depth after trading Freddy Galvis, letting Andres Blanco walk in free agency, and not replacing Howie Kendrick following his July 28 trade to the Nationals. While highly-regarded second base prospect Scott Kingery is expected to be major-league ready by midseason, the Phillies currently have just two middle infielders — Cesar Hernandez and J.P. Crawford — with big-league experience on their 40-man roster. While Hernandez is coming off a career year at second and can fill in at short if necessary, Crawford hit just .214/.356/.300 over his first 87 major-league plate appearances last season and was a rather inconsistent hitter in the minors.
Rosales, 34, began last season with the Athletics but was dealt to the Diamondbacks at the deadline as they sought a veteran backup for shortstop Ketel Marte. Rosales played a career-high 65 games at shortstop last season and provides some insurance at the position in case Crawford continues to struggle offensively and needs to go back to the minors for a little bit more seasoning this year. Rosales hit just .225/.260/.353 with seven homers in 2017, but he’s shown flashes of offensive competence in the not-too-distant past, as he posted a solid .229/.319/.495 slash line with 13 homers over 248 plate appearances for the Padres in 2016.
He’s an experienced utility man who has logged time at every position besides catcher and center field throughout a 10-season major-league career, and he should act as a solid veteran mentor for Philadelphia’s hefty collection of young players. Unless Philadelphia adds another veteran infielder before Opening Day, it seems very likely that Rosales will ultimately earn a spot on their major-league roster, as they probably won’t want a rookie who’s never played in a big-league game backing up all three of Hernandez, Crawford, and third baseman Maikel Franco. But infielder/outfielder Pedro Florimon, who played in 15 games with the Phillies last season but was outrighted off the team’s roster following the season, is in camp as a non-roster invitee and could also compete for that spot.