Really, what else could we possibly talk about this morning except for the implications that Chris Coghlan's signing will have on the Phillies' lineup?


Seriously, though, you're going to have to turn elsewhere for all of your commemorative Tom Brady coverage. I'm flying to Clearwater on Friday, and Coghlan's signing of a minor league deal last week is the latest reason why I think Matt Klentak deserves credit for the sneakily effective offseason he's cobbled together in the months leading up to spring training.

Howie Kendrick, Michael Saunders, and Coghlan might not sell a lot of jerseys, but they are going to give manager Pete Mackanin a tremendous amount of flexibility with his lineup, and will give the Phillies a fighting chance at fielding a middle-of-the-pack offense this season.

Coghlan, who stole the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year from J.A. Happ, resurrected his career with the Cubs from 2014-15, hitting .265 with a .346 on base percentage and .447 slugging percentage while averaging 12 home runs and 468 plate appearances in the two seasons. The Cubs traded him to the A's prior to the 2016 season, but he never found his swing in the AL, hitting just .146/.215/.272 in 51 games before Oakland gave up on him. He rejoined the Cubs and played well down the stretch for the World Series champions, hitting .252/.391/.388 in 128 plate appearances over the remainder of the season.

Coghlan is awful against lefties: over the last two seasons, he is 8-for-68 with 17 strikeouts and nine walks in 79 plate appearances against them. He wasn't great against righties either last season, but for his career he owns a respectable .268/.341/.424 line against them.

Coghlan also seems to be the kind of player who, like a lot of hitters, benefits from regular playing time. Over the last three years, he's just 13-for-65 (.200) as a pinch hitter, with 21 strikeouts and four walks.

While that might seem to be a problem on paper, Klentak has built a roster of hitters that should afford Mackanin plenty of opportunities to get guys at bats and ride whoever happens to have a hot bat at a given time. Coghlan and Howie Kendrick form a potential lefty/righty rotation in left field, but Kendrick has fairly even platoon splits. Both players have played some first base, Kendrick more so than Coghalan who has nonetheless logged 40 innings at the position in his career. So if Coghlan happens to be playing well, or if Tommy Joseph needs a break, or if Joseph happens to be scuffling and the Phillies are facing a tough righty, first base is a spot where Coghlan could give Mackanin another LHB in the lineup.

Or if Coghlan and Kendrick are playing well and Joseph is struggling, Kendrick could take first, and Coghlan could take left field, and Joseph could take the first part of the game off.

Along with Andres Blanco, who has played every position except catcher, and Cesar Hernandez, who has spent ample time at second, third and shortstop, the Phillies will have a near limitless number of lineup iterations they can throw out there.

That might not matter much if Coghlan turns out to be the guy from the A's instead of the guy from the Cubs, or if Kendrick fails to have a bounce-back season, or if Michael Saunders struggles as he did down the stretch last year. But if all three of them play as they have at various stretches over the last few seasons, the Phillies could field a regular lineup that features average-to-good hitters at six or seven spots, as opposed to the three hitters who finished last year with an OPS+ of 100 or above (Joeseph, Hernandez, Herrera).

That might not be the hottest of takes on this post-Super Bowl morning, but it's an intriguing thought for Phillies fans.