Essentially, there are two classes of players who could be available to the Phillies via trade or free agency - aging veterans who would come cheap, and brand-name quantities playing for struggling teams. Here's a look at some realistic options in the wake of yesterday's news that both Chase Utley and Placido Polanco were put on the disabled list.
1. Mark Grudzielanek, free agent: The 40-year-old veteran, who did not play last season, was 30-for-110 (.273) with a .328 on-base percentage and .273 slugging percentage with no home runs for the Indians this season. He's a career .986 fielder at second base and is available to sign after being released earlier this month.
2. Ty Wigginton, Baltimore: The Orioles have a scout following the Phillies in Cincinnati. The knock on Wigginton is his fielding. But despite mediocre-to-poor fielding percentages at second base (six errors, .963 in 36 games) and third base (two errors, .833 in six games), he does play a variety of positions and would be able to get some at-bats in the outfield when Utley returns. He's believed to be available via trade.
3. Kelly Johnson, Arizona: The Diamondbacks' second baseman is owed about $1.2 million for the rest of the season, after which he will become a free agent. A 28-year-old lefthanded bat, he had a career .787 on-base percentage plus slugging and had 13 home runs in 276 at-bats this season entering last night's game. He's also 14-for-45 with a .941 OPS in his career as a pinch-hitter. Only question is whether the Phillies would be willing to meet the struggling D-backs' asking price.
4. Aki Iwamura, Pittsburgh: He is currently at Triple A for the Pirates, who designated him for assignment earlier this month but were unable to find anybody to trade for him. It doesn't help that the 31-year-old Iwamura, who hit .290 in 69 games for the Rays last season, is guaranteed $4.85 million this season. He's available cheap via trade.
Here are guys who have some name value, but probably aren't fits:
1. Edwin Encarnacion: The 27-year-old Encarnacion is a righthanded bat who still can hit for power despite paltry contact numbers. In 120 at-bats for the Blue Jays this season, he had nine homers, but hit just .200 with a .298 OBP. He hit .225 with 13 home runs in 293 at-bats for the Reds and Blue Jays last season. Encarnacion has a poor, .938 career fielding percentage at third base, where he has played 569 of his 571 games. The Blue Jays designated him for assignment earlier this month.
2. Garrett Atkins, free agent: Atkins, only 30, hasn't been a productive major leaguer since he hit .286 with 21 home runs in 2008 for Colorado. Since then, he has hit .223 with 10 home runs in 494 at-bats, including .214 with one home run in 140 at-bats for the Orioles this season before being released.
3. Kaz Matsui, Colorado: He fell out of favor with the Astros and was ultimately shipped to the Rockies, where he is hitting .228 in 26 games at Triple A Colorado Springs.
Other players who could be available, but are unlikely because of either salary or likely asking price: Dan Uggla (2B, Marlins); Jhonny Peralta (3B, Indians); Rickie Weeks (2B, Brewers); Aaron Hill (2B, Blue Jays); Miguel Tejada (3B, Orioles).