For some time, the Phillies valued Baltimore outfielder Jeff Conine, but were scared away by the $2 million option that automatically vests if Conine gets 18 more plate appearances this season. Sunday, they talked Baltimore into including one-quarter of that salary as part of the deal and made the move.
The Phillies will send a player to be named later to Baltimore to complete the deal. The Phillies will also need to announce a roster move before Conine can be added to the active roster. It's likely that utility infielder Danny Sandoval will be returned to AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre to make room for Conine. Teams can expand their rosters by 15 players on Friday, so Sandoval could return as early as next weekend, or could stay with Scranton for their post-season, should they make the playoffs.
One of the reasons why the Phillies may have pulled the trigger on the deal is because the Dodgers were rumored to have made a move to acquire Conine for their bench. Watching two outfielders misplay balls that led to a big seven-run inning for the Mets in Saturday night's game could have also been another reason why GM Pat Gillick pulled the trigger. Certainly, Baltimore's decision to add cash to the deal also made the trade possible.
Conine is in his 16th season and is hitting .265 with 9 homeruns and 49 RBI for Baltimore this season. Conine finished his Orioles' career by driving in two runs, including the game tying run in his final at bat. The Orioles beat Tampa Bay 5-4 Sunday. Conine has been through pennant races and played on both Florida Marlins' World Championship teams in 1997 and 2003. "I hope I can lend some experience, having been through it a couple of times," said Conine about joining the Phillies in the middle of their fight for the NL Wild Card.
One upside to acquiring Conine is that the Phillies won't have to face him. Over the last three seasons, he's hit .343 against Phillies' pitching and has always hit them well throughout his career.
This season, Conine has played primarily in left field (53 games) and first base (47 games), but has also played one game at third base and one in right field.