Y'all probably know that Wes Helms had a much better year in '06 than his Brewer career would suggest. After a solid '05 comeback season PHing in Milwaukee, he turned into a super bench dude for the Marlins.
Really. Go look at his career numbers. Last year, he hit .329/.390/.575--and that includes a lot of late-inning pinch-hitting duties, presumably against tough pitchers. So, given that the Marlins are won't sign anyone they can't find at the dollar store, they probably aren't going to be able to bring Wes back.
Aggressively pursuing? Well, I guess the Phillies ought to be aggressively pursuing somebody, as this is a team that gave 322 at-bats to Abraham Nunez, a man who slugged under .300. (And he was hitting even worse when they traded David Bell and handed Nunez the starting spot!)
I certainly never expected to find myself following a postseason in which Wes Helms was a hot commodity, but here we are. What's next, a multi-year deal for Jeff Cirillo?
Update [2006-11-15 21:31:5 by Jeff]: Well, that was fast. A deal may be done. Rosenthal says:
The deal includes a club option for a third year that could raise the total value of the package to approximately $8.5 million, according to a source with knowledge of the deal.
Helms, 30, earned $800,000 last season as a part-time player with the Marlins. He signed with the Phillies after receiving assurances that he would get a chance to play every day at third base, the source said.
Of course, there is an upside: if we're measuring Helms against Abraham Nunez, he could be the most valuable third baseman in the league. Regardless, I think the Mets are safe bets to repeat in the East, even after this stunning improvement the Phils have made.