Jenkins inks deal to join Phillies
Veteran rounds out Philadelphia's 2008 outfield corps
PHILADELPHIA -- Geoff Jenkins completed the Phillies' outfield on Thursday, accepting a two-year, $13 million contract. While he immediately replaces departed Aaron Rowand in the lineup, he knows that replacing Rowand, the fan favorite, may take longer.Rowand's style is unmistakable, and highlights of his center-field-fence-smashing grab have been a pregame staple at Citizens Bank Park. Jenkins doesn't play the same position, but understands the need for logical comparisons. "I definitely will bring some of that to Philadelphia," Jenkins said. "I don't want to run into any walls or break a nose, but I'm an aggressive outfielder. I like to dive and make catches at the wall and throw guys out." Jenkins' offense compares well with that of Rowand and Torii Hunter, two free agents who signed larger and longer deals this offseason. Although they play a more crucial outfield spot, the Phillies had the luxury of shifting Shane Victorino to center field while adding a complementary piece to pair with Jayson Werth. Philadelphia general manager Pat Gillick didn't see any reason why a Jenkins/Werth combination couldn't produce 35 homers and 100 RBIs. Jenkins is a career .288 hitter against right-handed pitchers. "[The playing-time issue will] be addressed in Spring Training. Right now, I'm just excited to be a Phillie. I love the park. I know some of the guys," Jenkins said, already referring to Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley by their more common nicknames. The 33-year-old Jenkins became a free agent when the Brewers declined his $9 million option for 2008. He hit .255 with 21 homers last season. Jenkins had been on Philadelphia's radar all winter, and the pursuit intensified once Rowand joined the Giants. The Phillies competed with the Rangers and Padres for Jenkins' services. Texas bowed out early, and San Diego was unwilling to match Philadelphia's offer. The sides agreed earlier this week, and Jenkins passed a physical early Thursday morning. A third year vests if Jenkins receives 925 combined plate appearances in 2008-09 or 525 plate appearances in 2009. He then would earn $7.5 million in 2010, bringing the deal's total value to around $20 million. If the option doesn't trigger, the sides have a mutual option for a third year. The Phillies also agreed to a six-team, limited no-trade provision. "Obviously, you have a checklist of things you want to see happen, and winning is one," Jenkins said. "Philly represents that opportunity. I'm excited to hit in this lineup. For me, [Citizens Bank Park] suits my swing better. I'm a fly-ball hitter, and the short porch is good." Jenkins said a conversation with manager Charlie Manuel provided the final piece toward convincing him to select the Phillies. "I felt confident that I would fit in well," Jenkins said. "That conversation really sold me on the club."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.