The Phillies have picked up another acquisition to strengthen their bench: 33-year-old veteran of eight Major League seasons Ross Gload, who signed a two-year contract as a free agent after declining an offer from his team of last year, the Florida Marlins. He was a small contributor to the White Sox's championship season in 2005, but did not play in the postseason.
Gload has played first base more than anything in his career, but with Ryan Howard rarely missing a game at his position its more likely that if the Phillies ever use to start it will be in the outfield, where he can play all three positions. However, there has been talk of increased rest for members of the Phillies' core -- now mainly composed of players past thirty -- and Gload will be a good option to play first if Howard needs to be rested for a day.
Gload has a strong career batting average of .283 and OPS of .736. He has a reputation as a very strong pinch hitter, and that's why I like this acquisition. Greg Dobbs couldn't repeat his pinch-hitting success from 2008 in 2009, and the Phillies will want somebody to fill that role. That is most likely how he will be used by the Phillies, especially since he has a reputation as a below average defensive outfielder.
This is a good pickup that should give the Phillies a strong bat to go to off the bench. GM Ruben Amaro says his next priorities are to pick up a starter to compete for the fifth spot and some relief pitching, so we'll keep up on further developments.