Ruben Amaro Jr. on Hunter Pence:
"I think what we're trying to do, what we're always trying to do, is address a need that we felt was kind of a missing piece. We believe in our offense as it stands. It's been a little bit inconsistent, not as consistent as it has been in the past. I think this gives us a little more balance, obviously with a hitter from the right side for Charlie's lineup. But not only that, I think we acquired, in a lot of ways, somebody that is extremely well-rounded and the type of player that we like to have here in Philadelphia. There's a lot of elements that are involved here, but clearly the way this guy plays, the way he goes about his business, the effort, the kind of teammate he is, and the fact that we have him under control not only for this year, but for two more years. Those were very, very big factors for us. His defense was important to us. The fact that he runs well, he has speed, he's a very, very good athlete. There's a lot of things that factored in on this one, and frankly one of the reasons we gave up a very strong package of young players to acquire him."
Charlie Manuel on Hunter Pence:
"He's a very hard, hustling player. I think that he likes to play, and he gives you everything he's got. He's got talent, he's got power, he's strong the other way hitting the ball. He's a good player."
Ruben Amaro Jr. on what this means for Dom Brown:
"We believe Domonic Brown is going to be an outstanding MLB player. "
The Phillies are putting the finishing touches on a deal with outfielder Michael Saunders, according to a source.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported the deal was close early Monday afternoon.
When the medical reviews and other loose ends are complete, Saunders will end up with a one-year contract for 2017. It is believed that there will be an option for 2018.
Saunders, 30, will give the Phils the left-handed bat they’ve been looking for in the outfield. Saunders is likely to play right field and his addition will likely push Roman Quinn back to Triple A, where he will get more seasoning.
Saunders is a veteran of eight seasons in the majors. He played in a career-high 140 games with Toronto in 2016 and made the American League All-Star team on the strength of a first half in which he hit .298 with 16 homers, 42 RBIs and a .923 OPS. He fell off in the second half and hit just .178 with eight homers, 15 RBIs and a .638 OPS. Saunders finished the season at .253/24/57/.815.
With less than a month to go before spring training, the Phillies are likely done with their significant offseason moves. The offseason began with trades for reliever Pat Neshek and outfielder Howie Kendrick. Later in the winter, the club traded for starting pitcher Clay Buchholz and signed reliever Joaquin Benoit. Now Saunders is on his way.
It didn't take long for Villanova to get back to the top of the AP poll.
A week, to be exact.
The 'Cats jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 in this week's AP poll, edging out No. 2 Kansas by just 16 total voting points. Villanova had 1,580 total points compared to the 1,562 total points the No. 2 Jayhawks received from voters.
In a twist, the 16-1 Jayhawks actually had more first-place votes than the 17-1 Wildcats. Kansas received 32 first-place votes compared to Villanova's 28 first-place votes. But total votes are the deciding factor, so, advatange: Wildcats.
UCLA hopped up to No. 3, Gonzaga jumped up to No. 4 and Kentucky checked in at No. 5 to round out this week's top five.
Baylor, the No. 1 team in the land last week, fell to No. 6 after it was blown out by No. 7 West Virginia.
Beginning on Dec. 5, Villanova was No. 1 for five straight weeks before falling at No. 13 Butler on Jan. 5 and seeing a 20-game win streak come to an end.
Jay Wright's Wildcats blew past No. 22 Xavier and St. John's last week, but will face another Big East test when 12-5 Seton Hall visits The Pavilion on Monday night. The last time Villanova and Seton Hall met, the Pirates upset the Wildcats at MSG in the final of last season's Big East Tournament.
The Wildcats' schedule this week is closed out with a visit from Providence on Saturday afternoon.