As the Phillies continue to make up ground in the National League wild-card race, they continue to make deals to help their cause. A week after trading for Jamie Moyer–and a month after seemingly giving up on their season by giving up Bobby Abreu, Cory Lidle and Rheal Cormier–Philadelphia acquired Jeff Conine from the Orioles on Sunday for a player to be named later. Baltimore also included cash to offset the remainder of Conine’s contract.
The 40-year-old Conine is starting to show his age, as he’s in the midst of his least productive season since first becoming a big league regular in 1993. He’s hitting .265/.325/.401 with nine homers and 49 RBIs in 114 games. He has lost some bat speed, which has cost him some of his gap power and production. He’s capable of playing first base and left field, though losing a step or two of range makes him better suited for first. He shouldn’t take playing time away from Pat Burrell or Ryan Howard with the Phillies, but Conine can serve as a useful bat off the bench. He’s making $1.7 million this season, and can vest a $2 million mutual option for 2007 if he reaches 450 plate appearances. A two-time all-star, Conine is a career .286/.348/.446 hitter with 207 homers and 1,017 RBIs in 1,895 games.
August 30 update: The Orioles received shortstop Angel Chavez from the Phillies to complete the trade. Chavez, 25, signed with the Giants out of Panama in 1998 and was claimed on waivers by Philadelphia in April. Beside above-average arm strength, Chavez doesn’t have a standout tool. He’s a solid defender who’s just decent at the plate, hitting .265/.308/.416 with 11 homers, 60 RBIs and 12 steals in 123 games between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre this year.