During Wednesday afternoon’s press conference announcing the re-signing of Didi Gregorius, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski revealed that the Philadelphia Phillies have signed former All-Star Matt Joyce to a minor-league deal that includes an invite to major league spring training.
As a left-handed bench bat, Joyce will likely serve as a pinch hitter and fifth outfielder, if he makes the team out of spring training.
Joyce, 36, has 13 years of big league experience. He spent six years as an outfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays, making the All-Star team in 2011, when he was a teammate of current Phillies general manager Sam Fuld. Joyce’s also has major league experience with the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates, Oakland Athletics, Atlanta Braves, and the Miami Marlins.
Phillies fans may remember Joyce’s most recent success as a pinch hitter for the Braves in 2019. He slashed an impressive .295/.408/.450, en route to the Braves second straight division title.
Joyce struggled more recently in 2020 with the Marlins, both at the plate and in the field. In the pandemic-shortened season, Joyce managed -seven defensive runs saved. He did hit .251 and draw 20 walks, though his .331 slugging percentage and .682 OPS were underwhelming.
Presumably, though, he’d be used less frequently on the 2021 Phillies than he was with the 2020 Marlins.