Today we announced the signing of veteran OF, Cliff Floyd.
We've been talking for a number of weeks internally about the need to add a left-handed bat into the mix, as our bench was looking awfully right-handed. In an ideal world, we wanted to find a guy who could provide three primary skills: 1) the ability to do damage against RHP as either a pinch hitter, DH or occasional starter, 2) the ability to play somewhere other than 1B if need be, and 3) the ability to act as a leader for our younger players. We found a match in Cliff.
Performing in the DH role for a young Tampa Bay team in 2008, Cliff hit .268/.349/.455 and compiled an .819 OPS against RHP, so he could be a weapon for Buddy late in games. Last season we struggled to generate offense late in games, as our run production dropped significantly after the 6th inning. This isn't entirely unusual, because that's the point in the game when the better relievers are taking the mound. However, our drop was precipitous, no doubt influenced by the .540 OPS posted by our pinch hitters - by far the lowest in the National League. We knew this was an area that we needed to improve.
Importantly, we received positive reviews about Cliff's leadership and professionalism. No jokes about the MR here... we feel that the additions of David Eckstein, Henry Blanco and Cliff Floyd will help with the continued development of our young players and pitchers.