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Philadelphia Phillies' free agent deals speak to the moment

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The Philadelphia Phillies inked another free agent this week. A modest move to say the least that speaks directly to the moment this franchise is living through.

General manager Ed Wade electrified the baseball world when he signed free agent Jim Thome to a then-mega-deal in December 2002. That contract was written with the 2004 rise of Citizens Bank Park in mind.

Ruben Amaro exploded baseball's hot stove when he signed free agent Cliff Lee to a New York Yankees-esque contract in December 2010. The return of Philadelphia's favorite modern left-handed son was applauded by every red pinstriped fan from the Main Line to South Street at the time.

While the Phillies have written some minor league free agent contracts this off-season, their two major league free agent moves involve the early signing of outfielder Marlon Byrd and this week's agreement with veteran backup catcher Wil Nieves.

Byrd does strengthen the outfield contingent. Nieves might equal Erik Kratz' work behind and at the plate next season. However, both transactions weren't transformative and hardly push the Phillies into the playoff picture. And that's the difference between two sets of yesterday's and today.

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