Offseason Report: Third Base

As Ruben Amaro leads the Phils into his sophomore season as GM, he looks to improve several areas. We definitely know that there is a strong urge to upgrade at third base with Pedro Feliz’s option being declined. Now that does not mean that Feliz will not be back. It just means the Phils are willing to look elsewhere first. As previously stated by Amaro, “there are more third baseman this year in free agency than positions available.” That is a good sign. That means the price should not, and hopefully will not, be driven up. I’d like to take a look at some of the options available via trade or free agency.

Placido Polanco: The 34 year old former Phil is coming off a 5 year stint with Detroit. He hit .285 in 153 games with 10 HRs and 72 RBIs. Polanco has always been a average to above average fielder. The problem is he hasn’t played the hot corner since 2005. A Type A free agent would cost us our first round pick and a salary around 5.5 – 6.0 per year and probably atleast 2-3 years.

Chone Figgins: Figgins had one of those career years for free agents. 100+ walks. 40+ SBs. 50+ RBIs. Figgins is 32 years old and also a Type A. Figgins is pretty good with the glove but has more range as a 2B or OF as opposed to 3B. Besides the pick, Figgins will probably cost somewhere in the 7-9 million category for atleast 4 years.

Adrian Beltre: Will turn 31 at the beginning of next season. Beltre, the first Type B free agent, “earned” a 5 year/64 million dollar contract after the 2004 season. A season in which he hit 48 bombs. Since then Beltre has averaged roughly 20 HRs per season in Seattle. I can’t take all of it away because it is one hell of a big park. A Scott Boras client, will he expect to get around 10 million per? Will he expect 4-5 years?

Mark DeRosa: A full time starter the last three years, DeRosa is probably looking to continue that trend. At 35, how many more years should be expected of him to hit 20+ HRs and 70+ RBIs? An interesting fact to be noted. In the last 3 years, DeRosa average drops significantly while his strikeout rate increases.  DeRosa is probably looking for one last contract at 3 years and 6-8 million per.

Personally, I do not find ANY of those options all that appealing. All are 30+ years old. That is not old, but it just makes it a stop gap. All of these guys could hit for power in CBP (Citizens Bank Park), but the real question is: why? Why do you need a guy to hit a ton of HRs when he will be hitting no higher than 6th or 7th in the lineup. All of which also make it that much harder to keep players that you already have/need.

If I were GM, I’d be looking to make a trade with Pittsburgh, San Diego, or Anaheim. Michael Taylor is this team’s biggest chip and a good one at that. You could possibly get away with Taylor by himself or centerpiece him with some lower level prospects. I also believe that Chad Durbin has some value and could be packaged as well if necessary.

Pittsburgh: Andy LaRoche – The 26 year old held his own in the Steel City this year. He hit 12 HRs for an awful Pirates team. LaRoche has barely a year of service time. Plays solid defense and most importantly will be under team control for another four years.

San Diego: Kevin Kouzmanoff – Very comprable to LaRoche. Two years older. Hits for a little more pop. Better glove just less range. Kouzmanoff has three years left before free agency.

Anaheim: Brandon Wood – If the Angels do resign Figgins, Wood would/should be extremely available and could take over immeadiately. His MLB numbers are not so nice, but I relate that to playing time. In AAA, Wood hits for power and average. In the majors. he is barely above the Mendoza line.


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