The last couple of years the ONLY thing that the Phillies have been missing is that marquee third baseman. Now, I am in no way saying that Polanco is doing anything less than a PHantastic job. He is signed for two more seasons at a reasonable rate. Right now if Polanco isn’t the MLB player of the Month, he definitely is the Phillies position player of the month. So let’s get to the point.
My option for third baseman of the future? Current SS Jimmy Rollins. J-Roll is currently signed thru 2011. We have seen a lot of quality SS make the transition to 3B. Alex Rodriguez and Miguel Tejada come to mind immeadiately. The level of play that Rollins plays, his offense and defense would be more than adequate for a 3B worthy salary. I only see two possible questions that would stand in the way.
- Would Jimmy Rollins be willing to make the transition to third?
- Would the Phillies be willing to pay Rollins to stay past 2011?
I know that anyone who reads this is thinking, “Okay, but who plays SS if J-Roll moves to third?”
The answer to that is Phillies prospect Freddy Galvis. Galvis, who turns 21 in November, is currently the starting SS at AA Reading. A lot of people see top prospects successfully making the jump from AA to the show. So could Galvis make the jump? Probably, but why rush him. Granted it is only the second week of the season, but Galvis is handling himself. A switch hitter, he is hitting lefties at a .286 clip and righties at a .313 clip. He’s got a solid OBP of .360 and SLG of .391. Both of which are early improvements over his 2009 campaign. Defensively, Galvis is MLB ready. Offensively, I can understand why he is not nudging Rollins already.
Now, if all goes according to schedule, having Rollins, Galvis, Utley, and Polanco signed will give you the ability to, dare I say it, TRADE RYAN HOWARD! I do not believe that Howard will remain with the Philies after the 2011 season when he reaches FA. Ryan Howard is also the most attractive, AND MOVABLE, piece that the Phillies have. His salary is also a big issue. With the Phillies owing him 20 Million for 2011, the Phillies may have to consider using Ben Francisco as their everyday RFer. I think that he could do the job, but Werth has already proven himself, and will be a costly player next year. Ryan Howard could net you a good return, with or without paying part of his portion. The Red Sox, Orioles, Rays, Astros, Cubs, Blue Jays, and White Sox could all definitely be in the market for Howard. Granted that the Astros have a clup option for Berkman.
In no way do I wish the Phillies trade Ryan Howard. He is a special player and a valuable part of this team. But I am a realist, and acknowledge the fact that the payroll is climbing towards Yankeean heights. I don’t see the Phillies moving Halladay or Utley, nor do I see a team wanting to take on Lidge or Ibanez’ contract. So moving Howard is the “easiest”and the Phillies do need to start thinking about getting this team younger.