First, a quick look at the candidates.
Mark DeRosa - The Phillies have pursued DeRosa in the past and have always
come up short. There is no denying that they like DeRosa for a lot of reasons,
including: 1. His versatility 2. He's a local guy in that he graduated from the
University of Pennsylvania, and, 3. He's a good ball player. DeRosa is a Type-B
free agent, so the Phillies wouldn't lose a draft pick by signing him, which is
Placido Polanco - One reason to like Polanco is that he's a known entity. As
a former Phillie, they know firsthand about his clubhouse qualities - which are
excellent - and how hard he plays. He was always a popular player in
Philadelphia, but there are two drawbacks. 1. He hasn't played third base since
he left Philly and prefers to stay at second, and, 2. Since he's a Type-A free
agent, the Phillies lose a draft pick to sign him.
Adrian Beltre - Beltre is a two-time Gold Glove winner, although he didn't
win the award this past season. Ironically, his fielding percentage was right
around where it's been in the past, but a shoulder injury prevented him from
making some of the more dazzling plays that he many times made look routine.
That shoulder injury is also to blame for his reduction in power, which saw him
hit one home run every 56 at-bats, well short of the one every 25 at-bats that
he averaged in his previous four seasons with the Mariners. He's represented by
Scott Boras, who wants a minimum four-year deal for his client, but at least
Beltre is a Type-B free agent.
Chone Figgins - This is the premier third base option for clubs who need to
fill the hot corner. Figgins is a special type player, who hit .298 with a .395
on-base percentage in 2009, thanks to drawing an American League high 101 walks.
He swiped 42 bases and, if needed, could move to the outfield or even to second
base in an emergency. Figgins is a Type-A free agent, but might be worth
sacrificing a draft pick to obtain. He would give the Phillies a bona fide
leadoff hitter, allowing them to drop the free-swinging Jimmy Rollins down in
Pedro Feliz - The Phillies have said that they wouldn't rule out re-signing
Feliz at a cheaper price, but Feliz has reportedly told friends that he was
bothered by the fact that the Phillies didn't pick up his option and that he
prefers to sign elsewhere.
There are also a couple of trade candidates for the Phillies to consider.
Aramis Ramirez (Chicago Cubs) - Here's a name that has danced around the
fringes and seems to be more of a fallback option for the Phillies. One big
problem is his contract; Ramirez is guaranteed $15.75 million in 2010 and holds
a player option, not a club option, to make $14.6 million in 2011 and a
club option for $16 million in 2012. If the Phillies weren't comfortable with
just over $5 million for Pedro Feliz, why would they trade a couple of players
to Chicago for Ramirez?
Garrett Atkins (Colorado Rockies) - The Rockies have been dangling Atkins
off-and-on for a while now. Between 2004 and 2008, Atkins hit .302 and averaged
18 home runs per season, with more of his home runs actually coming on the road
rather than in the rarified air of Colorado. Atkins avoided arbitration last
season by signing a $7.05 million one-year deal with the Rockies and is in his
final season of arbitration, meaning that he can become a free agent following
the 2010 season. His numbers dipped off horribly in 2009 [9-48-.226] and it's
possible that Atkins will be non-tendered by Colorado if they can't find a
willing trade partner.
Statistical analysis for 3B candidates over the 2008 and
Example - PA/HR measures how many times a hitter comes to
the plate before he hits one home run.
There are a few things to keep in mind.
Figgins and Polanco are Type-A free agents, which would mean
the Phillies would sacrifice a draft pick. Atkins and Ramirez would require
giving up players in a trade to acquire them. The others could be signed
without sacrificing any draft picks or players.
Figgins and Polanco are very different players from the
others. As a leadoff man, Figgins doesn't worry about home runs, so his
power numbers will be lower, but his stolen base and on-base percentage
numbers are at the top of the bunch. Keep in mind too, that Polanco hasn't
played third base since he was with the Phillies in 2005.
Beltre is coming off of a shoulder injury.
Atkins could be non-tendered in December, meaning the
Phillies could sign him without having to trade for him. Of course, his
average dipped to .226 in 2009, which is part of the reason that Colorado is
We used the past two seasons stats for comparison, because
that was the time that Feliz was in Philadelphia.
Fielding percentages over the past two seasons:
Polanco - 100% (71 total
chances over the 2004/2005 seasons.)
Figgins - .972
Feliz - .969
DeRosa - .965
Beltre - .961 (Gold Glove in 2007 and 2008)
Atkins - .961
Ramirez - .946
The Phillies have a major hole to fill at third base and there are no shortages of candidates. But, should they go through free agency or a trade and which of the players is the best fit?
The Phillies are still kicking the tires on some candidates for their third base job.