October 31, 2014

What Are The Phillies’ 3B Options?

If the Phillies are to make a splash in the free agent market, it certainly seems like it will come at 3B, after they declined a relatively cheap option ($5 million) on Pedro Feliz.

I think it was the right move, and with the market for 3B fairly robust, it gives us a chance to fill the one hole we had in our line-up in the playoffs this season.

In this post, I will detail 8 options the Phillies have as a replacement. 7 are free agents, and 1 (Garrett Atkins) is an obvious trade option. There are likely to be other trade options out there (Brandon Inge?), but I’m just going to stick with Atkins, who is absolutely on the market.

I’ve put together charts of the last 3 years of performance for each player. The 2 stats at the end are UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating, a defensive stat) and EqBRR (Equivalent Base Running Runs, a base-running stat). After a brief summary of the player, I will share what I would offer them contract-wise (or trade wise) if I was Amaro. The players are ranked in alphabetical order and I will rank them in order of my preference at the bottom.

Garrett Atkins

atkins phillies

Atkins was relegated to the bench for most of the year last season due to emergence of Ian Stewart. The Rockies see Stewart as their 3B of the future and are definitely looking to trade Atkins. In fact, one article said they might even release him if they can’t trade him as he would probably make upwards of $7-$8 million in arbitration. Atkins performed very poorly in a mostly back-up role last season, sporting a .650 OPS, over 40 points worse than the departing Feliz. If we were to trade for him, I wouldn’t expect a return to the 2007-08 Atkins, given that he would be departing from Coors Field, is 2 years older, and was already showing a downward trend. His defense is below average at 3B, as is his baserunning. I think he would end up as an upgrade over Feliz offensively and a downgrade defensively. On the positive side, he would only be a 1-year arbitration contract and wouldn’t cost us anything past 2010.

What I would trade for him: Not much, to be honest. Atkins could have a renaissance in Philly in a low-pressure situation and playing every day again, but I wouldn’t offer the Rockies good players based on that assumption. Maybe someone like Johan Flande or Drew Carpenter and a C-level prospect.

Adrian Beltre

beltre

Beltre is an interesting option. He is a tremendous defender, younger than you think, and has more pop than anyone on this list. He would be a top choice for sure if I was confident he could stay healthy. Every single time I’ve seen him play he’s been battling some sort of ailment and he missed 50 games last year. Add to this that his performance in the games he did play last year left a lot to be desired, and he’s no sure thing. There are a lot of things I like about him though – the defense is a big plus, and his power numbers came primarily in a big time pitchers’ park. He is an above average base runner and is young enough that he should have several years left in him.

What I would offer: 2 years, $15 million with a team option for a 3rd year. I more confident that Beltre can bounce back than I am about Atkins. He is a big-time talent who does a lot of the little things right. He is an upgrade over Feliz defensively, on the basepaths and with the bat, you are just taking a risk that he could get hurt.

Mark DeRosa

derosa

DeRosa is a player the Phillies have been linked to a couple of times in the last few years. He’s versatile and a solid hitter though leaves something to be desired on defense. Like a couple of other players on this list, he is coming off an injury and just had wrist surgery a couple weeks ago. He is expected to be ready for spring training. Despite the injury, he is one of the safest bets on this list. I really like his on-base percentages in 2007-08. If could get back to that form, he would be a huge asset for us.

What I would offer: 2 years, $14 million with a team option for a 3rd year. He doesn’t have the upside that Beltre has and would be a step down on defense, but he’s a safe pick-up, would easily mesh with our guys and can play multiple positions.

Chone Figgins

Figgins phillies

Figgins is the name on this list that will likely garner the most interest and the highest contract. He was really good for the Angels last season, sporting a .395 OBP (7th in the AL) and flashing an elite glove at 3B. Unlike the other guys on this list, he has virtually no power, is capable of stealing 40+ bases and is a top base-runner. He’s not exactly in his prime, but with a short swing, he is less likely to regress quickly. I would love to see Figgins in the lead-off or 2nd spot for the Phillies given his OBP and baserunning skills. You could then drop Victorino or Rollins down to #7 in a more run-producing role.

What I would offer: 3 years, $25 million with incentives that could bring it up to $30 million. Figgins getting on base in front of Utley, Howard and Ibanez would be a great sight and his addition would only improve our already stellar defense and base-running. He is the only player on this list I would guarantee 3 years to, but if the rumors of 4 year, $40 million contract demands are true, I’ll take a pass.

Troy Glaus

glaus phillies

Glaus will be mentioned because of his 2008 season and above average defense, but signing him just reeks of Freddy Garcia to me. I just don’t see him staying healthy at this point.

What I would offer: 1 year, $4 million with incentives that could bring it to $7 million.

Melvin Mora

Mora phillies

Another guy that I want no part of, but will be mentioned. You don’t sign 38-year olds who showed a sharp decline the year prior.

What I would offer: Nothing, I’d offer 1 year, $4 million to Feliz.

Placido Polanco

Polanco phillies

*- defensive data is for 2B

Who knows whether Polanco would switch over to 3B full time at this point in his career, but in my opinion, he should have already been playing there for us for the last several years. Polanco is a professional hitter who doesn’t strike out (only 46 K’s in 618 AB last season), but he has declined in BA, OBP and SLG% each of the last 2 years. He’s an upgrade offensively, but he’s not a big impact guy.

What I would offer: 2 years, $15 million with a team option for a 3rd year. Same as Beltre and DeRosa. He would have a similar impact to those 2 guys with less power but minimal frustration. The unknown would be how he plays 3B full time.

Miguel Tejada

Miguel Tejada phillies

*- defensive data is for SS

Tejada was tremendous last year for the Astros. He doesn’t hit as many HRs as he used to, but he has turned them into doubles, which he led the NL in in 2008. He’s a fierce competitor and could probably make the switch to 3B as many SS’s have done later in their career. Like DeRosa, I think he is a great fit for this team given his work ethic and competitive nature. Like Polanco, he doesn’t strike out (only 48 last year), but he also doesn’t walk (only 19 in 2008!).

What I would offer: 2 years, $19 million. I think Tejada has 2 good years left in him, and I would love to see them in Philly in the 7-spot. This is the same contract Bobby Abreu just signed with the Angels. I think he is the best pure hitter on this list and like many great hitters, will be able to hit in his late 30′s.

So who is the best choice?

Given the options above, and the contracts I would offer (I realize I am probably low on many of them, but given that Bobby Abreu’s last 2 contracts, I don’t think they are unrealistic) – here is how I would rank my preferences based on the value of the contract and the player.

Guys I’d Be Happy With…

1. Miguel Tejada (2 years, $19 million)
2. Mark DeRosa (2 years, $14 million)
3. Chone Figgins (3 years, $25 million)

Guys I’d Be OK With…

4. Adrian Beltre (2 years, $15 million)
5. Placido Polanco (2 years, $15 million)
6. Garrett Atkins (1 year, $8 million and 2 prospects)

No Thanks…

7. Troy Glaus (1 year, $4 million)
8. Melvin Mora (Re-sign Feliz)

So that’s what I think – what do you guys think? Who is your top choice? Who would you pay more or less for? What other options would you pursue?

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Comments

  1. stu says:

    Trade some major prospects to the Nationals for Ryan Zimmerman.

    /unrealistic but the Nationals are going back to square 1 and wasting his talent

  2. Nick says:

    Alex Gordon in KC is a guy who has underachieved but has talent.  Not sure if he is available or what it would take to get him, but they just got Josh Fields in a trade so maybe Gordon could be a flier/change of scenery type guy.

  3. jeff says:

    How about young in Texas. We can make a deal with Werth for young and a pitcher. Bring up Brown or Taylor to play RF and take Werth’s 7.5 million and use it, + Feliz’s 5 million and pay Young.

  4. ExiledMikeinFla says:

    Good site, good anaylsis, I need to read this blog more often. Pricey choices though–and spending big money at third means we can’t sign a Halladay or a Lackey. I’d prefer to see big $ spent on another strong starter. Lee got two wins in WS, Hamels got a start w/o a win, Pedro two starts w/o a win, Blanton one start w/o a win. Spend the big $ on a strong starting horse….spend ‘Feliz-like-money’ at third. I’d keep him and bat him 8th if I could sign a Halladay or Lackey.

  5. Pete says:

    nick-

    Gordon is an intriguing possibility. Was supposed to be the next George Brett over there. I agree that a change in scenery could be what he needs considering the crazy expectations he had in KC.

    My only issue with him is that he is yet another lefty, and I would prefer a righty.

  6. Pete says:

    Jeff-

    Young is a great talent, but is owed $16 mill a year for each of the next 4 years. Too rich for my blood – I’d rather use the big money on pitching.

    That would make our line-up ridiculous though…

  7. jeff says:

    Pete, are you sure it’s that much> I thought it was more like 10 million a year. I’m looking towards a major trade with Werth as we lose him after 2010 to FA. I don’t want to see him go without getting a good return for him

  8. Pete says:

    Yeah – his last contract was $10 mill a year

    http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2005/01/texas-rangers.html

  9. jeff says:

    Well that’s too much to take on. We ned to plan ahead as Rollins is in option year in 2011, Werth a FA as are Romero, Blanton, Lee and a few other minor players. We need to get the 3b situation settled for a few years, decide what to do about Werth and figure out how to extend Lee. Got to cut payroll somewhere to free up cash.

  10. stu says:

    INF Utility Bruntlett replacement:  Marco Scutaro?  Dude plays multiple positions and had a solid season last year.  Could spell utley, rollins, and 3B.

  11. bball says:

    I like Tejada’s game a lot and think he could help this team tons.  But I’m torn because I couldn’t really root for a known ‘roid user.  I don’t even like Romero anymore.  His story is probably B.S. and I wouldn’t be sad if we traded him.
    Tejada and Figgins are the only two guys on this list I really think will be a sure upgrade.  Given my dislike for Tejada I would go all out to sign Figgins.  I wouldn’t add a 4th year but I might push 3/$35 guaranteed if I had to.  The offense hasn’t been the same since Jimmy’s MVP season.  Not that it hasn’t been good, but I think the middle and bottom of the order have been way better to pick up the slack from the top.  Figgins on base 40% of the time with Rollins or Victorino in the 2 spot getting tons of fastballs with the big bashers coming up??  Rollins or Vic with speed in the 7th or 8th spot getting on and being the catalyst for a big inning where we bat around??  Just imagine what Davey Lopes could do for Figgins??  He could steal 50 out of 55….  I know that we should probably be more careful with money but it’s just too tantalizing to pass up.  Plus if we have that extra world series money.  We can probably push payroll near $160.  Where else are we gonna spend the money?  We aren’t giving Lackey the 6 years he’s gonna ask for.  The rest of our starting 8 is pretty set and we aren’t making upgrades anywhere else.  We can’t spend $20 mil on the bulpen and bench.  Just pick up Figgins and a good setup guy and 2 or 3 adequate bench guys.
    On Werth…I used to want to trade him for a starting pitcher to make room for Taylor.  But I just can’t imagine doing that anymore with how much he’s improved.  He might be my favorite hitter on this team.  I love how he works the pitcher and his ability to hit with 2 strikes.  The pitcher can’t throw it far enough outside that he can’t reach out with his long arms and drop it into RF for a hit.  I know I’ll probably get killed for this but I think when Werth is in a groove he’s a better hitter than Utley or anyone else.  When he’s hitting to the opposite field (not pulling off) he’s got one of the best pure swings in baseball.

  12. bball says:

    …If we didn’t get Figgins I would resign Feliz

  13. Chris McC says:

    I don’t think DeRosa is the right choice.  He’s just too underwhelming.  We might as well just bring back Happy Pete.
     
    My top three would be Figgins, Beltre and Tejada – in that order.
     
    I do have my apprehensions about Tejada though, the PED thing, the age scandal.  But he’s a good player and I’d like to see him over on the hot corner.
     
    I like Beltre alot.  I know he’s had his health issues and after the Brand debacle I’m not all that eager to go running into the warm embrace of another almost-over-the-hill, injury plagued star.  But I like hit bat, his glove and his desire (hopefully) to win a ring.  Dealbreaker, he’s got to wear a cup.  Missing games for a bleeding testicle is not OK.

  14. bski says:

    stu,

    I think Scutaro would be a great guy to get.  I’d be looking for a guy like this for multiple reasons.

    First, like you said, in addition to 3B, he’d be able to play 2B and SS.  Also, in playing multiple positions, the guy knows he’d be playing every day.

    Second, in addition to keeping Rollins and Utley stronger throughout the entire season, when he plays 2nd or SS it opens up time for Dobbs to start at 3B.  Last year when Feliz was hurt, Dobbs played regularly in his place and ended up getting a lot more ABs which helped him remain a very productive pinch-hitter for the rest of 2008.  With Feliz healthy this year, Dobbs hardly played, his ABs dropped (from 226 to 154), and we saw the results.

    Third, having a guy like this is great insurance in case of injury (like Rollins sprained ankle early in 2008).

    Fourth, he’d be a much less costly (in both years and dollars) option than someone like Figgins, which I’m sure is a concern for the Phils.

  15. jeff says:

    BSKI: I think the thought was that Scutaro replaces Brunlett, not Feliz. One thing that Charlie has to learn is that sometimes you play the bench player not because the everyday guy needs to sit, but because the bench guy needs to play

  16. stu says:

    bski, agree on all points.  Scutaro is 34 and a FA.  Doesn’t require big money (coming off $1.1 mil last season) and could be an absolute steal/bargain.   Money saved could be spent elsewhere and yes, it would get Dobbs some more ABs.   Scutaro showed some power last year too.

  17. stu says:

    Original thought was to replace Bruntlett, but Scutaro could easily be a $$ savings option to replace Feliz.

  18. bski says:

    One thing I haven’t seen anybody mention is compensatory draft picks, as in Type A vs. Type B free agents.  I’m figuring that this will factor into the decision as well.

    Here is a link to the list of Type A and Type B free agents.  For the guys mentioned here, Figgins, Mora, Polanco, Tejada, and Scutaro are Type A, while Beltre, DeRosa, and Glaus are Type B.

    I have a feeling that Beltre is the guy because he is a cheaper option, a Type B free agent, has the potential to be a great pickup (like a Werth), and, lastly, because of the Seattle pipeline we’ve had going recently (Moyer, Dobbs, Ibanez) and the connections we have with them through Gillick and especially Benny Looper, who was there with Beltre and knows him very well.

  19. bski says:

    stu,

    Sorry I misunderstood you.  I wasn’t thinking about replacing Bruntlett at all.  You did see where my mind was though and you got exactly where I was going.    Glad you agree.

  20. bski says:

    Oh, that was Jeff in #15 who talked about Scutaro replacing Bruntlett, not Stu.  Sorry, I missed that.

  21. bski says:

    I just came across a list of the top 50 free agents on mlbtraderumors.com by Tim Dierkes.

    He thinks that Figgins (who is #4 on the list) will stay with the Angels, that Scutaro (#8) will go to the Red Sox and play SS, that Beltre (#9) will go to the Twins, that Tejada (#14) will go to the Athletics, and that Polanco (#31) will go to the Diamondbacks.

    He thinks that we will get DeRosa (#41) and a relief pitcher, Jose Valverde (#7) off this list.  (He did say that he considered flipping the DeRosa and Beltre predictions, though.)

  22. reposting my Polanco thought without my attempt at humor.  Bringing back old players is just too weird, I would advise against it just for chemistry reasons alone.

  23. bski says:

    OK, this is my final attempt to get this straight.  It was Stu who originally mentioned Scutaro as a replacement for Bruntlett (in #10).

    I’ve been very busy at work today, very distracted, and obviously not following the discussion very well.  I apologize for being out of it.

    The other thing is that I didn’t view Scutaro as a bench player, since he has played in 145 games with 592 plate appearances in 2008 and 144 games with 680 PA in 2009 for Toronto, so I glossed right over what Stu said in #10.  Just saw the name and thought that he could address a few areas for us.

    I think I’m with it now. 

  24. Ken Bland says:

    <<He thinks that we will get DeRosa (#41) and a relief pitcher, Jose Valverde (#7) off this list.  (He did say that he considered flipping the DeRosa and Beltre predictions, though.)>>

    I read that last night  Valverde made 8 ml last year (that’s what I remember from last night).  I know the thought was for a 1 year deal, but he wouldn’t even be the setup guy here, so he’s even less valuble than he might be elsewhere. 

    Regarding Werth-Michael Young, Texas would be giving up a lot for a position that isn’t all that hard to fill.  I’m sure the Rangers feel very positive about playing with the Angels next year, and giving up one of their core players is going to take 1 outrageous offer.  The Rangers really struggled in September when Young was out with a hammy.  I’d think Werth and Hamels or Happ might get their attention, but I know we don’t want to do that.

      

  25. Ken Bland says:

    Looks like just a little while ago that Jim Salisbury posted a piece for tomorrow’s Inquirer saying more than one front office exec believes the Phils are still a player in the Roy Halladay 2010 sweepstakes. 

  26. I want Beltran. Watch his HR numbers return to the 30+ range at the Bank. And defensively is an UPGRADE which … considering how good Pedro was …
    I want some rh pop in the line-up.  Take away the strategy of bringing in a lefty to go after Chase & Ryan back to back.
    My line up would drop Howard to 5th to get the left-right-left balance …
    Rollins (Switch)
    Victorino (Switch)
    Utley (left)
    Werth (right)
    Howard (left)
    Beltran (right)
    Ibanez (left)
    Chooch (right)
     

  27. Murphy says:

    Love all the great ideas for additions to the team in 2010. Scutaro and Beltre are my personal favorites. @ Paul I think if they got Beltre that dropping Victorino in the lineup would be more productive than dropping Howard.  This would be my line up (only with lefties Though)

    1.Jimmy
    2.Chase
    3.Werth
    4.Howard
    5.Victorino
    6.Ibanez
    7.(Beltre)(Tejada)(Derosa)(Feliz)……….Whoever is at third really
    8.Chooch
    They have done this lineup and it was productive the past couple years in the regular season which is why I wondered why they didn’t pull out that lineup card in the World Series. Any Opinions?
     

  28. ExiledMikeinFla says:

    Here’s another pot on the stove for folks to stir thru:
    Pudge Rodriguez in Phils pinstripes.
    We could use a good solid defensive-minded veteran catcher to relieve Carlos from time to time. And a genuine threat at the plate PH-ing in late innings. Ruiz could use a mentor to help him the finer points of his position. No longer an everyday player…but still a good right-handed bat.

  29. If Pudge can be had for cheap then I like it.
    I know they used he line-up you described before but with Werth in the 4-hole, you get all the speed to the top of the order (J-Rol, Shane, Chase, Werth).
    With any one of those guys on base and a threat to steal, Howard should see more fastballs, since pitchers who bounce-up the sliders and curves on Howard need to give their catcher a shot at throwing someone out, and that generally is not as easy with the off-speed breaking balls that Ryan flails at often.

    I don’t like the idea though of hitting Utley second only because having to take pitches to let Rollins steal and/or “moving the runner over” duties would hurt his power numbers.
    Hitting third (assuming EITHER Rollins or Victorina gets on) opens a hole for him (first baseman holding the runner on).
    Victorin0 has decent pop (10-20 HR guy) but not enough to protect Howard by hitting behind him.
    I should point out though that my lime-up idea is only if they land Beltre. DeRosa doesn’t provide the same pop. Figgins would be an altogether different scenario … as a natural lead-off hitter, he would drop Rollins down in the order, where I am afraid he would try (and fail) to hit lots of home runs.
    By the way, I think the Phillies have to take a page out of the Johnny Damon playbook and whenever teams overshift for Howard, our base stealers should be thinking about taking second AND third on the same pitch.

    Heard a rumor today that Toronto is asking for Cole Hamels for Halliday.

  30. Murphy says:

    Thanks for clearing up that lineup to lefties situation. I agree with the point about Utley batting 2. The rumor about Halliday for Hamels is bad business for the Phils. Cole had a serious wake up call this season about his works ethic last off season and I  think he should return to form next season. I doubt the Phillies let him go without seeing what they get from him next year. They are a team of second chances and its not like his name is Adam Eaton or Freddie Garcia. He is way cheaper than Halliday and you would only have Halliday for a year. With Cole you got at least two. Now I would still love to get Halliday but I don’t want to lose a W.S MVP on 1 bad season. And the money could be spent in a better place like some help for Lidge (just in case well you know……W.S flashback) or more importantly right now whose in the hot corner.

  31. schmenkman says:

    Nice lineups suggestions.  One thing I would really like to see is to not have the worst hitter (Rollins) getting the most at bats.  Assuming Beltre, how about:
    Victorino, Werth, Utley, Howard, Beltre, Ibanez, Rollins, Ruiz

    Or with Figgins:
    Figgins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, Rollins, Ruiz

  32. Murphy says:

    Rollins at the 7 spot would be rather interesting, it could be the start of a big inning or keep a big inning going. But the only thing would be Charlie believes in him to much. Maybe if he switches Rollins and Victorino (Victorino 1 and Rollin 2). Victorino hits a lot of doubles and is a great base stealer and  Jimmy flys out a lot you could get Victorino at third with one out for Utley and Howard etc… right behind him and it would make for a lot of early leads.  And when Jimmy is hot he hits a lot of doubles and steals bases too.  It would take the pressure of being a lead off  hitter off Jimmy and be a crazy lineup if it works out the way I think it would in my head. Lol

  33. Adam says:

    Jimmy needs to be seventh in the lineup if we get Figgins, no exceptions.  Even if we don’t get figgins and we get beltre, I think our lineup should be
    Shane
    Utley
    Werth
    Howard
    Raul/Beltre
    Rollins
    Raul/Beltre
    Chooch Chooch Train

  34. Murphy says:

    Oh definitely if we get Figgins  Rollins is in the 7th spot but I Charlie is very stubborn and thats like I said before I would find it interesting him Rollins in the 7th spot. But Utley is not a everyday 2spot hitter and if we got Figgins it would be him 1 Victorino 2.  And your lineup has Raul/Beltre 7th that would never work .

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