Phillies 3rd Base Options
While the Phillies have made two World Series appearances in as many years, it is not difficult to point out one spot on the roster that has room for improvement for the upcoming season. For the first time in as long as I can remember it is not our starting pitching, nor is it our starting outfield as all three made it to the all-star game this season, the first time in 37 years a National League team has accomplished this.
When we signed Pedro Feliz to a two year guaranteed deal with a club option for a third, we thought we were getting two things, a good defensive third baseman and a below average hitter with some pop in his bat. In his four years prior to joining the Phills, Feliz average 32 doubles, 21 home runs and 84 runs batted in. In two years at hitter friendly Citizens Bank Ballpark, Feliz has averaged only 24 doubles, 17 home runs and 65 runs batted in with a .252 batting average, a .295 on-base-percentage and a .411 slugging percentage. And, I would be perfectly content with those number had he produced a similar season defensively in 2009 as he did in 2008 when he boated only 8 errors and a .974 fielding percentage.
However, Feliz would make 15 errors and boast a .966 fielding percentage this past season. With a litany of average to above average third baseman on the free agen market this off-season including Mark DeRosa, Chone Figgins, Freddy Sanchez, Rich Aurilia, Adrian Beltre, Wilson Betemit, Joe Crede, Troy Glaus, and Miguel Tejada, it seems like an upgrade is imminent.
While the Phillies are not in the position to spend the millions that would be necessary to sign Sanchez or Figgins, Mark DeRosa could be an affordable upgrade and a perfect fit. Born and raised in South Jersey, DeRosa is a University of Pennsylvania graduate that has played for 5 different teams in the last 6 years.
In his past 4 full seasons from 2006 to 2009 DeRosa has averaged 144 hits, 30 doubles, 17 home runs, 78 runs batted in and 228 total bases with a .281 batting average, .356 on base percentage, and a .448 slugging percentage. As per his ability to play 3rd base, with the Cardinals this past season he played 519 innings without making an error.
While I would not expect that to continue over the length of a full season I would expect his offensive output to, especially in the postseason. In 7 career playoff series his teams have an abysmal 1-6 record but not of any wrongdoings on his behalf. He has hit less than .333 in only one series and boasts a .358 average, a .414 on base percentage and a .566 slugging percentage in 22 career post-season games. Compare these numbers with Feliz who in 10 series has only hit more than .333 twice and boasts .196 average, .229 on base percentage and a .293 slugging percentage and it is a no-brainer.