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What To Do At Third Base?


Now that a decision has been made to cut Pete Happy loose, at least for the time being, the major question of this offseason has become what Amaro will do to fill the hole at the hot corner.

Basically, it boils down to this: Get an upper-level free agent to play everyday, get a platoon bat to go with Greg Dobbs, or trade prospects for an Alex Gordon type or a true upper-tier third baseman.

Thoughts after the jump.

Free agent possibilities:

Mark DeRosa (Type B, age 34) - .250/.319/.433 for CLE/STL in 2009. OPS+ of 100. Down year. Generally OPSed around .800 as a starter prior to this year. Wrist surgery in late October. Attended UPenn. Most likely solution; has been linked to Phillies before.

Chone Figgins (Type A, age 31) - .298/.395/.393 for ANA in 2009. OPS+ of 108 with 42 SB/17 CS. top free agent third baseman. viewed as excellent defender. Hasn't been much noise that the Phils have interest here. Would be a true top of the order hitter, allowing either Rollins or Victorino to move to the seven-hole.

Adrian Beltre (no compensation, age 30) - .265/.304/.379 for SEA in 2009. career avg OPS+ of 105. Gold Glove in AL in 07 and 08. consistent 25-HR power throughout career. only 477 ABs this year due to injuries. would come cheaper than Figgins and be an upgrade over Feliz if healthy. not as patient a hitter as DeRosa or Figgins.

Joe Crede and Troy Glaus have both been mentioned, but Crede posted a miserable OPS+ of 83 last year and Glaus was hurt the whole year.

If healthy, Glaus could be the best option, with a career triple slash line of .255/.359/.497 for a career OPS+ of 121. Age is a concern as well, as next year will be his age 33 season.

Trade possibilities:

Alex Gordon (age 25, KC) - triple slash of .232/.324/.378 in 189 PAs last year. could be a classic buy-low option. Bill James is bullish on his 2010 potential, forecasting an .822 OPS. if they can acquire him for Michael Taylor it could make sense to do a deal. Lefty batter with platoon splits is probably not a good fit for the Phillies lineup.

Scott Rolen? Michael Young (too pricey)?

Within:

The Phillies have no one in their minor league system with the potential to play third base at the major league level right now. It appeared Jason Donald might be that guy, but he is obviously now the property of the Cleveland Indians. Greg Dobbs is fit to bat against righthanders, but is worthless against lefties and isn't up to par with the glove.

My opinion:

Troy Glaus is the best option out there if healthy and interested in coming to Philadelphia. His powerful righty bat could slot into the middle of the order nicely. Imagine a three-through-seven of Utley, Werth, Howard, Glaus and Ibanez. Pretty nice, right? However, he made $12 million in 2009 and 2008, so he'll be more expensive than Feliz. The lost season could discount his value, but how much depends to be seen. Unfortunately, there haven't yet been any rumors linking him to the Phils. He also carries the advantage of requiring no compensation picks.

DeRosa is the most realistic and likely possibility. He provides a nice blend of affordability, power, and defense. I would not be upset if the Phils went after him.

Figgins is the premium guy out there, for obvious reasons. However, I don't see the Phils paying his price.

Beltre would be an upgrade as well. He'll give you better defense and the familiar lack of walks and patience. He is probably going to come cheaper than Glaus, and definitely cheaper than Figgins.

I expect DeRosa as target numero uno. If Rube doesn't get his man, I'd look for the Phils to step back and see how the market plays out before committing to anyone.

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