The Debate: Beltre vs. Feliz

You’ve digested the turkey, the cranberry sauce, the sweet potatoes.  You’ve reflected on what it means to be thankful over this long weekend.  Now, its time to get back to what’s important; and that’s the free agent market the Phillies have in front of them.

Last week, Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News talked about how wonderful it would be to have Chone Figgins at the top of the order.  A few things make that relatively unlikely.

First, he is hoping to secure a deal in the $10-12 million per year range, which takes the Phils out of it from a financial standpoint.  Figgins will be 32-years old at the start of the 2010 season, meaning a four-or-five-year contract will take him into an age bracket that normally means a downhill slide in production.  On top of that, whether or not you believe that Jimmy Rollins is a leadoff man means very little. Because Charlie Manuel does, it’s unlikely he would take J-Roll out of that position for Figgins.  That makes a slap-hitting, seventh hitter pretty expensive at those figures.

All of those variables put Figgins deep on the backburner, unless for some unknown reason he changes his price tag.

The hotly debated name out there besides Figgins continues to be Adrian Beltre.  If we are tossing Figgins to the side, Beltre’s name, to me, stands out more than Placido Polanco (not a third baseman by trade), Mark Derosa (super-utility man, but can he play 3B everyday?), or Miguel Tejada (aging, not a 3B, but would switch positions here).

Many are wondering if he is an upgrade at all over Pedro Feliz – and I say yes.  Defensively, Feliz was one of the top third basemen at his position, until you delve deeper into the numbers.  Using John Dewan’s Fielding Bible, you’ll notice that Feliz was a plus-5 this season.  If you’re unfamiliar with the Plus/Minus stat, it represents the number of plays the player made above/below the number that an average fielder would make, according to the video scouts at Baseball Info Solutions.

Feliz’s plus-5 puts him just above average, however, two of the top three defenders at the hot corner are Figgins, with a ridiculous plus-40 – best in the majors – and Beltre, with a plus-27, ranking him third in baseball.  Feliz saved just five runs at his position, while 30 were saved by Figgins, and 21 by Beltre.  With the glove, it turns out Feliz is not nearly on par with the others.  There’s no denying his defense is solid, but he’s getting up there in age and was clearly aided by having Jimmy Rollins to his left.  But again, lets take Figgins out of the equation since he seems to be a long shot.

Offensively, many point to Pedro Feliz and his 82 RBI, his .336 average with runners in scoring position and his clutch hits throughout the season.  Beltre, on the other hand, was serviceable in those statistics as well.  The Mariners third baseman hit .284 with RISP, and did knock in 44 runs in just 111 games as he dealt with injuries.

Feliz’s stats must be looked at in the context of the lineup he was a part of.  The Phillies managed 820 runs in the regular season in 2009, while the Mariners plated just 640, the worst in the American League.  Feliz was the benefactor of hitting behind Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, and Raul Ibanez in the most feared lineup in the NL.  Beltre was surrounded by the likes of  an elderly Ken Griffey Jr., Russell Branyan, Jose Lopez, and Yuniesky Betancourt.  Not exactly murderers row.

Because Beltre was the focal point of the Seattle offense, he very rarely was given anything good to hit with those names around him.  Plug him into the Phillies offense in the seven spot, and you have yourself a very solid piece at the bottom of the order.

Looking at Beltre’s peripheral stats, he does strikeout a bit too much compared to Feliz, fanning 74 times in 449 at-bats.  Pedro whiffed 68 times in 131 more AB’s.

Contractually, there might be some reason for the Phillies to pause. The infamous Scott Boras represents Beltre and will undoubtedly attempt to suck the most cash he can out of any team willing to dole it out.  The free agent market has yet to play out in the early going, so there is no gauge as to what Beltre will seek. If it’s a three-year deal in the $6 million range per season, it seems worth the chance on an excellent defensive corner infielder that is only 31.  Ruben Amaro appears to be calmly sitting back, allowing the market to breathe in it’s early stages.

The debate will continue throughout the winter with so many people having differing opinions on who should be the new starting third baseman in Philadelphia.  Adrian Beltre is my favorite to be the man, but who are you hoping for to take over for Pedro Feliz?

Pat Gallen can be reached via email at



  1. Jeff Dowder

    November 29, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Hasn’t Feliz already made it known that he’s upset enough not to entertain any offers to come back? I think one of the beat writers reported that. And you know as well as I do that Manuel doesn’t think Rollins should be batting leadoff. It’s just not the sort of thing he can really say publicly.

  2. Tim

    November 29, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    bring rolen back for a few years!

  3. rusty stab

    November 29, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Since Beltre is represented by Boros, he might be priced too high. Am I crazy to think the Phils could afford Mike Lowell (since it has been said that the Red Sox would pay half his salary) AND Juan Uribe, who could get considerable playing time since Lowell will play about 125 games at third? Rollins and Utley could get some time off with Uribe substituting occasionally. Plus Utley could occasionally play first, giving Howard a day off with Uribe playing second. More versatility, better bench. Or am I nuts?

  4. kreiderr

    November 29, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    We need the best right handed threat at third base that we can find. I do believe that is Beltre. DeRosa would be a great pick-up as a utility player. With Beltre, we lose nothing defensively, and if he stays healthy you add a consistent 25 HR guy. After that, everything else is too expensive, or the player is too old. Against lefties: Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Beltre, Ibanez, Worth, Ruiz, pitcher That is a tough, tough line-up.

  5. Pat Gallen

    November 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Mike Lowell is an idea, but not sure it’s a great one. He’s owed a lot of money ($12 mil) and is coming off numerous injuries, plus is 35 years old. So even if Boston pays half, that leaves the Phils on the hook for $6 mil.

    If I’m taking him I’m making Boston pay more than that for a guy who is about to fall apart and hasnt played a full year since 2007.

    Dont mind Uribe as an option, but if your going to pay $6 mil, wouldnt you rather have a great defensive player in Beltre for about the same amount with decent offense or a liability like Lowell?

  6. Brian Quinn

    November 29, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    I was really excited for the third base market leading up to free agency starting. But quite frankly, I am now looking at who is there and am not really excited about anyone. Figgins would be the best fit if they put him in the leadoff spot, but like you said, that is not going to happen. Nobody else really excites me. I think if they can sign someone to a 2 year deal and then see what else is out there in a couple of years, that would be the best route.

  7. Ryk

    November 29, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    @kreiderr… Seriously put Werth at #7? The dude put up 36 HR, 99 RBI, and 20 SB. That’s not the guy you hit seventh.
    That said, and I have been given flack here for saying this here before, but I think Beltre is the best option for third for his defense alone. Check out the free agent pitchers with the best ground-ball ratios and you will see a guy named Joel Piniero. He’s coming off a great season, so his price would be a tad inflated compared to his norm, but he’s worth a look. Imagine a ground ball pitcher with a potential 3B gold glover in Beltre, the defending SS gold glover in J-Roll, the true 2B gold-glover in Chase Utley, and, well, let’s say an improving Ryan Howard. Pretty scary.

  8. George

    November 29, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    I agree with Jeff Dowder on his thoughts about Rollins leading off. Manuel is not the oaf people think he is, and if the Phils had a better option at the top, Rollins wouldn’t be there.

    I honestly hope Feliz isn’t as disgusted as has been indicated. I think of Moye, who wasn’t pleased with management abruptly sending him to the bullpen, but then changed his tune. The unfortunate thing with Feliz was that the contract timeline for picking up his option was too short for any consideration, and I think he might eventually realize that.

    It still may be possible to re-sign him, and unless the front office is prepared to go all out for Figgins, there are just no real “upgrades” worth the extra cost. Figgins will be overpriced, but in my opinion, Beltre is just another 7 million dollar strikeout waiting to happen when Ibanez is in scoring position. With Boras as his agent, he might even be an 8 million dollar strikeout.

  9. George

    November 29, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    The Red Sox have indicated that they’d pick up half of Lowell’s salary, but the article I read said his contract was for sixteen million, not twelve. There’s not a GM in his right mind that would pay eight million for 120 games (if they’re lucky) from a man who looks like he’s already died. The Sox would have to cough up at least three quarters of his salary before anyone will relieve them of Lowell.

  10. Manny

    November 29, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Just because it’s Boras representing him doesn’t mean that he’s gonna be too expensive. He’s the agent, not the player. Remember a year ago when people here were saying “forget about signing Madson to an extension because he’s with Boras…”?

  11. Geoff

    November 29, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Mike Lowell is not an option for this team. Hes a stiff out there and hes injured all the time. Id be ok with Polanco or DeRosa if it means spending more money on better Starting and Relief Pitching.

  12. Pat Gallen

    November 29, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    I just dont see Derosa as being able to play 150 games at 3B. Hes not that strong defensively and thats a very important position. Polanco is unproven too, although he is game for anything and Im sure would do quite well there.

  13. rusty stab

    November 29, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Lowell may be well over the hill and he will be 36 at the start of the 2010 season. He is a former gold glover and hit .290 with 17 homers last year. When he plays he is productive. I agree that he may cost too much , but he “has been” one of the game’s better third basemen both with a glove and bat. The question is: Is he a “has-been?” Also, I would want to get Juan Uribe to complement Lowell and act as the major infield utility player. He made only $1 million last year and is a free agent with pop in the bat and versatility in the field.

  14. Ed R.

    November 29, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    DeRosa has never played than 140 some games in a season.

  15. Manny

    November 29, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    Pat, exactly what you said:

    “If we are tossing Figgins to the side, Beltre’s name, to me, stands out more than Placido Polanco (not a third baseman by trade), Mark Derosa (super-utility man, but can he play 3B everyday?), or Miguel Tejada (aging, not a 3B, but would switch positions here).”

    That’s the big issue here. All of those guys (except Beltre) have giant question marks hanging over their heads. They are not “regular” third basemen and it’s scary to think what could happen (defensively) with any of them (Polanco, Tejada, DeRosa) playing the hot corner.

  16. Sarah

    November 29, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Has anyone else but me thought that they could sign DeRosa and then have him split time with Dobbs? That would give Dobbs some extra at-bats, which could help him be a better pinch hitter.

  17. Els

    November 29, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Ed, that is not because of injuries though. He just was a super utility guy his whole career. Now, he is going to get his starting job.

  18. Manny

    November 29, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    I’ve thought about that possibility, Sarah… but I don’t see how having a platoon is an overall upgrade over Feliz….

  19. Love The Misery

    November 29, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Just thought I’d take a belated moment to say that, for Thanksgiving this year, I was grateful for rhe Phillies sucking goat ass in the World Series this year.

  20. Dylan

    November 29, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    @ Ryk

    “potential 3B gold glover in Beltre”

    Beltre won 2 consecutive GG in the American League. So he’s not really a potential gold glover.

    @ kreiderr

    It’s Werth, not Worth, come on man. Jayson Werth (I actually gave that as a bonus question to a spelling test in my class) It drives me nuts when “Phillies Fans” can’t spell their players names correctly (ie Cole Hammel or Jason Worth) sorry, I don’t mean to be rude.

  21. jrollpatrol08

    November 29, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    pat i generally agree with your beltre decision and rationale.

    this is kinda how i see it…

    we can all probably see why beltre/figgins lead the pack of available FA 3rd basemen. these are the two guys with the greatest chance to play more regularly during the course of the season. both of these guys are young, will land multiyear contracts, and will be everyday players at 3rd base…the same cannot necessarily be said for the older derosa, polanco, tejada. if one of these guys were brought in to play third, then there would be another platoon player at 3rd who would get alot of playing time. i am not really a fan of the ‘3rd base by committee’ strategy. get one of beltre/figgins to be your guy, 140-150 games per season, for the next couple years.

    although i think figgins is an all around better player right now, i would be hesitant to get him into a longterm deal. has one overarching strength–speed. this is great for now, and it has led to his success in high obp, but in 2 years when he is 34 his speed will be severely decreased. he will be an average player, 2 years into a 4-5 year deal makin 10mil per season. i dont really want that on my team.

    on the other hand, a guy like beltre can still be pounding in rbi’s for the next 3 years. even if beltre produces same numbers he did in seattle he would still be an offensive upgrade over feliz. his power attributes are more worthy of a multiyear investment than are figgins’ speed skills

  22. Ryk

    November 29, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    @Dylan. Yup, you’re right, but I meant potential NL gold-glover. He’s never won one of them in the senior circuit yet. Sorry for not being clearer. 🙂

  23. Dylan

    November 29, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    If he comes to the Phillies he will win the GG. Afterall, Zimmerman and Wright are no match for Beltre defensively. Although, LaRoche is extremely underrated along with Kuzmanoff.

  24. Brooks

    November 29, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    We’ll all be surprised and happy when Ruben picks up Atkins from the Rox.
    Looks like the Rox are going with the younger Stewart at 3rd base so Atkins will be available.
    He’s a 6’3″, 215 lb rh hitter who averaged 25 hrs and over 100 rbi from 06 to 08, his batting average over .300, only 1 of those seasons did he have 100 strike outs and his OBP was OK – from a high of .409 in 06 to .328 in 08.
    Last year was an odd one, I have not been able to figure out what happened, if it was injuries or just a terrible year but his average was way down, power down and his atbats were a the lowest since he became a regular. Perhaps sharing time with Stewart took its tole?
    Regardless, he should not be nearly as expensive as Figgins or Beltre and would be a much smarter choice than DeRosa, Polanco or Tejada (neither of which are true 3rd basemen).
    Strong, younger right handed hitter with pop. Perfect for the #7 spot in the lineup.
    Ruben will surprise us, that I know.

  25. Dylan

    November 29, 2009 at 10:55 pm


    I would be happy if that happened. Utley has been quoted many times saying that they push each other to become better players. They are best friends and Chase has been wanting to reunite with his best man since they got out of college. I would, however, not be suprised if this happens by the Dec. 5th. Heck, for the right amount, he’s def. worth a shot.

  26. Brooks

    November 29, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Lets take Betancourt too – Rox did not resign this right hand reliever. His ERA between 2 teams was 2.73 and he is 34. Decent Scott Eyre type of pitcher who definitely could pitch more than one inning if needed. A few great upsides:
    1) he is a righty
    2) he can pitch to more than 3 batters –
    3) he can be obtained for probably under $3 mil

  27. Geoff

    November 29, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    They said they want an as good or better defensive player to replace Feliz. So that disqualifies Tejada and Atkins, who has TERRIBLE defense. Youre essentially down to Beltre, DeRosa, Polanco.

  28. GWFightinsFan

    November 30, 2009 at 3:06 am

    I think we have to look at it one of two ways, do we want to keep the same type of lineup we had last year? If so, then we add Beltre, who is as good as Feliz with the glove and hopefully an upgrade at the plate. In other words, hitting behind Ibanez will be a righthander with power potential, who sometimes lacks discipline, but still holds his own in the field and may be an upgrade over Feliz. OR, do we want to add a contact hitter, who can move runners over, not strike out, draw a walk now, be more of a pure HITTER and then but might not be nearly as good in the field as Feliz then we go with Polanco. If we add Polanco, it gives us more options in the lineup in that we can go with him at the #2 spot and move either Rollins or Victorino down there (my preference is Rollins, but anyhow) or we can put him in the #7 slot, which gives us a guy who may not hit as many homers or even drive in as many runs, but we won’t be the guy who kills a rally by swinging at a bad pitch or grounds into a double play. He’ll help to turn the lineup over so we can give more at bats to the big boys. What do you all think?

  29. Pat Gallen

    November 30, 2009 at 8:47 am

    I agree that Ruben will surprise us. As for Atkins, he would be decent in a platoon role too. Is there a team out there that will give him a starting position after the year he had? Maybe the Phils lock him to a one year deal where he can come in, get some time at 3B, 2B, and 1B occasionally and give some righty pop off the bench. All the while, he gets to play with his best friend Utley. I could see that as a scenario.

  30. Dylan

    November 30, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Atkins will start somewhere. As for Betancourt, I’d much rather lock up Lyon for a 2-3 year deal. An offseason of Beltre/Atkins, Kennedy, Lyon, and Duscherer would be a great one for the Phillies.

  31. George

    November 30, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Based on statements made by Charlie Manuel about the Phil’s lineup not always producing, I would think they are looking for a different type of hitter than Feliz. If Beltre were a better situational hitter, I think there’d be no question that he’d be the right fit. But he isn’t, and that is why management is also looking at candidates like Polanco. It’s really impossible to know what management will consider an upgrade at third. It’s hard to improve on Feliz’s defense, and that might not be the ultimate goal. The Phils don’t have a lot of ground ball pitchers, anyway, and with a Gold Glove SS, they may be okay with just adequate defense at third. Offense would seem to be the issue, but that raises the question of “what kind of offense?”

    Management may be willing to settle for the kind of lineup they already have. They might not. The final determination here may be based on money and contract length. With the big Moyer question, the Phils need at least one more reliable starter and more bullpen arms. Due to the costs there, they might have to sign someone at third none of us are even considering.

  32. Ben

    November 30, 2009 at 9:20 am

    george, exactly what i was thinking. polanco you have to think can provide serviceable defense, if not good defense. offensively he is exactly what we need, a .300 hitter who will knock guys on second base in hitting deep in the line up.

  33. Don M

    November 30, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Fielding Bible – schmeilding bible …. Pedro Feliz can play the sh!t out of thirdbase!!!

    He lost some range.. but he’s got sure-hands, and one of the most accurate arms I’ve ever seen from 3b .

    BUT.. I would gladly welcome Beltre or Tejada too

  34. Don M

    November 30, 2009 at 9:40 am

    I would say that Tejada is the best OFFENSIVE candidate of all the 3b Free Agents..

    with his move to 3b.. after playing SS how bad can he be? The throw is longer, but you have more time to set yourself

    I think Tejada would be better defensively than Polanco, who would have to move from 2b to 3b

  35. George

    November 30, 2009 at 10:10 am

    The throw from deep in the hole at SS is actually the longest in the infield. Third is a longer throw than second, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be made by a second baseman. Polanco has played third, so I don’t think that’s as much an issue as Tejada’s age. Tejada is being considered for third only because he’s lost range at short. Given his age and the fact he’s never really played third, his defense is far more untested than Polanco’s.

    From a power point of view Tejada might be an offensive upgrade, but again he may be too similar in style to what the Phils had in Feliz, but with questionable defensive skills. He’s also not going to be cheap.

  36. Georgie

    November 30, 2009 at 10:30 am

    hahaha@ George- “a man who looks like he already died’. I know that sounds mean but I think the same thing when I see Mike Lowell, he does look a bit zombie-ish.

    You guys almost have me sold on Beltre, please don’t suggest anyone who will be a defensive downgrade though, why would they even think of doing that? It’s just lovely that Atkins and Chase are bff’s, but if the dude can’t field his position, I don’t want him.

  37. Georgie

    November 30, 2009 at 10:41 am

    I’m curious about that “Fielding Bible”. Wouldn’t it have to be rather subjective in its interpretation of fielding abilities?

  38. Don M

    November 30, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Tejada hits for power, average, and never strikes out .. that isn’t similar to Feliz at all

    Polanco hasn’t played 3b in like 5 years.. so whatever experience he had at that point should be a wash

    I said before that whoever the Front Office gets.. is fine with me, they have proven that they know what guys fit our team

  39. Pat Gallen

    November 30, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Summary by John Dewan who wrote the Fielding Bible:

    “My book, The Fielding Bible, goes into great length (ad nauseum to some) describing the new fielding system we developed at Baseball Info Solutions, the Plus/Minus System. Video Scouts at BIS review video of every play of every major league game and record detailed information on each play, such as the location of each batted ball, the speed, the type of hit, etc. Using this in-depth data, we’re able to figure out how each player compares to his peers at his position. How often does Derek Jeter field that softly batted ball located 20 feet to the right of the normal shortstop position, for example, compared to all other major league shortstops?

    A player gets credit (a “plus” number) if he makes a play that at least one other player at his position missed during the season, and he loses credit (a “minus” number) if he misses a play that at least one player made. The size of the credit is directly related to how often players make the play. Each play is looked at individually, and a score is given for each play. Sum up all the plays for each player at his position and you get his total plus/minus for the season. A total plus/minus score near zero means the player is average. A score above zero is above average and a negative score is below average. Adam Everett turned in the highest score we’ve had in four years of using the system with a +43 at shortstop in 2006. That means he made 43 more plays than the average MLB shortstop would make. “

  40. Pat Gallen

    November 30, 2009 at 11:12 am

    That said, I trust a system and a group of people that do JUST defense.

    Feliz according to this system is a +5. Thats basically an average defensive 3B. He makes the plays he should make, but rarely goes out of his way to make a play that another third baseman would not.

    Beltre is a +27, meaning he goes out of his way to make stops at 3B. Feliz is solid, but he’s not anywhere near Beltre.

    Offensively, the numbers may prove to be a wash, but Beltre has shown 3 of the last 4 years he can go yard 25 times, and thats in a big yard at Safeco. Imagine here with a short left field. He should be able to duplicate that, plus give you steady D.

  41. Chuck

    November 30, 2009 at 11:30 am

    As I’ve said before….my only real concern with Tejada is his “attitude”…..he’s been known as somewhat of a complainer when things don’t go his way…..but that was primarily in Baltimore….the O’s signed him to a nice contract…with the premise being that he was the cornerstone of a winning rebuilding effort…didn’t exactly work out that way..

    Maybe a change to a WINNING team and culture will take care of all that…

  42. Manny

    November 30, 2009 at 11:48 am

    I’m pretty much sold on Beltre by now.

  43. Don M

    November 30, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Here is my problem with the FIELDING BIBLE vs. what Pat is calling “BASICALLY AVERAGE”

    The Fielding Bible ranks all 3b.. 1: Ryan Zimmerman, 2: Adrain Beltre, 3: Chone Figgins, 4: Evan Longoria, 5: Scott Rolen, 6: Brandon Inge, 7: PEDRO FELIZ, 8: Jack Hannahan??, 9: Joe Crede

    So if you’re the 7th best in baseball.. I would hardly call that “AVERAGE”

    Guys that had lower Fielding Percentage from that same list above:

    Ryan Zimmerman, Brandon Inge, Adrian Beltre

    I understand that Feliz is the rangiest, web-game, superstar to ever play the Hot Corner … and he’s not going to get any better defensively as he ages .. but all these different +/- , Range Factor, etc.. you can manipulate lists any way you want using statistics .. PEDRO FELIZ is one of the best 3b in baseball, regardless of what random stats people use to say otherwise

  44. Don M

    November 30, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    ***isn’t the ragiest, web-gem*, superstar…. *

  45. kreiderr

    November 30, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Hey Dylan…

    It drives me nuts when “Phillies Fans” can’t spell their players names correctly (ie Cole Hammel or Jason Worth)

    That would be players’ and it would be more appropriate to use e.g. in this case meaning “for example” rather than ie, which should be i.e. if you were educated at all. You must be a very popular teacher. I can tell that grammar is your specialty. By the way, correcting spelling on a blog is rude. We’re talking about baseball not writing a thesis. I also resent you putting “Phillies Fans” in quotes. So, in order to be a Phillies fan you have to be able to spell all their names correctly? That makes a “true” fan? Talk about delusions of grandeur. I bow to your superiority oh master speller…you’re right my opinion means nothing. You’re so much smater than the rest of us (e.g. anyone else who has a grammatical error on this sight) Merry Christmas!

  46. Chuck

    November 30, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Yeah…I would hardly call Feliz AVERAGE…..seems to me that he’s the “scapegoat” or “odd-man out” this offseason…..because the Phillies didn’t win it all and….you know,….changes just HAVE to be made…..for the sake of making a change….

  47. Pat Gallen

    November 30, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I’m not making Feliz a scapegoat by any means. I gave him his props, he’s solid at the position. But he’s losing a step, his skills are declining and his bat is slowing down too. Get some younger blood in there, is all I’m saying.

    If Ruben goes with Polanco instead, I have no problem with that either as long as they have a serviceable backup. It’s just that Beltre to me makes the most sense.

  48. Bob in Bucks

    November 30, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Short of a major change to the structure of the lineup (read major trade) I think Beltre is definitely the best pick. No reason to put a contact hitter before the catcher and the pitcher. You need someone to pick up the RBIs from the walks of the guys in front of him.

    It has been so long since the Phillies had a good 3B that Feliz is a fielding god in fans eyes. He is good but not great. Beltre is in fact better.

    As to money, I leave it to the GM.

  49. Don M

    November 30, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    for what its worth, I would imagine that playing 3b must be easier in the AL … no bunt attempts for hits, no sac bunts, and Defensive-wheel plays, etc..

    AL, you basically play straight up, except for double-play or guarding the line.

    whatever happened to Abraham Nunez ???

  50. Jesus

    November 30, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    It seems like people are really over valuing Figgins and really under valuing Beltre. I keep reading that Beltre strikes out too much and isn’t a good situational hitter. His stats really tell otherwise. Obviously Figgins does get on base much more than Beltre but he also strikes out at an almost identical rate that Beltre does without Beltre’s power. Figgins’ career K% is 17.1% and Beltre’s is 17.2% but last year it was 18.5%. I can handle the occasional strike out if there is some power tied to it but not from a “slap” hitter. I don’t want that high of a k rate from a lead off hitter. For reference JRoll has a career number of 12.9% and 10.4% last year. Obviously this is just one stat but it’s to dispel some of the things that are being said about Beltre when compared to Figgins. I just don’t see or understand why people want him on this team. Whatever your feeling is about JRoll he is our leadoff hitter and the team’s sparkplug. Figgins has had one season better than JRoll, last year and people want to bring Figgins in as our leadoff hitter? He is going to command 10mill/yr for 4yrs. I think Figgins is a good player but people are putting too much weight on his 09 season, a walk year, and over looking some things that just don’t make him worth 10mill/yr. He strikes out way too much for his power(never has had over 44 xbh, and highest slg %.432), has been 1st or 2nd in the AL every year since 04 at caught stealing, and will be 32 at the beginning of this contract. As has been stated before Figgins is primarily a pure speed player who probably will see gradual decrease in that area from yr 1 of his contract to yr 4. I would much rather have Beltre for 3yrs and use the extra 2-3million on a relief pitcher.

  51. Chuck

    November 30, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I’m not saying that YOU are making Feliz a scapegoat… just seems that the organization has basically said that Feliz is the guy that’s gonna be “switched out”…..I mean, who else in the line-up can you change??…..and the fact that the Phillies came up short means that SOME kind of change has to be made….that’s just the way things are done….by ALL teams..

    If Beltre truly is an upgrade and the Phillies can work a pretty good deal…then fine…I’ll be ok with that…..but for the 5 million….Feliz coming back would not have been the worst thing, either…

  52. Griffin

    November 30, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    The Fielding Bible is simply stating that Feliz was only slightly above average in 2009. He was rated way above average in previous years. Just like hitters have down years, fielders do as well.

    Feliz is still very good defensively, but he’s turning 34. Beltre is turning 30 and is comparable defensively and an improvement offensively.

  53. Geoff

    November 30, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Dude, gett off it, they arent getting Figgins. They may not even be able to afford Beltre. The market indicates that Figgins will be the most money, followed (maybe not all that far behind) by Beltre. Tahts how the money will play out. They will surely think defensively first and just make sure that whoever they get is better offensively or almost as good. Everyone could plainly see Feliz slowed down a LOT in the stretch and the playoffs. He was still solid but this year he will not be nearly as good in the field with Jimmy not covering his flank. They had to do it.

  54. rusty stab

    November 30, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    a SLAP hitter is not worth $10 million a year playing third base — no way — unless he is Wade Boggs and wins batting titles and is on base consistently 40% of the time. I am in favor of Figgins for three years for $5 million per year. Not more than that. Beltre, perhaps $7 million for three years.

  55. JJFritz

    November 30, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    What George said earlier makes sense. What type of hitter is the Phils looking for at 3rd base? If it’s power, then Beltre would be the man. If it’s situational hitting, then any number of guys would work. It is clear that it will be hard to find the right ‘upgrade’ at 3rd over Feliz, defensively speaking. But, again, with the stats, he’s just slightly above average — not quite GG quality. But, GG quality isn’t necessarily what we need.

    Beltre is good if we’re looking for power and GG quality. But, do we really need more power in such a potent line-up? If the power that the Phils already possess — production at the top of league in almost every offensive category — isn’t enough, then maybe we have some issues. I think bringing in Atkins would be a great fit. He’s okay defensively, which is the same as Feliz. He’s also an offensive upgrade. With Colorado looking to go with Stewart at 3rd, Atkins might come fairly cheap. And, like was said, he could get work at 2nd and 1st as well, giving Charlie a lot of wiggle room in the line-up.

    In the end though, the most important thing the Phils need to do, is start to think of the future. They need someone in the minor leagues who they can develop into their 3rd-baseman of the future. They knew what their 3rd-base situation was going to be like. They did not draft one 3B at all this year. With no one in the minors, WHY NOT??

    I hate to see it happen. But, in the past few years, it was discussed about trading either Werth or Victorino to upgrade the starting pitching. Why not consider that option to bring in a top-rated 3B prospect? If Vic is dealt, bring in Figgins for 3rd and move Rollins to the 2 spot. If Werth is dealt, bring in Beltre for the 5/6 spot. We have outfielders in the minors ready to play. And, if not, outfielders in the FA market may be easier to find than the perfect 3b with the lineup we have right now.

  56. George

    November 30, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Tejada’s strikeout totals are very similar to Feliz’s. His power numbers have been steadily declining, just as Feliz’s have, he walks less than Feliz, and he’s older than Feliz. He also hasn’t been a third baseman. He’s too risky for serious consideration as an upgrade.

    Feliz isn’t being replaced just for the sake of change, or because that’s the way things are done, as one poster believes. He’s a candidate for change because his production steadily slid downward in 2009 and he’s getting old.

    The change, too, involves more than just a third baseman, but a change in lineup approach. Figgins would be the biggest change, but he’s too old for long term and too expensive for short. The second biggest offensive style change would be Polanco.

    We all know how bad this team has been with runners in scoring position. This is what really needs to be changed, and only a high average/OBP guy will do that.

  57. George

    November 30, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Are there any “top rated prospects” to even trade for? Prospects are not worth major league talent like Werth or Victorino, they’re only worth other high rated prospects, which the Phils have in abundance. I’d maybe try to trade Taylor if there’s a decent 3rd baseman around in some other team’s farm system, because no matter who the Phils sign, they likely won’t be around for more than 2-3 years.

    Again, this is a question of who’s out there, and a question of who’s a potential trade partner. Most teams want pitching, and Taylor might not be a match.

    No matter which free agent the Phils sign this year they need to be looking long term. That’s my biggest problem with all the available free agents–they are not long term solutions.

  58. jimmy

    November 30, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Polanco is the best fit. Beltre’s career has been plagued with nagging injuries, he strikes out alot, is a very streaky hitter, and is prone to hitting into inning ending double plays. Beltre is likely to post similar numbers as Feliz offensively 20-25 Hr’s and somewhere in the range of a .270 avr. For those of you who feel he would put up more Hr’s at the bank, remeber, we said the same thing about Feliz when we first signed him. Beltre’s career is on the decline and he’s injury prone. The Phillies are in desperate need of a situational hitter and Polanco is just that. He’s one of the hardest players in the league to strike out, he puts the ball in play, is not afraid to hit with two strikes, is a very good bunter, and will hit the ball the other way when needed. He will look very good hitting between Rollins and Utley with Victorino providing depth and speed at the bottom of the order batting seventh. Defensively, although he probably would not be as good as Feliz, the team would still be getting a pretty good infielder. Polanco has played 323 games at the hot corner and has only committed 15 errors. Now, that’s not alot of time spent playing at third base, but the limited time he’s played there he’s had success. He’s a gold glove second baseman and should make a smooth transition.

  59. Don M

    November 30, 2009 at 3:08 pm


    great arguement on the value of adding Polanco into the Phillies lineup . but Im still not sold on him as an everyday 3b

  60. GWFightinsFan

    November 30, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Well Don, i think we could always sub in Castro for him in the 9th inning of close games if it turns out that he’s not a great 3rd baseman, much like we did will Pat the Bat couple years back. Plus, having Polanco gives us some flexibility in that we can move him over to 2nd now and then to give Utley a day off. Or even shift Utley to 1st, and let Dobbs get a few at bats…

  61. filledphillie

    November 30, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    how come no talk of the phillies acquirng miguel cabrera and moving the big bopper back to third??????????????

  62. filledphillie

    November 30, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    makes a reasonable 14 mill for a true slugging 3b,phils got enough starting pitching,they use remaing 6 million to fill out the bullpen,but who do we give up??????????

  63. JJFritz

    November 30, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    George, there are quite a few high-ranked prospects at 3rd base. And, a few that aren’t ranked too high overall, but still really good to keep an eye on. Jefry Marte of the NYM system could prove to be a huge talent in the next few years. And with the Mets in no need for 3B right now, they may be willing to deal him. Just a though, he’s only 18 — with a few years of fine-tuning in the Phils minor league system, he could be ready in say 1 or 2 years. Granted, I wouldn’t necessarily want to give up Werth or Vic to the Mets of all teams, so a thrid team would have to be included in that deal. Or even higher up on the pole in Mike Moustakas in KC. He’s young, has power, line drive ability to all fields and could be ready this year or next. Also, in KC they have a young guy name Alex Gordon who is sure to keep that position there for quite a few years. That may be a good possibility. There are others too, just to mention a couple.

  64. Jesus

    November 30, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Jimmy, I agree that Polanco is a very good situational hitter and he would probably be my 2nd choice behind Beltre. But you said Beltre would put up similar numbers to Feliz 20-25 hr’s and a .270 avg. Feliz only averaged 13hr’s with us and never hit 25hr’s anywhere. Beltre has hit 25 or more hr’s 3 of the last 4yrs playing half his games at Safeco field which is notorious for sapping RH pull power hitters. That’s not quite the same reputation that CBP has. HA! Also, Polanco hits into quite a bit of double plays himself. Averages 17 GDP’s/yr. I also think to say he is injury proned is a little tough. He had some injuries last year but besides that has played in over 143 games every year since 2002. I also think that assuming Polanco will have no problem making the adjustment from 2nd to 3rd isn’t that simple. He hasn’t had steady work at 3rd since 2002. Since ’02 he has played 21 games at 3rd in ’03, 13 in ’04, and 9 in ’05. I don’t think defense is getting as much attention as it deserves. I’m sure Polanco will make all the routine plays but how many runs will he save vs Beltre in the field? I don’t think this can be overlooked.

  65. Pat Gallen

    November 30, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    filledphillie – Cabrera is a liability at third. He;s a 1B-DH now over in the AL. He’s fat and slow. I like the thought but he’s an awful fielder.

  66. Manny

    November 30, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    I’m with Jesus.
    (In a Figgins-less world, Beltre would be my top choice and Polanco my second).

  67. shag beta sigma delta

    November 30, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Defense is the key for the Phillies at third base, I am not sure experimenting with PP, or Tajada is the right way to go. I would also take Peter Happy back for $5 mil a year, if Beltre will take $6-7 mil for three years I would not be unhappy with that but would take Pedro back if Beltre wants more years or more money than that. Would maybe go up to 8 mil

  68. Dylan

    November 30, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    FilledPhillie – really? You think we can afford a guy making 25 million a year? If we were going to spend that kind of money, we all know who would be for so I’m not going to even mention his name.

  69. Keystone

    November 30, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    I brought this up in a thread a few weeks ago but didn’t get any response.
    What does anyone know or think about Neil Sellers? He played the entire year at AA Reading las season and hit .317 in 518 at bats. He also hit 17HR and drove in 86 runs. He had a .383 OBP and a .486 SLG for a .869 OPS. He played 3B for pretty much the whole season for the R Phils and is 27 now and will be 28 at the beginning of next season so I know that usually means there is a reason he is still in AA. Right now in Winter League ball he is hitting .371 in 89 at bats with a .953 OPS. Im not sure how his glove is but he seems like a good right handed bat. I think if they can get DeRosa Sellers might be a cheap way of mixing it up at 3B. What does anyone else think about him or that idea, or know about him. I really don’t know much else about him.

  70. filledphillie

    November 30, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    cabrera makes 14.5 and played a bit of third last year for the tigers by the way,so at 27 and the same wgt as he was in florida when he played back to back 160 games,and a decent fielding pct,your arguments fall short of a reason to say nada,by the way he also can play a decent outfield!!!!!!!!!

  71. Brooks

    November 30, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Jimmy, starting Polanco at third base is stupid.
    1) he’s older
    2) out of position
    3) has little to no power

    As a utility glove in the IF? Definitely.

    Keystone, the Phils should give Sellers a good look during the spring.

    Shag Beta – it would be nuts to think that Beltre would chop his salary in half for any length of contract… 6 or 7 mil a year ain’t gonna happen with this guy.

    Jimmy also mentioned Beltre’s nagging injuries. Uh, he played in over 143 games for 7 seasons in a row, since 2001..

  72. Dylan

    November 30, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    In 2010 and 2011 he makes 20 million and in 2012 and 2013 he makes 21.

    Bottom line is the only player that Phillies will pay $20 million a year for is Howard. They will get close with Lee as well.

    The Phillies would have to give up cheap, young talent to get a guy that makes $20/year and then have to shed payroll other places. I don’t see that happening.

  73. Dylan

    November 30, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    not too mention the deal goes until 2015…when he makes 22 million…when he will def. be a 1B/DH.

    I’d rather take a chance on Atkins and draft high on 3B this year.

  74. George

    November 30, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    If Beltre wants eight million, let him walk. Even seven is overpaying, but maybe the Phils will go that high. But please, not for four years.

    I like the idea of attempting to trade for someone like Moustakas from the KC system. But he’s a prospect, and shouldn’t cost MLB talent. If KC wanted Werth or Victorino, I’d say “don’t be ridiculous.” There’s no way the Mets would let anyone slip to the Phils, and so a three team trade won’t happen.

    I don’t like the idea, though, of so many people equating power with good offense. A team needs some contact/situational hitters. Home runs aren’t all that good with no one on base. A base hit with a runner at second or third works just as well as a solo homer, and extended rallies are fueled by walks and base hits even more so than by the long ball.

  75. Geoff

    November 30, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Cabrera would be booed out of this city by the end of April! He would be so horrible.

  76. Joel V.

    November 30, 2009 at 10:05 pm


    Felix hit an abismal .208 againts LEFTIES last year. Adiran Beltre hit .298 against lefties and Mark DeRosa hit .278 against lefties as well as Lowell who hit .301 so they are all upgrades in that category. In a lineup where your three of your BEST hitters are lefties, (Utley, Howard, Ibanez) you need a guy that can hit them. Pedro has not been getting the job done there. That’s the main reason why Amaro is looking elsewhere to fill the 3rd base job.

  77. Greg V.

    November 30, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Did I seriously read move Howard to third and have Miguel Cabrera play first? Howard can barely make it at first, why the hell would you put him in the hot corner? That is the single dumbest thing I’ve heard with trading for Rolen being a close second today.

  78. Dylan

    November 30, 2009 at 10:19 pm


    Who said that? Howard is lefty, and I can’t see anyone seriously suggesting that. I think you read something incorrectly.

  79. Dylan

    November 30, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    By “Big Bopper” he meant Miggy if that is what you are referring to.

  80. Manny

    November 30, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    I’d be happy if we get Beltre even if it is for 8M….

  81. MikeB.

    December 1, 2009 at 1:29 am

    Great article Pat and I agree with you that Adrian Beltre is the right man for the Phils at third base if he does not demand an unreasonable amount of money.

  82. derekcarstairs

    December 1, 2009 at 7:20 am

    If the Phils go with a free agent, my choice would also be Beltre.

    If possible, however, I prefer trading for a young potential stud like Alex Gordon or Brandon Wood. Since he is not likely to play much in 2010 and Brown may be ready sometime in 2011 to replace Ibanez, Taylor could be trade bait.

    By 2012, in Brown and Gordon/Wood, the Phils would have two young, talented, cheap players filling two positions where the team has aged. That approach is how the team can stay good for an extended period.

    Having said that, neither Gordon nor Wood is a lock to succeed.

    Gordon was supposed to be an immediate impact player when he came up in 2007, but he has yet to break out. He also had injury problems in 2009, and his defense needs to improve.

    I think Wood is the better defensive player of the two, and he can play SS or 3B. He also has excellent power. His main problem is that he strikes out at an alarming rate.

    Wood is 24; and Gordon is 25.

  83. Don M

    December 1, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Neil Sellers is 27 years old… he’s hit for a pretty decent average, with some power in AA

    But there is a HUGE difference between the pitching in AA and the pitching in the Majors …. the Phillies know what they have, and since they consider their biggest need to be a 3b .. I would imagine that they can’t see him ever contributing to the big league club

    I heard that Andy Tracy is a likely candidate for a bench role though, as he’s hit more than 20 HRs, in EIGHT different season in the minors.

    He’s 36 years old in a few weeks.. but he’s got very good power, pretty decent average, and very good On-Base Percentage..

  84. George

    December 1, 2009 at 10:21 am

    The Phils don’t need to trade for someone whose “defense needs to improve,” or for a player who “strikes out at an alarming rate.” Also, a major leaguer such as Gordon would cost more than a minor league prospect. Finally, another team’s prospect wouldn’t help the Phils this year.

    If Polanco isn’t offered arbitration, he’d be the best option, in my mind. Beltre might hit for more power, but Polanco would probably be on base more, would strike out less, still play slightly better than passable defense, and be a lot cheaper. The picture changes, though, if he’s going to cost a draft pick. Let’s see what happens at tonight’s arbitration deadline.

  85. Jesus

    December 1, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I truly believe that 3yrs 24million would get it done for Beltre. The Phils will have some tough decisions to make after this season. Having Beltre as a power RH bat will help because I don’t see them re-signing Werth after this year. Also, depending on the decisions they make they could potentially have quite a bit of payroll flexibility after the 2010 season so 8mill a year isn’t alot when looked at in that way.

  86. psujoe

    December 1, 2009 at 10:52 am

    If the Phils trae for anyone at 3b I would want it to be Kouzmanoff. decent fielder, Excellent power especially against lefties and would be under team control for a while. They’d lose prospects, but would save about 3.5-4 million at 3b. That money could go to other needs.

    Call me crazy, but the Halladay situation just got more interesting when he said no trade by the Spring then no trade, period. Lee (9) + Moyer(7) + that 4 million = 20 in 2010. hmmm.

  87. derekcarstairs

    December 1, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Winning in 2010 will depend more on what the Phils do with pitching than it will on who fills the 7 hole in the lineup. Offense is not the problem.

    The Phils can afford to go with youth at 3B as long as they also bring in a high quality utility infielder like a Jerry Hairston to fill in for an extended period if the young guy slumps.

    All of the candidates for 3B have flaws. So do Gordon and Wood, but their upsides are higher than the free agents.

  88. filledphillie

    December 1, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    were talking a world series champion here,a elite team and names like sellers?polanco?beltre?to play a key position on this team,jesus,i say go get cabreraaaaaaaaaa

  89. Manny

    December 1, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Helloooo Beltre. Please come play for us.

  90. jrollpatrol08

    December 1, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    george–i think beltre, at 31, fits the description of long term solution moreso than the other FA 3rd basemen. hes not a franchise player obviously but he will get a 3 year minimum deal somewhere if not here. since the phillies have nobody coming up in the minors i think thats another reason why ruben may be lookin hard at beltre to man the corner for next couple of years. 8 million a year he is worth it, and he will get a contract in that ballpark. polanco might be okay for a year, but then we are in this same position next offseason…’who can we get to play 3rd base?’…get beltre now while we still have some money and he is available. believe me, the phils are gonna have more pressing money issues next offseason–what to offer jayson werth, what to offer cliff lee–if these guys accept there isnt going to be any room to think about a decent 3rdbase contract next year

    philledphillie–cabrera still has 125 mil left on his current contract. the phils would not be able to afford that and ryan howards big contract that will be coming up next year. the money is just not there. this isnt the NYY

    shag beta sigma delta–you cant so easily compare feliz and beltre as you look to 2010 and beyond. just look at age if nothing else. can beltre still put up above average numbers for the next 2-3 years? probably. can feliz still put up above average numbers for the next 2-3 years? very unlikely, probably not. you cant make it seem like apples to apples as you look into future plans.

    psujoe–i like the kouzmanoff idea too under one condition -heath bell would have to be part of the deal. that would knock out two of the voids the phils need most. the ideal plan would be centered around bell with kouz as sort of a bonus. both would come cheap and we could spend money somewhere else–that would be an awesome deal. problem is neither guy is getting paid anything at all by san diego. the padres would be very unlikely to get rid of either of these guys since they cost next to nothing.

    and i see beltre was just offered arbitration. so the phils will be givin up a pick if they sign him

  91. Jesus

    December 1, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    jrollpatrol, Beltre is a type B so no pick would be given for him. Mariners would just get a supp. pick between 1st and 2nd rd.

  92. jrollpatrol08

    December 2, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    ahhh thats right….type be just gets supplemental…thanks for the correction…

    and i couldnt agree more with your posts on here. i too think beltre for about 3/24 to get it done.

  93. filledphillie

    December 2, 2009 at 7:39 pm


  94. Jesus

    December 2, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Filledphillie, Cabrera is a below average 3rd baseman(that might be kind). He is a beast with the bat and if he could play 3rd at all anymore I would go after him in a heart beat, but the last time he played 3rd for the Tigers in 08 he made 5 errors in only 14 games! That’s why he is playing 1b now for the Tigers. So you would have to take into consideration how many runs he would cost us on the defensive end vs what he would do on the offensive side and still decide if he is worth that amount of money. I don’t think he is. I would rather us get Beltre for 7-8 mill/yr and spend the rest on another starter, bench and a bullpen arm.

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