Analysis

Roberts Cut By Arizona, Phillies Should Inquire

As I wrote over the weekend, third base is an exceptionally thin position. The Phillies are finding that out, again, as Placido Polanco deals with a balky back that has him in the MRI tube. It’s becoming abundantly clear that they’ll have to go in a new, and hopefully younger, direction next season. Ryan Roberts could be the move.

Roberts, 31, won’t be mistaken for Mike Schmidt at the hot corner, and he’s not all that young. However, at five years younger than Polanco, and with a little pop in his bat, it would represent an upgrade.

The Diamondbacks designated Roberts for assignment on Tuesday and will now look to trade him. Early reports have the Rays making a play for his services; but the Phillies should be next in line.

Defensively, he’s roughly league average. Roberts’ UZR at third base since the beginning of 2011 is 2.3, which is hardly elite, but will hardly cost you. At the plate. Roberts is not a contact hitter like Polanco. In roughly four seasons in the majors, he’s shown a bit of pop, topping out at 19 homers in 2011. His on-base and slugging percentages have both dropped rather dramatically this season, as his OPS fell from .783 in 2009 to .768 in 2011, to .663 this season.

That’s still an upgrade over the declining Polanco, who’s OPS currently stands at .628. That, and Roberts plays multiple positions, including second base.

Roberts does play his home games in the launching pad of Chase Field in Arizona. His splits do show he’s better at home than on the road, where his batting average drops from .260 lifetime to .240 away from Chase Field.

That said, there aren’t many options available for this year or next. It’s a laughably bad position. Roberts would give you at least a younger alternative where there are few. I say make a pitch for “Tatman” and ride his cheap, team controlled contract for the next year or so.

And hell, with all the tats, the Philly fans might dig him. He’d fit right in in Mayfair or Northern Liberties, at least.

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0 Comments

  1. BART SHART

    July 24, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    He’s an excellent utility player. Worth an inquiry, indeed.

  2. Ken Bland

    July 24, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    When he was DFA’d, he was told that deal was already very close to being worked out. Quoting Kevin Towers, :we’re at the one yard line on working somthing out.”

    Could it be the Phils? Perhaps. But it probably is the Rays.

    He’s hitting better the last 4 weeks.

    • Pat Gallen

      July 24, 2012 at 9:25 pm

      I read that right after I published, of course. That said, maybe he was just saying that to make Roberts feel good after being cut.

      • Ken Bland

        July 24, 2012 at 10:25 pm

        Well, for conversation’s sake, let’s say it’s doable, it is a constructive thought. And not to switch sujects, but to segue to the entire spectrum of third base, I’m frankly fairly blown away today by the wide ranging discussion of Hanley Ramirez, either at, or near that same third base position.

        What blows me away is that for a team that pops up in so many personnel possibilities, angling through due dilligence at so many turns, it really surprises me that so many teams are “allegedly” interested, but the Phils, to my awareness got zero publicity in this arena.

        I think they have to consider pursuit of him, even if a productive internal discussion leads to a thanks, but no thanks. Now of course all rumors are not uncovered, and it’s a “story” only a day old. But HanRam is IMPACT. Or would, in your respected opinion, you just pass because of things like attitude, or expense?

        Whatever happens, it’s a fun week going down. Both on the field, and inside Trader’s Alley.

  3. Cs

    July 24, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Worth offering a A or AA arm for.

  4. schmenkman

    July 25, 2012 at 7:07 am

    I can see a minor league deal and then stashing him in AAA, but the guy is at the point where you expect the decline to start (or at least no more improvement), and his career stats are very similar to Fontenot’s (who is 3 months older):

    RR: .250/.330/.398
    MF: .265/.333/.402

  5. schmenkman

    July 25, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Roberts traded to Tampa Bay for Double-A infielder Tyler Bortnik:

    http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/rays/content/rays-acquire-inf-ryan-roberts-diamondbacks

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