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Hot Corner Hot Stove

How long has it been since the Phillies had a legitimate third baseman?  Most would say we only need to look as far back as 2002 before Ed Wade traded Scott Rolen for a bag of balls.  Does crazy Dave Hollins qualify?  Some would even go further back to the days Mike Schmidt was racking up the MVP awards.  Regardless of the answer, it is safe to say that a third baseman has been missing from this latest incarnation Phillies contenders.  For the most part, it hasn’t been much of a priority for the front office considering the MVP-quality players at the other three infield positions (Howard, Utley, Rollins).  The Phillies made due last season with a platoon of Abraham Nunez, Wes Helms, Greg Dobbs, and briefly Russell Branyan.  With Nunez and Branyan departing from the roster, the Phillies 3B depth chart now reads:  Greg Dobbs, Wes Helms, Eric Bruntlett.  At first glance, this is hardly the worst predicatment. 

Dobbs makes for a decent-enough starter who makes minimal mistakes while occasionaly chipping-in at the place.  Having Dobbs start means Wes Helms is available as a pinch hitter - although his defense makes him a liability in late innings.  So  even having Helms start games and Dobbs finish them wouldn’t be the worst of scenarios; though, it would help to have some stability at the position.  There has been talk this offseason about making a move to solidify that roster spot, but so far none of these potentials have become reality.

  • The Marlins proposed trading Scott Nestor to the Phils for Wes Helms, if the Phils paid $1.8MM of the $2.9MM owed to Helms. Gillick said no.
  • The idea that Scott Rolen could return is always a fun possibility.  There had been talk that the Dodgers might go after him, but the addition of Larry Bowa to the bench in Los Angeles might preclude any such deal – making a move to Philadelphia even more possible.  I wouldn’t bet on it though.
  • There was talk last week that Tad Iguchi might be interested in returning to the team and play third base, but contractually he wouldn’t be available until May 15.  Still, some have made a good case for allowing him to return to second base and moving Utley play third.  Intriguing.
  • The Tigers are looking to trade Brandon Inge and his high strikeout tally; but Jayson Stark claims both the Dodgers and Phillies have already said no.
  • Pedro Feliz declined arbitration with the Giants over the weekend, and thus remains one of the few a viable possibilities for the Phillies to acquire a third baseman.

So with all these players falling though, we must beg the question, should the Phillies keep shopping?  As noted, Dobbs can get the job done, and so can Helms to an extent.  So in the short-term I think the Phillies should stick with what they’ve got.  Down the road though they will need to address this roster void with a sustainable option.  At the AAA-level, the Phils have Brennan King who swings a decent bat but surely isn’t a franchise player.  The Phillies first round pick in 2005, Michael Costanzo, could have been that guy but the Phils gave him up in the Lidge deal.   Therefore putting this all together, it appears as if it will be a long time before the Phils have another big name at the hot corner.

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