Wes Helms was undeniably awful last season, but the Phils still shouldn’t be dealing him away for a minor leaguer regardless of whether they pay half his salary or not. Even given his miserable ’07, his combined numbers over the last two years are still pretty solid.

 
AB

2B

3B

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG
2006 240 19 5 10 .329 .390 .575
2007 280 19 0 5 .246 .297 .368
               
Total 520 38 5 15 .285 .341 .463

Over the two years combined, Helms has posted an .804 OPS. The Phillies were 15th in OPS in ’07 from their third baseman. They posted a .688. An .804 OPS would have been good enough for seventh-best in the NL.

There’s certainly no guarantee that Helms will bounce back in ’08, but hoping for him to do seems to make more sense than investing in acquiring someone from what looks to be a mostly weak group of available third baseman (by which I mean more Mora, Inge, Feliz and the like and less Hank Blalock).

Trading Helms without adding third base help would be a disaster. Dobbs clearly can’t play third every day, he hit 214/267/214 against lefties last year for one thing, and the only other choice at this point seems to be Bruntlett. Bruntlett is a better offensive player than Nunez, but he turns 30 in three months, hasn’t hit a home run since 2005 and has a career high in RBI of 14.

Helms’ numbers over the last two seasons look adequate only because his ’06 was so fantastic. After being a miserable hitter against righties all his career, Helms hit 323/368/632 against them with the Fish in ’06. His line against righties was the worst of his career this season as he hit 221/261/313 against them. He also didn’t benefit from Citizens Bank Park in ’07, hitting just 197/225/295 there while hitting a far more reasonable 291/357/432 in the Phils’ away games.

In 139 plate appearances at Citizens Bank Park in ’07, Helms had seven extra-base hits. While with the Marlins in ’06 he had 19 Citizens Bank Park plate appearances and had four.

Overall, Helms was as bad as he’s ever been last season. It doesn’t mean that he couldn’t get worse, but it does mean that he there’s reason to believe he can get a lot better. And as bad as the Phillies are in the minors, this isn’t the time to be trading the guys who might help you now for the ones that might help you later.

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