The Phillies finalized the deal with Pedro Feliz.
The team’s mantra this off-season has been that they want to improve the team in any way they can. That sure sounds nice, but I kind of wish their goal was to build a team that was good enough to win the World Series. With the Feliz signing they are sure to improve their third base situation compared to 2007. But they set the bar pretty low. In 2007 the Phillies’ player that got the most at-bats at third base was Abraham Nunez, who got 212 at-bats and hit 255/342/311 as a third baseman (Helms got 207 at-bats as a third baseman and Dobbs got 190). That’s wretched. If your goal is to just to improve, that makes it easy to improve without getting good. They probably would have improved their third base situation in ’08 without another move. They can improve their fifth starter situation with a guy who throws to a 6.28 ERA this year. Insert your own Shane Youman joke here, but let’s hope that’s not their goal.
Feliz is just about a sure thing to give the Phillies solid defense at third base this season. And there’s a lot of hope out there that he can put up some big power numbers with a better lineup around him in a better park for hitters. And I’m right there with everyone hoping he puts up 30 home runs this season. But his slugging percentage isn’t even his problem as a hitter and he was outslugged last season by Shane Victorino, who’s a fantastic defensive outfielder with a great arm who stole 37 bases. And before you look it up, Victorino outslugged Feliz away from home as well as overall (granted, there was a really strange thing where Victorino was a better hitter away from Citizens Bank Park than at it last season, but still).
So the Phillies did ensure they’ll be a little better at third with the addition of Feliz. And given how many runs the team can score, maybe that’s enough. But the hole they dug themselves at the position was deep enough there was reason to hope they would do more than just improve.
The Phillies already had a full 40-man roster before the addition of Feliz. They will need to make another move.
This suggests that there is a chance that in addition to Santana, the Mets could also add Kyle Lohse to their rotation. I would be surprised if that happened.
More good news on the improve-in-any-area front as the number of 17-year-old infielders from the Czech Republic in the organization has soared to an all-time high with the addition of Jakub Sladek. The linked article also says that the Phillies will watch Kris Benson throw again next week and that the Phillies still have money to spend. Finally, it explains that the Phillies don’t have to make a move on the 40-man roster yet despite adding Feliz because his addition hasn’t been formally approved by Major League Baseball.
More about the status of the Phillies expected payroll here.