Last week in his State of the Phillies address following the season-ending loss to the Cardinals, Ruben Amaro talked about getting Placido Polanco back to full health. He would be a big part of the Phillies in 2012, said Amaro, who sees the slap-hitting Polanco as a boon to this lineup, when his body cooperates.
The next day, Charlie Manuel spoke and was asked if the Phillies needed to upgrade the position. After two years and 70 games missed by Polanco, Manuel said if there is a chance to get better, the organization has to at least try. The tread on Polly’s tires is wearing out, and it’s hard to say he’s still an everyday player. When he does play, and play at full health, the numbers are usually pretty decent. But that can no longer be counted on to happen. Not after four cortisone injections, several DL stints, and a double hernia surgery in the offseason.
That’s two differing viewpoints from the two men in charge. What will it come down to? If there is the opportunity to grab a player this offseason that is better than Polanco, look for the Phillies to attempt it. But, that’s not an easy task at such a slim position.
David Wright: This is an interesting name because it’s not as far fetched as you might think. The Phillies lack the proper prospects to get a deal done with the Mets, and it’s unlikely they’d even want to part with Wright. However, if it came down to Wright or Reyes, especially knowing Wright could be gone next year in free agency, would the Mets do it? The chances here are minute, but don’t think Amaro isn’t at least thinking about how it can be done. Nothing can be shelved with him in charge. That being said, it ain’t happenin’.
Chase Headley: Again, it would take trading prospects that the Phillies don’t likely have to get themselves a decent corner infielder. The Padres are always looking to deal guys that are about to get expensive because they can’t keep up with the growing payroll. But, who really is Chase Headley? At 27, his numbers sank in 2011 as he dealt with injuries, his power has never evolved like many thought it would, but his defense is decent enough (29 errors in over 2,500 innings from 2009-2011, and a UZR of 15). Is he worth taking a chance on?
Aramis Ramirez: I’ve seen many ask about him and I’m just not sure this is an ingredient you want to stir into the pot. He’ll be 34 going into the 2012 season, has a lot of wear and tear, but still plays adequate defense and can carry a big stick at times. He had a nice bounce back year in 2011 after a rotten 2010, when many thought the end was near. Well, just in time, he turns it around, and can get himself a new long-term deal. Ramirez won’t come cheap and is right at that age where you have to proceed with extreme caution. He’s the power threat the Phillies long for, but the rest of it doesn’t add up (price/age).
Mark Reynolds: You want power? This dude has it. But he’s also a strikeout machine and a perennial .225 hitter. So he doesn’t really fit the mold. Plus he’s a liability defensively. Moving on…
Greg Dobbs: Do we wanna go there? Dobbs simply stopped hitting in 2010 with the Phillies, and they were forced to part ways after he’d been a serviceable bench bat. Placing Dobbs in a starting third base role with a contending team is not exactly the road you want to travel. Bringing him back as a top bench bat? That’s a maybe. But certainly Dobbs cannot be a starter on this team, no matter how thin the position.
Wilson Betemit: Again, not really starting material, but can provide plenty of depth should something happen. And many would feel more comfortable allowing Betemit to start at the hot corner than Wilson Valdez or Michael Martinez. Betemit will only be 30 in 2012, and can give some power (8 HR in 323 AB’s). We also talked about him in our latest edition of PN TV.
Ty Wigginton: A guy the Phillies looked at previously in free agency. Wigginton got away and has spent time playing for some lousy teams lately. If the Phillies could pry him away from the Rockies – he’s heading into the second year of a two-year $8 million contract, and has an option year left at $4M in 2013) he could be nice fit as he can basically play every position. Defensively, he won’t knock your socks off, but at this point, who will? The entire third base package really isn’t available at this point. One plus here is Wigginton’s home run potential: 15, 22, 11, 23, 22, 24 the last six seasons.
Kevin Kouzmanoff: Had a few good seasons with the Padres, but struggles last year between Oakland and Colorado.
Edwin Encarnacion: Has a $3.5 million club option pending with Toronto, and is probably more of a 1B/DH anymore.
Michael Young: Would the Rangers unload their leader? If they want to make a run at free agent pitching this offseason, his $32 million remaining may have to come off the books. We discussed him last weekend here.
Cody Overbeck: Probably no longer a third base option. See here.
As you can see, it’s ugly out there. No one really fits the mold for the Phillies. Ramirez is likely too expensive and too advanced in age. Wright probably isn’t even available. Chase Headley isn’t knocking anyone’s socks off – and he might not even be available, although it seems no one is untouchable in San Diego. Wigginton, Betemit, Dobbs? Stopgaps, not long term help.
It looks as though the Phillies would most likely go on with Polanco next year, hopefully adding a competent bench bat that can help out a little more at third base in 2012. At $6.25 million, Polanco is here for another year. Hopefully a healthy one.