Pedro Feliz Rumors
MLB.com's Todd Zolecki runs down the Phillies offseason, looking at how the club is planning to improve coming off back-to-back World Series appearances. Here's some highlights:
- The Phillies are looking to upgrade at third base, as we've heard before. Chone Figgins figures to be too expensive for their liking, and they'll look for a shorter, more affordable contract. Zolecki names the same possibilities we heard earlier in the week: Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, and Placido Polanco.
- Philadelphia has interest in Fernando Rodney, but it may not be mutual, as Rodney likely would prefer a team with whom he can close. As Zolecki writes, that is "not an option" in Philly.
- The Phillies have seven impending free agents: Paul Bako, Miguel Cairo, Scott Eyre, Pedro Feliz, Pedro Martinez, Chan Ho Park, Matt Stairs, and Jack Taschner. Zolecki says Park and Eyre are the two most likely to return, with Ruben Amaro Jr. already having contacted Park's agent.
- Bako's return hasn't been ruled out, but Amaro has said that he's seeking a backup catcher. Feliz is in a similar situation, with his return not being ruled out but the team looking to upgrade.
- If Stairs returns, it will be on a minor league contract. Taschner and Martinez are not expected to return.
- The futures for Eric Bruntlett, Clay Condrey, and Tyler Walker are in question.
Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun has the buzz on the Orioles...
- President Andy MacPhail said he can't see himself trading a young, talented player for a short-term (one or two-year) fix. He left open the possibility of trading a young player to fill a different, more urgent need long-term.
- Zrebiec says bringing Erik Bedard back to the organization has been discussed.
- The Orioles may acquire bullpen help, but Zrebiec adds, "some team officials would be comfortable starting the season with Koji Uehara as the closer."
- MacPhail admitted the third base supply is strong. Zrebiec says the O's have interest in free agents Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, and Pedro Feliz, while Dan Uggla and Garrett Atkins are also known to be available.
- The Orioles have not yet spoken to Mark Hendrickson's agent, nor have they made an offer for Aroldis Chapman.
- It was close, but Adam Jones just missed being a Super Two. Since he won't be arbitration-eligible this winter, the Orioles will save millions.
4:57pm: The Phils are seriously considering Chone Figgins, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com.
2:45pm: Here's the latest on the NL Champs' hunt for a third baseman:
- Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Phils are interested in bringing Pedro Feliz back if he's up for a deal worth less than $5.5MM. The club turned down an option worth that much this week.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. tells David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News that other options are out there, even if he can't sign Feliz. "There are more third basemen available than there are third base positions to be filled," the GM said.
- Amaro Jr. expects to find a third baseman on the open market. He's open to offering multi-year deals and would consider signing Type A free agents, which is good news for Chone Figgins and Miguel Tejada.
- Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News says the Phils are more likely to pursue Mark DeRosa than Adrian Beltre.
Scott Lauber of Wilmington News Journal reports that the Phillies have decided not to pick up Pedro Feliz's $5.5MM option. While it remains possible for Feliz to return to the club, Lauber writes that it is unlikely.
In 625 plate appearances this past season, Feliz turned in a slash line of .266/.308/.386, which meant an OPS of .694 - his worst since 2002. Feliz's calling card is his defensive play at third but his UZR/150 of 5.0 - while still above average - was his worst posting since the stat was first monitored in 2002.
With a number of options available on the free-agent market and the trading block, who should the Phillies get to play third base?
After falling short in their quest to repeat as world champions, Ruben Amaro Jr. & Co. are charged with the task of putting the organization in position to take the crown in 2010. Buster Olney, Baseball Prospectus and the Insider Staff reviewed the Phillies' '09 campaign and discussed what might be in store for them this winter. An Insider subscription is required, but here are some highlights for those without:
- With $11.5MM committed to Brad Lidge in each of the next two seasons, the Phillies are likely to keep him penciled in as their fireman. However, the club could seek out a veteran set-up man who could step into the closer role if "Lights Out" gets lit up again.
- Using J.A. Happ as the centerpiece, the Phillies could have the goods necessary to snare Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays. Halladay, like Cliff Lee, will be a free agent after 2010. Therefore, the Phillies would have to make sure they can keep at least one of the two pitchers before making such a deal.
- If the Phillies choose not to pick up Pedro Feliz's 2010 option, "don't be surprised" if they pursue free agent Adrian Beltre. Olney recently wrote that the 30-year-old third baseman would be a "spectacular fit" for the club. Dan Uggla is also mentioned as someone who could fill the void. Uggla played a less-than-stellar second base this season but could find himself more comfortable at third.
Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said the team is "actively exploring alternatives" to third baseman Pedro Feliz before deciding whether or not to pick up his option, according to Andy Martino of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
"More than anything else, we want to see what options may be out there for us and decide whether picking his option up is best suited for this club to try to move forward," Amaro said.
"He had a solid year for us," Amaro said. "I like the man personally. He's a great person and a great teammate, but I also believe in trying to improve, and sometimes change can be for the better. It doesn't necessarily mean we're going to, but it's just something that we're thinking about."
The Phightin's must decide whether to pick up Feliz's $5MM option or buy him out for $500K by Monday.
There are several third base options on the free agent market that could pique Amaro's interest. Both Adrian Beltre and Chone Figgins would represent a significant offensive upgrade at the position, and according to UZR/150, they'd even provide a defensive boost over Feliz's already sterling glovework. I'm just throwing two names out there, we haven't seen the Phillies connected to either Beltre or Figgins yet.
The Phillies exercised their $9MM option on lefty Cliff Lee, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. The move was a no-brainer for the Phils, as Lee posted a 3.22 ERA in 231.6 innings this year and won the Cy Young award in '08. Next on the docket: long-term extension talks. Also, the Phillies must decide on Pedro Feliz's $5.5MM club option by Monday.
We haven't had a World Series rematch since the Yankees and Dodgers squared off in 1977 and then again in 1978, but that doesn't stop ESPN's Buster Olney from looking at what stands in the way of another Yanks-Phils Fall Classic in 2010.
Let's round up some hot stove talk...
- Olney guesses that the Yankees won't tender Chien-Ming Wang a contract, but they may decide to pursue another starter through trade or free agency.
- Given Brad Lidge's awful year, Olney thinks the Phillies "will be diligent in internally identifying a solid Plan B." He notes that there are plenty of pitchers available this offseason with experience closing games.
- The Phillies hold a $5MM option for third baseman Pedro Feliz ($500K buyout), so the team must decide what to do there. He mentions that free agent Adrian Beltre "would be a spectacular fit" for Philadelphia.
- Olney believes it's a lock that the Yankees will offer Andy Pettitte arbitration. Pettitte had just a $5.5MM base salary in 2009, but he brought home over $10MM thanks to incentives. An arbitration case would be based on the actual money earned, so Pettitte could be in line for $12-14MM if he accepts.
At the moment, the Phillies have more important things to worry about than Pedro Feliz's option. Like scoring some runs and shutting down the Yankees. But once the season ends, they'll have to decide whether to pick up their third baseman's 2010 option.
The defending World Champions can choose to pay Feliz $5MM in 2010 or buy him out for $500K. According to FanGraphs, Feliz has been worth $5-7MM each of the last two seasons, largely because of his defense. Though he has never won a Gold Glove, the Dominican is widely considered an elite defender. UZR/150 still likes his defense, though the metric suggests Feliz isn't nearly as skilled with the glove as he was a few seasons ago.
But Feliz doesn't add much value offensively. In fact, he hasn't had an OPS higher than .717 since 2004. He hit .266/.308/.386 this season with 12 homers and 44 extra base hits. Give Feliz credit for his durability, though - he's played at least 130 games for each of the last six seasons.
If the Phillies decide to turn down Feliz's option, they could try to trade for Dan Uggla, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Garrett Atkins, or one of the other third basemen who could hit the trade market. Free agents like Adrian Beltre and Chone Figgins could appeal to GM Ruben Amaro Jr., and so could more affordable players like Juan Uribe.
Tonight's discussion question is a simple one: should the Phillies pick up Feliz's option? Or should they spend the money elsewhere and let the third baseman walk?
Another collection of random links...
- A fresh fantasy baseball mailbag over at RotoAuthority, where I address David Ortiz, Francisco Liriano, and more.
- The Orioles claimed pitcher Dave Davidson off waivers from the Marlins and sent him to Triple A, according to Roch Kubatko of MASN.
- Matt Belisle cleared waivers and accepted his Triple A assignment, according to Jack Etkin of Inside the Rockies.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo predicts the top 20 picks in the June draft. Mike Minor to the Padres, Aaron Crow to the Pirates?
- Rangers owner Tom Hicks might be willing to sell his controlling interest in the team, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
- Scott Lauber of The News Journal thinks Pedro Feliz is changing the Phillies' mind about his $5MM option for 2010 with his .307/.373/.433 start. His 10% walk rate is a career best.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues discusses the Mark DeRosa-Yankees rumor.
- Alexei Ramirez is being sued for $20MM in the Dominican Republic "for allegedly violating a contract he signed with local talent scouts before inking a major league contract." Not sure how they arrived at that figure.