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DeRosa Likely to Replace Feliz in Philly

When you look at the Phillies lineup, there aren’t a lot of weak spots.  But, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is not

TOSSED: Feliz flipped from Phillies lineup.

FELIZ NAVIDAD: Pedro likely to be flipped by Christmas.

one to stand pat.

So, when third baseman Pedro Feliz’s option for 2010 was not renewed, it was no great surprise in the City of Brotherly Love.  Pedro Feliz is not a great hitter compared to some of the bashers that play the hot corner, but if you watched him play every day, it’s difficult to understand how he lost out on the gold glove award to Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals.

Of course, the Phillies must be playing a lot of fantasy baseball, because defense doesn’t do you any good in fantasy baseball.  Feliz hit .266 last year, higher than his career .254 average.  His on-base percentage was .308.  Feliz’s power numbers have fallen off since moving into homer-friendly Citizen’s Bank Park.  He’s hit only 12 and 14 the past two years compared to hitting 20 or more dingers in each of the previous four seasons in San Francisco.

Amaro has met with a number of agents for free agent third-basemen.  The top prospect appears to be the Cardinals’ Mark DeRosa, husband of two-time baseball’s hottest wife winner, Heidi DeRosa.

HEIDI HO:  Heidi DeRosa could join Heidi Hamels in Philly next year.

HEIDI HO: Heidi DeRosa could join Heidi Hamels in Philly next year.

For a player who is so  highly coveted, DeRosa certainly moves around a lot.   DeRosa hit 23 homers last year and drove in 78 for St. Louis and Cleveland.  His average in St. Louis, however, was a dismal .228 in 68 games.

Ex-Phillie and current Tiger Placido Polanco is another top choice.  The Phillies don’t need a lot more power in their lineup so Polanco might be a good fit as he has hit for average (.285 in ’09) and his on-base percentage (.331) is better than Feliz’s.

Seattle’s Adrian Beltre is probably the player that the Phillies would like the most, but his price may be too high.  Beltre, 31, played only 111 games last year due to injury.  The two-time gold glover has hit over 20 homers in seven seasons, including a whopping 48 in 2004.  His right-handed power would be devastating with the short left field porch in Philly.

Beltre, however, is represented by Scott Boras and the Phillies have not dealt a lot with Boras in the past.  Beltre’s $12 million price tag from last season may be too much for Philadelphia to swallow given that several players like Cliff Lee, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth are due huge increases in the next two seasons.  DeRosa’s price tag of $5.5 million and Polanco’s tag of $4.6 million are far more reasonable.

Miguel Tejada is another name that has been mentioned and the Angels’ Chone Figgins would probably fit in best with the Phillies lineup, but Figgins starting price is $50 million over five years.

Don’t rule Feliz out completely, however.  Feliz made $5 million last year and it’s likely that he won’t command that much in 2010 given his advancing age of 35.  It’s  possible the Phillies could bring Feliz back…at a cheaper price than last year.

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