Phillies sign 3B Pedro Feliz

Reasons why you would ever consider signing free agent third baseman Pedro Feliz:

  • You are a bottom-feeding organization like the Tampa Bay Rays or Kansas City Royals.
  • You have never looked at baseball statistics before.
  • You like your hitters reaching base in less than 30% of their plate appearances.
  • You are a vengeful GM and the fans have wronged you.
  • Feliz blackmailed you.

Yet, the Phillies, who have three third basemen (Wes Helms, Greg Dobbs, and Eric Bruntlett) are close to signing Feliz to a two-year, $8.5 million deal:

An agreement is believed to be pending a physical, which could happen sometime this week, though the Phillies would only confirm that the sides are in discussions. The deal is reportedly for $8.5 million over two years with a team option for 2010 that could approach $15 million, according to an Associated Press report.

Feliz has played seven full seasons of Major League Baseball, and in none of them has he ever been close to the league average on-base percentage (usually between .330 and .345). In fact, he’s only been above .300 once in 2004 (.305).

Offensively, Feliz is a black hole. He ranked 31st on the San Francisco Giants in Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) at -2.7.

Defensively, Feliz does have value. The Fielding Bible awards named him the best-fielding third baseman in all of Major League Baseball, and he ranked first in the National League in Revised Zone Rating (RZR) and third in Out of Zone plays (OOZ).

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So, we’ve established that Feliz is unattractive offensively and attractive defensively. Depending on how much money the Phillies threw at him, this signing could be one of those where you just shrug your shoulders. Who knows, maybe Feliz will improve on his offense. After all, he did play in the very pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, and players, under the tutelage of manager/offensive guru Charlie Manuel and hitting coach Milt Thompson, usually end up being more prone to taking walks and set career highs in OBP. For instance:

  • Aaron Rowand: Career-high 32 walks before ’07’s total of 47 walk; career-high .361 OBP before ’07’s .374.
  • Rod Barajas: Career-high .306 OBP before ’07’s .352. He was, however, helped by hitting mostly eighth in the line-up, in front of the pitcher.
  • Jayson Werth: Career-high .338 OBP before ’07’s .404.
  • David Bell: Career-high .331 OBP before ’04’s .363.
  • Jason Michaels: .364 and .399 ’04-05 OBP’s with the Phillies; .326 and .324 ’06-07 OBP’s with the Indians.

Don’t forget that the Phillies have also had four of the best on-base players in the game in Chase Utley (.410 OBP in ’07), Ryan Howard (.392), Pat Burrell (.400), and Bobby Abreu (.408 career OBP).

Feliz will likely fill in as the #7 hitter, ahead of the catcher (Carlos Ruiz or Chris Coste) and the pitcher, so the impact of his lack of offense will be dulled a bit. Either way, it’s a questionable signing at best and rather unnecessary.

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3 comments

  1. dadlak

    January 29, 2008 01:09 AM

    Be still my beating heart–Geoff Jenkins and Pedro Feliz on the Phils! All for only $11 million per season. Evidence of how bad the Giants were last year is that Feliz was their best player when Bonds wasn’t in the lineup. Hopefully he’ll outplay our memories of David Bell and Abraham O. Nunez and not hold up someone in the Phils’ system who could become a good major league 3B.

  2. Sky

    January 29, 2008 10:36 AM

    This is a fantastic deal if judged relative to its impact. No Feliz is not a good hitter, but he’ll benefit from the move from San Fran to Phillie more than the average hitter. I still call him replacement level offensively. Given that he’s +2 wins with the glove, that makes him average overall. A league average player whose strength was hitting would earn much more than $4 million per season. He’ll form the heavy part of a hit/field platoon with Dobbs and others.

    Beware of the Phillies. Only Howard and Burrell sport poor gloves and everyone else is good to excellent in the field. They have a good bullpen and basically added a top starter to the rotation in Brett Myers. Oh, and the offense ain’t bad, if a tad overrated.

  3. MoonDog

    January 29, 2008 12:15 PM

    AT&T Park is a black hole, but that doesn’t keep you from hitting singles and doubles. Hell, anything hit into the right-center field gap in the park is a triple.

    If the guy doesn’t become a liability at the plate, then the Phils have enough offensively to score runs. Defense at the hot corner can win games for you, even if you don’t hit much. This may be a bargain deal for the Phils.

    Later.

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