FoxSports analyst Ken Rosenthal says general manager Pat Gillick personally flew to Alabama to meet with free agent third baseman Wes Helms. [Link]
Though several teams remain in the hunt, Rosenthal says the Phillies have shown the most interest of any club in the 30-year-old right-handed hitter. Helms hit 10 homers, 47 RBIs and notched a .965 OPS in 240 at-bats with the Marlins. Breaking it down, Helms created 8.1 runs-per-game in limited action and led all Florida regulars with a 26.3 percent line drive ratio.
The Phils shouldn’t count on a repeat in that department; his unusually high LD% smacks of fluke to me, and is at least one reason he had career numbers, including a career-best .575 SLG. Just two seasons ago, his OPS stood at a brutal .692. The other part, of course, is he rediscovered his home-run swing after hitting just eight homers the last two seasons combined.
Over his eight-year career, Helms’ left/right splits aren’t as lopsided as most would expect (.845 OPS vs. LHP; .747 OPS vs. RHP). I suspect the Phillies have eyes on his marks with RISP, which were excellent last season (.948 RISP; 1.197 RISP, two outs). If Pat Burrell is moved, and Alfonso Soriano is not signed, it's possible that Helms will see action in the Phils' No. 5 hole as protection for Ryan Howard.
I’m still not a fan of adding someone who has proven again and again an inability to field his position and secure a full-time job. He started only five games at third last season and hasn't been a starter since 2003. Why would it be any different here? Playing behind the likes of Jon Lieber and Jamie Moyer, pitchers who spray base hits all over the place, defense is absolutely essential. Thoughts?