The Phillies will pay 34-year-old third baseman Pedro Feliz a $500,000 buyout and upgrade the hot corner via trade or free agency. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has not ruled out bringing him back on a lesser free agent deal.
Beerleaguer: No argument here; Feliz would have been owed $5.5 million in 2010 and the hot corner is one area the Phillies can secure an upgrade. Feliz hit .266/.308/.386 with 12 home runs and an 80 OPS+ out of the No. 7 hole, earning 625 plate appearances on the season. He came through with a clutch, game-tying home run in Game 4 of the World Series, and also homered in the Championship Series, otherwise, he had a poor showing this postseason, hitting just .167.
Still, whenever a team achieves a certain level of success, as the Phillies have these last two seasons, disrupting the nucleus should never be taken lightly. The Phillies have been sacrificing offense for defense at third for many seasons, a formula that's worked to some extent. Feliz proved to be a very solid defender, exhibiting pinpoint accuracy on his throws and converting most of the plays he needed to make, but the Phillies had been hoping for more pop. When you get past the decline in home runs, Feliz turned in nearly identical run production he had given San Francisco the previous two seasons, with an OPS+ hovering around 80. The Phillies lived with it since they received above-average run production from atypical areas like second base, but as his power vanished, so did their patience for all the bad at bats and low on-base percentage.
Nevertheless, Feliz, who battled through a back injury in 2008 and underwent offseason surgery, played an important role in last season's march to the World Series, knocking in the eventual winning run against the Rays and making a key stab off the turf in Tampa. Signed as something of a last resort, fortifying what has become the organization's thinnest position, the Phillies will feel no regrets in the $9 million he was given over the life of his deal.
The club has already made inquiries and has received trade offers regarding third base, according to the Inquirer.