Now Playing Third
Well, it is official, Pedro Feliz is our new third baseman. He was on our radar a few years ago when Scott Rolen wanted to be traded but the Giants wouldn’t part with Pedro as part of a deal.
Pedro passed a physical exam this morning and now the Phillies have one of the best infields in baseball. Talk about the long ball, how about 119 from the foursome of Howard-Utley-Rollins-Feliz.
He also brings the best fielding percentage among last year’s NL third basemen, .973. He made just 11 errors. Defense is one of our strong points and that phase of the game has gotten better. Good defense can be a huge boost for a pitching staff.
A right-handed hitter who has 100 homers over the last five seasons, Pedro helps balance the attack. Howard, Utley and Jenkins provide power from the left side; Burrell, Feliz, Werth and Ruiz from the right side with Rollins and Victorino being switch hitters.
Another plus: the Phillies bench just got stronger and deeper. Dobbs and Helms will have new roles. The bench reminds me of the 1977 Phillies when Danny Ozark could call on right-handed hitters in Davey Johnson, Ollie Brown and Jerry Martin and left-handed hitters in Tommy Hutton and Jay Johnstone.
As Rich Hofmann pointed out in his Daily News column yesterday, Feliz’ arrival means Charlie Manuel won’t have to use two players per game at third base, leaving him with more late-game options.
People were concerned that the Phillies lost a lot of offense when Aaron Rowand (27 HR, 89 RB) signed with the Giants. Say hello to 41 HR and 136 RBI by the Feliz/Jenkins combo.
Speaking of Feliz and Jenkins, each free agent has signed a two-year contract, meaning both will be around in 2009, giving the Phillies a lot of stability.
Critics have said Feliz has a lousy on-base-percentage because he doesn’t walk much. As fellow Dominican Juan Samuel once said, “We didn’t get off the island by walking. We got here swinging the bat.”
The team that led the NL in runs scored just got stronger.