Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pedro Feliz - Hot Corner Lightning Rod

This post is a day or two behind, but the Santana news took precedent. Either way, I never put my two cents in on the Feliz signing. So, here goes...

My initial reaction to the Pedro Feliz deal was not positive. I saw a 32 year old, field first, strikeout second third baseman who was little more than a powerful No-Hit Nunez and thought, "Oh crap."

But after reading some of the numerous discussions about the signing, I'm not so upset. Here's why: the Phillies are better after signing Feliz.

Take a look at the third base platoon of Helms and Dobbs and compare it to Feliz.

Defense: Neither Helms or Dobbs is a wizard. In fact, they are both liabilities that necessitate late-inning defensive replacements. Todd Zolecki makes a great point over at Zo Zone that having a steady defensive player at third will increase the options for pinch hitters in the late innings, as they won't have to be used needlessly for defensive substitutions. My hair fell out from the agony of watching Uncle Charlie use his entire bench before the 8th inning was completed repeatedly last year. Also, as Stato-matic Phillies fans know, especially those who actually defended using No-Hit Nunez in real games, defense saves runs. So chalk this category up to a big-time upgrade with Feliz.

Offense: Carson was right when he said that Feliz is a "Prodigious Out Making Machine." I'm not here to argue that he is a good hitter. But...compared to a Helms and Dobbs platoon, he isn't a big drop-off. Last year, Helms and Dobbs had OPS' of 665 and 781, respectively. Feliz's OPs was 710 the last two years. (Also compare that to Nunez's sub-600 OPS...) Feliz's power numbers are also a little better. I'm also leaning toward the notion that a change to a smaller ballpark will increase his numbers a little. Many people have pointed to the fact that his OPS at "Insert Bank Name Here" Park in San Fran was actually equal to or higher than his average OPS. (His San Fran OPS is 726.) Basically, the point is that his success (or stuggles) are not related to park size, because he does equally well in a huge park. However, if you look at his "per park" numbers closer, you see his lowest OPS numbers are at Chavez Ravine, PetCO, Busch, PNC, Safeco, and McAfee in Oakland while his highest numbers are at Camden Yards, Coors, Cinergy, Minute Maid and US Cellular in Chicago. Those stats show significantly better numbers at smaller ballparks. So I think there is at least a little reason to think his slugging and power numbers will increase. Taking defense from the equation, I probably would take 600 Dobbs at-bats over Feliz, but an equal split of Dobbs and Helms versus Feliz is almost a wash. Push this category.

Other:
Like I mentioned before, this gives the team more depth and more flexibility in late inning situations. The cost of this...about $4 million per year for two. While that isn't chump change, it isn't bank breaking either. And for all of us who have complained loudly over the years at the Phillies resistance to spend money to improve the ballclub, it is hard to turn around and argue that they are spending too much.

Pedro Feliz isn't my number one choice for the Phillies hot corner...or number two...or three...but he is better than what they had, and the team is better now that he is on it.

Corey

23 comments:

BloodStripes said...

Good summary. I agree, the Phils are a better team for the signing. Its a safe, secure signing. Before you strike it rich you need to be secure. There is now some stability there. Always dig top notch D in the hot corner. Highly regarded as the best by many. It won't confuse Fuqua as much.
70 times.

Maybe Fuqua can actually help him hit better and Dubee can roll him some big fat spliffs now and then to imporove the walk rate and get his OBP up over .300 somewhere. Atrocious. Plate discipline ought to be an objective for him in '08.

SirAlden said...

Excellent.

Feliz is equal to or better than
the offensive production of Dobbs/Helms.

Dobbs especially did not hit as well when he was playing 3B and worrying about fielding. SF Park is 78, The Brick Cit House is 133 when it comes to repressing or enhancing homeruns so Feliz should do well, and maybe Cholly can talk some sense into him if Feliz wants to sign another contract after this one.

Now this is where Feliz and the Phillies shine. They now have not one but two new Gold Gloves at 3B and CF, which is a huge upgrade for the defense, making the pitchers relax, and not blow their arms out trying to throw every pitch their best, and overthrow.

A small tribute here to he who shall remain nameless. Was there one game, one game that his defense
saved the game. If you can think of one, (I can think of three) games then you will know that his efforts
gave us that game we needed to come out ahead over the Mutts.

With Feliz we will be getting that defense for 80% of the games. You can bet that Jamie Moyer, and Kyle Kendrick are sleeping sweeter because of this signing. Helms was a cool idea if he Bashed at .325 BA
he lost some bat speed and did not and could not.

Bill James says that Feliz will give any team 4 Victories over the mean. With the contract keeping the Philly payroll flexible I am now giving it 2 thumbs up. We lost no draft picks, or minor leaguers. This adds up.

Jason Donald could be ready in two years, or top draft pick Travis Mattair who is the spitting image or Rolen, and Mike Schmidt in body type could emerge in three. Or a College 3B could be targeted in this years 2008 draft, a draft with lots of picks. Why? Because Pat Gillick is a quiet genius.

Strato-Matic Cards for 2008: 3B Feliz 1, SS Rollins 1, 2B Utley 1, CF Victorino 1, LF Burrell/Taguchi 4/2, RF Jenkins/Werth 2/1, C Ruiz/Jaramillo 2/2, and 1B Baby Papi Ryan Howard moves from a 4 to a 3 with "Jimmy Rollins" on his back about working on his fielding.

Nice team with minor leagues which are growing. Let's pray that our 6 picks in the first 110 players in the 2008 draft (Pat Gillick's last)
will be signed for overslot, and the Mutts long term contracts sink them the with injuries the way they used to, while the Phillies remain nimble.

GM-Carson said...

Since it appears inevitable that the Mets will sign Johan, I hope they pay through the nose- at least 25 mil per season.

I'm not not happy with the Feliz signing, but I no longer hate it. I'm sure I'll be pissed when he ends much needed rallies, but I'm sure I'll also smile when I see him making the plays at 3rd.

Bob D said...

His defense will help improve a few games. The fact that 20+ times a year there will be no need for 1 or 2 "defensive" moves made per game will help improve at least a few games as well. Then if he can improve his offense whether by being in a different ballpark or by hitting better, than this actually becomes a good signing rather than a questionable/suspect signing.

Dobbs also thrived better as a super utility guy last year and may be better suited for that.

Bob D said...

Also he reminds me of the players from '93 as they fell into the dirtball catagory. He looks as if he goes long periods of not shaving maybe even not showering.

Corey said...

i put a new poll up today. i want to see the difference now that the mets have santana. the old poll results can be found at the bottom or the right sidebar.

furiousBall said...

can't he also play SS? he can give J-Roll a day off, while Dobbs gets a start at third.

GM-Carson said...

Yes, Feliz is versatile- can play shortstop if need be.

GM-Carson said...

Add Gonzo to the NL East mix, as Luis Gonzalez signed with the Marlins.

kentucky phils phan said...

i hate the mets, i hate johan santana....i do think feliz is an alright signing, gives some stability and upgrades the infield defense significantly.

GM-Carson said...

I don't wish injury upon Johan, but I do wish a 5+ era upon him.

Kevin McGuire said...

What in the world are the Florida Marlins doing signing Luis Gonzalez? Or I suppose the question should be, what is Gonzalez doing signing with the Marlins?

GM-Carson said...

Gonzo just wants to play, and I guess he figures he'll get time with the Marlins. If would have tried to sign with an AL team if I were him, that way DH was available too.

Ryan said...

Keith Law on espn listed his top 100 prospects...the only phillie to crack the list carlos carrasco at number 53, and law projects him as a solid number 3

Marc said...

Helms to the Rays?

http://raysbaseball.blogspot.com/

Bob D said...

Cross Florida off Helms possibilities as they signed McPhearson.

Los said...

For the price, the Phils got a good deal, I think. Let's hope they spend some more, with some more bullpen help, or something ... maybe another outfielder?

BenJah said...

good assessment, corey. i feel the same way: initially i was pissed, but it is what it is, and it isn't all that bad. this could wind up being good, and if it isn't then it can't possibly be worse than what we already had.

i'm really not sweating the johan trade. the mets were going to be good competition with him or without him, and he doesn't fix all of their problems. his contract will be a burden to them, long term, and johan is a prime candidate for bill simmons's ewing theory. i can't worry about other teams. i can only worry about my own, and i think we're pretty good.

Bob D said...

That contract will hurt many teams in the long run, not just the Mets.

Rumors: Lohse a possibility still, Benson will be watched next week.

Phils signed some European kid (17yo) who is 6'6" 220lbs as an infielder.

Phils may still be looking for up to 2 relievers.

GM-Carson said...

This club is set in the outfield- Burrell, Vic, Werth, Jenkins, Taguchi, and Dobbs, with Snelling in the minors.

I'd still like a somewhat reliable reliever brought in.

Helms the Rays would be great. Helms to the Siberian Sheep Shearers would be just as great...I don't care where he goes, just as long as it's not back to Philly.

GM-Carson said...

I'll be very pissed if Dallas McPherson becomes a force for Florida on the cheap when we spent millions on Feliz.

GreggyD said...

I'm worried about the whole McPhearson thing too. I really liked him and was hoping the Phils would make an offer. Guess we'll find out soon enough...

GM-Carson said...

To be fair, McPherson didn't even play last year, so to assure him a roster spot on the Phils would have been a difficult thing for Patty G to do. However, the Marlins are rebuilding, so throwing him 425k and giving him a place on the 25 man roster isn't hard for them and makes sense because of his upside.