With the MLB free agency period already underway, the Philadelphia Phillies have not made any big splashes just yet this off season, but some significant signings could be coming soon. Ken Rosenthal recently tweeted that the Phillies were ‘wide open’ in their search for a third basemen. Rosenthal believes that Phillies’ General Manager Ruben Amaro could look at infielders that play multiple positions such as Marco Scutaro, Jeff Keppinger and even Kevin Youkilis.
Third base was a huge weakness for the Phillies in 2012. Though players at this position hit a combined .272, there was a huge power outage at the hot corner. The Phillies third basemen had a combined, yes combined, total of 5 home runs and 42 runs batted in over the season.
Scutaro was not a major offensive juggernaut last season, in fact, he has never been one in his career. Last season with the San Francisco Giants though, Scutaro was a key contributor to the their World Series championship. In his career, Scutaro has a .276 batting average with an OPS of .731 and has hit 75 home runs while knocking in 478 runners.
Keppinger played really well for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012. In 115 games, he recorded a .325 batting average with an OPS of .806 while hitting 9 home runs and driving in 40 runs. Keppinger, like Scutaro, is a sure handed infielder who can play second, third, and even some shortstop if needed. What could hinder his signing is the fact that Keppinger turns 33 this season, which means the Phillies wouldn’t be getting any younger.
Youkilis is an intriguing option for the Phillies. If they were to sign him to a two or three-year deal, then they would be getting a player who was once nicknamed in the movie ‘Moneyball’ as the “Greek God of Walks.” One thing that the Phillies lacked in 2012 was power from the right side as well as players that got on base. What Amaro needs to be aware of is the fact that Youkilis is coming of the worst two seasons of his career where he hit .258 and .235 respectively. If Amaro does indeed sign Youkilis, then the Phillies could be set offensively at third base.
All three players are good options for the Phillies no matter what. What could hinder the signings of each player are their ages. But no one knows for sure what Amaro and the Phillies are going to do, but do not be surprised to see one of these three players in red pinstripes next season.
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