After winning the National League pennant for the 2nd consecutive year the Phillies went head to head with the American League Champs, the New York Yankees. Unfortunately the hired mercenaries Sabathia, Burnett, Damon, and Teixeira were just too overpowering. And in game 6 the "King of the Cutter" 39 year old Mariano Rivera, got Victorino to ground out to Robinson Cano for the final out of the World Series.
Exhausted and disappointed the "done fightin phils" came home from their long 2009 season. For the players, baseball was over till Spring Training. For GM Reubon Amaro Jr. it had only just begun.
Amaro has received much praise after his first year as GM although it should have been expected since he had been trained by one of the most prolific GM's of all time, Pat Gillick. But coming home to praise means nothing without a ring to Amaro.
So, what do the Phillies have to do to bring home a 3rd World Series Title? Amaro has already made his first move denying the 9 year veteran 3rd baseman, Pedro Feliz, his 5.5 million dollar option for the 2010 season.
Feliz, who the Phils brought to the city of brotherly love in 2008 for his power and RBI capabilities averaging 21 dingers and 84 RBI's the previous four seasons with San Francisco, didn't quite live up to his hype. In his two years playing the hot corner, Feliz hit a mere 26 HR's and drove in only 140 RBI's which put him ahead of only 5 other 3rd baseman in the national league.
So who would fit best as the new 3rd baseman for Philadelphia? The popular candidates have been Angles speedy utility player Chone Figgins, the WBC 2B/3B/OF Mark DeRosa, and Seattle's corner infielder from Santo Domingo, Adrian Beltre.
Starting with DeRosa. One of the most stable players in baseball, DeRosa is a solid infielder (8 Errors in 2009) and a consistent at manufacturing runs putting up an average of 83 RBI's the past two seasons. Negatives: DeRosa is in his upper 30's and in 68 games for St. Louis he batted only .228 with 10 HR.
Beltre, who just hasn't found his groove in Seattle is a more prominent power threat at third. A right handed bat which could force opposing pitchers to throw strikes to Beltre's left-handed ex-teammate Ibanez, a huge power threat in the Phillies lineup is Beltre's most appealing attribute. Beltre is also a fielding up-grade from Feliz.
The Phils best choice for Feliz's replacement is Chone Figgins. Chone, who turned 30 this year, hit .298 in 2009 with 183 hits and 42 stolen bases. Although Chone is not a power hitter, only putting up 5 homers last year, he would provide the Phils with a solid threat to get on base every time he comes to the plate. Figgins learned how to take a pitch this year as he led the AL with 101 bases on balls. The Phils, who lake a prototypical lead-off hitter in Rollins, could place Chone in the 1-hole and jimmy bat towards the bottom to hit for power (who nailed 30 HR's in 2007)
If the Philadelphia phillies are looking to fix thier OBP. woes after coming in last in thier division behind the Washington Nationals (who finished the season 59-103), then they need Figgins. With the acquisition of Figgins the Phillies will be a sure pick for a 3-peat National League Champ, and the American League might want to watch out for a new and improved structured offense.