Ruben Amaro has his work cut out for him over the next few months, with major decisions to make regarding the bullpen, third base, all three outfield positions, and the bench. Just as we forecasted the Phillies roster moves for 2013 in pitching, we will predict the moves for Phillies infielders in 2013.
First, here is a list of infielders who are near locks to make the Phillies roster next season.
Phillies position player locks
Yep, that's it. Just Ryan Howard. Pretty short list, huh? Don't worry, Howard is not the only regular returning next season. But, the Phillies have concerns with age, injury, talent, and/or contracts at nearly every position, which makes for an intriguing offseason. Let's take a look at which Phillies will stick around next season.
Carlos Ruiz was easily the Phillies MVP last season, and had he not missed 34 games due to injury, he might have been in league MVP discussions.
Needless to say, Ruiz was ridiculous in 2012. He hit .325 with a .394 OBP, .540 slugging percentage, 16 home runs, and 68 RBIs. It was a career year in every way. Chooch beat his previous career high totals in batting average by 23 points, slugging percentage by 93 points, homers by 7, doubles by 4, and RBI by 14. He also hit .368 with runners in scoring position.
I don't think a trade will happen, but if Ruiz even slightly replicates his offensive totals, he stands to make bank after next season. The Phillies may not be willing to take such a risk with what will be a 35-year-old catcher. The Phillies have two catchers in the minors who could be ready to play in the majors soon. They could trade Ruiz for another area of need and bring up Sebastian Valle a year early. It's a tough decision, but it is the type of creative thinking Amaro has not done enough of yet.
Schneider is 35, hit .212 in his three seasons with the Phillies, faced injury issues, and played just 34 games in 2012. The Phillies also have Erik Kratz who is better, younger, and cheaper. Need I say more?
One of the biggest surprises in 2012 was the emergence of Erik Kratz. The 32-year-old journeyman minor league catcher finally made his jump to the big leagues in 2012. Kratz hit .319 with seven homers and seven doubles in his first 81 plate appearances. Then he slumped badly over his next 23 games, hitting .181 with 19 strikeouts in his final 72 at-bats.
Better yet is the fact that Kratz will make less than half of the $1.18 million per year the Phillies paid Brian Schneider. Unless Sebastian Valle makes the unlikely jump to the Phillies, Erik Kratz is the backup catcher in 2013.
Michael Martinez probably should not have made the Phillies team in either of the last two seasons and definitely should not be with the team next season. Martinez was a capable fielder at numerous positions, but he wasn't particularly quick or powerful at the plate.
Martinez did the best he could with what he had, but what he had was a .188 batting average, .241 on-base percentage, and .272 slugging percentage in 133 total games with the Phillies. Martinez will play in Lehigh Valley next season or nowhere at all.
It is pretty simple with Placido Polanco. He is 37 and suffered numerous injuries which limited him to just 90 games in 2012. The Phillies hold a $5.5 million contract option which they will undoubtedly decline and instead buy him out for $1 million.
Jimmy Rollins played about as well as the Phillies would have expected in 2012. He hit .250 with a .316 OBP, 23 HR, 68 RBIs, 102 runs scored, and 30 SB. On the downside, he was characteristically undisciplined at the plate, led all of baseball with 42 infield fly balls, and was caught not hustling yet again.
None of that seems to coincide well with his $11 million salary, but it is actually a reasonable salary considering his standing among other shortstops. Rollins had the most runs scored (102) among all major-league shortstops, finished second in homers (23), and fifth in slugging percentage (.427), in addition to winning the Gold Glove at shortstop.
That said, the Phillies might still be trying to deal J-Roll like they reportedly were at the trading deadline. Rollins has a no trade clause and he seems happy in Philly, so trades would probably be limited to contending teams or west coast teams. Rollins will probably be back next season.
Freddy Galvis, who had played his whole career as a shortstop, dazzled Phillies fans with his defense at second base last season. In 58 games, he committed just one error in 266 chances between second base and shortstop last season. He only hit .226, but he hit 15 doubles, 3 home runs, and had a few key hits for the team.
Galvis was expected to be a work in progress at the plate, but they hoped he would improve with experience. That did not happen because he went on the DL on June 19, faced a 50-game suspension for PED's, and never played another game with the Phils.
Despite the setbacks, Galvis will be with the Phillies next season in one way or another at second base, shortstop, third base, or all of the above. The interesting question to consider is what his role will be in 2014 when Utley's contract expires.
Ty Wigginton will not wear Phillies pinstripes in 2013. Wigginton was a train wreck defensively and his .235 average and 11 home runs are nowhere near what the Phillies hoped. The Phillies will buy him out for $500,000.comments powered by Disqus