Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has stated the Phillies will likely fill their vacancy at third base. However, the free agent class for 2013 is weak. Very weak. Cot's Baseball Contracts list the following as unrestricted free agents:
- Geoff Blum
- Miguel Cairo
- Maicer Izturus
- Scott Rolen
- Kevin Kouzmanoff
Miguel Cairo couldn't make the team in 2009 until the playoffs, and Scott Rolen plays maybe 65 games a year. There are no real options on this list. The next best chance could be those who have team options that could be picked up include:
- Placido Polanco
- David Wright
- Brandon Inge
- Mark Reynolds
- Kevin Youkilis
- Chipper Jones
Ok, so Chipper Jones is set to retire and David Wright's option for 2013 will most definitely be picked up by the Mets. Polanco, Inge, Reynolds, and Youkilis most feel are going to have their options declined.
But here's my idea.
David Wright will be a free agent AFTER 2013. So in order to land David Wright as a free agent, the Phillies must find a one-year stopgap. The best option may come in the form of Kevin Youkilis.
Youkilis has an option for $13 million for 2013. Many reports indicate that the White Sox have no intention to pick up the option, and are satisfied with his production. Since joining the White Sox, in 40 games Youkilis has 10 home runs and 29 RBI. They could use a little bit of pop at third, and Youkilis can do that. Even so, a long-term commitment is not wise. Here is where the Phillies could be creative.
I propose the Phillies call White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams. The proposition is simple: "Hey, since you're not going to pick up the option anyway, how about we give you a spare part in exchange for exercising the $13 million option and trading him to the Phillies?"
$13 million is a lot, but it's for one year. Flexibility later is worth the high price up front. Youkilis could instead go to free agency where he could find a multi-year commitment. This way the Phillies have third base manned with some productivity and power. Then, at season's end, they can set their sights on the real prize: David Wright.
In an ideal world, the Mets would simply not pick up Wright's option and the Phillies could grab him. But, the Phillies face playing Freddy Galvis at third base with occasional Carlos Ruiz at the hot corner. They are better off with a known commodity.