The Phillies have had many good third baseman in their history; Mike Schmidt, and Scott Rolen for instance, were two great MLB third baseman that played for the Phillies. But over the last 12 seasons, the Phillies have had a lot of problems in the hot corner.
When the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, Pedro Feliz was their third basemen. Feliz was an okay player, but he was never a great talent. In ’08, Feliz hit .249, with a .402 slugging percentage. His OPS. was low, at .705. He had a little power, usually belting 10-20 homers. In ’09 he actually had a better season hitting .266, with 12 homers, and a .694 OPS. Feliz was toward the end of a ten year career when the Phillies had him for two seasons.
After Feliz left, the Phillies brought back a familiar name in Placido Polanco to fill the hole at third base. Polanco had played third for the Phils back in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005. He spent three more years with the club in ’10, ’11, and ’12. In his 16 year MLB career, Polanco had a batting average of .297, an OBP of .343, an OPS of .740, 723 RBIs, and 104 career homers. Polanco also was very good in the field. So why did the Phillies move on from Polanco so soon? The answer was that he was very late in his career at the time, and spent his final big league season in Miami in 2013. He was just too old at the time to continue being the Phils third baseman, as his stats were declining greatly. So sadly, the Phils had to let him go after the 2012 season.
In 2013, the Phillies were in need of a new third baseman. And they brought up none other than, the great Cody Asche. Asche played third for the Phils for three years, ’13, ’14, and most of ’15. He was never the player the Phillies hoped he would be, as he had to move to left field after Maikel Franco came up from the minors in 2015. Asche had a career average of .234, an OPS of .668, an OBP of .293, 32 career homers, and 107 career extra base hits overall. Not good at all. He would go on hot streaks from time to time, but it wasn’t enough to be a big leaguer because he hasn’t played in the majors since 2017 with the White Sox.
Then the great Maikel Franco was supposed to come along and save everyone’s lives. In 2014, Franco had a great season in AAA, and he made his major league debut in May of 2015. Maikel then went on to have a very good 2015 season, but in 2016 things started to fall apart. Franco’s stats went down more every season, until the Phillies just couldn’t bear it anymore and non-tendered him last offseason. He had a few moments like his two walk-off homers, and a few defensive gems. But Franco was one of the greatest busts in Phillies history.
The question is, what is the answer at third base for Philadelphia? Is it top third base prospect Alec Bohm? Or will he turn out to be another Maikel Franco? Is the answer a trade for someone like Kris Bryant? Or someone the Phils could sign in free-agency? Only the future will tell. Make sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter @philliesnews_.