Phillie Phodder

Posted: September 02, 2007

Despite their overall offensive prowess, the Phillies have received subpar production from the third-base position this season.

Entering Friday, the Phillies had the lowest slugging percentage in the National League for third basemen - .378. The three best slugging percentages at the position belonged to NL East rivals Florida (.572), Atlanta (.529) and the Mets (.529).

The Phils entered Friday with just 10 homers from their third basemen. Only Pittsburgh (eight) had fewer.

Upgrading the production and power at the position is a must this off-season.

The Phils won't be landing potential free-agent Alex Rodriguez, whose price tag could be $30 million per season. But there could be some other intriguing names available, starting with Colorado's Garrett Atkins, who could be traded to clear room for top prospect Ian Stewart. Atkins, who played at UCLA with Chase Utley, hit .329 with 29 homers and 120 RBIs last season. He entered Friday hitting .278 with 20 homers and 91 RBIs. Atkins, 27, will be arbitration-eligible this winter, and it will cost top talent to get him in a trade.

The Rockies could hang on to Atkins and move him to first base if they can trade Todd Helton, but that won't be easy as Helton has a no-trade clause and is still owed $73 million.

Texas' Hank Blalock, who has been sidelined most of the season with a shoulder injury, is another third baseman who could intrigue the Phils. There have been rumblings for a couple of years that Blalock could be traded. Toronto would move Troy Glaus, but the Phils aren't likely to pick up his $12.75 million tab for 2008. The White Sox could also make Joe Crede available.

In addition to Rodriguez, potential free-agent third basemen include Mike Lowell and Pedro Feliz.

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