Free-agent watch

Posted: November 03, 2011

THE PHILLIES have not ruled out signing both Ryan Madson and Jimmy Rollins, although they have given indications that they view Madson as more of a priority. Parting with Rollins would increase the need to upgrade their offense at leftfield and third base. Here are five hitters the Phillies could target:

1) David DeJesus, 31, OF/LHB: When Ruben Amaro detailed the change he would like to see in his lineup's approach, he might as well have asked DeJesus to send in his resume. He's a contact hitter who hits the ball to all fields. He is a good baserunner, puts together good at-bats, is a solid defensive player, and, oh by the way, has a career .284 batting average and .356 on-base percentage. He is also coming off the least productive season of his career, having hit .240 with a .323 OBP and 86 strikeouts after an offseason trade from Kansas City to Oakland. Maybe he is getting old fast, but DeJesus hit .318/.384 in 2010 and may have been affected by a thumb injury last season. Either way, he could provide a perfect fit at a good value in leftfield, although he can play all three outfield positions.

2) Aramis Ramirez, 33, 3B/RHB: Don't be surprised if the Phillies' plan is to sacrifice Rollins' offense at shortstop in exchange for upgrading over Placido Polanco at third. They likely would sacrifice defense at both positions, definitely at third, but Ramirez has averaged 26 home runs over the last 11 seasons, hitting for contact and power while showing few signs of slowing down. Polanco would fit as a super-utility man a la Texas' Michael Young.

3) Jamey Carroll, 37, SS/3B/2B/OF/RHB: Don't let his age fool you. Since 2008, he has hit .284 with a .362 OBP while converting 33 of 42 stolen-base attempts. A potential Rollins fill-in.

4) Alex Gonzalez, 34, SS/RHB: He's the opposite of what they are looking for out of the offense, but he's an excellent defender and would bring some power to the bottom of the order.

5) Mark Kotsay, 35, OF/1B/LHB: A career .306 pinch-hitter who makes contact and has some defensive versatility.

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