When the season began for the St. Louis Cardinals, they turned the third baseman job over to David Freese. Mr. Freese, 26, did a good job. He hit .296 with 4 homers and 36 RBI before surgery to repair torn tendons in his right ankle ended his season.
Enter utilityman Felipe Lopez. Lopez hit a surprising .310 last year with Milwaukee and he cracked 23 homers back in ’05 with the Reds. But, Lopez has struggled mightily for the Cardinals. He’s hitting only .137 in August and his .925 fielding average with 10 errors at third base is not worthy of a contender. With the Cardinals mired in a 4 game losing streak, a change had to be made.
Last night, the Cardinals acquired Pedro Feliz, 35, who was doing nothing more than earning splinters on the Astros bench. To obtain Feliz, who wears a 2008 ring from the Phillies, the Cardinals sent high-A reliever David Carpenter to Houston. Carpenter, a converted catcher, sported a 2.36 ERA and 20 saves at Palm Beach in 49 games.
Feliz played a key role in the Phillies march to the World Series title in 2008 and the Cardinals hope that he can bring some of that swagger back to a Redbirds team that is now 3 1/2 games behind the Reds. That being said, the Phillies could have picked up Feliz, but realized his skills were deteriorating and they needed more pop out of the third base position, despite some key hits for Philadelphia down the stretch and in the playoffs.
Feliz is hitting just .221 on the season with only 4 homeruns. He was replaced in the lineup by Chris Johnson as part of the struggling Astros youth movement. Since 2007, Feliz has the second best fielding average in the MLB at .967, but that too has slipped. He’s committed 8 errors in 63 games this year for a .942 fielding average.
In 2007, Feliz led the majors with a plus-27 at third base, according to Bill James Online. Feliz has been a plus third baseman every season of his career — expect for this season, when he’s a minus-10, according to the rankings at Bill James Online. Feliz, however, is still an upgrade over Lopez at third defensively.
Fangraphs called Feliz the worst position player in MLB. It may not be far from the truth.
Don’t expect Feliz to turn around your hitting (in fact, he may hurt your batting average), but he should at least get more at bats than he was getting in Houston. In the deepest of leagues, Feliz now warrants some consideration, especially if he gets most of the playing time over Lopez. But, despite Lopez’s recent struggles, he still is the better hitter of the two so we anticipate Feliz’s role to ultimately be as a late inning defensive replacement or as a spot starter to spell Lopez who is clearly reeling.
With Pedro Feliz gone to St. Louis, the Astros filled the vacancy on the 25-man roster by
reinstating rookie shortstop Tommy Manzella. Manzella, on the 15-day disabled list since June 24, batted .366 in 11 games with Class AA Corpus Christi and AAA Round Rock as part of his extended rehab.
Manager Brad Mills said Manzella will get playing time at shortstop but suggested fellow rookie Angel Sanchez will handle the majority of it. “I think (Sanchez) has earned a shot to play there quite a bit,” Mills said. Sanchez is hitting .290 with 11 RBIs in 37 games.
So, it appears as though Tommy Manzella’s role will continue to be as a backup and he therefore should not be considered for your fantasy baseball roster.