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Phillies exploring other options at third base

NLCS Dodgers Phillies Baseball

Philadelphia Phillies’ Pedro Feliz hits an RBI triple during the fifth inning of Game 3 of the National League Championship baseball series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


When asked if Pedro Feliz will return next season, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.hedged a bit:

“More than anything else, we want to see what options may be out there for us and decide whether picking his option up is best suited for this club to try to move forward,” Amaro said. “He had a solid year for us. I like the man personally. He’s a great person and a great teammate, but I also believe in trying to improve and sometimes change can be for the better. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to, but it’s just something that we’re thinking about.”

The Phillies have until Monday to decide whether to pick up Feliz’s $5.5 million option for 2010. Feliz, 34, is known for being one of the best defensive third basemen in the majors, however he batted a modest .266/.308/.386 with 12 home runs and 82 RBI in 2009. His .694 OPS was the third lowest among third basemen with at least 500 plate appearances.

If the Phillies choose to exercise his $500,000 buyout, they’ll have plenty of alternatives in the free-agent market. Adrian Beltre and Chone Figgins would both be upgrades offensively, with fine defensive reputations, to boot. Only thing is, they’ll certainly ask for more than the $5.5 million Feliz would make.