According to CSNPhilly.com, the Phillies are exploring the trade market for infielders. The news makes sense, because the infield play here at camp has been a whole lot of ugly. The Phillies knew they were parting with their most reliable defender when they traded Wilson Valdez away to the Reds this offseason, but the competition to fill in for him hasn't exactly been crisp. Michael Martinez, Kevin Fransden and Pete Orr are among the utility men in camp.
It's also worth mentioning again that Chase Utley has yet to play in a Grapefruit League game. The Phillies still say they expect him to be ready by Opening Day, but it's pretty clear that he is going to need a lot of rest this season to combat the chronic tendinitis in his knee. Ty Wigginton can play some second base, but he is not known for his glove. The concern is more second and third base since the Phillies think that prospect Freddy Galvis can provide stability there in case of a long-term injury to Jimmy Rollins.
Here are four players currently on major league rosters who could fit the bill:
1. Alberto Callaspo, Angels - Callaspo has a little Placido Polanco in him, carrying a career .281/.337/.389 batting line, including .288/.366/.375 line last season. The 29-year-old infielder will make $3.15 million this season and is under club control through 2013. He is primarily a second and third baseman, although he has played some short stop and out field.
2. Maicer Izturis, Angels - The 32-year-old utility man is coming off a career-high 494 plate appearances and a .276/.334/.388 batting line. He started 44 games at second base, 35 games at third base and 14 games at short stop for the Angels in 2011. Izturis doesn't appear to have a spot in the starting line-up, and he'll make $3.8 million this year before hitting free agency.
3. Jeff Baker, Cubs - Baker will be a free agent after the season and the Cubs do not expect to contend this year. In 567 career plate appearances against lefties he has hit .309/.360/.526 with 22 home runs. If you are looking for a right-handed bat off the bench and somebody who can give Chase Utley a blow against lefties, he could be fit.
4. Robert Andino, Orioles - The 28-year-old has played solid defense at second and third, and his .264//327/.344 line in 511 plate appearances last season is more than you can probably expect out of Michael Martinez.
Guys like Andino and Baker would probably be easier to acquire than Callaspo or Izturis, neither of whom gives the Angels a huge reason to look to deal. How much is a utility man worth? The Phillies might have to decide on an answer at some point this spring.