The Phils won 8-5 today behind Cole Hamels, thereby splitting their series with the Giants, but the game would not have been nearly that close if it had nor been for the brick-mitted Wes Helms. Helms had two errors: The first gave the Giants their first run in the second and led to a three-run inning and 3-2 Giant lead. The second helped the Giants tie the score 5-5 in the fifth.
Helms now projects to 31.4, that though it is not nearly a record, is among the worst in the last fifty or so years and combined with Helms' sub-par offense has been a drag on this team all year.
The most errors all time for a third baseman were recorded error-laden 19th century:
Now, here are the worst since 1950:
Jim Ray Hart
You'll note that a number of these players (Sheffield, Perez, Bonilla, Allen) were shifted to other positions, usually first base or the outfield, later in their careers. The Phils though in their infinite wisdom chose to shift the error-prone Helms to third.
Currently, Helms has no homers and just ten RBI and a .661 OPS to go with his empty .284 average. His .661 OPS ranks just 19th among starting third baseman (min 50 ABs). Thank goodness for Kevin Kouzmanoff!
To put his poor offense in context, here is Helms' 2007 projected offensive and defensive stats compared to the average third baseman's from last season:
Avg 3B man
The problem is that the alternative at third is Abraham Nunez, who is a no-hit wonder, not to mention the only viable backup at short and second. Given that his career OPS is just .771 compared to a .820 average for all starting third basemen.
He just is not a talented enough player to start at third at the major-league level. It was a mistake on Pat Gillick's part to believe he was. At some point unless Helms picks up his offense and matches his career 2006 seasonI don't expect his defensive to improve muchthe Phils will have to cut their losses and let Helms and his $2.3M contract go. I hope Chris Coste is working out at third in Triple-A.