Phillies Focus on Polanco, Talks Serious


polanco.jpgTalks have become serious as the Phillies have narrowed their focus to Placido Polanco to replace Pedro Feliz at third base.

Multiple sources told MLB.com today that the Phillies have been very aggressive in their pursuit of Polanco, a free agent who played for the Phillies from 2002-05. The Phillies also had targeted Mark DeRosa and Adrian Beltre, but Polanco has separated himself from the pack. It is unclear how close the sides are to a deal.

The Red Sox, Astros and other teams have expressed interest in Polanco, but it appears the Phillies are further down the line in their pursuit.

Polanco, a career .303 hitter, has spent the past four-plus seasons with the Detroit Tigers, who acquired him in a trade with the Phillies in 2005 for relief pitcher Ugueth Urbina and infielder Ramon Martinez.

Polanco hit .285 with 10 home runs and 72 RBIs in 618 at-bats last season with Detroit. He hit .341 in 2007 and .307 in 2008.

He has played only second base with the Tigers, where he won three consecutive Gold Gloves. Polanco has played 322 games in his career at third base, but only nine since the end of the 2004 season.

If the Phillies sign Polanco, he could hit second in the Phillies lineup between Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. Polanco struck out just once every 14.7 plate appearances in 2009, the second-best mark in the Majors. He has averaged just one strikeout every 17.5 plate appearances the past five seasons, which also is the second-best mark in the Majors.

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17 Comments

I remember when Polanco was the second baseman and they had to let him go because they had some guy named Utley coming out of the minor leagues. Polanco is a solid hitter but I don’t think he’s ever played third base.

Interesting that the third base has been sort of a revolving door since Schmidt retired. I thought Charlie Hayes would be the guy, but he fizzled. Since then it’s been a patchwork job with no permanence. I guess that’s OK since the rest of the INF is solid, but it would be sweet to see a kid come up and claim the job, but I guess that ain’t gonna happen.

Man Beltre is such a better choice. Sigh.

Uhhh.. Muleman: Polanco played 95 games for the Phillies at 3rd base from 2002 – 2005. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/p/polanpl01.shtml

It’s still an upgrade over Feliz of course. Polanco put up a .727 OPS to Feliz’s .694 last year, and his BABIP was sort of low so hopefully he’ll recover and post something to his 2008 – .768. Still, Beltre offers elite defense and generally a ton of value, I don’t understand why Rube would prefer Polanco.

beltre would cost about 8 mil a year for 3years minimum. polanco is a great short term, cheaper solution because of his age. but its not like the phils have a great prospect ready to come play in 2010 or 2011. if this were the case, id say definitely go for polanco until the young 3rd baseman was ready to come up. for the reason that nobody is in the minors, i think beltre is the best option to secure a solid 3rd baseman, with power, at age 31, that can still put up productive years. im tellin ya though, his contract might be more than what ruben wants to spend…i really think it would be around 24-26mil for 3 years.

This is supposed to excite the fanbase? Why is Amaro targeting retreads?

I would hope Amaro is more concerned with getting the most production for his money than exciting the fanbase. Nonetheless, I’m not sure Polanco represents that.

Polanco is hardly a retread, but I still prefer Beltre. If it’s an economic decision, I don’t think he would cost that much more. I hope they at least kicked the tires with him.

ljs: OK, I stand corrected. But he’s played exactly 1 game at third since then. I still think he’s a downgrade from Beltre. And 95 games out of 1,014 isn’t exactly making him an everyday third baseman.

I want Beltre. I think Polanco could be a fall back guy but he hasn’t played 3rd base for basically 5 seasons. He is a great defensive 2nd baseman but I really don’t know if he will be able to give us the same defense that we have been used to from Feliz. Beltre will actually be an upgrade with the glove and with the bat over Feliz. Also, Amaro is going to have some tough budget decisions to make after this season and he could have quite a bit of financial flexibility depending on what he does. I don’t see Werth coming back so we are going to need a RH power bat and Beltre could provide that next year.

phylan: Let’s not get worked-up over a 3% increase in OPS. It’s a blip over 600-some at bats. And why would Amaro be concerned with “exciting the fanbase?” They sold-out 73 home games last year and stand to at least equal that number in 2010. I still think the key word is “money.”
They still need to improve their bench. They can win 100 games and all that, but when they get to another World Series and have to use a DH or call on a key pinch hitter their weakness is exposed.

WHile both Beltre and Polanco are good options it is obvious why Amaro prefers Polanco-he’s a top of the order hitter. We don’t need more power, but do need a guy to get on base regularly in front of Utley, Howard, Werth etc. THe lineup could very well be: Polanco, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, Rollins, Ruiz, Pitcher. THis gives us .300 hitter leading off, who almost never strikes out, and a leadoff hitter batting 7th, to either keep the inning going, or start it off and not have the pitcher the 3rd out. THink of ROllins instead of Feliz in the order. Plus Polanco has no injury issues

Why are people so convinced that a move to 3rd base from 2nd base is such an issue? If a guy wins 2 consecutive gold gloves at 2nd base, he knows how to play the infield. He has lightning fast reactions, can stretch, get up fast and fire a strike to 1st base. Someone please tell me why fielding third base is so different and needs to be considered when moving a guy there from 2nd. To me, they’re both infield positions. Is it because its a little further away than 2nd and needs a stronger arm to reach 1st? Thats ridiculous.

None of the candidates add more power anyway. And I don’t really want a guy who has an OBP in the .320-.330 range leading off. Nor is Rollins a “lead off hitter” with the OBPs he’s been putting up lately. Vic could do it.

joebridgenc, The longer throw is an important diffence, but #rd is much closer to the hitter than @nd, so a fielder has to have excellent reaction to line drives and hard hit grounders. Also 3rd basemen have to field bunts or swinging bunts hit that way. It helps to be able to charge a soft grounder, bare-hand it, and throw off-balance to first. Doubleplays are different. Basically, it’s the same: you field grounds and liners and throw the ball. But the angles, speed of the ball, and throwing distance are all different.

The failures and reverses which await men – and one after another sadden the brow of youth – add a dignity to the prospect of human life, which no Arcadian success would do. Do you agree? jordan

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