BY SPENCER REITER, Contributor
This past Thursday, the Phillies signed, former Phillies second basemen, Placido Polanco to a three year, $18 million contract. Now however, we get to see this gold glove winning infielder work his magic at the hot corner rather than on the right side of the diamond.
In the 2009 season Polanco hit .285 with 72 RBIs for the Detroit Tigers. Since he was with the Phillies in 2002, Polanco has hit consistently in the high .200’s to mid .300’s. He has also won two Gold Glove awards for his defensive work at second base.
Pros of Polanco- Polanco is a very consistent offensive player and will fit great in the Phillies lineup. He will be a great replacement for Pedro Feliz. Contact is Polanco’s strength, he can always be counted on to put the bat on the ball, which is what hurt us last year in key situations with Feliz’s inconsistency. Polanco is also an above average infielder, and has shown he can get the job done with his defensive accolades.
Polanco would be great for this Phillies team. He is a good run producer and also a great contact hitter. The Phillies were looking for a player that would be an upgrade over Feliz. Fortunately, Polanco will give the Phillies the type of player they were looking for. He will contribute phenomenally in the two hole, and be able to get on base for one of the most dangerous back-to-back duos in the game, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. If the Phillies were to get someone like Chone Figgins or Mark DeRosa, they would have had to adjust their line-up and maybe have to play a new type of offense to accommodate them. Polanco is also a good pick up because the Phillies got him for a cheap three years. At a young 33 years old, I would look for Polanco to contribute a lot for the next three years.
Cons of Polanco- Polanco will help the Phillies offensively, but he is a downgrade defensively from Feliz. Feliz is one of the best third basemen in MLB and saved the Phillies a couple times last year. Polanco is a second basemen, and playing third will be a new test for him. It is a risky move, and the Phillies are hoping to improve him as a third basemen, and infielder in general.
Offensively he will likely be taking Shane Victorino’s spot, high in the line-up, and moving Victorino down, potentially to the seven spot. This may anger the emotional Victorino and strike up some problems for the team chemistry. Also offensively, Polanco will be looking for hits, which makes him a very aggressive hitter. This will take away from the walks the Phillies got last year, and were able to produce on. He may be a little to aggressive at the plate some times, and risk production opportunities.
My opinion- I think Polanco was a great signing for the Phillies. I think he will make them even more of a threat on the base path and at the plate. He will be able to set up our power hitters perfectly and also produce runs when put in the position. The Phillies will not have one weak player in their lineup this year due to this addition of Polanco and his consistency. Learning to be a good third basemen will be tough, but that is what the off-season is for. He will be able to adapt, it is just a matter of time. There is no way he can live up to the level set by Feliz defensively, but he is still a good infielder.
Polanco is the all around player the Phillies needed for this upcoming season. A new threat, a new face, and more ways to hurt teams. Polanco said in his press conference after his signing,”I always wanted to be here,” and “I never wanted to leave”. It is nice to have a player who really love Philadelphia. He is happy to be back, and the fans are happy to have him back.