BY PHIL ANDREWS, Senior Writer
I was drawn into a discussion the other day about the Phillies roster for the upcoming season. The person wanted to know if I thought the 2010 team was better than last years. My response — yes, both in the pitching rotation and the batting order. I was also asked how I felt about the team signing Placido Polanco to play third base instead of the club keeping Pedro Feliz.
The decision to sign Placido Polanco was a no-brainer. Yes, Polanco is 34, but so was his predecessor Pedro Feliz. And that is where the comparison between the two ends.
Offensively, Polanco’s career batting average is 30 points higher than Pedro’s, partly because of Placido’s patience at the plate. Last year Polanco played in eight fewer games than Feliz and yet scored 20 more runs and collected 22 more hits.
Polanco also gives Philadelphia some right-handed-hitting in a lefty laden lineup. Defensively, Polanco is a two-time Gold Glover, albeit at second base, but the Phillies like his chances of transferring his defense to his former home, the hot corner.
Polanco’s familiarity with short stop and second also gives manager Charlie Manuel some options when it comes to resting Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, especially Utley whose physical style of play often finds him worn down near the end of each season.