Phillies Sign Placido Polanco

So glad the Mets aren’t the only ones in the NL East making unusual free agent signings.

The Phillies have signed Gold Glove second baseman Placido Polanco to a three-year, $18M contract to play third base.

I like Polanco — a lot. If the Mets didn’t have Luis Castillo, I would have loved to have seen them sign Polanco. But on a two-year deal, and to play 2B.

It’s a little surprising that the Phillies chose Polanco over Adrian Beltre — who is younger, a Gold Glove caliber third baseman, and has more power potential — but I suppose they have their reasons. Polanco generally has a better OBP than Beltre but that part of his game dipped in 2009. Beltre’s power dropped dramatically last year as well, but that was due to injuries. I wonder if the Phillies doubt Beltre’s birth certificate, and feel he’s going to break down?

*** UPDATE ***

An asking price of $10M per year now explains the Phillies’ passing on Adrian Beltre. Three years for Polanco, though, still seems like too much.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude December 3, 2009 at 3:42 pm
    Far be it for us to criticize the Phillies’ offseason acquisitions, as the questionable signings in the recent past like Raul Ibanez, Chan Ho Park, and Pedro Martinez have all paid enormous dividends, but I’m with you, Joe – I’m not getting this signing. Though not a gold glover, Feliz was definitely a top-5 defender of 3B in the NL. It was surprising to see him move from the cavernous AT&T Park in SF to the bandbox of CBP in Philly and consequently go from a 20+ HR hitter to only hitting 14 and 12 in his two seasons with the Phils, and so, if anything, I’d be inclined to believe the Phils would be looking to get more power out of their 3B. But, though good for doubles and triples, Polanco is by no stretch a slugger, and in a lot of ways is more similar to Feliz than you’d think. So it’s not as if Polanco is a sure upgrade, offensively or defensively. Like yourself, I thought the Phils would be targeting someone more like Adrian Beltre or Mark DeRosa, or maybe even a Troy Glaus or Melvin Mora if they wanted to defer the money to pitching; someone along the lines of a 25 HR, 90 RBI guy. That is not Polanco. Polanco is a very good #2 hitter, but I thought they already had Shane Victorino in that slot. With Polanco’s addition, that means either Victorino or Rollins will be bumped down the lineup (probably 6th or 7th), which, to me, is not utilizing their skills properly. Rollins and Victorino are table setters, and batting that low in the lineup, their OBP and speed are often going to be negated by the lack of extra base hits from the 8 and 9 slots. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but then again, they have won the division 3 times in a row now so they must have some kind of clue of how to win.

    Though, the Phils’ ability to get the greatest value for their buck continues, as Polanco’s contract actually averages less than Luis Castillo’s.

  2. joejanish December 3, 2009 at 7:58 pm
    I get the Polanco signing in that he is a gamer, a leader, a grinder, an excellent contact hitter, and will be above-average on defense. The Phils don’t necessarily need power at 3B because they get it at 2B and SS.

    What I don’t get is the three-year deal when two years should have been enough. What I also don’t get is how Polanco at 3 years / $18M is better than Pedro Feliz at 1 year / $5M. Will Polanco be that much of an upgrade?

    I guess we’ll find out. Last year I was DEAD WRONG about Raul Ibanez, so what do I know?

  3. Harry Chiti December 3, 2009 at 8:06 pm
    Remember, this is a new guy (Amaro Jr),running the show in South Philly. He seems more like Minaya in that he has signed older guys since he replaced Gillick. He may have gotten lucky with Ibanez this year but by the end of the contract we’ll see if he’s not suffering the same pains the Mets have gone through with signing older guys for a year too many.
  4. […] a bit of good news, the Phillies signed Placido Polanco to be their third baseman. Polanco is a good player, but I expected Philadelphia to go after Adrian […]
  5. Mic December 4, 2009 at 2:29 am
    This signing makes sense if they trade Utley away the Yanks. 🙂
  6. isuzudude December 4, 2009 at 10:06 am
    Good point, Harry! And boy I hope it comes true!