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Charlie Manuel wants the Phillies to upgrade over Placido Polanco at third base

Oct 13, 2011, 11:51 AM EDT

Placido Polanco on bases

Placido Polanco is under contract for $6.25 million next season with a $5.5 million team option or $1 million buyout for 2013, but manager Charlie Manuel said yesterday that he’d like to see the Phillies find an upgrade at third base this offseason.

“If we need to upgrade and we can, we should do it,” Manuel told Nate Mink of MLB.com. “If we can stay healthy, it gets back to that being a key. Being healthy and being on the field is going to take care of a lot of things.”

Polanco missed 40 games with an assortment of injuries this season and underwent a pair of sports hernia surgeries earlier this week. And the 36-year-old also missed 30 games in 2009.

He’s still one of the game’s top contact hitters and remains able to post a solid batting average with decent on-base skills, but Polanco has managed just 11 homers and a .365 slugging percentage in 1,125 plate appearances since signing with the Phillies. During that time there are 24 different third basemen with at least 750 plate appearances and his .702 OPS ranks 20th, ahead of only Kevin Kouzmanoff, Miguel Tejada, Jose Lopez, and Brandon Inge.

Jimmy Rollins hitting the open market as a free agent will be the Phillies’ biggest infield issue this winter and finding a clear upgrade over Polanco may not fit into the payroll plans, but at the very least a quality backup seems likely to be on Ruben Amaro Jr.’s shopping list.

  1. conglardina - Oct 13, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    I agree!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jRnBSECUTA

  2. SmackSaw - Oct 13, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    Most teams want upgrades. Why do you only focus on the Phillies?

    • phillyphreak - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:00 PM

      To piss you off.

      • SmackSaw - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:05 PM

        No, it doesn’t piss me off that the Phillies stink. To be beat over the head about it everyday is tiresome. Why beat a dead team…er…horse?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:11 PM

        Then don’t read the post and certainly don’t reply. Seams simple enough.

      • phillyphreak - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:13 PM

        Or you can go start a competing blog where you gather information and post it. My guess is that you’ll find more information on the Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox etc, than say, the Royals or Rockies but hey, let us know when it’s up and running.

      • jimbo1949 - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:17 PM

        Because the teams that are still in the playoffs haven’t started throwing their players under the bus, yet?

    • jdocker - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:13 PM

      It’s news when a manager publicly states that he wants his front office to decline an option on a player.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:16 PM

        No option this year. He is under contract for 2012. I think it is news because Charlie usually sticks with the old guys to a fault.

      • jwbiii - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:38 PM

        Yeah, what Manuel is saying is, “Kick our $7.25M (including the buyout of his 2013 option) player to the curb. I want someone better.”

      • paperlions - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:37 PM

        Remember when some folks panned the signing of Polanco for too many years and they were shouted down by the phans? Ninja.

        At least it isn’t as bad a deal as the Ibanez one, where it was too much money and too many years, that people also made fun of the day it was signed. Ninja.

        ….or the Howard extension that was done far too early, for too much money, too many years (also made fun of the day it was announced). Ninja.

        Does this may Cashman a ninja too? I’m having a hard time finding differences (except for the amount of money each has to go around ninjaing).

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:39 PM

        Don’t forget Blanton….that was a bad extension too. I do find it ironic that his first trade might turn out to be his best….Greg Golson for John Mayberry Jr.

      • paperlions - Oct 13, 2011 at 4:13 PM

        Yep, forgot that one….throw in the horrible deal he got when he traded Lee away (the Mariners got far more when they traded him away the next year)…and I just don’t get the Amaro love. It seemed to be an unsustainable model for a win now approach, and now that the winning now time may be nearing an end….what do they do? Depleted the farm system, lots of high paid old dudes….future murky.

    • xmatt0926x - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:02 PM

      Why do you go onto a Phillies post and then complain about posts about the Phillies? Most teams may want upgrades, but posts about most teams don’t garner as much attention from not only their own fans but opposing teams fans as you have just proven.

  3. Jonny 5 - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    If this is about not winning the NL championship Charlie only needs to look back to 2008 when they won it all. With Pedro Feliz on third base. And Burrell in LF. And nowhere even close to the pitching they now have.

  4. mabunar - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Pujols played, what, 7 games at third this year? There’s your upgrade!

    • kellyb9 - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:13 PM

      As much as I’d love that, Pujols should retire a Cardinal.

  5. seanmk - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    trade for chase headley, problem solved at third for a few years. the padres have a few third base prospects and headley is going to start to get expensive. not sure what they will do with polanco though? is he going to become a platoon player or something? he can’t play short, only second and third for the most part.

    • clydeserra - Oct 13, 2011 at 3:28 PM

      How does a Headly trade work? Who do the Phillies have that they can give up to get Headly? May? Altherr?

      The padres won’t just hand him over.

  6. CJ - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    Cuddyer. He can be moved around to spell guys at first and the corners in the outfield, with Polanco filling his spot at third on those days and give Utley some rest at 2nd. They need to rest their stars more to keep them healthy for the stretch. If they had a deeper bench Charlie would be more inclined to do that.

    Rest, more than anything is what this team needs to win the world series. These guys are up in years (and admittedly Cuddyen wont’ make them any younger), so you can’t just attribute this as an abberation of random injuries that won’t happen again. If these guys were all 25 then sure, but when they’re mostly over 30, they’re not going to be miraculously more healthy and able to make it through the season when they’re all a year older.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:18 PM

      I agree for the most part. They need to be a deeper team. Real options off the bench, not Michael Martinez, Wilson Valdez, Ross Gload, and Ben Francisco (one swing aside). I would prefer somebody who played the corners a tad better than Cuddyer, but I don’t think anybody like that is on the market.

      • CJ - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:33 PM

        The guy above me suggested Headley, that’s not a bad idea either except he’s still under contract.

        Younger, but can play 3rd and OF and has a decent bat. They’d lose some on D, but with Polanco’s constant injury struggles, how much range would he have over there next season? Would it really be that big of a difference? I’m not so sure. This isn’t the Polanco of 3 years ago that we’re talking about.

    • hansob - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:31 PM

      Whatever extra Cuddyer gives you with his bat at 3B over Polanco, he’ll give right back with his glove. I know he’s played the position in the past, but he’s horrible at it.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:37 PM

      I think Headley would be an expensive target and isn’t that big of an upgrade. I said this in another post and think the idea is rather ridiculous but before the Howard injury RAJ was talking about teaching Jr. to play 3rd. Don’t see how that would work, but he did say it.

      • CJ - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:45 PM

        That would be great but I agree with your sentiment, not likely (especially now). That would open a huge hole at first. And I realize by WAR the different between Howard and Gload isn’t that huge, but Philly phans know how flawed that is at face value. I’d rather not have to find out factually incorrect that is next season.

      • seanmk - Oct 13, 2011 at 2:02 PM

        expensive target? yeah he would be but the padres have 2 guys that profile as third basemen that are near ready for the majors. away from petco last year headley hit .330/.399/.465 and the three previous years he hit .305/.366/.438. he’s a good defensive player at third and only 27. now this isn’t realistic but it would be a good target.

  7. pisano - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    Call the Yankees, I’m sure they’ll listen if the Phillies want Arod!!!

    • CJ - Oct 13, 2011 at 2:58 PM

      we want guys that come through in the post-season, not choke. The Phillies know how to do that without A-Rod’s “help”, thanks.

      • jwbiii - Oct 13, 2011 at 3:18 PM

        List of current Phillies with higher post season OPSes than Alex Rodriguez:
        Chase Utley.

      • CJ - Oct 13, 2011 at 3:40 PM

        don’t let stats get in the way of public percept– er, I may, the truth :D

  8. foreverchipper10 - Oct 13, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    So what you are saying is Cholly is sick of Polly.

  9. Walk - Oct 13, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    The phillies knew what they were getting when they signed polanco to play third. One of better contact hitters in the game, rarely strikes out. He is not a traditional third base type of hitter. They had chase utley playing second who normally puts up the type of numbers associated with a corner position. The only reason it is an issue now is chase had a down year, werth left a season before, howard is now probably going to start the season on the dl, and rollins may be lost. Please do not blame polanco he has done everything that could be reasonably expected.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 13, 2011 at 4:54 PM

      Disagree. Polanco just had the worst season of his professional career. If you factor out the great start to the season, then his numbers are horribly bad. Like should never see the field bad.I know some of that can be chalked up to injuries, but at his age those things are going to happen. He is clearly not an everyday player at this point and should be replaced if at all possible.

      • paperlions - Oct 13, 2011 at 5:25 PM

        Not to pick on you doc…but….if you take out the time Polanco was good…he was bad? Are you sure you want to go with that one?

        What Polanco was, was unhealthy…if that can’t be fixed, then they need to find a replacement….if it can, he should be fine.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 13, 2011 at 5:45 PM

        I get the health aspect of it and it played a role….the question becomes at his age, is this something that will continually happen…breaking down? The answer is probably yest, hence they need a replacement because he can’t play everyday without picking up some type of knock that lingers thereby negatively effecting his performance. What I meant was that the contrast between the first 5-6 weeks of the season with the rest of the season was so stark. He finished the season with a .674 OPS which isn’t good to begin with…but after the first month his OPS was something around .570 which is dreadful…so the player the Phillies were getting for most of the year wasn’t even a .674 OPS player rather a .570 OPS player.

  10. metalhead65 - Oct 13, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    if you ask nice I bet the reds would let you have scott rolen. see he is feeling the best he has in years after his 27th shoulder surgery and should be good for at least 60-70 games this year. getting rid of him will leave dusty no choice but to play the young kid fransisco this year.

  11. skyeye67 - Oct 14, 2011 at 3:39 AM

    Charlie is correct..it’s time to politely say goodbye to Polly. His defense is still strong (prior to the surgeries) but at the plate he has become a liability. I don’t know if this was because of the injuries but I doubt it, not to the extent that his numbers have fallen off. It’s going to cost the Phillies some money and I have no idea who they’ll target as a replacement but….this is one of those offseason moves, along with letting Ibanez walk, that needs to be done.

  12. rexadelphia8 - Oct 14, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Bye bye Polly, we need to get younger , even though we ll miss your glove skills

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