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What if Placido Polanco is done?

Apr 18, 2012, 6:56 PM EDT

Placido Polanco Getty Images

Trying to get by without their first baseman and second baseman, the Phillies aren’t receiving any help from their third baseman to date: Placido Polanco is hitting .179/.220/.205 in 39 at-bats.

Included in those 39 at-bats for Polanco are six strikeouts. That’s far from an excessive total for most players — Adam Dunn has already racked up three times that many — but it’s sure more than Polanco is used to. One of the game’s top contact hitters, Polanco has struck out once every 13.6 at-bats for his career. His rate this season is twice as high.

Now, 39 at-bats isn’t much of a sample size. But the Phillies were concerned about Polanco going into the season. There were even rumors they tried to ship him to Colorado, but that the Rockies didn’t want him because they weren’t convinced he’d last as a second baseman. Fighting injuries, Polanco lost 50 points of OPS last season, hitting .277/.335/.339 in 469 at-bats. His games played dropped from 153 in 2009 to 132 in 2010 to 122 last year.

The Phillies don’t necessarily need big numbers from Polanco. They like him as a No. 2 hitter, but once they get Chase Utley back, they could just go ahead and drop him to the bottom of the order, with Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Utley occupying the top three spots. They do need Polanco’s defense at third base: the drop off to Ty Wigginton there is huge.

So while replacing Polanco probably isn’t the answer, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if this is it for him as a regular. He’s 36 and increasingly injury prone. Transitioning to a reserve role might be the best thing for him in 2013.

On the other hand, he does have one point in his favor. According to Baseball Reference, his most similar player through age 35 is Julio Franco, suggesting he has another 10-12 years of baseball in front of him.

  1. skerney - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    With Doc, Lefty, C-Lee, Vanimal, and Fat Joe who needs a first, second, or third baseman?

    • thefalcon123 - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:11 AM

      ….perhaps a team that lost 1-0 last night.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:01 PM

      LOL! Is that right skerney? Again…I present you…a Philly Fan.

      • skerney - Apr 20, 2012 at 1:23 PM

        I was being facetious.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 20, 2012 at 1:39 PM

      My fault Skerney. It wasn’t too far off from some of the other stuff I have seen from people.
      I apologize.

  2. rjostewart - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    Just spitballing here, but if the Red Sox really do think ill of Kevin Youkilis nowadays, wouldn’t he and Philly be a perfect fit?

    • Ben - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:59 PM

      Believe it or not Youk’s numbers this year are worse than Polanco’s (yes, small sample size). I’m not sure the Red Sox have anyone to replace Youk either, really.

      • rjostewart - Apr 18, 2012 at 8:41 PM

        They do: Will Middlebrooks.

    • spudchukar - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:25 AM

      Yes, Youkilis would fit in great in Philadelphia. Much like Craplebon.

      • 18thstreet - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:44 AM


  3. xmatt0926x - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    I hate to admit it but he really does look like he’s lost a few steps and alot of zip in his bat. It’s a damn shame too. I hated when he went to Detroit from the Phillies and we were stuck with that stiff Davis Bell. That clown was on the roid list and still sucked. Then Polanco came back and I thought it was a great pickup. It was going great until Tim Hudson plunked him in the elbow. He’s never been the same since. That bone injury stole a year and a half from Polanco and now he just looks real old.

  4. xmatt0926x - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    **Davis Bell

  5. xmatt0926x - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    ***Ok, one more try…..DAVID BELL. Typing on a phone sucks!

    • bigxrob - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:33 PM

      look on the bright side: Seeing you try to correct your mistake, then doing the same thing again made me laugh.
      You can sleep easy tonight knowing you made someone smile.

  6. aclassyguyfromaclassytown - Apr 18, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    I had this discussion with some other HBT commenters last year. We were trying to think of players to replace him. Wish the Phils would’ve seen this one coming earlier, and seeing how they’ve not done much to replace, or temporarily substitue for Utley over the last 2 years, you start to wonder if the people making some of these decisions know what they’re doing. Not knockin NinJr here, but someone in the Phightin’s front office hasn’t gotten the memo about needing capable players OTHER than your pitching staff (specifically ones who can field AND hit). And if it IS RAJ to blame…… AH! Smokebomb!

  7. deathmonkey41 - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Bring back my favorite Philly- Charlie Hayes!!!

    • bigxrob - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:42 PM

      I loved chuck.

  8. djm426 - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    No question he’s barely hanging on..he is a liability to the phillies now

  9. b7p19 - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:32 AM

    Do the Phils have much left in the farm system? Chase Headley would be perfect for them.

    • wlschneider09 - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:48 AM

      That actually makes a ton of sense. Switch hitter, showing improved patience, some speed. Nice number 2 hitter for the phitin’s?

    • wlschneider09 - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:50 AM

      And check out his home/away splits for his career, he’s a .305 hitter on the road.

    • spudchukar - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:18 AM

      The Pads have Headley for 2 more years, assuming they offer arbitration. More importantly, who do the Phillies have that would entice San Diego to move him? It is true his 3B/OF versatility would be ideal for the Phightens, just have not heard that the Padres are giving up on him.

      • wlschneider09 - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:17 AM

        You’re right, it makes a lot more sense from the Phil’s point of view I guess.

  10. adderalljack - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    Local radio guy a few weeks back said that Polanco’s spine has the worst job in baseball. Still has me rolling.

  11. stlouis1baseball - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    I am sorry to see Placido struggling so much. When he was with the Cardinals he was my favorite player. Back then…you could put him anywhere on the field and he would represent. Hit well too.

  12. slammincamnewton - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    When will Amaro realize that you win games by scoring runs, no matter how good your pitchers are. We’ve had no offense now for 3-4 years, especially come playoff time. Yeah we got Pence, and that’s now all we have.

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