Polanco’s Bat Overshadowing His Steady Glove – Phillies Nation

Polanco’s Bat Overshadowing His Steady Glove

When Placido Polanco signed a three-year, $18 million deal to come back to Philadelphia, most knew he could handle the stick. His glove was the unknown, and although he was a former Gold Glove second baseman (not that that means anything anymore), the tough transition over to the hot corner made many pause. Would he be able to take on such a demanding position at the ripe old age of 34?

There isn’t much to go by through nine games, but so far his defense looks steady, if nothing else.  Polanco’s one error puts him on par with Evan Longoria and Andy Laroche, among other stellar defensive third basemen. In yesterday’s Nationals finale, Polly made an unbelievable play as he ran down the third base line into foul ground near the rolled-up tarp and snared the ball over his shoulder as he traveled through the spots of sun and shade.  Not an easy play to make in that situation for even the most adept corner infielders, but Polanco made it appear that way.  Here is the catch, with a bewildered Adam Dunn looking on.

What makes the transition to third even smoother is the fact that he leads the National League in hitting with a .475 average (19 for 40).  Will that torrid pace continue? Probably not, but by the same token he should continue to see hittable pitches slotted behind Rollins/Victorino and just ahead of Chase Utley. The good news is, no one has to worry about the leather he totes, either. Everything has been just fine.  For those who questioned the move because of Pedro Feliz’s defensive acumen, all is well at 3B…so far.



  1. Andrew R.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:59 am

    That’s because these idiot sports-writers don’t understand how to play the game. Third base is a reactionary position. Most of the time you’ll only have time for a step and a dive to either side. I don’t believe, but I’m sure some loser has a stat for reactionary times as soon as a ball is hit off the bat. The only thing that concerned me about Polanco moving to third is charging, fielding, and throwing on a bunt attempt. And not one of those easy sacrifices from the pitcher where we know he’s bunting. The throw is the hardest part on that play. It’s difficult to practice, and it’s a throw that doesn’t get made anywhere else on the field.

    Hitting-wise, we know what we are getting. At least a .290 hitter who can grind out an at-bat and always make a productive out in the worst-case. Polanco did some leading off in Detroit, then batted second. Last year, Cabrera really set himself apart as an elite player…, something that Utley already is. So Polanco’s first 3 years in Detroit can’t really be counted. Last year, yes. And he was fine. Now he’s coming on to a team that is just flat-out dangerous. He provides a lot of stability in that 2-hole.

    It pissed me off seeing all these people complain about this signing. Did we basically out-bid ourselves? Yes, but only by a little. $6M a year is not a lot when your pay-roll is $140. He is taking up about 4.25 % of our team payroll. Is he worth that? Absolutely. Ruben sees something he wants and goes out and gets it. I have no problem with that. These next few years are going to be interesting ones… especially after 2011 with all our FA’s.

    Let’s keep it rolling Phil’s!

  2. BurrGundy

    April 16, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I cheered for joy when the Phils resigned Polanco. There was no other available candidate that I wanted to see more than Placido in pinstripes. I was very sad when he was traded to the Tigers several years ago. He was a genuine loss back then. He is a great team player. He is a very smart ballplayer and he is the kind of guy that hitters like Howard, Werth, Rollins and others will emulate because he does not strike out. He is clutch and despite the size of his head, he is not a big-headed personality. This guy will play until he is 40. Polanco is a very, very smart player. Speed was never part of his game and moving to Third was intelligent, Nice job Ruben, jr.

  3. Aaron

    April 16, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    “ripe old age of 34”

    when did 34 become old? when you are “ripe” you are in your prime.

  4. bfo_33

    April 16, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I figured PP woudl be ok with the bat and glove, but wasn’t sure about his arm. Yesterday he had two very good throws to first from deep at third, threw a pair of missles right at Howard’s glove. I was happy we signed him, but admittedly thought we paid a few extra $$ bidding against ourselves. A small sample, but is worth every penny.

  5. Pat Gallen

    April 16, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I’m 25, so 34 I guess is ripe to me. 34 isnt your prime though, its definitely just past. But I’m not complaining.

  6. Chuck

    April 16, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    So when he’s only hitting .300 and has bungled a few plays in the field….are you guys STILL gonna be ok with this signing?

    Just askin’.

    Cause I’m sensing some Polanco bandwagon jumpers in the crowd.

  7. Brooks

    April 16, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    My biggest concern with Poly was that since 1998, his first season in the bigs, he has only played in more than 150 games 1 time (last year) and in 140 or more games a total of 4 times (the last 3 consecutive years).

    The other afternoon (I believe it was) when he had his lone error and was seen favoring his thumb – I was concerned. Fortunately it was not serious. The other concern I have is his lack of power. But, hitting behind Jimmy/Shane and in front of the “bomb squad”, he is doing exactly what the Phils need from that position. He rarely walks and barely ever has more K’s than walks throughout his career (he has never walked more than 42 times and never struck out in a season more than 46, amazing!).

    Nice pickup.

  8. Gaze_NJ

    April 16, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    I’m having flashbacks of last spring when the Raul Ibanez signing was questioned due to age and defensive liability.

  9. Don M

    April 16, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Anyone that knows baseball . . knew that Polanco was a perfect fit for this team.

    His bat is a lot better than Feliz . . defensively, we’ll see the real Polanco as the year goes on. He’ll be solid, not spectacular.

    But like a lot of us said, considering what the 3b market was.. we landed a guy that was a great fit to this team, for $6 M . . .instead of the $9 M to Figgins, or the $6 M to Mark DeRosa. I think we made out with the best overall deal of all the 3b contracts this offseason…

    Its a long season.. the averages will play out .. he’ll hit close to .300 … and he’ll play solid defense with a few errors mixed in..

    34 is definitely past your “prime” . . . which I believe is said to be 28-30* .. so 26-to-32 are usually the years when guys have their best numbers. At that point they are usually EXPERIENCED enough.. but they dont have tons of wear & tear on the body yet

    That said.. playing 1b or 3b usually extends careers a little bit, because you don’t need to cover as much ground as middle-infielders do.

    What’s up with Ibanez? Is he still hurt? He looked like he was trying to do an impression of Victorino with the bat yesterday.. some half-a$$ed WHIP swing, and a bunch of light, lazy groundouts..

    If you’re hurt . . . SIT.. especially against a LHP…

    whats’ poppin with Francisco? Is HE hurt ??

  10. Chuck

    April 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Ibanez looks silly at the plate right now. And, yeah, against lefties, he should sit.



    Do you ALWAYS worry this much?

    Relax, dude, and just be happy and grateful that we have Polly on this team.

  11. Adam

    April 16, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Polanco has been more than steady at third and certainly an adequate replacement to Feliz. Now obviously he will not hit .475 the rest of the season but the fact is, when a professional hitter, like Polanco, hits in front of Utley and Howard, he is going to see tons of fastballs. I love Victorino but occasionally he would miss hittable fastballs and have poor at-bats. Polanco does neither. The guy hammers fastballs and grinds out at-bats. There is no question Polanco is going to hit at least .300 this season. It is amazing that he already has 8 multi-hit games….and we are 9 games into the season!!!

    In the words of Sunny Hill “the Phillies have a cadre of professional hitters.” I smiled when I heard him say that on the radio last sunday because cadre is the perfect word.

  12. Brooks

    April 16, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Alas Chuck, I married a pro-time worrier and regrettably on occasion it spreads. When Poly started blowing on and sucking his thumb, I not only broke a sweat, I cracked open a beer..

    Note though, I did use the verb ‘was’ referring to Poly’s durability!

    And the only real cure I have found is a cold Lager, good company (that would be my bro Keith) and a Phillies win.

  13. Pingback: Next Phillies Game to Answer, “What Awful Thing Will Fans Do Next?” | That Balls Outta Here | A Philadelphia Phillies Blog

  14. Brian Sr. of CO

    April 19, 2010 at 12:59 am

    Funny, everybody has flipped out the last few seasons about the offense relying on the long ball and having too much power focus. Now we have a player who hits for average, will get on base for Chase and Howard, and had a distinct possibility of getting hit in. I mean, if the lead off gets on, and PP hits for average, thats a great opportunity to either a drive the runner in or move him up. Then whos up, Chase and Howard? What happens then? Um, usually runs, just not when the team decides to take a few days off, like now.

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