As the 2010s wind down, PhilliesNation.com will go position-by-position in determining the Philadelphia Phillies All-Decade team.
The Philadelphia Phillies had three different third basemen that started on Opening Day multiple times in the 2010s. Plácido Polanco was the Opening Day third baseman from 2010-2012. Cody Asche got the nod in both 2014 and 2015, while Maikel Franco was the decade leader with four straight Opening Day starts at the hot corner from 2016-2019. These three players make up the candidates for the Phillies All-Decade third baseman.
Previously the team’s primary second baseman from 2002-2005, Polanco made his return to Philadelphia in 2010. He replaced Pedro Feliz at third base for the final two seasons of the Phillies’ stretch of five-straight National League East titles. Polanco was an All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner in 2011 and compiled 6.5 fWAR in his last three seasons as a Phillie.
Asche became the starting third baseman midway through the 2013 season when the Phillies dealt Michael Young to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He played the position regularly before moving to the outfield when Franco was called up full-time. Although Asche got a lot of playing time for a few years, he only posted a .648 OPS and an fWAR of -0.2 in his Phillies career.
After a brief 16-game stint in 2014, Franco burst onto the scene in his 2015 rookie season. He hit 14 home runs with an OPS of .840 in 80 games that season. Franco, the Phillies’ leader in games played at third base this decade, was never quite able to repeat that same success after 2015. He was non-tendered by the Phillies after this past season, ending his tenure in Philadelphia with a .733 OPS and an fWAR of 3.5.
Polanco’s defensive presence and value to two postseason teams get him the nod as the Phillies All-Decade third baseman. He was the only Phillies third baseman to be selected as an All-Star or Gold Glover in the 2010s. His second stint with the ballclub was as good as anyone could have expected as Polanco cemented his role in team history as an important contributor for two of the franchise’s greatest teams.
Polanco reached a career milestone in a big way in May of 2012. He hit a home run for the 2,000th hit of his career. Polanco was greeted with a curtain call from Phillies fans following this moment:
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