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 Scott Sizemore could play into Polanco's future

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PostSubject: Scott Sizemore could play into Polanco's future   Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:08 pm

JON PAUL MOROSI'S BLOG
Scott Sizemore could play into Polanco's future with Tigers

By JON PAUL MOROSI • FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER • January 14, 2009

Scott Sizemore is not a legitimate candidate to make the Tigers’ Opening Day roster this year. In fact, he has not played an inning above Class A.

But you may read his name quite often in the coming months.

The Tigers announced Monday that Sizemore will be among the minor leaguers invited to big-league camp this spring. That is significant, since there had been some doubt as to whether Sizemore, 24, would be active this spring at all.

He missed the final three months of last season after breaking the hamate bone in his left wrist. A slower-than-expected recovery caused some concern. But it appears that he will be ready to go when spring training opens in Lakeland, Fla., roughly one month from now.

“As things stand today, barring any setback, he should be ready to go,” Dan Lunetta, the team’s director of minor league operations, said Tuesday in an e-mail from Lakeland. “He’s here, working out and continuing his rehab.”

Why is Sizemore’s progress so important?

He could be the Tigers’ starting second baseman in 2010.


The reliable, popular Placido Polanco is entering the final year of his current contract. He is set to make $4.6 million this year, a very reasonable sum for an All-Star-caliber second baseman.

Polanco loves playing in Detroit. He’s often said that he would like to stay here. He would probably be willing to sign a contract extension in order to do so.

Yet, the Tigers have not signed any player to a multiyear contract since last March, when Miguel Cabrera inked his megadeal. They have a veteran team and would like to introduce more youth into their everyday lineup.

It does not help Polanco’s case that a number of Detroit’s most expensive players — Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis, Carlos Guillen, Brandon Inge and Gary Sheffield — have declined in their performance after signing extensions.

And then there are the cautionary tales of thirtysomething middle infielders. Polanco is 33, the age at which Roberto Alomar, the best second baseman of his generation, made his final All-Star appearance.

So, this could be the start of Polanco’s final year in a Detroit uniform.

His possible departure will magnify the attention on Sizemore and fellow second basemen Will Rhymes and Michael Hollimon. Rhymes, who is expected to be the everyday second baseman at Triple-A Toledo, offers two elements (speed and a left-handed bat) that could bring him to the big leagues this year.

Sizemore, though, probably has the highest ceiling of any second baseman in the farm system.

Even though Sizemore has yet to play at Double-A, he has a short swing that allows him to make solid contact and avoid strikeouts. In that respect, he’s a little bit like Polanco. The polished approach at the plate could help Sizemore move through the farm system quickly.

Still, he has a lot of work to do.

Sizemore is not yet on a defensive par with Polanco, who is one year removed from winning a Gold Glove. The Tigers have said repeatedly this winter that they must play sound infield defense. That emphasis is sure to continue in 2010.

That is why, if Polanco has a big year in 2009, it will not be a surprise if he stays here for another year — or even two. But Sizemore will have as much influence on Polanco’s future in Detroit as Polanco himself.
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PostSubject: Re: Scott Sizemore could play into Polanco's future   Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:38 am

Let's see what Sizemore can do at AA and AAA. The expectations seem to be very high though!

I don't want to see Polly go (and he doesn't want to either as it says in the article). But we definitely could use some fresh and younger blood for the future. I don't see a longterm-multi-year contract for Polly in Detroit. We can not always keep the older players and trade all our prospects. Bring them up and give them a chance.
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PostSubject: Re: Scott Sizemore could play into Polanco's future   Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:32 am

Polly could be a great coach.
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