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 Phillies, Polanco complete deal

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PostSubject: Phillies, Polanco complete deal   Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:12 pm

Phillies, Polanco complete deal
Gold Glove-winning second baseman will move to third

By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com

12/03/09 1:15 PM EST

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies signed Placido Polanco to a three-year, $18 million contract on Thursday.

The contract with the two-time Gold Glove second baseman, who will move to third base, includes a fourth-year mutual option.

Polanco, who played for Philadelphia from 2002-05, will replace Pedro Feliz, who is a free agent and is expected to sign elsewhere.

"We're very happy to have Placido back in a Phillies uniform," said Amaro. "He's a professional hitter who will enhance our lineup. As a Gold Glove infielder, we're very confident that he will make a smooth transition back to third base. Polly also gives us some added versatility at second base if and when Chase needs a rest."

Polanco, a career .303 hitter, spent the past four-plus seasons playing second base for the Detroit Tigers, who acquired him in a trade with the Phillies in 2005 for relief pitcher Ugueth Urbina and infielder Ramon Martinez.

Polanco hit .285 with 10 home runs and 72 RBIs in 618 at-bats last season with Detroit. He hit .341 in 2007 and .307 in '08.

He played only second base with the Tigers, with whom he won two of the past three American League Gold Glove Awards. Polanco has played 322 games in his career at third base, but only nine since the end of the 2004 season.

Polanco could bat between leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley at the top of the Phillies' lineup. Polanco struck out just once every 14.7 plate appearances in 2009, the second-best mark in the Majors. He has averaged just one strikeout every 17.5 plate appearances the past five seasons, which also is the second-best mark in the Majors.

It appeared the Phillies and Polanco's representatives were in serious discussions before the Tigers decided not to offer Polanco salary arbitration before Tuesday's 11:59 p.m. ET deadline. The fact that Philadelphia will not have to forfeit its first-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft to sign him must have made him even more attractive to the team.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Phillies, Polanco complete deal   Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:12 pm

DD!


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PostSubject: Re: Phillies, Polanco complete deal   Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:36 pm

Polanco heading back to Philadelphia
Prospect Sizemore being groomed as possible replacement

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

12/03/09 3:36 PM EST

DETROIT -- If there was any question left that the Tigers were bidding farewell to free agent second baseman Placido Polanco, the formal departure came Thursday. Now that Polanco has agreed to a reported three-year, $18 million deal to return to the Phillies, the team from which Detroit acquired him four years ago, the Tigers are officially moving on.

Once the Tigers decided not to offer arbitration to Polanco ahead of Tuesday night's midnight ET deadline, interest picked up from teams, who would not have to surrender a Draft pick to sign him. Though team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski didn't completely close the door, saying he would keep in touch with agents Sam and Seth Levinson about Polanco, the Tigers were not going to compete with a multi-year offer.

Anything more than a one-year contract would've been too much for the Tigers on Polanco, more so because of Detroit's situation than Polanco's age. Once Dombrowski said at his season-ending meeting with the media in October that prospect Scott Sizemore was ready for the Majors, the setting was complete for the Tigers and Polanco to part ways.

Sizemore, who will turn 25 next month, was going to be ready sooner rather than later. As much value as Polanco brought to the Tigers the past 4 1/2 seasons, becoming a steal in the 2005 trade that sent closer Ugueth Urbina to Philadelphia with the four-year contract he signed soon after, a long-term contract wasn't going to happen in Detroit.

The club's projection on Sizemore did not change after he underwent surgery for a fractured left ankle suffered in the Arizona Fall League. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Wednesday that Sizemore is to be fitted with a walking boot and remains on track to be ready for Spring Training. Sizemore, currently at home in Virginia while his ankle heals, has said much the same to reporters.

There's no way the Tigers can hope Sizemore can fill the same critical role Polanco held on this team for the past 4 1/2 years. While Polanco won the American League's Gold Glove at second base in two of the past three seasons, his hitting acumen in the second spot in the order served as the bridge between leadoff man Curtis Granderson and the middle of Detroit's order. That setup worked wonders from 2006 to '08 before a variety of struggles in the Tigers' lineup took away some of the squad's ability to advance runners and manufacture offense.

While Sizemore can't replace Polanco, his style of play brings some of the aspects of Polanco's game. He isn't flashy, and he doesn't project as spectacular in any particular category, but he has been increasingly productive on his way up Detroit's farm system. He earned Tigers Minor League Player of the Year honors this past season by batting .308 with 39 doubles, 17 home runs, 66 RBIs, a .389 on-base percentage and an .889 OPS. He also represented Detroit in the All-Star Futures Game in St. Louis.

Those power numbers are likely to take a dip once Sizemore moves into Comerica Park, but the Tigers aren't looking to him for power.

Defensively, Sizemore does not have the same renown as Polanco, but he did show improved field awareness as the season went on and he advanced from Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo.

Filling the second spot in the order could be a tougher challenge for the Tigers. Polanco has filled the role for so long that no current Detroit player has much experience there. He made 279 starts there over the past two years; the next closest is Ramon Santiago with 17.

Carlos Guillen could conceivably fit there if healthy, though manager Jim Leyland has said in the past that he likes batting Guillen in the middle of the order for lefty-righty balance. Leyland has occasionally looked for a power punch in the two spot on days when Polanco was off, and Ryan Raburn could fit that profile.

All in all, it won't be an easy task to replace Polanco's contribution to the Tigers. Still, it's something they've been preparing to do.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Phillies, Polanco complete deal   Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:01 pm

Boy, did the Phillies overpay!

Best wishes to Polanco, though.


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