Originally written on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 6/29/14
Picimg_mlb_mar_17_f8c3

Placido Polanco hit .398 in April with nine extra-base hits, then .243 the rest of the season with 10. His OPS was .972 at the end of April, then .591 the rest of the way. It only got worse in October, when Polanco went 2 for 19 with no walks, runs, or RBI and one rally-killing double play in the first inning of Game 2.

Polanco’s defense was unsurprisingly elite in 2011 – it passed both the eye test and the sabermetric test, as he ranked first in baseball with 14.0 runs saved – but he offered the Phillies very little in the way of offense. The need for more run production at third base became glaring in the playoffs when, batting seventh, Polanco fronted a 7-8 that reached base a combined three times in five games.

With one year remaining on a three-year, $18 million contract that made sense at the time, what do the Phillies do with Polanco? Can they enter the 2012 season with an injury-ravaged contact hitter who seldom makes solid contact anymore?


Well, it might be the Phils’ only option. The majority of the 2012 free agent class is weak, and third base is no exception. Aramis Ramirez could potentially void his $16 million player option for 2012, and has implied his intentions to do so if the Cubs don’t sign him to a multi-year extension. But he is 33, and even after an impressive season, is not the kind of player Ruben Amaro should commit four or more years to. With the contracts of Polanco (next year) and Raul Ibanez (this year) coming off the books, the last thing an aging team needs is to give another older player his last long-term contract.

After Ramirez, the best available third baseman – if you can believe it – is Wilson Betemit. The 29-year-old journeyman has been relatively valuable with the bat the past two seasons, hitting .290 with a .359 on-base percentage and .479 slugging percentage. On the flip side, he is a defensive nightmare at the hot corner, having allowed a total of 47 runs more in his career than the average defensive third baseman. Because of the poor defense, the switch-hitting Betemit is more of a platoon player than an everyday starter. And one has to wonder whether or not his desired situation would be splitting time at third with Polanco or finding more regular work elsewhere.

Polanco’s offensive ineffectiveness in 2011 can be attributed to a back injury and a sports hernia, sure, but that’s kind of the point. He is an elderly man, in baseball years, and has had a plethora of health problems since signing with the Phillies after the 2009 World Series.

It is unfortunate that Polanco’s rock-solid career appears to be coming to an end, because the signing looked great at the time. Polanco was set to add a dimension that Phillies lineup lacked – a pure contact hitter who you could trust with two outs and runners in scoring position. It is ironic that by the end of the second year, that was the very type of situation in which Polanco had lost the fans’ confidence (see: second inning, NLDS Game 5).

The Phils can expect above-average defense at third base for as long as Polanco can stay on the field in 2012, but whatever they get offensively will be a bonus. They will likely have to ride this contract out and hope to acquire a third baseman heading into 2013, when David Wright and Kevin Youkilis could potentially highlight the third base class.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Stephen Curry to be named NBA MVP

Milwaukee Brewers fire manager Ron Roenicke

Drafted player changes Twitter name to ‘Pick 245′

Chip Kelly: Tim Tebow is here to compete for a job

Report: Nigel Williams-Goss transferring to Gonzaga

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Philly store offering Eagles 'jersey insurance'

Chris Paul listed as questionable for Game 1 vs. Rockets

Mayweather beats Pacquiao by unanimous decision

Did Evan Mathis respond to Chip Kelly's slight with barb?

WATCH: American Pharoah wins Kentucky Derby

Report: Rams trade RB Zac Stacy to Jets

Here's why Mayweather-Pacquiao was business as usual

Floyd Mayweather Punch Out mock video game is great

WATCH: Tony Allen walks through children performing, gets booed

Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods have broken up

WATCH: Two games end with baserunners hit by batted balls

WATCH: Damian Lilliard delivers great graduation speech

Jets do not envision Bryce Petty starting in 2015

Clippers beat Spurs on Chris Paul shot in Game 7

Jimmy Kimmel's Manny Pacquiao T-shirt goes viral

Big fight packs airport, leaves no room for planes

Pete Carroll discusses Russell Wilson's contract status

Jim Harbaugh not happy Lou Holtz is out at ESPN

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Drafted player changes Twitter name to ‘Pick 245′

Floyd Mayweather Punch Out mock video game is great

Report: Steph Curry to be NBA MVP

Kelly: Tebow here to compete for job

Tony Allen booed for being rude?

Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods break up

Pacquiao fought with injured shoulder?

Winners and losers from the NFL draft

Report: Zac Stacy traded to Jets

Hardy apologizes for joke about 9/11

Jerry Jones sends letter to Pacquiao

Mayweather bans Beadle, Nichols

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.