Thursday, December 3, 2009
Phils Take Care of the Hot Corner, Atlanta Solidifies the Pen
The Phillies have taken care of the hole left at third base by Pedro Feliz after the team declined to pick up his option for 2010.
Philadelphia signed Placido Polanco, who played second base for the Detroit Tigers over the past four plus seasons, to an $18 million, three year contract earlier today. It is his second tenure with Philly (Polanco played for the Phillies from 2002 into 2005).
Polanco, who turned 34 in October, will be an upgrade from Feliz, who hit a combined .258 over his two seasons with the Phils.
A .303 career hitter, Polanco hit .285 with a .331 on-base percentage for Detroit in 2009.
He can be very versatile in terms of his placement in the lineup, as well.
With the Phillie lead-off hitter Jimmy Rollins having a subpar year in 2009, Polanco could take that spot in the lineup, or the second slot as well, which would move centerfielder Shane Victorino down in the lineup.
Placing Polanco eighth in the lineup could also prove to be advantageous. It is always nice to have a runner on base before the pitcher comes to the plate so that the pitcher may lay down a sacrifice bunt. The third baseman's high batting average could certainly help this strategy.
Meanwhile, the Braves have done an excellent job putting together a very solid back-end of the bullpen.
Atlanta, who signed Billy Wagner to a 1-year, $7 million contract yesterday to close for them in 2009, landed setup man Takashi Saito today. The righty pitched to a 2.43 ERA in 55.2 innings pitched with the Red Sox last year.
With the bullpen now solidified, Atlanta can begin to focus on what is really their pressing issue: offense.