It’s ironic that the Orioles would want Polanco because the Orioles are actually competing for a playoff spot this summer and I just don’t see how a player like Polanco could help them win games.
Polanco is 36 years old and seems to age by about a year every two or three months. He’s stuck in a slump, so his batting average has dropped to .255, and his OPS+ of 70 is one of the worst in baseball. He’s still got the magic with the glove, more than ever, as his .990 fielding percentage is significantly higher than his .982 career average, which is the best in baseball history, by the way.
But he’s also struggling with back issues right now. He didn’t play yesterday in the Phillies’ dramatic 7-6 come-from-behind victory against the Milwaukee Brewers, and signs indicate that he may be hurting worse than he has let on. Back problems have plagued Polanco for a few years now, and they’ll likely continue to get worse as he gets older.
If he headed to the Orioles, he would probably platoon with current third baseman Wilson Betemit, who is batting .255 with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs–numbers that Phillies fans would kill for Polanco to produce. But Betemit is not a natural third baseman, as heavily reflected by his embarrassing .925 fielding percentage. That’s where I could see the Orioles using Polanco as a late-inning defensive replacement frequently.
The Orioles could also use Polanco at second base in favor of struggling Robert Andino, who is batting just .230 this season. Polanco played second base for a lot of his career, and he holds the highest career fielding percentage in history at the position.
Regardless, the Phillies are in the midst of the most disappointing season in many years, and reports have indicated that they would like to trade off a number of their veteran players at the trade deadline to rebuild their farm system. A player like Placido Polanco has to be at the top of their “sell” list.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for Eagles Central and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.