Philadelphia Phillies: Time to Cut Bait with Placido Polanco
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This is not a panic about the rough start to the season for the Philadelphia Phillies' bats. Earlier, I mentioned the Phils should move Carlos Ruiz to the No. 2 spot in the lineup and I'll stand by that until Ryan Howard and Chase Utley return. What I am saying now is that it's time to say goodbye to Placido Polanco.
Polanco was basically another pitcher in the lineup in the NLDS against the Cardinals last season and the excuse was a bum elbow that had zapped the little amount of power he carries. This season, Placido reported to Spring Training 100-percent healthy and ready to go. However, there is one thing that can't be stopped as far as Placido Polanco is concerned productivity wise—Father Time.
Check out Polanco's declining slugging percentage in relation to his age:
2007 (31): .458
2008 (32): .417
2009 (33): .396
2010 (34): .386
2011 (35): .339
Slugging percentage directly measures how a player is driving the ball. Polanco can't do it anymore. Best case scenarios are now soft liners over the shortstop or second baseman's head.
Ruben Amaro Jr. replaced Pedro Feliz after the 2009 season by signing Polanco to a surprising three-year, lucrative contract. It was similar to the three-year contract given to Raul Ibanez after the 2008 season. For both, it appears the third year was one too many.
The Phillies are going to have a difficult time scoring runs this season. Even when Howard and Utley come back, this offense will be nothing like it was in 2007, '08 or '09. But Polanco is done. It would be best for the Phillies to play Ty Wiggington at third base and alternate John Mayberry, Laynce Nix and Jim Thome at first, with Mayberry/Nix alternating with Pierre in LF.
Placido is a good guy and put together a fine career with marginal talent. You can't argue with a .301 lifetime batting average in over 7,000 plate-appearances. But for the betterment of the 2012 season, the Phils need more pop and less "pitchers" in the lineup.
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