Tag: Placido Polanco

MLB Waiver Wire: MVPs, Riskiest Players and Potential Suitors

Players who range from assuredly lucrative to downright comical to generally intriguing make up the MLB waiver wire in 2013. Hot commodity Alex Rios finally went to the Texas Ranger, but some other big names have cleared waivers as well and still sit on their respective teams. Here’s a look at some guys who could move in the immediate future and the teams that should be in the hunt for them.



Elvis Andrus

While it might seem silly for Texas to trade one of the (usually) more productive shortstops in the game to another contender, the Rangers have a surplus of middle infielders and can afford to let the 24-year-old go.

Andrus hasn’t been the offensive threat in 2013 as he had been in years past. His slash line is .254/.317/.305, which is below his career .271/.338/.345, but he’s already racked up 30 steals and still has the potential to be a weapon at the plate.

He also hasn’t displayed the same defensive acumen this year as he did in 2012. According to FanGraphs.com, his ultimate zone rating (UZR)—the most complicated but comprehensive defensive stat in the gamehas dropped from 2012’s 8.3 (sixth best in the majors) to 3.2 (11th best in the majors). But the glove wizardry is still there:

Still, the fact that he’s fallen so short of expectations this yearespecially after signing an eight-year, $120 million contract extension—could increase Texas’ willingness to part with him. If the Rangers encounter the right deal, they’ll entertain trade talks:

The team with the biggest need for Rios is St. Louis because Pete Kozma has been abysmal. There are better-hitting pitchers than him. His .225/.273/.284 line is by far the worst on the team. Yes, he can flash the leather with the best of them, but fans are fed up:

And the Cards are keeping their eyes open for an upgrade:

I’ll also mention that Cincinnati could benefit from benching Zack Cozart, but the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay thinks adding Andrus is unlikely:


Dan Haren

Not too long ago, Haren seemed to be one of 2013’s biggest disappointments. He was pitching to the tune of a 7-11 record with a 4.82 ERA—not exactly what the Washington Nationals had in mind when they signed him to a one-year, $13 million deal last December.

But wait, there’s been salvation:

According to Michael Barr of FanGraphs.com, Haren’s better pitches have become even more wicked:

In the second half, suddenly his sinker is terrific. Opponents are hitting just .200 with a .323 slugging percentage. His splitter is even better. Opponents are hitting just .103, slugging .138.

And per James Wagner of The Washington Post, Haren recently became just the 13th pitcher in baseball history to defeat all 30 teams. So clearly he can be consistently dominant.

One team that should vie for him is Atlanta. While I think it’s unlikely that Washington—which probably doesn’t consider itself out of the playoff hunt despite being 9.5 games back in the wild-card race—would trade Haren to a division rival, the Braves could use an ace-type in their rotation.

If Atlanta wants to contend against the Los Angeles Dodgers and their big three in Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Braves should at least try for Haren.

While the Rangers might look to get rid of Andrus, they could be thinking about bringing Haren back to the AL West, according to Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News.

Haren will be a free agent after the 2013 season, so unlike Andrus, he’d just be a rental and a fairly economical signing.



Barry Zito

Zito does not have a lot working in his favor right now.

Why is he dangerous? Why isn’t he dangerous is the better question.

Let’s start with the most obvious factors. He’s 35. He has a 5.34 ERA and by far the worst WHIP of his career (1.693). His numbers on the road are nauseating: a 9.45 ERA and a 2.30 WHIP. Which means he can only pitch (kind of) in San Francisco.

Then there’s the money issue. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports mentioned on August 14 that the southpaw “makes $20 million this season, with a $7 million buyout coming, so it’s no surprise at all that he cleared waivers.

Justin Gallagher, the sports editor for the San Juan Star, sums up the interest in Zito nicely in two tweets:

The Giants just booted Zito from their rotation. They clearly have no tie to him. While he has some postseason success, he’d be a risky pickup for anyone.

ESPN The Magazine’s Tim Keown argued that Zito “turned his career around” in 2012, so maybe there’s something left in his tank. If so, it must be a cavernous tank with some very good hiding spots.

If the Braves don’t try for Haren—or the still less risky Erik Bedard, who also just cleared waiversthey could go for Zito with a lot of blind faith. Devin Pangaro of Swingin‘ A’s wrote that while “there’s been no credible link to any true Athletics interest in Zito,” a reunion could be in order with the right deal.

At this point, Zito hasn’t proved that he can pitch anywhere other than at AT&T Park. And the mediocre Giants don’t even want him in the rotation. I don’t think he’s going anywhere.


Placido Polanco

Polanco is a career .297 hitter and has the potential to help out a team like Atlanta. The Braves fail at hitting for average and just announced that infielder Tyler Pastornicky needs season-ending ACL surgery. Polanco would be great off the bench and is flexible positionally and in the batting order.

He also happens to be injury prone, which is why I’ve labeled him a risk.

It seemed like he was never on the field for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2012, and back issues have continued this year. Tony Verduci of SB Nation wrote in November 2012 that Polanco “has very little value as a starter at this stage of his career, with his his age, injury concerns and slower bat.”

Like Zito’s case, the prospect of a trade has only prompted humor:

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Boston Red Sox: 5 Third Basemen They Should Aim to Pick Up off Waivers

It’s just been that kind of year.

Nothing has gone right for the Boston Red Sox. Their lone bright spot, rookie Will Middlebrooks, hit .288/.325/.509 with 15 home runs before breaking his wrist. While he’s only been placed on the 15-day DL, there’s a very good chance he misses the rest of the season.

Boston is now in a delicate situation. The Sox need a third baseman, but need to avoid any options that will make the roster too rigid in the future.

Here are a few waiver wire options Boston can explore before the final trade deadline.

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What the Jimmy Rollins Signing Means for the Phillies in 2012

According to Jim Salisbury of CSN, shortstop Jimmy Rollins has signed a three-year, $33 million deal with the Phillies.

While it’s a relief to hear that J-Roll is coming back, one must also consider what his signing means to other aspects of the team.

Jimmy Rollins may only be the shortstop, but his impact is far-reaching throughout the organization.

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Philadelphia Phillies: Grading Each Player After the Phils’ First Three Series

After all of the preseason hype, largely due to the return of Cliff Lee, the Philadelphia Phillies have come out red hot in early April like a fox escaping a forest fire.

The Phils’ are off to a 7-2 start, capped off by 2-1 series win over the Atlanta Braves who are thought to be their main competition in the NL East.

While their loaded pitching staff was expected to be their deadliest weapon, the Phillies offense has been the dominant force in crushing opponents in their opening three series.

They lead the league in batting average (.334), they’re second in OBP (.380) and third in slugging (.484). These impressive stats have created 59 runs in nine games, all without Jayson Werth and Chase Utley.

From the bench players to the superstar starters, everyone has been producing since Opening Day as the Phillies have taken control of the division.

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Philadelphia Phillies’ Shane Victorino Snags Gold Glove

As for the rest of the Phillies, the one player who definitely got snubbed is third baseman Placido Polanco.  Polly had only five errors, turned 32 double plays and had 258 assists in 123 games this year. 

The player who actually won the award is ex-Phillie Scott Rolen, whose stats are also good, but not nearly as good as Polanco.  Rolen played 123 games, committed eight errors, turned 28 double plays and had 259 assists. 

While it is not a huge edge, Polanco’s numbers are better.  Rolen is a great player and this is his eighth Gold Glove award.  But having played the same number of games as Polly, he was not as good. 

Remember also that last year, Polanco was a second baseman and had to make the transition to third.  Add to that the elbow injury Polanco endured nearly all year long after getting hit with a pitch and his effort is much more impressive.

In other news, pitcher Jamie Moyer went to play winter ball in the Dominican league after the season ended to try and revive his career.  He suffered an elbow injury after a start and has returned home.  Moyer had an MRI on Tuesday and is awaiting the results. 

Moyer thanked fans on his Facebook page saying, “Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and support during this time. I went for an MRI yesterday and will keep you updated on what the outcome is once I hear anything. Have a great week and thanks again!”

We wish Moyer the best and hope he is well soon!

Another thank you goes out today to all veterans who served our country and continue to inspire us all with their bravery and sacrifice.  Happy Veterans Day!

(Photo by Jenn)

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MLB Rumors: Rating All 30 Teams’ Chances To Sign Free-Agent 3B Adrian Beltre

Adrian Beltre will be the third-most sought-after free agent position player this offseason, but may provide the best value to whoever signs himt.

Beltre declined his player option for 2011, after a 2010 season in which he made $10 million while delivering 7.1 WAR. On top of his defense, which is always stellar at third base, Beltre has rediscovered the batting stroke that eluded him during his entire five-year tenure in Seattle.

In 2004, after a season in which he hit 48 home runs and was worth 10.1 WAR, Beltre inked a five-year deal worth $64 million to play for the Mariners. His time there was miserable, however, and Beltre fled to Boston last winter.

The decision was a good one: Beltre should now receive a deal in excess of four years and $45 million. Still, given his undervalued and unmatched defense at the hot corner, the team who signs him will be getting a bargain.

Which team will that be? It’s impossible to say right now, but here are all 30 teams, ranked in order from least to most likely to sign Beltre.

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NLCS Heads Back To Philadelphia: Giants Allow Phillies Up Off the Mat in Game 5

A terrific NLCS between the Phillies and Giants will continue Saturday in Philadelphia. Notes from Game 5 are below:

  • Buster Posey was a vacuum behind the plate. He wouldn’t allow a pitch to get away from him no matter the location, giving Tim Lincecum the confidence to consistently bury his changeup low. 
  • The Phillies clearly had a different approach against Posey, consistently attacking him on the inner half of the plate. The strategy worked as the young star catcher went hitless a night after dominating the Phils’ pitching staff with four hits.
  • Ryan Howard has given the Phillies nothing so far this series.
  • If Charlie Manuel doesn’t want to hit Placido Polanco between Chase Utley and Ryan Howard consistently, why not use Jayson Werth to break up the left-handed combination? Is there a downside to this?
  • Howard made a nice play on a sharp liner by Aubrey Huff in the first inning with two on and no outs. After that however, The Big Piece (probably my least favorite nickname for an athlete ever) misplayed two ground balls. One was ruled an error while the other, incorrectly, was not.
  • Freddy Sanchez scares me. The guy is a perfect No. 2 hitter and the hit and run Bochy called for in the first inning was executed perfectly.
  • Chase Utley continues to look shaky in the field as well as at the plate. Every time he slips into a slump, local media is quick to play the ‘injury card’ but hey, maybe the guy isn’t otherworldly anymore and falls into rough patches like the rest of the Major League population.
  • While Jimmy Rollins has continued his poor approach at the plate, his defense has been sparkling. 
  • Despite the Phillies mini-rally in the top of the *third inning, they continue to lack the ability to sustain innings without help from poor pitching or poor defense. The team isn’t maximizing its chances and while home runs are often referred to as “rally killers” what better way to maximize a big inning than a two- or three-run blast? Jayson Werth stroked an opposite-field home run to right field in the top of the ninth for an insurance run, but aside from his Game 1 two-run bomb against Lincecum, the Phillies’ vaunted power has been shut down by the Giants.
  • Cody Ross isn’t as good as he’s playing right now. Hitting is such a mental aspect of baseball and Ross simply believes he’s better than he is, if that makes sense. And I’m not taking a shot at the guy; his confidence is off the charts as he continues to lock in on each and every at-bat. Ross is locked in and reacting to, not guessing at pitches.
  • As good as Ross has been, it was beautiful to watch Werth hose him in the bottom of the fourth. Ross committed the cardinal sin of baseball: making the third out at third base and it took a perfect strike by Starfox to get the job done.
  • I find it strange that there are benches on the playing field in San Francisco. I can only assume this is an old-school style tradition? Either way, it’s a bit odd to me.
  • The Giants really made Halladay work forcing him to go deep in counts batter after batter. Even when Doc got ahead of the Giants, he often lacked the ability to put them away immediately, most likely due to his injured groin.
  • My wife found it funny that several Giants players were “itching their armpits with their bats” during the bottom of the sixth. I kindly explained that this tactic was used to keep their bats dry in the rain.
  • Posey led off with a walk in the bottom of the sixth after two close pitches called for balls on 2-2 and 3-2 counts. As a Phillies fan I wanted those pitches, but I was impressed by Home Plate umpire Jeff Nelson. A lesser man would have been easily intimidated by Roy Halladay, but Nelson stuck to his guns.
  • It was a great sign to see Rollins steal both second and third base in the top of the seventh inning. A great at-bat by Chooch put runners on first and third and I thought Bruce Bochy made a huge mistake leaving Lincecum in to pitch to pinch-hitter Ross Gload. Gload smashed the first pitch he saw, which was caught by Huff and turned into a double play.
  • I’ve never been to San Francisco, but I can’t imagine a better representation of the difference between the two cities than the lady who came out to sing ‘God Bless America’ during the seventh inning stretch.
  • I’d like a few less closeups from Fox of those hideous black playoff beards sported by Sergio Romo and Brian Wilson. I think I dislike Romo’s more, but it’s a tough call. 
  • I did enjoy the shots of the San Fran crowd. They were into the game from the first pitch and showed an excited, expectant attitude throughout. They believe in their bunch, and now it’s time for Philadelphians to help fuel their team.
  • The Phillies bullpen came up huge. JC Romero hadn’t pitched since Game 2 of the NLDS but got an important out, and Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge dominated. Lidge relied heavily on throwing his slider as a strike, not to get hitters to chase, which is often his plan. The Big Truck, Jose Contreras, came up big yet again as well.
  • Madson mowed down the most dangerous section of the Giants lineup, striking out the trio of Posey, Burrell and Ross in the eighth.
  • Jayson Werth, like Ryan Howard, is at his best when he’s going the opposite way. Maybe Howard took notes on Werth’s opposite-field insurance bomb and will keep his front shoulder from flying out in Game 6, a key, particularly against the left-handed Jonathan Sanchez.
  • I thought Bochy made another bad call when he brought in the left-handed Jeremy Affeldt to pitch to Shane Victorino. Vic looked bad at the plate and hit nearly 90 points higher from the right side on the year. Like the Lincecum vs. Gload move, this one didn’t backfire, but why turn a struggling lefty around?
  • White towels > Orange Pom-poms

*The top of the third inning turned the tide. The Phillies looked helpless and harmless against Lincecum through the first two frames. Raul Ibanez’s punched a leadoff single into no-man’s land and after the Giants ace hit Carlos Ruiz in the arm, the inning got strange.

Roy Halladay is a very poor bunter. I’d be surprised if there were five other starting pitchers in the National League who failed more consistently at laying down a solid bunt than Doc. (Maybe the MLB should organize an off-season “Bunt Off” competition between pitchers similar to the Home-Run Derby? I’d watch!)

But anyway, Halladay had a chance to advance two runners into scoring position with just one out. And somehow, someway, he got the job done. It was a crazy play and Pablo Sandoval certainly handed the Phillies a break when he failed to be in position to get the force at third.

After Halladay’s fair/foul bunt The Struggling Shane Victorino stepped to the plate. Victorino hit the ball hard, but right at Aubrey Huff. It wasn’t a difficult play for the first baseman, but he managed to make it look so as he booted the ball into shallow right field. Two runs scored and Victorino, in contrast to Game 4, alertly moved into scoring position.

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NLCS Report Card: Phillies Missing That Phight

After four game into the NCLS, we have ourselves quite a matchup, but with contrasting results.

The Phillies have looked consevative, out of sync, and at times, without that fight that has made them who they are.

The Giants, on the other hand, have looked cool, crisp, and methodical which are the very tratis that helped them win the West.

Last night’s game was a little indicative of the aforementioned.

While it’s hard to put a grade on a game that was really based around well hit and placed balls, there are some specifics that could’ve made a difference.

Let’s take a look.= at last night’s report card.

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Placido Polanco Back Where He Belongs For Phillies

In the winter before the Phillies’ 2010 season, most of the talk revolved around Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, but one of the most exciting moves made by Ruben Amaro Jr. this off season was the acquisition of Placido Polanco.

On November 8th the Phillies declined third baseman Pedro Feliz’ 5.5 million dollar option for the 2010 season, and on December third signed free agent Polanco to a three year contract with a mutual option for the fourth year. Polanco brought with him two Gold Gloves, won in 2007 and 08, and a career fielding percentage of .990%, as well as a .303 career batting average over 13 seasons in the major leagues.

This is Polanco’s second tour of duty in Philadelphia. In July 2002 the Phillies picked up Polanco from the Cardinals as part of the Scott Rolen deal, and re-signed him in 2004 before sending him to Detroit in exchange for Ramon Martinez and Ugueth Urbina. The move proved to be an absolute steal for Detroit as Martinez has been back and forth between the minors and the bigs and Urbina is currently serving 14 years in a Venezuelan prison for two counts of attempted murder after an unfortunate machete incident.

Polanco proceeded to win two Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger award, and was MVP of the 2006 ALCS. He was also named to his first All-Star team in 2007—all in a Detroit uniform. But it was common knowledge that Polanco fell in love with the City of Brotherly Love, and was excited to return to the Phillies.

In Detroit Polanco played only one game at third base, mostly playing second in his time there, but he seems to have slipped right back into the role of an everyday third baseman, having committed only four errors this season. Superb defense is unsurprising from the veteran though—in 2007, Polanco set a major league record for second baseman, going 149 games without committing an error.

Polanco’s post season numbers are equally impressive. If the Phillies make it to the playoffs, he will bring with him a career .296 postseason batting average, which is somewhat watered down by an 0-17 slump in the 2006 World Series. He also has a .363 on base percentage in the playoffs, and will provide added experience to an already experienced infield.

All the stats, numbers and awards aside, one of the most touching things that I ever witnessed on a baseball field occurred on the night of July 9th, 2008 at Comerica Park. Placido Polanco and 99 other people received their U.S. citizenship before the game. As he stood out on the field in his uniform, the pride was evident on his face.

Philadelphia is lucky to have Placido Polanco back in the organization, and Polanco is happy to be back in Philadelphia. May it lead to many trips to the playoffs together.

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Philadelphia Phillies: Reviewing The Season With 22 Games Left

Overcoming adversity is nothing new to the Philadelphia Phillies, but how the Phillies react to these conditions is what sets them apart from other teams in the league.

In 2007 they overcame a seven game deficit with 17 games to go, the first team in MLB history to do so. In 2008 it was three and a half games back with 16 to play. Both teams ended up playing in the post season, with a World Series title coming home in 2008.

This year it has been injuries instead of games in the won lost column that made things a little bit uncomfortable at times this season. In the off season leading into the 2010 campaign, the Phillies and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said goodbye to pitchers Brett Myers, Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez, Lee and Martinez were added in mid season 2009 to bolster the second march to the World Series in as many years.

Also on the way out were infielders Miguel Cairo and Pedro Feliz. Some of the bigger names that were brought in were Roy Halladay, Jose Contreras, and Gold Glove winning infielder Polanco, who has said in the past how much he enjoyed his first tour of duty in Philadelphia.

He never wanted to leave, which seems to be a common feeling with players that have played in the Philadelphia organization.

The Phillies went 12-10 in April with some of the highlights being Polanco‘s grand slam on Opening Day with seven innings out of Halliday in an 11-1 win over Washington, Ryan Howard passing Greg Luzinski for fifth place on the Phillies all time home run list with his 223rd on April 7th.

On April 9th the Phils took sole possession of first place, and scored 41 runs in the first five games. April also saw the beginning of the calf problems that would haunt Jimmy Rollins and the Phillies for the next few months. Chase Utley homered in four consecutive games in April, and after a loss to the Giants later in the month the Phillies dropped out of first place for the first time in 135 regular season games going back to May 29, 2009.

May saw the Phillies return to the top of the division but also saw the death of a legend, on May 6th Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts passed away, Roberts was still a presence in the Phillies clubhouse among the current pitchers and a patch with his retired number would be worn for the rest of the season.

The Phillies opened interleague play in Boston and were one hit by Daiskue Matsuaka, with the only hit being a Juan Castro single. The Phillies were accused of stealing signs from the bullpen, Carlos Ruiz injured his knee, and the Phillies went 30 innings without scoring a run. None of this seemed to matter when Roy Halladay pitched only the 20th perfect game in MLB history.

And on May 30th the Phillies dropped out of first place, they also finished to month going 68 innings without a home run. Players on the disabled list in May were Lidge, Joe Blanton, Jimmy Rollins and Brian Schneider.

A 13-13 record in June seems sounds uneventful, but there were some interesting match ups and situations in June. Brad Lidge blew his first save of the season, the second round of interleague play saw a Phillies Yankees rematch with the Phillies taking the series one games to one and Jamie Moyer collected his 265th career victory.

There was also the road trip that was played at home, the Toronto Blue Jays were scheduled to host the Phillies but the series was played in Philadelphia because of a political summit that was scheduled in Toronto the same week. The Blue Jays batted last and the designated hitter rule was in effect for the first time ever in a NL ballpark during the regular season. June also saw Utley, Rollins, Polanco, Ruiz, and Chad Durbin on the DL.

July started out with Charlie Manuel serving a one game suspension following an incident with umpire C.B. Bucknor. On July 7th the Phillies were six games behind Atlanta, and took a 4 game winning streak into the All Star break. After the break the Phillies gave the almost lights out Ubaldo Jimenez his second loss of the season, in a 10-2 victory. On July 27th Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins were both injured, clearing the way for Domonic Brown’s promotion to the majors, Brown went 2-3 with two runs scored and two RBI in his debut.

Roy Oswalt was added to strengthen the rotation, in a trade that sent J.A. Happ to the Astros. July was a busy month for disabled list activities, Ryan Madsen and Ruiz were taken off the DL, Moyer and Victorino were sent to the DL. The Phillies finished the month 15-13.

August saw Ryan Howard headed to the 15 day disabled list on the 3rd of the month, with Victorino and Utley coming off the list. John Mayberry Jr. made his return to the bigs in Howards place. The Phillies also got their first look at National’s phenom Stephen Strasburg on August 21st, Srasburg left the game early and headed off to Tommy John surgery.

Ryan Sweeny who was signed on August 4th to take Howard’s spot while he recovered hit his first homer as a Phillie. The squad finished the month 18-10.

September call-ups saw the arrivals of Paul Hoover and Greg Dobbs and Nate Robertson with his 57-77 career record, as well as the recalls of Mayberry and Vance Worley. Moyer was placed on the 60 day disabled list and Ross Gload was activated off the DL. With all the injuries throughout the season the Phillies appear to be in a healthy position right now and seem to be hitting their stride at the right time.

The schedule the rest of the way out will basically let the Phillies dictate their own destiny this season. The rest of the season is played against NL East teams with three versus Atlanta at home September 20-22, and the final three games of the season in early October in Atlanta. While the race could come down to the final three games the Phillies will have an opportunity to close it out earlier.

While other teams have had injury problems this year, most notably the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox, two teams that were expected to make a run at the title this season, both are basically out of the race, while the Phillies, faced with the same situations reacted to differently and it seems to be paying off. The biggest luxury that the Phillies had was the depth of the farm system, it’s a nice problem to have when you can bring a player like Domonic Brown to the bigs and not have to make a trade that depletes the farm system.

Right now the Phillies hold the future in the palms of their hands and the future looks bright.

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