What can you expect from Placido Polanco? A solid bat with an excellent glove at 3B. He will not knock the cover off the ball and crush home runs but he will put the ball in play and make contact, and will help move runners along – something the Marlins could not do last year.
Polanco has won gold gloves and has been to the All Star game as a starter. The only concerns are his age (37) and the health of his back which limited him last season to only 90 games. If healthy, you are looking at a guy who can man the hot corner between 120-140 games at best.
On a young team like the Marlins are going to be, he does provide a sense of leadership and direction on the field. He can show the younger players how to be professionals and how to approach the game. He plays smart, not flashy. Polanco is steady and never shaken, something the Marlins can benefit from.
But is this the right choice for the direction of this franchise? The Marlins seemed to be exploring options but have realized that they have little to offer to vastly improve the team. The trade options they do have don’t make sense for contenders. Teams are not looking for young prospects AND trying to win now. There are reports that the Marlins were trying to make a deal for Nick Castellanos from the Tigers, but outside of Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins have nothing the Tigers want. The best asset remains Ricky Nolasco but his value may not be quite where it should be in this market that is searching for pitching and he may need to rebuild his value.
So, the Fish had to do the next best thing – find someone that can fill the gap for the upcoming season and hope that someone emerges internally to make the 3B spot in the future. The organization is a bit thin at the hot spot since trading away top 3B prospect Matt Dominguez to land Carlos Lee from the Astros last season. Ironically, that deal was made to help improve the offense but instead the Marlins totally did an about-face and traded away Hanley Ramirez, deciding to cut ties and go in another direction. It has been a tailspin for this organization ever since.
Last season the Marlins got a .266 AVG wtih 18 HRs, 72 RBIs, 18 SBs, and 122 Ks from their 3B last season. Polanco could improve the average, cut down on the strike outs, but don’t expect much else. He will also defend much better which could help save some runs.