Polanco is worth his $18 million

December, 3, 2009
12/03/09
5:29
PM ET
Placido Polanco got $18 million from the Phillies, and Beerleaguer approves:
    Many readers have scoffed at the amount. To the credit of Polanco’s agent, he leveraged the most he could from the Phillies, knowing that Adrian Beltre and Chone Figgins, viewed as more attractive options for various reasons, were out of the Phillies’ range. He knew the Phillies would set the bar among the hot corner’s second tier. As for the $6 million per season, a little perspective; that’s less, per season, than Geoff Jenkins got to platoon with Jayson Werth. Compare that with an everyday third baseman. It's not a crippling amount, either, when you consider what the Phillies likely have planned for the rest of the offseason (8th inning option, fifth starter). In Polanco, the Phillies are getting not only a third baseman, but a Gold Glove winning second baseman (outbidding all the other teams in need of a second baseman) plus a very sound contact hitter atop the lineup, which is something they needed.

Scoffing is always fun, but the scoffing in this case isn't merited.

According to FanGraphs, Polanco has been worth $13 million per season over the last three seasons and the Phillies are going to pay him just half that. Granted, he's not a young man and it's been a while since he's played third base regularly. But he's moving to the easier league, which might prove a fountain of youth.

The one legitimate worry is that his batting average tumbled 22 points this season. But as R.J. Anderson points out, that was apparently due to an anomalous drop in Polanco's BABBiP; his walk rate, his strikeout rate, and his isolated power were almost exactly the same in 2009 as 2008. It was just a little fluke, and Polanco figures to hit around .300 again next year, with a touch of power and (it should be said) just a few walks. He'll be a better hitter than Pedro Feliz, and probably just as good a fielder (Polanco was a fine third baseman when he played there). Not bad for $6 million per season unless Polanco gets old real fast.

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