It looks like the Placido Polanco deal is a straight $4.6 million every year for the next four years. There’s no doubt that Polanco is a quality player. He’s a career .299 hitter and has absolutely tore things up since we traded Ugueth Urbina for him. More importantly, he’s done it at Comerica Park. Through 53 at bats, he’s put up an impressive .358/.407/.585. The problem of course is the sample size. 53 at bats is hardly telling.
He’s also an above average fielder. Last he posted 19 Fielding Runs Above Average and his fielding has accounted for more then half of his career 34.2 WARP.
So what’s the problem? One has to do with an established trend and the other has to do with more of a personal pet peeve. The established trend is that Polanco is going to be 30 in October, and second basemen seem to decline faster then players at just about ever other position (catcher being the exception). Billfer touched on this over at Detroit Tigers Weblog, but it bears repeating. Once again I think we signed a guy for a little to long into the years where he has a good chance of having declining skills.
The second problem is that I think they gave up on Omar Infante too soon. Infante had a great season last year, and although he struggled at the beginning of this year, I think it would have done the Tigers well to see what he could do next year. We’re not going to the playoffs, so there’s no harm. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Infante outplaying (for another team) Polanco two years from now.
I think a two year contract with an option for a third would have been more prudent. It just always seem like the Tigers sign players to long deals and catch them in their declining years. Bobby Higginson is a great example, and it looks like Ivan Rodriguez is becoming one. I know he’s hitting .299, but it’s a little hollow. His .737 OPS is his worst since 1993, the last season the Tigers had a winning record. And I also have a feeling we’ll be saying the same thing about Magglio Ordonez.
So while I think it’s a good short term signing, I just don’t see the long term benefit. My two cents of course.