There certainly are worse players that the Phillies could have elected to bring back to town. As far as players go, Placido Polanco is a solid player, who brings a lot of upside to the Phillies lineup.
As a number two hitter, Polanco is one of the best in the game at making contact and moving runners. Plus, he hits for a solid average himself. He's also a quality person in the clubhouse and has always been popular with both teammates and fans.
At issue though is whether Polanco will easily readjust to playing at third base. The last time that he played at third consistently in Philadelphia was when he was with the Phillies in 2005. Since then, he's primarily played at second base for Detroit.
Polanco signed a three-year, $18 million deal, which will give the Phillies some time to develop a potential replacement from their minor league system, which is sorely lacking in third base prospects at the moment.
The Phillies had been rumored to be pursuing a number of options for third base, including Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa and Chone Figgins. Reports are that they were stepping up their pursuit of Polanco prior to Tuesday when the Tigers declined to offer him arbitration, meaning that the Phillies won't lose their first round draft pick for signing him as a free agent.
"As a Gold Glove infielder, we're very confident that he will make a smooth transition back to third base," said Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. Polanco has won two of the last three Gold Gloves as a second baseman in the American League.
The Phillies also announced that the signing of utility infielder Juan Castro is also now official since he has passed his physical. In addition to Polanco and Castro, the Phillies also signed catcher Brian Schneider earlier in the week and have signed outfielder DeWayne Wise and infielder Wilson Valdez from outside the organization to minor league contracts for 2010. The Phillies have also re-signed Triple-A first baseman Andy Tracy, outfielder Rich Thompson and catcher Paul Hoover to minor league deals.