The Phillies have the wherewithall - and desire - to sign veteran infielder Placido Polanco to a two-year contract worth between $10 and $12 million, FoxSports.com reported Wednesday night, citing a "source familiar with the Phillies intentions."
Earlier this evening, the Phillies' official web site said that the team had entered into serious discussions with Polanco, and that they had made them their No. 1 target to replace veteran Pedro Feliz at third base. Polanco, who played third base for the Phillies from 2002-05 but has played second base since being traded to the Tigers midway through the 2005 season, just finished a four-year, $16 million contract in Detroit.
Devoting $6 million to third base would leave the Phillies with decent financial flexibility to bolster their bullpen and perhaps add another bench piece. Infielder Juan Castro and back-up catcher Brian Schneider will combine to make $2 million next season, giving the Phillies $108 million committed to 14 players. Once arbitration raises are awarded to center fielder Shane Victorino and righthander Joe Blanton and the salaries for J.A. Happ, Carlos Ruiz and Ben Francisco are figured in, the Phillies should have approximately $14 million remaining to spend before reaching the $137 million that they ended up doling out last season.