UPDATED: The Phillies have confirmed the 3-year, $18 million deal with a mutual option for a fourth year.
“We’re very happy to have Placido back in a Phillies uniform,” Ruben Amaro Jr said in a statement. “He’s a professional hitter who will enhance our lineup. As a Gold Glove infielder, we’re very confident that he will make a smooth transition back to third base. Polly also gives us some added versatility at second base if and when Chase needs a rest.”
Earlier: The Phillies have agreed to a deal with veteran infielder Placido Polanco to replace Pedro Feliz at third base, several sources confirmed today. The deal is expected to be announced once Polanco passes a physical, a formality for the durable former Detroit Tiger.
Polanco arrived in Philadelphia earlier today after the Phillies and his agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, hammered out the final details of the deal.
There's little doubt that the signing of Polanco represents a good value on the offensive side of the plate in the short-term. Had the Phillies exercised Feliz's option, they would have paid the veteran third baseman $5.5 million this season, which is $500,000 less than they will reportedly pay Polanco (although the Phillies did pay Feliz a $500,000 buy-out). In two years in Philadelphia, Feliz hits .259 with a .306 on base percentage and a .393 slugging percentage for a .699 OPS. Curiously, the power that he had displayed in hitting at least 20 home runs in each of the previous four seasons for the Giants disappeared despite cozier home confines in Citizens Bank Park. Feliz managed just 26 home runs in 2008-09, an average of one per every 38.7 at-bats, well below the rate (1/26.1) at which he hit in San Fran.
During that same time frame, Polanco bested Feliz in virtually every offensive category, hitting .295 with a .340 on base percentage, .407 slugging percentage, .747 OPS, 18 home runs, 130 RBI, and 172 runs scored while converting 14-of-17 stolen base attempts.
But the Phillies' decision to give Polanco a three-year deal may raise some eyebrows. The versatile veteran will be 34 on Opening Day, and his batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage have decreased over the last three seasons, from .341/.388/.458 in 2007 to .285/.331/.396 in 2009. Plus, while Polanco won a Gold Glove at second base, he has not played third base since leaving the Phillies midway through the 2005 seasons.
The Phillies gave 46-year-old Jamie Moyer a two-year contract prior to last season. After a subpar 2009 in which he lost his spot in the rotation before undergoing season-ending surgery, the Phillies are now comitted to him at $8 million for next season. They also cut Geoff Jenkins prior to last season, despite owing him $6.5 million on a two-year deal he signed prior to the 2008 seasons. Their decision to give veteran outfielder Raul Ibanez a three-year contract last year also raised some eyebrows.