We knew Placido Polanco was done as a Tiger when the Tigers declined to offer him arbitration on Tuesday. Today, it became official when he signed a three year contract with the Phillies. With Chase Utley manning second base, Polanco will move back to third base after spending the last five years as the Tigers second baseman. I would not have minded seeing Polanco come back to the Tigers for one more year but a three year contract for a 34 year old second baseman is too much for an aging team with a bloated payroll.
Polanco did not have a strong year offensively in 2009 (.727 OPS and -11.3 batting runs below average) but may do a little better moving back to the National League and playing in the Citizens Park in 2010. He can not be expected to remain a Gold Glove defender with a move back to third base however. He has played 322 games at third base lifetime but most of that came prior to being traded to the Tigers in 2005.
Polanco will be replaced rookie Scott Sizemore, who is currently recovering from a broken leg suffered in the Arizona Fall League. Sizemore will not cover the second base position as well as Polanco but has the potential to be a better offensive player. Sizemore should hit for good average and will draw more walks and perhaps show a bit more power than Polanco. Of course, that's easier said than done but he's an excellent prospect and I'm excited to see him get a chance.
Regardless, the Tigers will miss Polanco's steady defense and uncanny ability to make contact and hit with runners in scoring position. He has been a fan favorite who appears to have a good work ethic and never complains publicly. Fans will also miss his grimace, his large head and his cold weather clothing. I wish him well in Philadelphia.