Free agency on a budget: Placido Polanco

Leave a comment

Placido Polanco turned 34 years old last month and has naturally lost a step on both sides of the ball, but still hit .285/.331/.396 this season while ranking among MLB’s better defensive second basemen according to both reputation and Ultimate Zone Rating.
He rarely walks and has modest pop, but Polanco makes as much solid contact as any hitter in baseball and batted .311/.355/.418 in five years with the Tigers leading up to his impending free agency.
Assuming that his defense doesn’t fall off a cliff, even something like .275/.330/.375 would make him above average overall. Given his age and skill set it wouldn’t make sense to offer Polanco more than a two-year deal, but he’ll be an attractive option for teams looking to solidify the middle infield while adding a decent top-of-the-order bat.
Last week Freddy Sanchez took $12 million over two years to remain with the Giants and Polanco would make plenty of sense for contenders if he’s willing to accept something similar. Detroit was seemingly planning to let him go without much of a fight, but would-be replacement Scott Sizemore breaking his ankle in the Arizona Fall League may change that.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
5 Comments

Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

Kent Horner/Getty Images
1 Comment

Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.

Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.