Free agency on a budget: Placido Polanco

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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.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.