Amaro had his reasons for the Polanco deal. Bad reasons, but reasons all the same

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Neither Aaron, nor Matthew nor I are all that thrilled with the Polanco deal, but via Rosenthal, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. defends the length of the deal thusly:

1. “I think he’s going to be in shape — he takes care of himself.

2.
“He’s versatile, he can move around. If he’s not playing third base in
two years, maybe he can go somewhere else (on the field).

“3. “We really don’t have anybody coming in the system at third base. We’re trying to protect ourselves.

4. “I wanted to be aggressive. I like him.”

Whatever. Most ballplayers take care of themselves. They still decline with age.

And where else is Polanco going to play? Utley is at second. Rollins is at short. There are three All-Star outfielders, and even if one of them goes down, Polanco’s bat couldn’t carry, say, left field even in his best years, which are almost certainly behind him. Basically, Amaro is saying that if he can’t stick at third for the length of the deal, he’s willing to pay $6 million for an old backup infielder.

Reason number three is the reason to go after any third baseman and doesn’t justify Polanco’s deal in any way. Reason number four — I simply like the guy — is the only one that actually illuminates the deal that was made. Amaro went with his gut.

Good for him and his gut, but it doesn’t make $18 million over three years to Polanco any more justifiable.

Leonys Martin feared for his life from alleged human traffickers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Leonys Martin #12 of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.

Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.

Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.

Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.

Josh Hamilton leaves camp with a tweaked knee

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers poses during a spring training photo shoot on February 28, 2016 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.

As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.

You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.