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.
“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.
The Nationals lost a heartbreaker on Tuesday night, as the Indians overcame a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Nationals 7-6. Closer Jonathan Papelbon faced five batters but was unable to record an out, yielding a leadoff walk, a double, a bunt that ended up very successful due to a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error, an intentional walk, and a single. Oliver Perez came in and eventually allowed one of his inherited runners to score, saddling Papelbon with the loss.
Papelbon also served up four runs in the outing before Tuesday’s, on Saturday against the Padres. The two clubs entered the top of the ninth tied 6-6, but a walk followed by three two-out singles and a bases-clearing double off of Papelbon allowed the Padres to take a 10-6 lead.
On the season, Papelbon is 19-for-22 in save chances with a 4.18 ERA and a 30/12 K/BB ratio in 32 1/3 innings. If the season were to end today, the right-hander’s 21.4 percent strikeout rate would be the lowest mark of his career and his 8.6 percent walk rate would be his highest mark since 2010.
Manager Dusty Baker didn’t indicate that he’s going to make a change at closer, but he sounded dissatisfied with Papelbon’s performance thus far. Via Mark Zuckerberg of MASN, Baker said, “He doesn’t have his command, which is evident when you walk the leadoff hitter. But it’s like, what do you say? How does he look? Right now he doesn’t look like Pap. He doesn’t look very good. Usually he doesn’t walk people like that.”
The non-waiver trade deadline is on Monday, August 1. The Nationals, at 58-42, still have a four-game lead over the Marlins and a 4.5-game lead over the Mets. Tuesday’s loss has motivated the club to attempt to upgrade the bullpen, Jon Morosi reports. The Nationals were in the mix for Aroldis Chapman before the Yankees sent him to the Cubs. Perhaps Andrew Miller could be next on the Nats’ wish list.
The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday night that the club traded reliever Drew Storen and some cash to the Mariners in exchange for reliever Joaquin Benoit.
Storen, 28, was designated for assignment by the Jays on Sunday after posting a 6.21 ERA with a 32/10 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings. The Jays acquired him during the offseason from the Nationals in exchange for Ben Revere and a player to be named later.
Benoit, 38, struggled as well, putting up a 5.18 ERA with a 28/15 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings with the Mariners.