UPDATE: It’s now official.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins are close to signing Placido Polanco to a one-year, $2.75 million deal, which I suppose beats the other two old, not-very-good third basemen they were linked to yesterday: Miguel Tejada and Brandon Inge.
Polanco is 37 years old and has missed 112 of a possible 324 games during the past two seasons while hitting just .269 with a .323 on-base percentage and .334 slugging percentage. He hasn’t topped a .750 OPS since 2008.
Of course, most of the other available free agent third basemen are even less appealing and, if healthy, Polanco might still be capable of hitting .280 with a decent on-base percentage and above-average defense. Given his age and back problems that doesn’t seem particularly likely, but $2.75 million is a reasonable enough price tag and it’s not like the Marlins are trying to win anything in 2013 anyway.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.