Marlins’ cleanup hitter might be … Placido Polanco

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Giancarlo Stanton is going to be pitched around a ton this season, so who the Marlins pick to bat behind him in the cleanup spot is an important decision. And first-year manager Mike Redmond told Joe Frisaro of MLB.com that he’s giving serious consideration to using Placido Polanco.

Yes, that Placido Polanco.

Polanco is 37 years old, hasn’t topped a .400 slugging percentage since 2008, hasn’t topped a .350 slugging percentage since 2010, and hasn’t topped 10 homers in a season since 2004. So why in the world would Redmond want him hitting fourth, behind Stanton?

I like Polanco hitting there. He gives you a veteran bat, a guy who puts the ball in play. He can hit behind runners, he can hit and run. He handles the bat well. He might be a nice fit behind Stanton. … If they’re going to pitch around him, at least we know we’ve got a guy who can put the ball in play, and he can drive in runs. Sure, it’s not going to be via a home run. It’s going to be a professional at-bat, and a guy who can keep the line moving.

The notion of doing a bunch of hit-and-runs with the 6-foot-6 Stanton on first base and Polanco at the plate is doubly odd and the idea that Polanco “can drive in runs” despite his lack of home run power is funny considering he’s driven in more than 70 runs once in 15 seasons.

It’s probably not worth being too hard on Redmond yet because he may not even end up using Polanco in the cleanup spot once the games actually start and it’s not like he has many other appealing options, but … yeah, not a good idea.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.