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.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.