In case it wasn’t already clear, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel basically admitted today that Placido Polanco has simply been benched.
Polanco is out of the lineup tonight for the fifth straight game in favor of 30-year-old journeyman Kevin Frandsen, and when asked about the situation Manuel told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that it’s not about Polanco’s health or anything except for Frandsen playing well.
And that’s true, as he’s hit .351 in 26 games for the Phillies after coming into the season as a career .243 hitter with a .636 OPS. Frandsen will come crashing back down to earth eventually, but the larger point is that he might actually have a place on the Phillies in 2013 whereas they’re all but certain to let Polanco go by declining a $5.5 million option.
Philadelphia was widely criticized for signing Polanco to a three-year, $18 million deal in December of 2009 and for that money he’s hit just .281 with a .686 OPS while missing 112 of a possible 452 games.
First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.
Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.