Today, in multiple reports, the Philadelphia Phillies have been strongly connected to free agent third baseman, and soon-to-be-former Cub, Aramis Ramirez. The Phillies feel they need a big bat, and are apparently willing to sacrifice the defense at third in exchange for that offense.
If true, where does that leave current Phillie 3B, Placido Polanco?
Well, the Phillies would probably shop him, lest they have a very expensive utility player on their hands. And one team likely to show at least a little interest is the Chicago Cubs.
Indeed, Phil Rogers says you can add Polanco to the list of Cubs third base options.
Polanco, 36, is set to make $6.25 million in 2012, with a $5.5 million mutual option for 2013 (with a $1 million buyout), so acquiring him could be an expensive one-year move. His offensive numbers have waned considerably in recent years – OPS+ of 101, 90, 94, 85 over the last four years – though his defense remains solid.
One rub with Polanco, as pointed out by Rogers, is Polanco’s recovery from post-season double hernia surgery. He’s expected to be ready for Opening Day, but injury recovery becomes increasingly difficult as a guy ages, and, whether he’s “ready” by Opening Day says nothing about whether he’s “ready to play well” by Opening Day.
The Cubs are also exploring deals with the Padres and Rockies for Chase Headley and Ian Stewart, respectively, and, given their age profiles and contract situations, you’ve got to believe those two would be a preference over Polanco. Frankly, I’d much rather the Cubs handed the position over to DJ LeMahieu, for example, than pick up Polanco as a starter.