Thursday, April 28, 2011

Polanco decision haunts Tigers

Placido Polanco, who is 35 years old, had 37 hits in his first 24 games for the Philadelphia Phillies this season.
That’s the same number of hits Austin Jackson, Will Rhymes and Magglio Ordonez had, combined, after they went 1-for-11 in the Detroit Tigers’ 7-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park on Thursday.
Why can’t the Tigers get hitters like Polanco?
Oh, wait, they can.
They just don’t hang on to them.
The Tigers’ decision to not try to re-sign Polanco following the 2009 season looks more ill-advised as time passes.
The Phillies, who play in the designated hitter-free National League, weren’t scared off by Polanco’s back problems.
They installed Polanco, who won two Gold Gloves as a second baseman for the Tigers, at third base and haven’t looked back.
The Tigers could have done the same thing with Polanco, but they’ve got Brandon Inge entrenched at third.
Inge, who was re-signed after becoming a free agent after the 2010 season, and did not play in the Thursday loss that completed the Mariners’ three-game sweep, is hitting .224.
Manager Jim Leyland hinted that changes might be coming after Jackson, Ramon Santiago and Ordonez went a combined 1-for-13 in the first through third spots in the batting order Thursday.
Leyland didn’t mention any names, but he clearly was referring to Ordonez when he said one of those players has “a track record.”
Indeed, Ordonez is a career .310 hitter.
But he’s also 37, has limited range in the outfield and is coming off a season-shortening broken ankle, so not everything about his record is on the right track.
That, of course, didn’t stop the Tigers from re-signing Ordonez in the last off-season.
Somewhere in all of this, there must be logical reasons why the Tigers parted ways with Polanco, but kept Inge and Ordonez.
Can you think of any?


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