Tag Archive: Philadelphia Phillies

The Miami Marlins were the talk of baseball in the early portion of the offseason after making a huge splash on the free agent market in signing shortstop Jose Reyes, closer Heath Bell, starter Mark Buehrle and also acquiring starter Carlos Zambrano in a trade.

Ryan Zimmerman is a cornerstone for a Nationals team that is on the rise. Limited to 101 games because of injury last season, he hit .289 with 21 doubles, 12 home runs and 49 RBIs. (B. Calloway photo)

But quietly, the Washington Nationals look like they are poised to compete and challenge the Marlins and reigning division champion Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals made a few moves that bolstered their rotation – and pitching alone should give them as good a chance as anyone in the NL East.

Washington finished 80-81 last season – and that was without having their best pitcher for a majority of the season. A full season with phenom Stephen Strasburg, plus the additions of Gio Gonzalez (acquired in a trade with the Athletics) and Edwin Jackson (signed as a free agent) will give the Nationals a solid rotation. Factor in Jordan Zimmerman (8-11, 3.14 ERA in 2011) and Washington has a strong 1-4. Washington also signed Brad Lidge to bolster their bullpen.

Washington also has a strong core of offensive players led by third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and first baseman/outfielder Michael Morse, who had a breakout season in 2011 by hitting .303 with 31 home runs and 95 RBIs season. Up and coming players such as shortstop Ian Desmond, second baseman Danny Espinoso, catcher Wilson Ramos and the highly regarded outfielder Bryce Harper could help the Nationals make some noise in a loaded NL East this season.

If Harper does open the season in the bigs, his success will be a key to the Nationals. Also getting more production out of last year’s big free agent signee Jayson Werth (.232, 20 HRs in 2011) will also be important for Washington’s chances.


So long Polanco

Detroit Tigers second baseman Placido Polanco heads back to the dugout after pre-game warmups during a game in August. Polanco signed a three-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday. (Brian Calloway photo)

The Placido Polanco era in Detroit officially came to a halt when the Tigers decided not to offer him salary arbitration on Tuesday and with him inking a three-year with the Philadelphia Phillies today.

In my opinion, it was a smart move by the Tigers to part ways with him. With so many bad contracts (I.e. Dontrelle Willis, Nate Robertson, Magglio Ordonez, etc.) on the team, there is no way they could risk Polanco accepting arbitration or really afford to give him a three-year $18 million deal like the Phillies did. Polanco is also 34, and we’ve all seen how some others on the Tigers have started to perform now that they are approaching the end of their careers (Ordonez, Carlos Guillen).

And if the Tigers feel that Scott Sizemore is in fact ready, why not save money at that position. Especially with rumors swirling that Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson could be on the move to save money, having Sizemore as the second baseman makes sense instead of paying to keep Polanco.

While the Tigers had to make the move to part ways with Polanco, I’m still a little sad to see him go. He was a valuable performer for the Tigers and one of the better moves Dave Dombrowski has made during his tenure as Detroit’s general manager.

Detroit acquired Polanco in 2005 from the Phillies in a deal in which the Tigers sent relief pitcher Ugueth Urbina to Philadelphia. Polanco was strong for four-plus seasons with the Tigers and even won a Gold Glove in 2007 and 2009. He also was the MVP during the ALCS and helped the Tigers reach the World Series in 2006. He seemed to be the ultimate professional and was probably one of the best clutch hitters the Tigers had.

His .285 average this season was his worst in a full season as a Tiger and he struck out a career high 46 times this year. On the flip side he drove in a career high 72 runs this season. I will miss Polanco for what he provided the Tigers but I think its timeĀ  to see what Sizemore can offer.

From seeing Sizemore play several times this summer in Toledo, I think he can be a good offensive player. The defense remains to be seen but I think he will do all right and I hope the move pans out. Last season between stints at Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo, Sizemore hit .308 with 39 doubles, five triples and 17 homers and 21 stolen bases in 25 attempts. He had 95 strikeouts.

Sizemore hit .308 at Toledo in 71 games and had the 22 doubles. He was one of the Tigers delegates to the Arizona Fall League and hit .368 in six games before going down with an injury. According to a Detroit Free Press report today his fracture left ankle is getting better and he could be off crutches soon.