It’s a small miracle the Marlins and Placido Polanco crossed paths. Through his career, Polanco has played against the Marlins more than anyone in his career, putting up a .286/.338/.407 in 456 plate appearances. Polanco has been on a slow, crumbling decline going into 2013, while the Marlins are fresh off completely demolishing their major league foundation. Just as the market for Polanco took a dive, the Marlins reverted to their financially frugal ways and signed the 37-year old to a 1-year, 2.75M contract. How poetic.
Not only did Polanco turn in his worst offensive numbers since his rookie year in ’98, (.257/.302/.327) he also boats an impressive injury report ranging from lingering back soreness to bone spurs in his elbow. Maybe complaining about Polanco’s offense in 2013 is inane, as his age was bound to catch up to his batting average eventually. But what happens when he doesn’t play?
The saddest part of this tragic third base situation, is that Polanco’s do doubt injury-riddled season of .260/.300/.320 could be the Marlin’s best option this season.
Zack Cox was optioned to AA March 8th. While he’ll make a Major League appearance in ’13, there’s no evidence in his Minor League numbers (career .285/.339/.424) that he’ll be better than Polanco. Judging by his lukewarm numbers in the Pacific Coast League last season suggest when he’s called up, it’s because he’s healthier than Polanco, not better.
Among other Spring Training third basemen include a slew of non-roster invites such as Kevin Kouzmanoff, Chone Figgins, Chris Valaika, Ed Lucas, and Matt Downs. Of this depressing list of aging veterans and unproven AAAA-type players, I would prefer Downs or Valaika as they are the youngest, and could take on the utility role for a year or so, or until MM’s #13 Marlin Prospect Derek Dietrich is ready to replace them.
It’s already been settled that the Marlins, on paper, aren’t putting the most intimidating group of athletes on the field. But at each position there is a young, developing player either already there or in the minors preparing for their role… Except for third base. With Polanco’s subpar offense and limited, “old-man” defense at third being the Marlins best bet, it looks like the lone bright spot was his cheap price tag, which is, you know, kind of the Marlins thing lately.
So, what do you think? Is the Marlin’s third base situation as bad as I make it seem? Or worse?