Polanco – The Perfect Tiger

It was inevitable that the Tigers could not pay what was amounting to be a hefty contract. In a year when every player’s contract is in question, Tigers fans were bracing when the news finally hit. Placido Polanco, with his oddly-shaped head, miniature bat wagging back-and-forth, and quick high-stepping from one base to the next, will not be in a Tigers uniform in 2010.

polancoPolanco came to the Tigers in a trade initially deemed as disappointing following the departure of electric reliever Ugueth Urbina. Urbina went 4-3 with one save throughout the remainder of the 2005 campaign before an incident in his native Venezuela brought him a lengthy jail stay. In a recent ESPN interview, Urbina demonstrated his unique jail cell where he will likely spend the next 10 years of his life.

Polanco, on the other hand, hit over .310 with two Gold Gloves in a Tigers uniform. His place in the lineup undoubtedly provided greater opportunities for players like Granderson, Sheffield, Cabrera and Ordonez. His ability to slap the ball over the field with very few strikeouts, made him an extremely valuable member of the Tigers roster. It also means that his void needs to be filled with someone who can swing the bat and play some defense at a decent rate.

In 2010, the Tigers are looking toward Scott Sizemore as the answer at second base. This past season he batted over .300 for AA Erie and AAA Toledo and has been highly-rated for his glove. While he is not expected to completely fill Polly’s shoes, his ability to occasionally show pop in his bat has been very exciting – especially at his low price. A recent ankle injury has shown some concern, but he is expected to fully recover in time for spring training.