Scott Sizemore, the Detroit Tigers red-hot prospect, is supposed to take the place of Placido Polanco at second base in 2010. Yesterday, Sizemore broke his ankle while playing in the Arizona Fall League. Even though he is expected to make a full recovery in time for Spring Training, the injury must certainly be a factor in determining whether or not it is a good idea to let a bread-and-butter player like Polanco go.
I have long described Polanco as “money in the bank” at his position. He is the most solid offensive and defensive second baseman the Tigers have had since Sweet Lou Whitaker. This year, Polanco’s fielding percentage was a staggering .997. He committed only two errors the entire season.
In addition to his fielding prowess, Polanco also batted a healthy .285 and has a lifetime batting average of .303.
In all respects, Polanco is a rock solid ballplayer that any team would benefit from having. He’s also an asset in the clubhouse. Parting ways with such a player should not be taken lightly.
I believe the Tigers would be wise to re-sign Polanco and bring up Sizemore, initially, as a utility infielder. That would give the Tigers time to see how Sizemore can perform on the Major League level. It would also avoid the potential for a massive hole in the Tigers’ infield if Sizemore has a weak season or two as he grows into the role of a full-time Major Leaguer.
The late, great Joe Falls once said he didn’t realize what a great right fielder Al Kaline was until he left “and all the ball started dropping in.” Falls explained that Kaline made it look so easy that people started to take him for granted.
I believe the same will prove true of Polanco if the Tigers decide to let him go.