Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hottest of the Hot Corner: Ranking MLB's Top 16 Third Basemen—No. 14

MLB: San Francisco vs. Philadelphia April 28
Part 3 of 16

No. 14 Placido Polanco, Philadelphia Phillies

Like the Mariners, the Philadelphia Phillies are asking Placido Polanco to make the switch across the diamond to man the hot corner. Already possessing baseball's best second basemen in Chase Utley, the club asked last year's American League Gold Glove second baseman to slide back to a position he had played sporadically in the past.

Interestingly, the Phillies traded him away in 2005 when they decided to commit to Utley and could not settle on a regular position for Polanco. This winter, when solid fielding Pedro Feliz's contract expired, GM Ruben Amaro decided that Polanco's additional offensive production was worth the risk of making the switch.

Over the past five years, the 34-year old player batted .311 for Detroit, including a .341 mark in 2007. He twice finished in the top 25 of the MVP voting while winning a Silver Slugger and two Gold Gloves for his work at second.

So far this season, Polanco looks comfortable at third, displaying the same sure hands and strong arm. The position change has not affected him at the plate, as he is batting .299 with 3 HR's and 14 RBI's in the early going.

Amaro has to be pleased with the early returns.

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