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Monday, June 06, 2005

A POST ABOUT PLACIDO POLANCO, ADAM KENNEDY, AND DARIN ERSTAD
Peter Gammons says that the Angels are interested in the Phils' Placido Polanco, and has even said the Angels are more interested in him than in Mike Sweeney. Gammo isn't so much on the explanations, however, and there is zero argument for the Angels acquiring Polanco.

Don't get me wrong, Polanco is a fine player. He's a league-average or better hitter who also happens to be a defensive star at second and third, who can also cover short in an emergency. But it's hard to imagine him finding a real role with the Angels. I'm guessing that any interest the Angels might have would be because of the injury to Maicer Izturis, but even so, it doesn't seem like Polanco would provide anything to the roster that Chone Figgins can't. Sure, Polanco's a better defensive player at the positions they share, but it doesn't seem in character for the organization to move Figgy down on the depth chart at this point.

Basically, it seems like the point of Polanco would be to provide insurance in case both Cabrera and Kennedy go down at the same time, but giving up value to acquire a good player for that elaborate scenario seems a bit silly.

For now, I'm going to dispatch this to the same Gammons category that had him plugging for Rich Harden: Closer a year ago.

But speaking of middle infielders, here is Adam Kennedy since May 28:
AB  H  2B  BB  SO  SB  CS  AVG  OBP  SLG
23 13 3 4 3 2 0 565 630 615
He's reclaimed the touch, if not the power, and was clearly our top hitter in the Boston series. Is it time to give him a shot at the leadoff role? Managers are hesitant to mess with success, and Scioscia might fear that moving Kennedy to the leadoff spot would mess with his approach. Also, though he worked counts earlier this year, Kennedy has become more free-swinging as he's heated up:
Player    OBP   Pitches/PA
Kennedy .347 3.60
Figgins .328 4.00
Erstad .332 4.03
But here are the same numbers going back to 2003, when Chone first started getting real playing time:
Player    OBP   Pitches/PA
Kennedy .348 3.84
Figgins .344 4.00
Erstad .333 3.91
So why exactly is Darin Erstad the number two hitter?

And in case you were wondering, Erstad's SLG going back to 2003 is .379; Kennedy's is .400. Maybe I'm being a bit unfair to Erstad, in that 2003 was a down year for him, even by his standards. However, note that Adam's OPS was 10 points higher than Erstad's last year, too, and 1B are expected to hit a fair amount better than 2B.

But the guy we're reportedly looking at picking up is Placido Polanco, not Mike Sweeney.

Sounds about right.

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