Aug 8, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers former player Placido Polanco throws out the ceremonial first pitch before the game against the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
#4: Trading for Placido Polanco
In 2004, Fernando Vina was supposed to be the Tigers’ second baseman for the next couple years to form a keystone combination with Carlos Guillen, but injuries ended his career after just 29 games in Detroit.
This meant an ever-evolving circle of players at the position in 2004-2005 that included Omar Infante (in his first Tigers’ tour of duty), Jason Smith, Ryan Raburn, John McDonald, Ramon Martinez and Kevin Hooper.
In the middle of 2005, the Tigers dealt one of those, uh, prized second sackers, along with set-up man Ugueth Urbina for eight-year veteran Placido Polanco. Ramon Martinez was never heard from again and Urbina was convicted of attempted murder and sent to prison in Venezula two years later.
Poly easily made his presence known, stabilizing second base for the first time since Damian Easley was stellar there in the early 2000’s. He hit .338 in 86 games that season.
He went on to have a stellar 2006 season and was the ALCS MVP for the Tigers. He peaked in 2007, finishing among the AL batting leaders with a .338 average and earning his only All-Star appearance in Detroit.
His production dropped of a tad the next two seasons until the Tigers decided to not pursue him in free agency, opting instead for Scott Sizemore at second base. Sizemore made the Opening Day roster there, but was demoted to Toledo and traded later in the season.
Once again the Tigers had a glaring hole in that position while Polanco had another couple of stellar years back in Philadelphia, including his second and final All-Star appearance in 2011.
We may touch on this one in next week’s worst moves by DD….
Next: Max & Austin