Known for his iconic grin around the bases during Magglio Ordonez‘s walk-off in the ALCS, Polanco had a very solid career in the Motor City. In fact, we ranked him as the fourth greatest second basemen in Tiger history just a few weeks ago.
He originally came to the Tigers in a midseason trade back in 2005.
Polanco hit .295/.329/.364 with an 80 OPS+ and a 1.9 bWAR for the 2006 team. He was even better in the playoffs. He hit .412 in the ALDS against the Yankees, with two RBI. Then, he hit .526 against the A’s, scoring two runs including the famous trot around the bases to win game four. He was named ALCS MVP for his performance.
Polanco sadly struggled in the world series, going hitless in 17 at-bats as the Tigers lost to the Cardinals.
He stayed with the team through the 2009 season before signing with the Phillies as a free agent.
Polanco finished his Tigers career with a .311/.355/.418 slash line, 806 hits, two Gold Glove Awards and a 19.1 WAR. He was one of the best defensive second basemen of all-time and certainly ranks as one of the best in Tiger history.
Polanco spent three seasons with the Phillies, hitting a combined .281 with 5.5 bWAR. He played one last season in Miami in 2013, hitting .260 with a 72 OPS+.
Polanco was unsigned during the 2014 season, and announced in March of 2015 that he was “90 percent” retired, but would consider the right situation.
He indicated a desire to coach, but as of this writing he has yet to land a role coaching professional baseball. He also indicated a desire to spend more time with his family when he officially retired in 2016, and it appears he has made true on that.
Polanco will appear on the next Hall of Fame ballot, having been retired the requisite five years. While he was an elite defensive second baseman, he does not seem likely to gain any traction for the Hall of Fame.