Every day this month, we here at Philthy Stuff will be counting down the New Year's resolutions of each member on the Phillies, and what they can do to guide this team back to October. Next up, Placido Polanco.
For most of his career, Placido Polanco has been nothing if not a model of consistency. In his 14 seasons, he's compiled a career batting average of .301 to go along with his ability to avoid striking out, while playing great defense; whether it's at second base or more recently -- at third.
When he came back to the Phillies in 2010, the team knew what they were getting: A solid, if not spectacular hitter who was more than capable with the bat and with the glove. And through two seasons, that's what he's been -- for the most part.
After beginning both the 2010 and 2011 seasons with a flourish, Polanco found himself battling injuries to both circumstances and age. Although he did manage to play more than 120 games in both seasons in his second tour with the Phillies, his offense suffered. And the usually reliable right-handed hitter became a bit of an offensive pariah, as his injuries lessened the impact of his bat down the stretch.
And with trade rumors failing to materialize, the 35-year-old third baseman will be back in Philly for at least one more season.
Gold Glove: When Polly signed with the Phillies before the 2010 season, many wondered whether or not he was capable of playing third base -- a position that he has not played with any sort of consistency since the early part of the millennium. He proceeded to prove everyone wrong, as he dazzled the league on the hot corner by effortlessly making plays and showing off an impressive arm. He was rewarded last season with his third career Gold Glove.
That sort of defensive excellence figures to continue well into 2012.
Adapt: Since returning to the Phillies, Polanco has found himself primarily as the No. 2 hitter in the lineup, which is an ideal spot for someone who can hit for a high average and do all those things that old-school coaches and sportswriters adore.
But with injuries limiting his effectiveness during the past two seasons, with the recent addition of Hunter Pence and the return of Jimmy Rollins, the odds that he will remain near the top of the order are slimmer than in year's past. In all likelihood, Polly will find himself hitting near the bottom of the order in 2012, barring any major injuries. But let's not think about that.
Stay Healthy: This is a common theme but no less true for Polanco, whose performance with the bat declined precipitously due to injuries recently. While his defense has been as sterling as it's ever been, Polanco's bat is arguably more crucial to the team's as opposed to his vacuum-like ability at third base.
And since he had double hernia surgery right after the season ended, it should be more than enough time for him to get plenty healthy for the start of spring training. With injuries poised to play a huge role for the Phillies next season, a healthy Polanco could go a long way to the success of the five-time defending National League East champs.