Three Additions in One Week
Baseball’s winter meetings are next week in Indianapolis. Trades and agents peddling their free agents will dominate the news. This Indiana city will need to change its name to “Rumor City” for a few days.
Ruben Amaro Jr., for the second year in a row, has gotten a jump on his shopping list before the meetings. Last year, he signed Raul Ibanez early. Today, Juan Castro and Placido Polanco joined Brian Schneider (Tuesday) as new Phillies. Three key additions in one week.
Well, Polly isn’t totally a new Phillie as he wore Phillies pinstripes from 2002 into 2005. “I’m coming back home, where I wanted to be,” he beamed at the afternoon media conference. “My family and I had a great time here the first time. We love Philly.”
Why didn’t you wait until next week? “The Phillies were my first choice. They are committed to winning.”
Schneider grew up in the Lehigh Valley and was a Phillies fan as a kid. He, too, came back home because he wanted to play for a winner. Castro had other opportunities but again, being on a winning team was the deciding factor.
Polanco will move from second base to third. “I played there in college, in St. Louis and here. It’s not a new position for me.”
Phillies Wall of Famer Juan Samuel coached both Polanco and Castro. “I tell you what, they are real professional people who will be great fits in your clubhouse,” Samuel said from his Florida home.
“Castro can play anywhere in the infield. Polly, the only time I saw him at third was when he was with you. But, he’s played there before, has good hands ane enough arm strength. He just needs to play there every day. He’ll get used to it.
“He won’t give you much power at third. He’s a contact hitter, who can give you some extra base hits but not big home run numbers. He’s a solid, professional hitter. One of the best two-hole hitters in the game.”
Now, Ruben’s focus shifts on adding bullpen depth and possibly a starter. Todd Zolecki will bring you all the winter meeting news on this site. Stay tuned.
Hard to Believe, Harry
Ten weeks from today, the Phillies equipment truck will be loaded at Citizens Bank Park for a journey south to Clearwater.
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