07/24/12 7:14 PM ET
Subject of trade talks, Pence wants to stay put
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Juan Pierre, Placido Polanco, Joe Blanton and Hunter Pence have been mentioned as potential players to be traded, and Tuesday a FOXSports.com report said the Phillies are "eager" to trade Pence. But while the Phils are shopping Pence, they would have to receive strong value in return to move him. He is their only right-handed power bat, and he is under team control through next season.
"I want to play here," Pence said. "I want to win this year. I believe in us, and that's what I'm focused on. I'm not focused on what if something happens in the future. What if I die tomorrow? I'm not guaranteed another breath, so I'm going to go out and work as hard as I can today."
Philadelphia could save about $14 million in payroll in 2013 by trading Pence, who will be salary arbitration-eligible for the final time. That money could come in handy if Hamels signs a contract extension this week. The sides continue to negotiate a deal, although they will need a decision from Hamels soon. If the left-hander declines the Phillies' offer, they will need time to find a trade partner.
Polanco has MRI on lower back, remains out
PHILADELPHIA -- If the Phillies had any shot at trading Placido Polanco before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, it might have passed.
Polanco had a MRI on his sore lower back Tuesday. The results of that exam were not immediately available, but he was unavailable to play for the second consecutive day.
The Orioles had expressed some interest in Polanco, who is hitting .255 with two home runs, 19 RBIs and a .628 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, which is 119 points below his career average. Since raising his average to a season-high .294 on June 4, Polanco has hit just .184 with eight RBIs and a .494 OPS. But Polanco still plays solid defense, and can play both third base and second base.
It is unlikely the Phils would get much in return for Polanco, which also is why they are not aggressively trying to trade him. If the Phillies had a choice between trading Polanco for nothing or holding him through the remainder of the season, they just might hold onto him because they have no clear options to play third other than Ty Wigginton and Mike Fontenot.
Polanco has a $5.5 million mutual option for next season with a $1 million buyout. The Phils are expected to take the buyout, if it comes to that point, which means they will be looking for a third baseman in the offseason.
The club has no third-base prospects close to competing in the big leagues.
"Third base is a position that has changed a little bit," manager Charlie Manuel said. "A prototype third baseman used to be a RBI guy, a guy that had a pretty good glove, arm, had some power and knocked in runs. They play smaller guys there now, good defensive players. A big prototype third baseman is hard to find."
For now, it looks like they will stick with Polanco, if and when he gets back on the field.
Manuel started John Mayberry Jr. in left field against Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke on Tuesday because Mayberry had been swinging the bat well lately.
"I thought why not?" Manuel said. "Why shouldn't I put him in there and let him swing tonight?"
Manuel said he will find a way to work Laynce Nix into the starting lineup, but he likes Nix as a weapon coming off the bench.
"Nix is a good piece to put up there in a big situation in the game," Manuel said. "But he also has to play enough to stay sharp."
The Phillies outrighted outfielder Jason Pridie to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.