How much longer does Mariners’ Jorge Polanco have for turnaround?

Jul 9, 2024, 2:29 PM

Seattle Mariners 2B Jorge Polanco...

Jorge Polanco of the Seattle Mariners strikes out during a 2024 game. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

In what has been a season filled with frustrating offensive performances for the Seattle Mariners, the continued struggles of key offseason addition Jorge Polanco is at, or certainly near, the top of the list.

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After several years as a quality hitter with the Minnesota Twins – which included posting a wRC+ of 111 or higher in five of the past six seasons before coming to Seattle – Polanco’s performance has cratered to an unrecognizable level. Among 238 batters in MLB with at least 200 plate appearances this season, Polanco ranks 223rd with a 69 wRC+. His strikeout rate has sky rocketed to 33.6% as well, which is nearly 8% higher than last season.

So how much longer will the Mariners continue inserting the struggling switch-hitter in the lineup? Seattle Sports’ Dave Wyman and Mike Lefko discussed that Monday on Wyman and Bob.

“It’s a situation where second base is once again a big question mark and they certainly have some things to sort through,” Lefko said.

Polanco’s last stand?

Polanco came to Seattle this offseason in a deal that sent four players to the Twins, and the hope was the 30 year old would solve the ongoing lack of performance at second base since Robinson Canó’s departure.

“I always bring this up, Mike, that last year when they got him in the offseason, that was when everybody’s mood changed,” Wyman said. “They were all like, ‘Oh man, OK, it looks like the Mariners are actually doing a pretty good job.’”

The biggest question mark surrounding Polanco wasn’t if he was capable of making an impact offensively, it was whether or not he’d be able to stay on the field after missing considerable time the past two seasons. Polanco has had a couple minor injuries, but those haven’t been near the same problem as the bat. In 55 games, he’s slashing .189/.280/.284 with three doubles, five home runs and 16 RBIs. Those struggles were amplified over the weekend against the Blue Jays when Polanco failed to come through in big situations late in back-to-back losses.

Mariners beat reporter Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times gave his insight about the Polanco situation when he joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

“I think they’ve already had these discussions. I think what we’ll see in the days ahead, if they don’t remove Polanco or DFA him, is he just doesn’t play very much,” Divish said. “He wasn’t playing a lot anyways, but I think you’re trying to maximize a resource, get the most out of it, until you finally decide … we have to make a change.  And I think a lot of fans have been past that point a while ago, but baseball teams aren’t like that. They aren’t reactionary to the moment.

“Yeah, it’s been longer than a moment, but at the same time, they always try to hope for the last little bit because you’ve invested a lot. You planned a lot on your roster. You tried to figure this out and set up the way you want to play. So to just walk away from it, even halfway into the season or three-quarters of the way in the season, is still something difficult for a lot of GMs and front offices.”

How much longer will the Mariners keep giving Polanco opportunities over the likes of rookie Ryan Bliss or Dylan Moore?

“I think we’re looking at probably a drop-dead date of the trade deadline for Polanco,” Lefko said. “… You give him a few days off and then that whole extended All-Star break – kind of one final opportunity to clear his head – and then you will know after the trade deadline what your roster is. Similar to what we saw last year where they finally made those trades and then they got rid of Kolten Wong and AJ Pollock because they had the guys in. … There are so many teams jostling and maybe gonna sell and not sure yet who’s gonna sell. But at that point, when you finally have your roster constructed for the second half of the season after this trade deadline, then I think we’ll see something definitive happen with Polanco.”

Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Wyman and Bob weekdays from 2-6 p.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

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