A Platoon At Second Base Is a Bad Idea
By Scott Andes
Oh boy, just when I was starting to like Don Mattingly, he goes and says something like this. Our friends over at Dodgersnation are reporting that Mattingly is considering using a platoon of Alexander Guerrero and some of the NRI/utility bums at second base. Eric Stephen had originally tweeted something out about Mattingly considering this earlier.
You all probably know how much I dislike platoons. I just think they’re counter productive. Unless there is a huge split between the players. Especially when one of the players is a 28 million dollar international all-star, and the others are bench guys who can’t hit above the Mendoza line.
I’ve written about Guerrero before about how I think putting him in the minors is a mistake. But this would be a mistake too. I think the Dodgers have to find out what Guerrero has first before they start giving playing time to utility payers who can’t hit.
It seems like the Dodgers don’t have the faith or the balls to follow through with the Guerrero signing. Unfortunately public opinion is winning over. Sometimes Mattingly can be highly susceptible to public opinion when it becomes very strong. That’s what this is. I can read between the lines. The public opinion is so strong right now that Guerrero is not major league caliber that it’s enough to sway Mattingly’s decision. We haven’t even started to play the exhibition season yet.
Yes Guerrero is coming off a hamstring injury, and switching from shortstop to second base, he will be learning a new position. But again, with a hefty 28 million dollar price tag, it’s best for the club to let him play in the beginning and see what he has before cutting into his playing time, or benching him. He can’t learn a new position by sitting on the bench watching guys play who can’t hit. The only way to learn a new position is to play. And you have to play every day.
Guerrero is not a glove first player, he was signed for his bat. So his defense really shouldn’t matter all that much. If defense is more important to the Dodgers then they shouldn’t have signed Guerrero in the first place. If you don’t have faith in the guy, and you want a defense first type of a second baseman, then wouldn’t it be better to play one of the utility guys? May as well just name Miguel Rojas, or Justin Sellers as the starting second baseman now.
Justin Sellers, Justin Turner, Chone Figgins, Miguel Rojas, and Dee Gordon will all be battling for bench spots this spring. They all can play multiple positions, but unfortunately none of them have any power, nor can they hit much if at all. They are all very good guys, and I like them, but reality is reality. So if you are going to give one or two of those guys playing time at second base, and they obviously have not even a sliver of power, then they better be getting on base and getting hits.
if Figgins can prove he can bunt, he’ll be the starting second baseman, and win Don Mattingly’s undying love-Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Pitching is not the only thing that wins games. A strong offense wins games for you too. You have to score runs to win games. What have we learned over the last few seasons? We learned that a lousy offense can sink you as fast as anything can. If these guys above can’t hit or get on base, then all they are is an automatic out. And we know from past failures that you can’t have automatic outs in the lineup and expect to score runs. With all due respect to Garret Anderson’s legendary punchless 2010 season. Even having one automatic out in your lineup will hose you.
It’s time for the Dodgers to follow through on this until the end. No stupid platoons, no putting Guerrero in Chattanooga. Just let him play. It should be sink or swim. I know I might be wrong. I’ve been wrong before. If I am, I’ll admit it. But the Dodgers need to see what they have in this guy before they play the bench guys. The best thing to do now is just let the guy play and let him learn second base as he goes. And at least with Guerrero we’ll probably get decent offensive production. The bench guys should be the last option, not the first.
I just hope that public opinion doesn’t overwhelm Mattingly so much that he makes the wrong decision. Hopefully his decision is based on what’s best for the team. Because sometimes the public opinion is wrong, just like I am at times as well.