A Platoon At Second Base Is a Bad Idea

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.

AlexanderGuerrero

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.

Topics: Alexander Guerrero, Chone Figgins, Dee Gordon, Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers

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  • Quasimodo

    Welp, hmmmm. Do you think its possible that the message was more intended for the bench competitors? Mattingly gets asked questions from the media and his answers are at what percentage of honesty? I’m not worried about this, Scott. Like you said, “the Spring Training games haven’t even started yet”. If chances appear too thin or the spot already filled you’ll likely get poorer results. A platoon has to have happened before its judged. A lot depends on what kind of opposing pitcher is faced. If a pitcher puts a lot of infield hits in play then it might be wise to have the best defense playing. At any rate, I’m sure we’ll find out more the closer we get to the seasons start. No worries, Brother. Cheers!

    • LasordasLair

      I think it’s because public opinion is having a strong influence right now. Which is the whole Guerrero isn’t ready, or isn’t major league caliber opinion. Public opinion has more of a pull on a manager than you may think. Otherwise why else would he say that before the exhibition season even starts? It could just be PR nonsense in response to the public opinion. but like you sad, we’ll find out soon enough

  • Stacie Wheeler

    The idea that Mattingly is even considering a platoon at 2B sends the message that they are questioning Guerrero. The only thing to do is hope Guerrero shines this Spring and the rest of those washed up utility guys can be gone from our thoughts.

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  • Lamont Cranston

    Public opinion ? exactly WHO HAS EVER SEEN HIM PLAY ? Answer, nobody

    • LasordasLair

      The Cubans have. remember he was an all-star over there, and has been playing for the Cuban national team. I’ll give the Dodger’s international scouting department the benefit of the doubt on this one until I’m proven wrong. We can’t see what he has unless he plays.

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