While Alexander Guerrero still has something to prove to management this Spring in order to secure the starting second baseman job, Dee Gordon also is looking to grab a seat on that plane to Sydney next month. Guerrero, with his four-year $28 million deal, is being paid like a starter yet Don Mattingly and management still seem unsure to whether Guerrero will actually begin the season with the Dodgers or play a bit in the minors.
“It’s hard for us to tell, to be honest,” Mattingly said Sunday. “Everything we’ve asked of Alex, he’s been wonderful. This kid has worked and worked. But I don’t think until we get these games going on and get at-bats under his belt that we’ll start to kind of see what it’s going to look like. So that’s the objective, to get him on the field as much as possible.”
I’m not sure what the coaches and management see as unconvincing in Guerrero’s showing so far during Spring workouts, but come Wednesday we should all be able to see Guerrero play in the Dodgers first Spring Training game. Guerrero will likely split time with some of the other non-roster hopefuls along with Dee Gordon who is also vying for a spot on the 25-man roster.
Usually I’m not a huge proponent of platoons. I really do think that Guerrero could man second base in a starting role for the Dodgers with little issue, but the Dodgers are still contemplating the idea of platooning at second if Guerrero isn’t fully ready. I’d like to know exactly why some think he isn’t transitioning well to the second base position, and we will get the chance to judge for ourselves come Wednesday.
“We’ll think about it, for sure,” Mattingly said on Wednesday. “I like platoons because, basically, it gets you good matchups if you get the right guys for it. It keeps guys involved, keeps them fresh and they know when they will be starting. I actually like it, so definitely, no question.”
Mattingly claims he likes platoons, but he rarely uses them. Many have advocated to platoon Andre Ethier with a righty since Ethier has trouble hitting lefties, but Mattingly hasn’t been able to do that since he needs Dre as his everyday center fielder now that Kemp continues to be disabled. Carl Crawford could be platooned as well. James Loney? Platoon please. It’s interesting to me that Mattingly is all for a platoon at second base before even seeing Guerrero play in a live game.
Perhaps the Dodgers really do want to give Dee Gordon one more chance to prove that he is a consistent everyday Major Leaguer. The Dodgers have all but abandoned the idea of playing Gordon at shortstop anymore especially now that they signed Erisbel Arruebarrena and they have Hanley Ramirez through at least this next season. Gordon has gained weight and muscle, and he is hoping that adding some power to his swing could give him more value than just a speed machine.
Last season I saw Gordon play second base comfortably with no real issues. It was only 3 games at second base, but hey he didn’t commit an error. In 2011, his first season, Gordon hit over .300 with 68 hits in 56 games. If Gordon can use his acrobatic athleticism to impress at second base as we all mourn the loss of Mark Ellis when the tough plays pop up throughout this upcoming season, then perhaps he can find himself on this team for the long run.
The real issue is that Guerrero will need to play every day, so if he’s not ready the Dodgers will start him in AAA. Then that creates a spot for someone else out of the Potential Platoon Partner Pool™.
Chone Figgins, Brendan Harris, and Justin Turner are just the kind of bench guys who would work in a platoon. But do you really want to see Chone Figgins play every day as the Dodgers second baseman? No, I’d rather go with the unpredictable Dee Gordon or the “slowly transitioning” Guerrero than any of those guys to be honest.
I think Guerrero will be the starting second baseman, but I wouldn’t be opposed to adding Dee Gordon to the bench for his speed and to back up second base or shortstop when needed.
I know Scott feels that a platoon at second base is a bad idea. Perhaps I still have a soft spot in my heart for Dee Gordon, and even though I suffered while watching all of those high flying 18 errors in 2012 and another 7 last season, for some odd reason I want him to succeed. At this point I feel as though his time is running short, and with the Guerrero signing it may be all but over.
Guerrero hasn’t played much since 2012, but I think once he feels more comfortable with his teammates and the new country, he’ll be just
fine. Perhaps there is more to the story than we know. Guerrero defected from Cuba last year, and his wife and family remain in Cuba.
The mysteriousness of these Cuban players is intriguing. We will soon get a glimpse of Guerrero on Wednesday, and I’m hoping that his play this Spring will shoot down any further notion of platooning at second base.
The Dodgers made the decision to let Mark Ellis go so that they could go with the younger and potentially more powerful Alexander Guerrero. Now concerns and platoon suggestions have me worried that second base will be unstable or consistent. If I had to choose a platoon out of the available infielders in camp it would be Guerrero and Gordon, but I’m hoping that Guerrero gets us excited this Spring like Puig did last year.