With all of the problems the Los Angeles Dodgers have in figuring out who will be their everyday second baseman for the 2014 MLB season, using a platoon to solve that issue certainly seems like a tempting idea. I believe that would be a poor choice on the part of the team’s manager, Don Mattingly.
The Dodgers’ skipper has never been known to prefer a platoon and surely would rather have an everyday player to pencil into his lineup. Nevertheless, with the Dodgers’ middle infielders all being big fat question marks headed into Spring Training, Mattingly must consider this as a solution. If the Boys in Blue finish Spring Training and no clear frontrunner has proved himself ready and deserving of the everyday starters’ job, then Mattingly might rightfully rotate his players. Otherwise, “Donnie Baseball” would do well to veer away from the platoon.
The biggest problem with plantooning is that the rotation disrupts any chance the players may have at building any sort of momentum. Never knowing from day to day whether a player will be in the starting lineup can be very upsetting for the player’s mind. In a game that is “90 percent mental,” this kind of distraction can be detrimental.
Mattingly needs to be patient and see what his players can do in their time at Camelback Ranch before deciding the best course of action. For now, it seems that the Dodgers’ top choice would be their Cuban middle infielder, Alex Guerrero. The international was signed as a highly touted recruit for his batting abilities and would be a nice addition to the Dodgers’ lineup. From there, the possibilities go to several players of varying experience and abilities.
Chone Figgins signed a minor league deal and the team has invited him to camp. If the 36-year-old veteran can show the team’s management that he still has what it takes, he could certainly make the team and earn some playing time. Figgins is a career .277 hitter with a .349 on-base percentage, but has not even come closer to those numbers since 2010.
I personally really like the idea of Dee Gordon at second base. The former shortstop clearly did not have the arm strength to be formidable in the six-spot but could be great on the opposite side of the diamond. The speedy Gordon’s wheels are clearly a threat at the plate and could be doubled over as a tool on defense.
A few other options the Dodgers will be looking over this spring include Miguel Rojas and Brendan Harris, but the reality of the matter is their chances are slim. It will be very interesting to see what Mattingly and the Dodgers end up deciding to do with their conundrum, but my best advice to them is to avoid the platoon at second.