Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly says the best option at second base might be a platoon. With recently acquired Alexander Guerrero still learning the position, the Dodgers have brought in Chone Figgins, Justin Turner and even Dee Gordon to compete for the job. In the short-term a platoon may help, but I hope this is not his long-term answer.
To be fair, Mattingly has said he hopes someone emerges as the clear-cut favorite to win the second base job. We hear you Donnie B. The problem with a platoon is that the continuity that a middle infield needs to develop and mold is stunted when there is a constant shifting of personnel. Unlike a corner outfield position where lefty-righty platoons are common place, the middle infield platoon disrupts the synergy that is developed by your double-play combo. Middle infielders are creatures of habit and need the repetition of everyday play to develop those subtle nuances of playing the game at a high level together.
Some second baseman like a high feed on the double-play flip from their shortstop, some like a waist high feed, some like it low so they can flip it. These unique attributes that individual players bring to the game are cultivated through continuous play and practice. When you platoon a middle-infielder the precision and consistency of this ever-important combo is compromised. The last thing the Dodgers need at second base is a compromised defender who lacks the consistency of playing with Hanley Ramirez.
Mattingly needs to shelve this platoon idea. He shouldn’t allude to it, he should be nondescript when talking with the media about it. Dodger fans don’t want to hear the word “platoon” as it pertains to second base. Run Guerrero, Figgins, Gordon and Turner out there and see who wins the job.