The 4x Second Basemen Scenario
Let us assume, for a moment, a Great. Many. Things.


Let's assume for a moment that Robinson Cano would be willing, at the very beginning of spring training, to shift over to 1B for no other reason than that it would benefit the Seattle Mariners more than it would him.  Dr. D's mainframe gives this assumption a 25% chance of being accurate.  That's generous on the Marinframe's part.  Robinson Cano seems to be a good guy.

Let's assume that a second baseman would play a blinkin' mean first base.  Especially compared to Mark Trumbo or Jesus Montero.  And let's assume that having four (yes, 4) second basemen on the infield would give you a Hooverville out there.  85% chance.

Let's assume that Cano's injuries last year were NOT the huge issue as to why his range was off.  40% chance.  (If Cano is still a plus 2B, of course you don't want to move him yet. That's just stating the obvious.)

Let's assume that the Mariners are, as we stand, ambiguous about this change for the 2016 season.  80% chance, which is the same chance that Bob Dutton's tweets are on target.

In terms of probability, there is a 7% chance that all those assumptions are accurate together ;- )



Kyle Seager, if you just joined us, began his career as a 2B, and a good one.  2B is harder than 3B; fewer ballplayers can be positioned at 2B than they can at 3B. This created the presumption that Seager could be an excellent 3B.  As usual, this presumption was accurate.

Ketel Marte was presumed, by the pundits, to be a second baseman at the ML level.  This presumption annoyed Dr. D, but it's pleasant now because as soon as Cano moves to 1B, we get the aesthetic wonder of this Around-The-Horn 2B's scenario.

Dr. D fancies this Around The Horn infield.  For one thing, Robinson Cano hits way plenty to take over 1B.  His OPS+ was over 140 in 2014, and it was again in the second half in 2015.  He got 7+ runs per 27 in Yankee, and gets well over 6 in Safeco, based on OBP.  Dr. D is super cool with Cano's bat at 1B.

For another thing, if Dr. D is actually going to try a Run Prevention Model, he is going to plump for a Critical Mass effect.  The 116-win Mariners had a .273 BABIP defensively.  Just putting one or two Gold Gloves in there, meh.

Why 1 Gold Glove when you can glom onto 7 of 'em



Cano moves over, well ... who is the man who fields so slick as to justify displacing your $240M franchise hoss?

HOWIE KENDRICK is a free agent and DiPoto has gushed over him in the past.  Problemo:  Kendrick's defense, at age 33, is falling off just like Cano's is.

DANIEL MURPHY with a 115 bat is certainly enticing offensively.  Problemo:  John Dewan has Murphy as a clearly MINUS glove at second base FIVE YEARS IN A ROW.  As a 1B he's average ... but do you want to pay nice money for a second try at Logan Morrison?  For this idea to work at all you need a 2B who shuts off all ground balls through the right side.

CHRIS TAYLOR could play SS, giving you Ketel Marte at 2B.  Problemo:  you don't even know if Marte is going to work.  You ready to bet the farm that they both will?  

BEN ZOBRIST has, at last word, 20 (yes, twenty) teams bidding on him and the Mets just dropped out because he's too pricey.  Still and all:  imagine Zobrist at 2B for 100 games, and moving to RF for some games, and Cano moving back to 2B for some games ... LOL!

STEPHEN DREW - can he hit OR field?

CHASE UTLEY - probably an SEO algorithm could fill in a better punch line than Dr. D could.

MAICER IZTURIS - No purpose in asking whether he can hit.  At this point, the Maicer Izturis point, you are down to moving Cano for the sake of moving Cano.

TRADE MARKET - so we wind up dealing one of our young SP's to get a young middle infielder that we like well enough to bet the 2016 season on?  Nada.  Well, but there's one thing here:  if you can find EITHER a second baseman OR shortstop you like, Marte could move over.  Hey, maybe Brad Miller.

The point is a simple one:  once you start actually trying to acquire pennant-quality middle infielders, you develop a real appreciation for Marte and Taylor.



The Cano-to-1B scenario is a lot more tempting to Dr. D than it is to most amigos.  In the 7% scenario where it's a real option, I could even be talked into Chris Taylor at SS and a "stoploss" vet shortstop behind him.  Then deploy Trumbo's salary towards a Wei-Yin Chen, Hisashi Iwakuma rotation ...

Hey.  If you're going to play defense, let's get with it.


Dr D


Didycel's picture

Is sitting in Cleveland blocked by Linder and Kipnis. Good enough to start in the MIF and better than Taylor.


Interesting suggestion Didycel.  Sort of a second Ketel Marte.  Question is, whether the M's *want* two speculative bats at 2B and SS.

If Jose Ramirez were a Pokey Reese-level defender it could be even more interesting.  Dewan has him about neutral at all three IF spots, but in short data.

:: daps ::


Doc, you beat me to it (as usual)!!!

I wasted part of my today putting the mental final touches on a thread that was to look weirdly just like this one.

Mine would have included the new Korean guy (3B) and I would have wondered if moving him to 2B would work out.  I'm not too excited about moving a GG IF (Seager) to another position (where he would field like a champ) unless we're getting a Schmidt to play 3rd.  Something like that.  I would have wondered out loud about the price of a Mookie Betts, as well  (likely pretty dang dear!).

Zobrist at 2B makes terrific sense.  But, as you've pointed out, he's going to be the center of a mini-bidding battle. 

And like you, I would worry about giving up an arm on the trade-market to get a decent bat/scraggly glove 2B.  And like you, it makes me appreciate Taylor even more.  But I'm figuring Dipoto thought of some of this before he shipped off the natural guy to play 2B (No complaint, mind you.  I like the guy we got).

Go get me Joe Panik for Elias (+) and I'll giggle like a kid.  Tyler Smith has hit as well as Panik at AA:  Is he ready for a Panik-level jump?

But beyond something like that, just go with Chris Taylor (who creams AAA chuckers and was pretty good in Safeco in '14).  Take the defensive upgrade and don't worry too much about the offensive loss.  Heck, if he's a .287-.367 player again, bringing in a 100-105 OPS+, then he is likely as potent (well, "productive") as Trumbo, anyway. 

Kansas City just played 75% of their season with .220-.234-.318 Omar Infante at 2B.  He walked 9 times in 455 PA's.  He makes Chris Taylor look like Honus Somebody.  Seems to me that KC was doing fairly well, thank you, at game 125, or so.  Aren't they the model?

If Dipoto does it, I will like it just because it is such a "nardsy" move.  If you're moving Cano in a year, just do it now. 

Of course, that is assuming he's become some sort of hopeless, no-range spaz with the glove.  Of that, I am not yet convinced.  But moving a guy like him to 1B isn't unprecedented, as you know.   It was good enough for Carew at age 30.  His next season he ran a line of .388-.449-.550!!  Show those crooked lines to Cano.  Heck, he might volunteer for the move!

Anyway, it is a move that makes sense. 

Thanks for beating me to the post.  Eloquence always trumps lack of brevity.


Last thing I wanna do is discourage you from front-page posting! ... at minimum you can post in the thread, right... well, we can chew on what you did comment ...

Seager to 2B would be fun, but there comes a point when an Entitled Vet becomes Entitled, and they don' wanna mess with a good thing... inertia still weighs heavily :- ) in MLB ...

As you talk more (follow up) on Chris Taylor I'm getting to wonder more whether DiPoto won't be pushing him forward.  He definitely fits the "quality AB" paradigm.  And, it's tough to imagine Miller *leaving* unless DiPoto didn't have some regard for his #2 SS behind the speculative Ketel Marte.

The more people bail on Taylor, the tighter my own emotional grip gets...


I read somewhere (Shoutbox?) that the recovery from Cano's surgery is no walk in the park.  If that's the case, he may HAVE to move to first, at least temporarily.  

So Chris Taylor is a fill in. But what's in the middle behind the two throws of the dice? I guess Sardinas?


Dipoto had to have some comfort with Taylor to let Miller go.  Enough to bump Marte one spot to the left?  Or just to give him 2B?  Hey, I was always decently comfortable with Taylor as our SS.  Give him his .287 and Marte his .283 ( about .290 each, as long as it is nearly Christmas) and I don't care who plays where, they would be a productive and glovey DP combo.

But then you're one Bloomquist short.  But finding one of those isn't that hard.  


Hmmmmmmm....?  Thinking.....?

A name we've left out is Shawn O'Malley, Doc.  Could he play 2B on a regualr basis?

Well, he started 53 times for Tacoma at that position in '15.  He had a Fld% of .983 and a RF/9 of 4.58.  The first is right at the AL league average for '15, as is the 2nd.  In fact, both EXACTLY match the league averages (.983 and .458). 

Cano was .991 and 4.72 so he wasn't exactly chopped liver out there, as it turns out.

O'Malley would likely improve with the regular gig, as well.

The odds are decent that either O'Malley and Taylor would give you get a Brett Lawrie level bat, and you wouldn't have to pay anything to get it.

And then Brett Lawrie is out there to be had it seems.  You could bet the house that Lawrie gives you .260-.310-.400.  He's been principally a 3B (better than Seager at times) but has 66 starts at 2B the last two seasons.  He's fielded the position with a  RF/9 of 5.20!!!  Weirdly, his UZR/150 is -15.8.  That doesn't seem to compute with his high RF/9.  As well, his Inside Edge Fielding indicates he gets to all the balls he should (20% of the 10-40% balls over his 2B career, and 97% of the 90-100% balls.  OK, he's not winning a GG.

But he's yours for two years, as well. 

A's need arms it seems (who doesn't), but you could get hiim easily enough, I think.

10 way do I want to move Cano right now unless forced to do so.  I am fairly convinced that Cano's problem last year was the stomach issue and the hernia.  I am also confident that we're not going to be finding miracles from our lame reserve players to take his place and that it's a lot easier to find a cheap 120 OPS+ at 1B than it is at 2B.  NO.  NO.  NOOOO.


That he was "fine," overall by some metrics, at 2B last year, Matt.

UZR says he cost us 22 runs, however.

Pick your metric, I suppose.

But if we could have great gloves at SS and 2B (assuming Cano isn't one) who were both 105 OPS bats, then I would prefer that over a -22 Cano at 2B and a 120 bat at 1B.

Assuming all that is correct, anyway.

Fangraphs/UZR likes Taylor at SS over Marte, btw.


And known to be much more unstable, year to year, than Dewan's metric.

Cano was about a -7 fielder last year...while playing injured.  And he was about -10 in the first half...better in the second half.

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