Number 2 isn't really true. Go back and look at lineup construction in the 50's and 60's. Harmon Killebrew played 3b, of, and 1b almost equally during the 1st half of his Twins career. He did it to help get the best possible bats into the lineups. The Twins did much the same with Tovar. Stengel did the same with the Yankees. He was famous for playing his catchers in left field. Ken Boyer was a gold glove, all star 3rd baseman who one year played over a hundred games in cf. He also played ss a lot.
I'm going to ask two questions for everyone who reads this. I believe that if everyone truly thinks about the questions I'm about to ask, any concerns will float away but I ask that everyone truly thinks about both questions. (I apologize for answering the questions... which I will but please consider the questions anyway).
1. Why do Joe Maddon and Dave Roberts move players around? Additional question to this question (still the same question)... Why did the Brewers move Shaw to 2B and Why did the Indians move Ramirez to 2B and Kipnis to CF?
2. Did it hurt them?
Think about those questions.
Here are the answers.
1. It allows them to put the best possible lineup together every single day. Cody Bellinger is most likely better at one position or the other. The odds that he is exactly equal as a 1B or CF defensively is pretty low yet he plays both positions frequently and the reason is that it allows the team to move Muncy to 1B or Taylor to CF based on match-ups, slumps or whatever.
The response I get back is usually... "Yeah but the Twins don't have Ian Happ, Javier Baez, Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant, David Bote, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Austin Barnes or Kike Hernandez.
My response to that would be... And we never will if we continue to be paralyzed by slight defensive differences and fail to adopt the concept. And I'd follow that response with... It is the off-season, this is the time to acquire players like this and if you can't acquire them because everybody wants them now... then you do like every business in America does when they can't find qualified applicants. They create their own.
2. Obviously not. The Dodgers and Cubs have been ahead of the curve for years, they have been acquiring and creating as many of these players as they can while everybody else stood still. They possess a tactical advantage over every other team as a result. The other teams have to catch up or become dinosaurs.
Sometime I get a response saying, the Twins and Tigers have utility players. They really don't especially in comparison... they have one guy who didn't win a starting job and became that one designated guy... just like teams have been doing for decades... one utility guy who plays on Sundays.
Adopting this concept is more important and will do more for the Twins than acquiring Harper or Machado.
Besides we can't acquire Harper because we have no place to put him with Kepler, Buxton and Rosario locking down the OF spots and un-moveable to a different position.
Now, the question is why this practice died out. Some it may of been expansion. Not having an excess of good players you were trying to get into the lineup seemed to be part of it. The other part of it was having a bunch of players who hit but often didn't field very well didn't really help you win. That was the reason the Giants traded Cepeda rather than trying to continue to play him and McCovey at the same time.
I also think that teams feel that not having to platoon is better. They would rather have their depth at AAA rather than moving too many people around. The Dodgers are different maybe, or maybe they just have so much money that they can afford to have 2 former all star 2nd basemen sitting on the bench.
Edited by Jim Hahn, 02 December 2018 - 08:18 PM.