On Rosales, Platoons, and External and Internal Options

Thearon W. Henderson

I’m not a knee-jerk reactionist at all. I was all for waiting it out with Norris, which seems to be right. I was patient with Rosales through May. During late May he got a lot of crap from the BABIP gods. Since then, he’s stopped making good contact and is just a poor player altogether.

Nate Freiman and John Jaso are examples of good platoon pieces. Freiman destroys LHP and Jaso destroys RHP. Neither have much defensive skill. They are not fit to play in a full-time role, but they are viable options as platoon members and pinch-hitters. Rosales is a poor platoon piece. He is barely above-average against LHP and is absolutely atrocious vs RHP. His defense is not good enough to keep him here. This isn’t a knee-jerk reaction. Today is just the tipping point. I was ready to get rid of him during the Texas series, which was about three weeks later than everyone else did.

On Saturday, I was in bobblehead line next to Chris Biderman, who said there are really no options in Sacramento to take over up the middle. Green is not only poor defensively, he’s been a star at every level and will only be called up if he can play full-time. Similar to Michael Choice in that regard, which is why Taylor was up for a few weeks in May. Nakajima is slow and makes incredibly soft contact. Soft contact is, of course, only good if speed was there to let him get on base. Jemile isn’t coming back anytime soon. In fact, should we have a need for another middle infielder through injury or something, Parrino would probably get the call.

That would mean we would have to look externally. Alexei Ramirez isn’t much of an upgrade, so he’d probably only come at a low asking price. The White Sox are hungry for prospects, so that probably isn’t an option.

Ramirez 2013: wRC+ 84 vs LHP, 67 vs RHP
Rosales 2013: wRC+ 110 vs LHP, 8 vs RHP

Ramirez career: 106 vs LHP, 82 vs RHP
Rosales career: 86 vs LHP, 59 vs RHP

Ramirez’s defense is a decent upgrade. 7.4 UZR/150 for his career, as opposed to Rosales’ 0.1.

Other options, like Nick Punto and Mark Ellis, are now unavailable because Yasiel Puig kickstarted the Dodgers into contention.

I’d really like to see if Logan Forsythe can play short. He’s played only 24 innings at short, but he hasn’t screwed up during that time. He’s a very poor second baseman, though. -11.8 UZR/150 for his career. This year, he’s received limited time as he’s only returned from injury as of June 10. He’s at 93 wRC+ against both lefties and righties. Over his brief career, he’s 136 against lefties and 93 against northpaws. If he can play short, I’d go for him if the Padres continue to slide. They’ve got more than enough middle infielders despite flaws in Cabrera (Biogenesis ties), Gyorko (DL currently), Ciriaco (just not that good) and Amarista (who am I kidding he just sucks). With Gyorko, I don’t see why in the world they need another right-handed hitting second baseman, especially one who can’t get the job done defensively at second. If they continue to slide, I’d like to see Beane work something out for Forsythe.

I like how patient Beane’s been with players like Norris, but I just don’t see Rosales snapping out of it.

There is, though, one other solution.

Step 1: Move Cespedes to shortstop. He took grounders last year before a game and was said to have the best arm any of our first basemen have ever seen. While it started as an in-joke, it might actually work.
Step 2: DFA Rosales, call up Michael Choice. Choice will get the call when he can get full time PAs. No point in calling him up if he’s only going to get part-time PAs, which is why Michael Taylor came up in May.

I’m actually serious about this. If Cespedes could prove to be a serviceable shortstop, give Choice the call and get rid of Rosales. Good shortstop defense would also make Cespedes a plus offensively. There are few solid offensive shortstops in the AL. Cespedes’ numbers would look far better at short than they do in the outfield.

I’m actually taking this seriously. I’d like for the A’s to see if Cespedes could actually play at short. If he is, and if Choice is ready for the majors, go for it.

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