Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Solving the Second Base Problem

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DETROIT, MI - JUNE 4: Second baseman Dixon Machado #49 of the Detroit Tigers throws out Aaron Hicks of the New York Yankees at first base during the eighth inning of game one of a doubleheader at Comerica Park on June 4, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JUNE 4: Second baseman Dixon Machado #49 of the Detroit Tigers throws out Aaron Hicks of the New York Yankees at first base during the eighth inning of game one of a doubleheader at Comerica Park on June 4, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MAY 23: Niko Goodrum #28 of the Detroit Tigers hits a two-run home run against the Minnesota Twins during the fourth inning of the game on May 23, 2018 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Tigers defeated the Twins 4-1. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

These players have all played some second base this season, and each are young enough to potentially develop into the second baseman of the future.

Niko Goodrum

Goodrum is poised to take over as the starting second baseman for the rest of the season. Voted as the midseason rookie of the year, Goodrum has appeared at 22 games at first base, 24 at second base, nine at third, five at shortstop, and 11 in the outfield. He has slashed .242/.318/.444 with seven home runs, six stolen bases and 28 runs scored. His seven home runs is fifth on the team and his 9.4% walk-rate is third – behind Miguel Cabrera and Candelario.

The 26-year-old Goodrum was a second-round pick by the Twins back in 2010, so he does have some prospect pedigree. Goodrum will get a chance to be the everyday second baseman for the time being. If he can display 15-15 potential and maintains a walk-rate in the 10% range, his chances of becoming a viable big league regular will skyrocket. I suspect he will settle into a career as an above-average hitting utility infielder, but serving as the starting second baseman affords him the opportunity to be more than that, an opportunity he has certainly earned with his play this season.

Dixon Machado

Dixon Machado may have been designated for assignment, but more than likely he will be back with the organization in a week. Unless a team claims or trades for the 26-year-old, he will be outrighted to Triple-A Toledo and will take over the starting job that was vacated when Ronny Rodriguez was recalled. Machado seems unlikely to get claimed, thanks to his abysmal .206/.263/.290 slash line on the year.

The Tigers are likely moving on from Machado, but he could always force his way back into the picture. His glove-work was very solid this season, with a 2.5 UZR on the year. I’d expect Machado to hang around at Triple-A for a while, but wouldn’t be surprised to see him back on the Tigers later in the year. He has fallen down the pecking order for the starting 2B job, but I could see him getting it back if a few things fall his way.

Ronny Rodriguez

Rodriguez is the only other player currently with the organization who has played second base this season. Like Goodrum and Machado, Rodriguez is a 26-year-old infielder with experience at multiple positions. Unfortunately, he has struggled with both the bat and the glove at the big league level. An All-Star this season for the Toledo Mud Hens, Rodriguez has gone 2-for-24 (.083) with one walk and eight strikeouts for the Tigers.

Rodriguez is slashing a ridiculous .338/.365/.558 with Triple-A, including nine home runs and 10 stolen bases in just 63 games. That alone makes him worth consideration for the Tigers. He’s struggled mightily in his first taste of the big leagues, but 24 at-bats is virtually nothing. With how he’s hit the ball at Triple-A, he deserves more opportunities to prove himself at the big league level. He’s behind Goodrum on the depth chart at the moment, but either of them could take the second base job and run with it this season. If they don’t, Machado could get another chance.

Or, they could turn to guys deeper down in their farm system.

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