The Dreaded P-Word

It was an Oliver Stone film with Charlie Sheen, but most Braves fans recognize it as the favorite pastime of Bobby Cox - the platoon. He's used it at first base, left field, second base, just about everywhere on the diamond, and now in all likelihood he will use it once again at multiple positions around the field in 2007. The people that probably hate the platoon the most are the ones that play fantasy baseball, but even those who don't play often turn their nose up at the thought of sharing time.

I bring this up because it seems like a forgone conclusion that Marcus Giles will not be a member of the Braves for much longer and that begs the question, "who will play second base." It has been suggested that anyone from Willy Aybar to Martin Prado to Kelly Jonson to Pete Orr to Eric Campbell to Yunel Escobar will be at the 4-spot on the diamond next season. But I submit that it will be a combination of several of these players. If Giles is traded then it will be a "who's going to win the job in Spring Training" news frenzy between then and the beginning of the season. But there won't be just one person to win the job. Bobby Cox wants to develop several of these guys, and so he will give at least two of them the opportunity to split time at second.

We get word that Kelly Johnson is working with Glenn Hubbard at honing his skills at second base, and that Campbell and Escobar are both spending time there in winter ball.

With the Braves cultivating such depth at second base, it's a good bet that they won't spend too much money on any one replacement for Giles (or Giles himself). When there are five or six guys in the upper levels of your system who can step in and capably play a position, why would the team waste their ever dwindling precious budget money on it? If I had to take a guess at who might be the front runner at this time to win the lion's share of the second base job, I would have to say Kelly Johnson. He's one of Bobby Cox's kinds of players, and someone who can fit the bill as a stop gap leadoff guy (much like Giles). But the money's on him not winning the job outright. I'm guessing its come combination of the players mentioned above...Bobby wouldn't have it any other way.

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