Tap-In Question: To platoon or not to platoon at outfield and Designated Hitter? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Tap-In Question: To platoon or not to platoon at outfield and Designated Hitter?

With the return of outfielder Joey Rickard from the disabled list, the Orioles now have a five-man bench.

That could change with the impending returns of closer Zach Britton and starter Chris Tillman, but it’s possible the Orioles still will go with a revolving sixth man in the bullpen and keep five offensive reserves.

What this means, at least for now, is Buck Showalter will be able to continue platoon ball, having Trey Mancini and Rickard (and occasionally Craig Gentry) start against lefties and Hyun Soo Kim and Seth Smith play against righties.

At this point, Mark Trumbo plays against left-handers and righties. I know he’s struggled this year, but he has earned that right.

Personally, I like the way Showalter is using his bench, and I’m curious to see what kind of things he will do with five reserves at the ready. Having Gentry available to come off the pine and bunt or steal a base or truck in from second on a single is a particularly intriguing weapon Showalter hasn’t had consistently during his tenure here.

But that also means you won’t get to see what Mancini can do as an everyday guy. Or Rickard or Kim. Or even Smith, who, when he was acquired, was hoping he’d get another shot versus southpaws.

We all know platoons can work – the Orioles of the 1970s and early 1980s proved that.

So, I’m curious. Do you like the outfield/DH platoons or would you rather give all the playing time to Mancini or Kim, for instance?

Tap-In Question: To platoon or not to platoon at DH and in the outfield?





  1. DauerPower

    April 29, 2017 at 7:20 am

    I would like Rickard & Mancini to play full time only because I like their potential and way of handling themselves. I think Rickard has more upside than Kim and Mancini is at least equal to Trumbo, just doesn’t have the one monster season. Gentry is great late inning player for speed and defense.
    Reality says they will have their ebbs and flows so I defer to Buck to make right call with his myriad of players.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 29, 2017 at 9:30 am

      I’m just so intrigued with what he does with the expanded bench. This is what he wanted. We’ll see. Drink chip for comments.

  2. OsFanStuckInNY

    April 29, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Actually, I’d seriously consider sitting Davis against tough lefties he struggles with. The better offense would probably make up for the slightly lesser defense?

    • OsFanStuckInNY

      April 29, 2017 at 8:06 am

      Besides, what a threatening pinch hitter to bring in against a righty closer!

    • Dan Connolly

      April 29, 2017 at 9:32 am

      I think the better D, given the infield’s prowess, is huge. But that doesn’t mean you can’t sit him occasionally for rest vs tough lefty. 1B is the natural position of Trumbo and Mancini. Once in a while shouldn’t kill the D.

  3. Eldersburg Enigma

    April 29, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Buck is still not using his bench enough. Jones, Machado, Schoop, and Davis in particular should not play every single game. Buck gets an incomplete grade right now due to the high number of early season off days, but we’ve seen this show before and it doesn’t end well.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 29, 2017 at 9:35 am

      Yeah, the off days have something to do with that I suppose. But, yes. Gentry is here because the Orioles wanted someone w CF experience. Flaherty has two starts I think. A stronger bench should mean more rest for everyone.

  4. Bancells Moustache

    April 29, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Well Mancini’s blazing hot start has now cooled considerably. So he could be Shuttling soon. Biggest concern for me is long relief. Between Ubaldo and Gausman (?!) long relief out of the pen is becoming a very serious concern, and the last 24 hours tell me Vidal Nuno is not the answer and may be designated for that lonesome assignment soon.

    Okay, I can’t stay on message anymore. Can’t do it. What the hell was that s**t last night?!

  5. woody

    April 29, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    I have no idea what last night was all about either! I turned off at 11-4!

    Most important thing for me with bench players is that they can make a meaningful contribution when picked to platoon or coming off the bench. Anyone who isn’t, isn’t getting much game time and has options is better off in the minors working out their game. So for me either Rickard or Mancini need to be sent down when Britton/Tillman returns. Mancini probably deserves a little longer but I think Rickard gives us more balance. And agree regarding resting the everyday guys too. AJ should definitely benefit from some rest every week whilst Gentry is with us. Who better to bring off the bench to pinch hit?

  6. Larry1974

    April 30, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    I like Rickard over Kim because I believe he has the speed to get to balls that Kim will never get to. I believe Mancini will hit just as many home runs as Trumbo if given a chance to play everyday. I think the waiting game for Ubaldo is over and the Orioles should see what they could get on the trade market for him.

    • bigdaddydk

      May 3, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      One bucket of batting practice balls would be about right, don’t you think? We’d be trading one thing taking a beating for something else taking a beating.

  7. bigdaddydk

    May 3, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    I’ve always liked Buck’s knack for knowing what to do at the right time and how he plays match ups. I’m not terribly opposed to the ongoing platoon because it seems to work with Buck’s preference to have favorable match ups. The only thing that concerns me, and it was mentioned elsewhere here as well, is that the additional bench spot means one less middle reliever, and two or three out of five games the pen is getting a workout. Bundy has been lights out with nothing but quality starts so far. Miley has been a VERY pleasant surprise overall. Asher has earned more starts, in my opinion, based on two very good ones. But Jimenez is a dumpster fire and Gausman has been a mess too. Unless the three good ones give 7+ innings per outing and/or Gausman comes around to pitch like he’s capable of, the bullpen is going to be exhausted by June. If that’s the case, I think a contingency plan is needed and it involves playing someone full time and optioning someone. I hate to lose Gentry’s speed in a pinch, but Rickard may be a reasonable substitution with Gentry available as an injury call up, if he has options. If not, Rickard could be the odd man out because he does have options. Mancini would be the one I’d try to play everyday, if possible, just because I hope his bat will start to come around faster with more looks.

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