Marlins manager Don Mattingly still has a decision to make at shortstop. Both Miguel Rojas and J.T. Riddle will compete to start on Opening Day.
Unfortunately, only one will be in the lineup on Opening Day with the other part of a bench that could be one of the best the team has had in recent years. For manager Don Mattingly, this is one of the few position battles still up for grabs during Spring Training.
It might be the hardest decision to make for the skipper as he has said in the past he is not planning to use a platoon system. While Brian Anderson is slated to play at third, Starlin Castro will once again be at second and Neil Walker will start at first with Martin Prado potentially seeing time there, the shortstop for the Marlins had yet to be determined.
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Looking at the 68 players who are in camp this year, Mattingly has a tough decision, but it’s a good problem to have, nonetheless.
Because there is versatility in both players, there is a chance we could see Riddle play at second base as well. Rojas is one of those indispensible players who can work at various spots in the infield.
"“Miggy continues to improve all the time,” Mattingly said. “Miggy absolutely should be in the shortstop conversation and not be pigeon-holed into saying he’s a utility guy. I think Miggy deserves that opportunity to compete for being an everyday guy.”"
If Mattingly did not make mention of it, Rojas’ numbers did it for him.
"Per MLB.com, “Rojas played in 153 total games, compiling a slash line of .252/.297/.346 with 11 homers and 53 RBIs. In 102 games, Riddle hit .231/.277/.377 with nine homers and 36 RBIs.”"
Those kinds of stats, along with solid defense, should make him the odds on favorite to play on Opening Day. Riddle, on the other hand, fought through injuries during camp last season to show he should be part of the conversation as well.
Because of Riddle’s ability to play at second, does this mean the team would be willing to listen to trade offers for Castro, who’s contract will be of great concern to the organization. He is likely to be dealt at the MLB Trade Deadline, if not beforehand.