Phillies poll: Platoon time for Kingery and Hernandez?
The Phillies can afford to keep Cesar Hernandez at second base, but is it time to give Scott Kingery more playing time at his natural position?
Many Phillies fans and writers thought Cesar Hernandez‘s time in red pinstripes would be up once Scott Kingery signed a historic six-year $24 million contract. At the time it was the biggest deal for a player who’d never played a big league game, and the pressure was on for both Kingery and Hernandez to perform early.
A combination of Hernandez breaking his foot and Kingery struggling left both on the team this year and Hernandez back in the starting role. However, through his first 14 games, Hernandez is hitting just .222 with three extra-base hits.
Kingery has been fantastic both off the bench and in a handful of starts over his first 10 games, hitting .471 for the Phillies. On Tuesday night against the Mets Kingery boosted his argument going 3-4 with five RBI and two runs scored thanks to a three-run home run.
With Hernandez struggling and Kingery the heir apparent for years, is it time for Gabe Kapler to look at either platooning or completely swapping out Hernandez for Kingery?
We ran polls on Facebook and Twitter to get your opinions on what Kapler and the Phillies should do.
Both polls overwhelmingly leaned towards platooning Hernandez and Kingery despite the season being so young.
An argument against a platoon at second base is to hope Hernandez gets hot and his trade value increases. The Phillies have Hernandez under control for another year of arbitration before he becomes a free agent after 2020.
Hernandez has always been a solid hitter who can lead-off and provide a little pop. There’s certainly value in that and teams could look for a starting second baseman with controllability at the trade deadline.
The Phillies also shouldn’t be in a rush to move Hernandez considering how well they’re playing. Unless a major hole opens up, whether it be in the rotation, bullpen, or offense, there’s no need for a major shakeup this early in the year.
If the Phillies move Hernandez they’ll need another utility player off the bench, something they don’t have right now. Phil Gosselin, Mitch Walding, or Sean Rodriguez could come up from Lehigh Valley to fill that role, but Gosselin and Rodriguez would require a 40-man roster adjustment.
Should the Phillies look at platooning Hernandez and Kingery, it’s worth noting the switch-hitting Hernandez is 0-10 against lefties this year. Kingery could assume the starting duties against righties, which could be the majority of games.
Another thing that helps the Phillies is that both Kingery and Hernandez can play multiple positions, so if one sits there’s still options off the bench.
Philadelphia should certainly look at giving Kingery more opportunities early in the season as Hernandez continues to struggle. Kingery has long been viewed as the future at second base, the next Chase Utley in some minds. If this is the time to begin another new era in Phillies baseball, so be it.