April 3, 2008

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Felipe?

Apparently by sticking him out in leftfield. The veteran infielder will make the first outfield start of his career this afternoon in Philadelphia, spelling Willie (Mo) Harris in left vs. crafty leftytm Jamie Moyer. All else aside, somebody had to do this, as Willie is a career 195/253/245 hitter versus left-handed pitching.

Unlike a certain SS/2B turned LF ::coughFonziecough:: FLop jumped at the opportunity, correctly identifying it as his best chance for at-bats in the short term. Even after Wily Mo and Elijah return though, adding competent corner outfielder to his resume can only help Felipe. If he's not a liability in left (and perhaps in center one day) he could transform himself from a slightly below average middle infielder to a highly valuable utilityman, a la Ryan Freel.

Flop has logged major league time at 2B, 3B and SS and even has an 80 game minor league stint at 1B. He doesn't have the defensive chops for short, or the bat to hold down a corner infield position full time. Maybe he can be a starting second baseman, though that's by no means a settled issue. What he can do, if he applies himself, is spot start across five or six positions, spelling Guzman one day, Belliard the next, subbing in as a defensive replacement for Pena and coming off the bench as a switch-hitter.

If he can develop into an adequate backup corner outfielder Lopez could replace Willie Harris as the jack-of-all-trades 25th man. And we all know Felipe has much more potential. So whether this is a desperation play, an attempt to get FLop into the lineup to showcase him for a trade, or a genuine move to find a role for Felipe on this team, it's a good idea. It's not like benching Willie Harris is going to destroy team chemistry, after all. Right?


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