|Brian Dozier was a shortstop last year, a second baseman|
this time around.
Of particular note in Mackey's reporting is Ron Gardenhire saying that while Escobar can handle shortstop and third base, he thinks second base is Escobar's best position.
OK, let's sort through this. Jamey Carroll is going to be on the roster, preferably as a frequently-used utility man. He turned 39 last month, and his offense last season was better when he got more time off. If Carroll winds up the regular at any infield position, it means Plan A failed.
Pedro Florimon entered camp as the favorite for shortstop. He can pick it, but he can't hit it. The same can be said of Escobar. Good field, no hit.
Then there's Brian Dozier. He flopped as a rookie at short last year and has been used strictly at second base this spring. Tom Kelly last week lauded his improvement. Dozier played all nine innings in Monday's exhibition against the St. Louis Cardinals and was involved in turning five double plays, which is not a bad sign at all.
Escobar may well be the superior defensive second baseman, but it's going to be difficult to justify having Florimon and him both in the lineup on a regular basis. Of the three non-Carroll candidates, Dozier is the only one with a respectable minor-league resume as a hitter.
Of course, that track record didn't translate to the majors last year. If Dozier is to emerge from Florida with the job over Escobar and Carroll, he's got to hit as well as field. My guess is that he's going to get the chance.