Charlie Manuel should test new acquisition Endy Chavez in the leadoff spot, reminding Jimmy Rollins of .235 BA and .279 OBP that he isn't cutting it.
Unfortunately, it’s a lot tougher than it sounds. The problem, as Tom Goodman writes this morning on Swing and a Miss, is there are too many luke-warm bodies to placate all over the lineup, and Charlie Manuel seems unwilling to ruffle feathers. The result: a drastically different lineup from night to night.
The Chase Utley / Placido Polanco issue is one thing and is basically a done deal. The biggest jam-up is in center, where Jason Michaels, decent numbers, Kenny Lofton, long contract, and Chavez, new acquisition, all want playing time – and frankly, they all deserve it for different reasons.
There are many subscribers to the theory that if the manager, dating back to last year, had stuck with one guy in center, including the recently departed Marlon Byrd, they’d have a more consistent lineup. I’m borderline on that theory.
I’m solidly in favor, however, of seeing what they’ve got in Chavez, at least for now. Maybe he could become a catalyst. More importantly, J-Roll hasn’t done anything to build on last season. And that’s just it – his numbers went up as the games became more irrelevant. Though he finished with the best overall season of any shortstop in the division, he got a lot more credit than he deserved as a leadoff man in 2004.