June 7, 2012

Does Freese really need late inning replacement?

Early on in David Freese's major league appearances, it could be argued he needed some polish over at the hot corner. Understandable for a rookie.

And then there has been the ankle to contend with, so questioning his range and ability to handle third base chores wasn't out of line.

But now I'm beginning to wonder if "automatically" replacing Freese at third in the late innings is really warranted?

Bringing in Tyler Greene at second, then shifting Daniel Descalso, usually, to third, is solid, but any more, Freese is making all the plays, so why lose his bat for what seems like an even trade-off, if that, defensively? Plus, you lose a potential on-demand, pinch-hitter in Greene.

Unless the purpose is getting Freese a few innings off here and there, I'm not so sure this Freese-out-for-defense should be so second nature.

A little patience would not only keep an extra pinch-hitting option open, but keep a double-switch option open as well. A review of any game situation where Freese has been lifted for potentially better "D" can provide the motivation behind the move.

The "Freese-out" in certain late-game situations may well be valid, but I'd like to see this tactic scrutinized by the coaching staff occasionally, so a potentially obsolete habit doesn't hurt the team's chances for the best results.