Asked if a No. 1 factor existed in determining who wins the second base job between Brad Emaus, Daniel Murphy, Luis Castillo and Justin Turner, Terry Collins again stated offense is the priority, which would not seem to bode well for Castillo.
“Second base, to me, has become an enormous offensive position,” Collins said. “Why? I’m not really sure, except some of the guys that have been playing there recently [Chase Utley, Dan Uggla] have put up huge numbers at second. But it’s become an offensive position, so to me that’s a big piece to the puzzle, especially when you’ve got that guy [Ike Davis] playing first base that can eat up so much ground over there. It helps out."
As the sabermetic portion of the front office could attest, in that analytical view, runs produced and runs prevented carry equal, 50-50 weights. But pitching is a far greater factor in runs prevented than second-base fielding ability, which tells you where fielding -- assuming there's a core level of competence -- ranks on the priority list compared with offense.
"You’ve still got to be able to get out of an inning, so you’ve got to be able to turn that double play," Collins said. "As I’ve said all along, and I truly believe it, we’ve got to catch the baseball. We’ve got to play defense. You’ve got to be able to catch it.”
Collins will get a look at a different second baseman in each of the first four Grapefruit League games. Castillo will start Saturday against the Braves in Saturday's opener in Port St. Lucie. Murphy starts Sunday at Disney, also against Atlanta. Emaus and Turner will get the next two starts.
In addition to evaluating the players, David Wright also thought it was important to get used to each of the second basemen.
“You can only judge it at the speed of the major league level, so it’s important we give them all a chance in spring training to show us what they can do,” Collins said.