At some point, the Mariners are going to have to figure out what their plan is for second and third base. Yes, Dee Gordon and Kyle Seager are still currently in the picture, but sooner or later, they won’t be. It’s possible Shed Long will man one of those positions on a daily basis as soon as Opening Day next year, but is he truly an everyday guy at one position or is he better suited to be the team’s super-utility?
The future of Seattle’s infield is a giant question mark outside of J.P. Crawford. And while I’m not suggesting Ty France is the solution for one of the positions, it wouldn’t hurt to give him an opportunity to find out because the Padres probably aren’t. France has earned that chance in a massive way, destroying Triple-A pitching to the tune of an unheard of .379/.467/.744 line with 19 home runs, 57 RBIs, and a wRC+ of 194.
That success, however, didn’t translate to France’s short stint in MLB, where he put up a .235/.290/.357 line in 107 plate appearances. And with Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer, Greg Garcia, and Luis Urías all standing in the way of his potential homes at the MLB level, it’s hard to imagine him getting another extended look from the Padres.
Despite the otherworldly numbers in Triple-A, France is 25-years-old with a poor month in the bigs on his permanent record. As we recently saw with Daniel Vogelbach building up to this season, while unfair, those struggles in even such a limited amount of time for an ‘older’ minor leaguer will raise concerns about their development and whether or not they’re a ‘AAAA’ player.
France isn’t going to win any Gold Gloves for you at the hot corner, but he’s not going to kill you there either. That’s likely where he sticks if there’s an opening, and while there technically isn’t one there just yet with Seager still in the mix, there eventually will be. Still, he’d get more playing time now in Seattle than he would in San Diego, through a combination of starts at third, second, and first base. For now, like the Mariners did with Vogelbach, you trust in France’s bat and see where that takes you and figure out the rest later.