What's on Second and I Don't Care! at SS

As I outlined in another fanpost, the Bucs have a gaggle of players who can fill the open outfield positions. This is also true for 2nd base and SS.

Newman and Tucker represent players who will get the 1st shot but have much to prove to stick with the team. Newman showed some great glove work in 2021 but his hitting was abysmal. Tucker has really showed nothing either in AAA or in limited ABs in the majors. The 2022 season is critical for both players. If Newman can somehow improve his hitting (like he did his defense for 2021), he could make it harder for other players to take over as SS, stick with the team as utility player, or get traded.

As for Tucker, he has a big hill to climb. He really does not bring much except for possible good defense, but we really have not seen enough of him as SS to evaluate just how good a defensive player he is. Tucker does have that hair thing going for him though!

In the mix for 2B and SS includes Oneil Cruz (who will get a long look in 2022), Ji-Hwan Bae, Rodolfo Castro, Diego Castillo, Michael Chavis, Tucupita Marcano, and Hoy Park. That makes 9 players competing for 2 positions. Meanwhile Nick Gonzales and Liover Peguero will probably make it to AAA by year end and get a cup of coffee in September. So whoever "wins" the jobs in 2022 will then have to compete with Gonzales and Peguero in 2023.

IMHO, I see Bae and Cruz starting by mid 2022. Then by year end 2023, Gonzales and Peguero take over with Cruz going to RF and Bae being a utility player. I don't see the rest of the players being in the mix by year end 2023 except as bench players.

This is a healthy situation for the Bucs. The list of names for 2B and SS contains some real prospects. The odds favor at least two of the players being keepers. It is possible by year end 2023 the Bucs might end up with their best 2B/SS combination in a long time. Probably the best since Wilson and Sanchez.

PS: Hopefully you got the Abbot and Costello reference

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editors or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.