SE­COND BASE

The Detroit News - - TIGERS -

The con­tes­tants: Niko Goodrum, Gor­don Beck­ham, Dawel Lugo, Brandon Dixon, Ronny Ro­driguez.

The skinny: The Tigers' long-range view is for Goodrum to be a su­pe­rutil­ity player, one who gets 400-plus at-bats a year. In the short-term, though, he might be their best op­tion at se­cond base. Beck­ham, 32 and a non-ros­ter in­vi­tee, hasn’t hit above .226 since 2013. Lugo had some good mo­ments in his Septem­ber au­di­tion last year, but may be best served with an­other year of sea­son­ing. Dixon is 27, and like Goodrum last year, got his first taste of the big leagues (with the Reds) af­ter a six-year mi­nor-league ca­reer. The bat­tle: It’s wide open and the Tigers could eas­ily bring in an­other veteran to com­pete be­fore camp breaks. If they com­mit to Goodrum as the ev­ery­day se­cond base­man, that would kick Beck­ham to Triple A and leave Ro­driguez and Dixon to com­pete for the util­ity job.

The wild card: Dixon is in­trigu­ing. He has played ev­ery­where ex­cept catcher and short­stop. He even pitched two games for the Reds last year, 1.1 score­less in­nings. He didn’t hit much at the big-league level, but he did through­out his mi­nor-league ca­reer — .288/.344/ .489 with some power at Triple A.

The fore­cast: The rest of the ros­ter likely might de­ter­mine how best to use Goodrum’s ver­sa­til­ity. If the big­gest need ends up be­ing at se­cond base, then he will log most of his min­utes there, like he ended up do­ing last sea­son. But the Tigers would be thrilled if Beck­ham or Dixon, or even Lugo, could seize that spot and free Goodrum to play mul­ti­ple spots.

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