In a corresponding roster move in order to make room for Skip Schumaker on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers have designated Scott Van Slyke for assignment. It was a bit of a surprising choice, and I think most of us thought that it might have been Justin Sellers to be removed from the 40-man roster.
The decision to DFA Van Slyke also raises suspicions that he might be part of a soon-to-be trade. After the announcement of his designation, it seemed as though quite a few fans from other teams were seemingly interested in what Van Slyke could bring to their team.
SVS, the big right-handed outfielder and first baseman, played in 27 games for the
Dodgers in 2012. Over his 54 at bats, the 26-year old only managed a .167 batting average with 2 homeruns and 7 RBIs. He made his MLB debut in Blue on May 9, 2012, but he was not very impressive at the plate nor in the field. In fact, his lack of range in the outfield really made me cringe when I watched him play out there.
Van Slyke was drafted by the Dodgers in the 14th round of the 2005 draft out of John Burroughs High School in Missouri. He’s played within the Dodgers’ minor system for most of 8 seasons since then. While in AAA-Albuquerque, Scott had a solid season, and he finished with a .327/.404/.578 line in 95 games played as an Isotope. He hit 18 homeruns and collected 67 RBIs. He struck out 64 times while walking 46 times.
The puzzling situation lies in the fact that the Dodgers lack a true back up for Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Scott Van Slyke was likely the best candidate as a bench player who could play the position should A-Gon need a rare day off or if he should fall to disability (let’s hope that issue never arises). Van Slyke is not likely to clear waivers since quite a few teams could and dare I say should look into him as a viable cheap option with some potential (remember Van Slyke was the Dodgers’ minor league hitter of the year in 2011, and he was once a potential power-hitting prospect).
If Scott Van Slyke is gone whether through trade or waiver claim, we will always remember his pinch-hit three-run homerun in the bottom of the seventh inning on May 20, 2012 versus the St. Louis Cardinals. Ironically, Skip Schumaker was in that game as well, and he hit a two-run triple in the fifth inning for the Cards to tie the game up. The Dodgers went on to win 6-5 thanks to Van Slyke’s first career homerun. VS was the hero that night, and the Dodgers completed a three-game sweep of the Red Birds. Now the Dodgers have acquired Schumaker, and VS seems to be on his way out.