When the Dodgers “quietly” announced this Spring that Tim Federowicz was going to be the back-up catcher to A.J. Ellis I thought finally. The 25-year old backdrop would get his chance to taste the Big League level for a lengthy stint. Since debuting for the Dodgers on September 11, 2011, Federowicz has played in just 20 games for the Dodgers. He’s batting .182 with 6 hits in 38 plate appearances as a Dodger. After hitting .325 and .294 with the AAA-Albuquerque Isotopes in 2011 and 2012, it looked as if FedEx earned himself a spot on the 2013 Opening Day roster. Unfortunately the uselessness of Ramon Hernandez blocked the young catcher who was sent back down to AAA when Hernandez was acquired.
So far this season Federowicz is hitting .519 with 7 homeruns and 21 RBIs in 14 games. Yet the Dodgers are letting Federowicz play in AAA instead even though they could use a young catcher to handle some of the burden put on A.J. Ellis’s shoulders. I’d even start Federowicz once every three games or so in order give A.J. a rest and allow FedEx some experience. With Hernandez, an expensive place holder on this roster, Federowicz will continue to be third in line.
Depth at the catcher position is of course important for all ball clubs. I’m sure Ned Colletti has his eye on the amount of catching talent which is currently in the system. It’s pretty difficult to find excellent catching. The Dodgers constant need to have more catching along with the albatross of a contract with Hernandez make it more difficult to cut Hernandez. The argument here is that Ramon Hernandez is only useful for his experience and decent defense. He can no longer hit as well as he used to. Any other time would not make Hernandez’s stay that detrimental, but the Dodgers are deep in the loss column. It’s not a time not to use a hot hitting big league ready position player.
The time is now. The Dodgers will pay Ramon Hernandez $3.2 million for 2013. This was the cost of dumping Aaron Harang on to the Rockies. Since becoming a Dodger on April 6, Hernandez has just one sole hit. He’s hitting .045 in 22 at-bats. Over the course of his 14-year career, Hernandez is a .263 hitter who has collected 166 homeruns in 1,517 games played. During the first years of his career, Hernandez hit well and hit a career-high 23 homeruns in 2006. After playing for 6 different teams, Hernandez seems to be on the tail end of his career. Last season he hit just .217 for the Rockies in 52 games.
Defensively Hernandez is decent, and he has a career 31% caught stealing percentage. So far with the Dodgers this year, the 37-year old has caught 2 potential base stealers and allowed 1 stolen base. Tim Federowicz’s caught stealing percentage so far this season in Albuquerque is 36%. He has yet to have the opportunity to throw out his first base runner of the year. Federowicz could get valuable Major League time against the best base stealers if he was given the opportunity.
Unless the Dodgers are going to do a 180° this season, there’s no reason not to let some of the young kids play. Federowicz has been ready, but the acquisition of Ramon Hernandez has now temporarily blocked him from the team. The Dodgers need to designate Hernandez and reinstate FedEx if they want to fuel this team with a young bat with a chance instead of an old bat with old tricks.