Every year the Dodgers waste roster spots on terrible players. It happens each and every season. I’m not talking about a ton of players here, but it could be anywhere from one or two, or three or four or more. Regardless the spots wasted on useless players has been possibly the most detrimental to the Dodgers in 2013 than anything else.
The players are overpriced veterans, aging starters, mediocre relievers, journeyman, Bums, minor leaguers, fringy bench players are among the normal culprits. This season the Dodgers have several.
The Dodgers are buried in last place in the National League West with a 23-32 record, and 8.5 games out of first place. One of the best things the Dodgers can do to immediately improve is to stop playing terrible players, or at the least stop wasting roster spots on terrible players. These players aren’t even league average, and you could hardly even call them minor league level. These are spots, at-bats, innings pitched that could go to other guys. I count four roster spot wasters on the 2013 Dodgers right now, (There is probably more) and I don’t understand why the Dodgers haven’t just cut bait and run with these bums.
Roster spot waster number 1- Luis Cruz
I am so sorry Luis, but your time has come. Luis Cruz, also known as Cochito is the ultimate rags to riches story. The blue collar hard working career minor leaguer who suddenly figured it out to win the Dodger’s third base job last season. Cruz was solid in 2012, batting .297 with six home runs, and playing nearly flawless defense. He made all of the plays at third, and came up with quite a few clutch hits in the last two months of the season. This season I hate to admit it, but he has been awful. Cruz has been breaking my heart all year. He’s hitting just. 115 (8 for 87) with just two walks. He’s turned into a pop-up machine. He still is a good defender but that doesn’t make up for him being an automatic out. It’s time for the Dodgers to let him go. Let’s face it, nobody is going to claim him on waivers when the Dodgers DFA him, so he’ll just end up back at Albuquerque, and as a courtesy for his contributions in 2012, he will have a roster spot with the isotopes waiting for him, where he will stay.
Roster spot waster number 2- Skip Schumaker
I like Skip and nothing personal, but he is a very fringy utility player with no power. Skip brings very little on offense, and is below average defensively at best. He’s a much better outfielder than he is a second baseman. As an outfielder he is league average, but at second base he is horrendous. I admit he has been hitting better of late, but still his overall slash line of 248/.327/.297 is nothing special. His OBP has declined in each of the last four seasons. He’s a 33 year old utility player with little value. Why hold onto him? The Dodgers actually traded for him in the offseason. They didn’t give up anyone good for him, so there is no loss in cutting him loose.
Roster spot waster number 3-Matt Guerrier
The Dodgers signed Guerrier to a three year 12 million dollar deal in the winter of 2010. It seemed fool hardy at the time because giving that much money to non elite relievers is generally risky. Guerrier wasn’t terrible in his days with the twins, but he certainly wasn’t overpowering. He did seem to be a workhorse, posting four consecutive seasons of 70+ appearances. In his first season with the Dodgers he was mediocre, but pitched in 70 games and posted a 4.07 ERA. Since then he has been utterly ineffective. Last season a shoulder injury kept him out most of the season, limiting him to only 16 games. This season he has been really bad. In 23 games he has a 3.92 ERA, and has whiffed just 10 in 20 innings pitched. This is the last year of his contract and its obvious he won’t be back. Why not dump him now and be done with it? he hardly ever pitches anymore anyways because he is so ineffective Mattingly doesn’t use him much these days. Meanwhile Scott Elbert sits at home because there are no open spots for him. How infuriating.
Roster spot waster number 4- Ramon Hernandez
I understand the need for having a third catcher, and depth. Sure because if something happens to A.J. Ellis, and well it has, then Tim Federowicz becomes the main catcher, and then who would back him up? Of course A.J. was just put on the DL with an oblique strain, so here we are. If we were guaranteed to know that Fedex would be getting the majority of playing time then fine. But we can’t trust Mattingly to put the better player in the lineup. Hernandez has been hitting better of late as well, but he is still generally terrible. Hernandez is hitting just .200 (7 for 35) with two home runs. He’s no defensive wizard behind the plate either. He’s a 37 year old catcher who is making 3.2 million dollars this season and can barely hit above the Mendoza line. He’s cooked.
The biggest problem with management is their refusal to release terrible players. I have no idea why they don’t just let these guys go. They bring little to no value to the team whatsoever, and those are wasted at-bats that could go to younger better players. You can’t keep everyone. This is not a good way of doing things. It’s never pleasant to have to let someone go, but cutting guys is part of baseball. Sometimes you have to do it, and the sooner you do it the better. I guess I could live with keeping Hernandez because of the injury to AJ and the need for a third catcher, but the rest of those bums need to go.
There is no crying in Baseball, the Dodgers need to cut the dead weight off the roster and set them adrift. The time to do it is now before the all-star break. Or they can keep the flotsam and continue on with the losing. No more roster spot wasters.