Pull up a chair and come sit down at our Lasorda’s Lair roundtable discussion. This new column will feature a different discussion topic each time which our writing staff will have the opportunity to address individually. We also would like for you to participate by answering the roundtable question in the comments below.
Question: Alex Guerrero has been mashing in AAA this season. Interestingly he started at shortstop for the Isotopes for the first time before the Olivo incident. If Alex is to be called up this season, where do you think he fits into the infield and how does Dee Gordon’s success factor into that?
Ryan Somers, Staff Writer- I have to admit that I have not seen enough of Alex Guerrero just yet to be able to pass judgment. Reports indicate that Guerrero is on a terror at “AAA”, but that does not necessarily mean he can hit big league pitching consistently. The early returns on recent call-up Erisbel Arruebarrena look positive as well. The kid still has work to do with the bat, but he certainly looks sure handed at shortstop. Dee Gordon has had a great start to the season also. This leaves the Dodgers with a few options. As I indicated earlier, I would like to see Hanley Ramirez return to third base. Not only do I think Hanley’s skill-set is best suited for third base, but playing the hot corner will also put less wear and tear on Hanley, who has certainly been banged up often as of late. The physical demands of playing shortstop make one of the other 3 options the best fit. There is understandably some trepidation about returning Dee Gordon to shortstop after the struggles he had there last year. Dee has looked great at second base, so perhaps that leaves us with two rookies battling it out for the position. I still think that Gordon’s arm strength would be a great fit in the hole, but perhaps we don’t want to rock the boat. Shifting Dee back to short could negate the great start he has had offensively and defensively. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Ultimately I would like to see Hanley at third, with Uribe coming off the bench. Dee stays at second for now until we see how things unfold with Arruebarrena, and perhaps later Guerrero at shortstop!
Adrian Garcia, Staff Writer- As soon as Guerrero gets done with this rehab because of that ridiculous ear biting incident, I love to think of Guerrero as a Jed Lowrie type player. One who is very offense oriented, but can play any of the infield positions in a pinch. Maybe his defense isn’t plus at 2b, maybe he can’t play SS for 162 games, maybe he wouldn’t be a great 3b, but if he can add to his positional flexibility and hit well enough to be an above average hitter, I don’t see what’s the problem with expecting Guerrero to get in the lineup 5 times a week, especially with the infield that the Dodgers have. I don’t want to see Dee Gordon ever play vs. lefties, Hanley getting a day off a week would be beneficial to his overall health, and we have seen what playing Juan Uribe every day has done to his health.
I see great opportunity for Guerrero to get in the lineup 4-5 times a week with the infield that they have, and it could be an awesome situation, and unlike the OF situation, there are options for platoons (Dee), days off (Hanley/Uribe), and that would instantly add a huge bat off the bench.
It’ll be interesting to see where this goes, but I would like to see Guerrero up soon after he’s finally healthy.
Lucas Talbot, Staff Writer- There is no doubt, whatsoever, that Alexander Guerrero will be called up this season. He would have been the likely called up last week if it weren’t the unfortunate accident between him and his Triple-A teammate, Miguel Olivo. Fellow Cuban player, Erisbel Arruebarrena, got the call instead. In fact, both players would have been called up right now since starting catcher, A.J. Ellis, has a sprained ankle from Sunday’s game celebration of teammate Josh Beckett’s no hitter against the Phillies. This is where Olivo messed up bad. Really bad. He could have been with the ball club for a second stint. When Guerrero does get called up, he’s going to play. No doubt. With starting second baseman Dee Gordon performing really well this season, it will be hard for Dodgers manager Don Mattingly to decide who should get the bulk part of playing time at second base. Right now, Gordon has earned it. When Guerrero does get called up, I can see him on the roster splitting the playing time between him and Gordon.
Dustin Hanson, Staff Writer- Guerrero seems to be a legitimate player without a home. We have known that his bat would translate well in the majors, but his defense was the question. And, as we have seen with Kemp, the Dodgers are putting a priority on defense. It kinda makes me wish that Hanley would take it more seriously, because I think that Erisbel Arruebarrena (we really need a nick name for him) has a chance at sticking permanently at short if he hits even just a little bit. Which is also another reason to believe that Hanley will not be in Dodger blue next year.
No one on the 40 man roster sticks out as having defensive prowess (Uribe is on the DL). Kemp stinks, Ethier is serviceable, Crawford is on the DL AGAIN, Gordon is still learning second, Hanley has a great bat…, and Gonzo is the model of consistency but has lost a step. Sadly, I don’t think we can simply outhit other teams while the defense suffers. It seems likely that Gordon will fade and, when he does, Guerrero will step in. Right now I project them as equal players.
All this is mute. Had Olivo just kept his stupid mouth shut, both would likely be playing in LA right now. But he had to go all Mike Tyson crazy and try to devour Guerrero one ear at a time. When Guerrero joins the hearing capable again, the front office will probably want him to take a “rehab assignment” before joining the team. That is if Uribe is still suffering from hamstring problems.
I think that Guerrero has a role to play when Gordon starts his downturn. But will play a bigger role next year platooning with Gordon at second and Seager sharing time at third with Uribe while Arruebarrena takes over at short full time.
Stacie Wheeler, Editor- Dee’s success at second base has really surprised me, and I think my expectations for Alex Guerrero to play second right away out of Spring Training were a bit premature. Although I do not buy into the notion that Guerrero isn’t defensively capable. This opinion is coming from my own observations of Guerrero working out at Spring Training. While Dee looks quite good at second base, the Dodgers will not want to waste Guerrero’s bat in triple-A much longer. The Miguel Olivo incident really put a wrench into the Dodgers probable plan to call Guerrero up after Juan Uribe became disabled and Hanley Ramirez was sitting with a calf issue. I suppose the time for his debut wasn’t to be, but I’m excited to see Guerrero’s Dodger debut this season. I don’t think it would be out of the question for the Dodgers to play Guerrero at second using a platoon with Dee. Gordon’s numbers will likely regress this season, but his speed and improved on-base percentage really makes it hard for the Dodgers to sit him now. I don’t see Guerrero immediately becoming an everyday starter for the Dodgers, but he will eventually take over second for the long-term.