Categorized | Mark Timmons

The Bench – What Bench?

OK, let’s talk about the greatest catcher of all time:  Johnny Bench!  Wait… wrong bench.  I meant that we should talk about the Dodgers 2014 Bench.

What bench?

Exactly!

Right about now, I can name just one player who will almost certainly be part of the Dodgers bench in 2014:  Tim FedEX (I can’t spell Federowicz) is the only one I can pretty much guarantee will be there.  The Dodgers need a backup catcher and I can’t see Butera or some of the non-roster invitees beating him out.  Beyond that, it’s a crap-shoot!

Chone Figgins has a shot, as does Brendan Harris, but neither are likely at this point.  Dee Gordon has to have a good spring to make it.  On the other hand, if he does and Alexander Guerrero has a bad spring, Gordon could end up the starter at 2B.   Again, that’s not likely the way it will go down, but it’s possible.  It’s always possible that Figgins or Harris could win a starting position, but also not likely.  Justin Sellers is on the roster, but if he wins a spot, the bench will be the weaker for it!  I refuse to even consider Miguel Rojas – he has to show me!

Mike Baxter or Joc Pederson could make the team as extra outfielders or not.  Scott Van Slyke would seem to be  a logical choice as he can backup LF, RF and 1B, but he has to hit this sporing to make the team.

The bullpen has lots of questions, too… but that’s another discussion.

How the bench looks will depend a lot upon Alexander Guerrero and ZIPS aside, we really don’t have a clue!  All we have is wishful thinking!

What do you think the bench will look like on opening day?

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About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

55 Responses to “The Bench – What Bench?”

  1. Jason says:

    Why is there suddenly all of this concern for Guerrero’s starting job due to his fielding???? (Report by Mark Saxon)

    Per MLB.com he had a .977 at short:

    “In his final season in Cuba in 2011-12, Guerrero committed just eight errors in 350 chances at shortstop, good for a .977 fielding percentage.”

    According to 2013 SS stats… a .977 would have tied him for 11th in all of MLB for fielding %.
    (Please note I understand he didn’t have as many total chances as those guys but 8 errors in 350 chances doesn’t sound too horrible to me.)

  2. Mark_Timmons says:

    I don\’t so much question his fielding as his hitting – we just don\’t know!

  3. Badger says:

    Good stats Jason. I’m not worried.

    Guerrero, Figgins, Gordon and Rojas. Along with Uribe and Ramirez. Is that enough WAR for 180 games?

    If it isn’t moves can be made.

  4. Adam says:

    It has to be Van Slyke and Gordon. They can both play multiple positions. Also, Gordon will probably start at Shortstop once a week to give Hanley a day off.

  5. Badger says:

    Steamer doesn’t think much of SVS.

    Speaking of Steamer, I found the following article on strikeouts interesting:

    http://steamerprojections.com/blog/

  6. Jimbo says:

    Don’t forget about Andre Kempford if he’s healthy. I know, not very likely but we can dream as it is almost spring. I’d say we need to sign someone as a utility player but good lord there’s not much left. Ramon Santiago just signed, Michael Young retired. That leaves guys like Placido Polanco, Justin Turner and Jeff Baker, Brandon Inge, Nick Green and Alex Gonzalez. Ouch.

  7. Bob says:

    Polanco is the best IF available. Ouch.

    So Badger, you think that when someone says they do not understand something that because you do not like what they say that what is said must be provocative? That attitude supports what the right wingers say about liberals only allowing free speech when they agree with what is said. Do I really have to understand everything or can I admit that I do not understand some things?

  8. Bobbie17 says:

    Figgins will be there because of his versatility. SVS too because some seem to like his game. Gordon because of his speed. None can hit. Forget pinch hitters. 1-5 is as good as it will be. I guess 2b is Guerrero’s. Hold your breath. We don’t need nine all-stars, but the more the better. The first pinch hitter will be the outfielder who is not playing that day. Maybe won’t be so bad. Most teams, even good ones, have spotty benches. Last year’s bench maybe was better than it had to be. Let’s hope. Spring will be most interesting for 2b and bench.

  9. Michael says:

    Only 26 days or so until we play our first spring training game.

    Wouldn’t that be something if the Rams returned to LA?

  10. Badger says:

    Been waiting for Rams return for a couple if decades now.

    Bob, admit what you wish.

    I think Baker can still hit. I believe we may win low scoring games with better pitching.

  11. Jimbo says:

    I agree Baker can hit lefties and would be an outstanding fit.

  12. jerry says:

    ned always waits till the good player are gone..he’s done that every yr he been here..i dont see this team will be as good as last yr..that just my opinion..we lost two great back up play from last yr.and now the whole team is what if….

  13. Quasimodo says:

    I agree with Badger in that the 2014 Dodgers will do better than last year. My crystal ball tells me Greinke won’t get his collar broken and we’ll not very likely see a repeat of injuries with the rest of the rotation. And I’ll also add that Dodgers will be better offensively. Got to remember Kemp was not healthy, same with HanRam and Puig wasn’t on the 25 roster at the beginning of the season. I don’t fear the team as being too fragile. If it turns out I’m wrong then it’ll be however. There’s no reasons for me to look ahead negatively. In fact, quite the opposite.

  14. Watford Dodger says:

    Hanley, Puig & Kemp all missed big chunks of last season plus Ethier& Crawford at certain times. If they stay fit we will score well – no doubt – if they are fragile again then we will have to rely on our stellar pitching & pen again.

    • Badger says:

      Yup. That’s my read too W.

      Score 4, have starter go 6, giving up 2 then bullpen shuts em down (with a 1 run cushion).

      Dodgers win 4-2.

      97 wins.

  15. Rob says:

    Everyone is worried about 2nd base but I am more concerned about uribes back up. Uribe is no spring chicken and right now we have no other viable backup to augment his playing time unless you count figgins.

    • Badger says:

      Not everyone Rob. I’m all in on Guerrero. I got my Guerrrero jersey not ordered as we speak.

      We’ll get a 30 game backup for Uribe. Patience.

  16. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    It’s all about health. Just the addition of Kemp makes this offense a lot better than last year. Puig will have a year of experience under him, and hopefully we get good, healthy years out of Agon, Hanley, Crawford and Ethier. And I’m hopeful that Guerrero’s bat is an upgrade at 2B. And I’m a lot more sanguine about the bench than some people. Fedex is fine with me as a backup, I think Gordon will bring a lot to the bench, and while Figgins is a question mark, but could well thrive as a backup, and SVS provides some pop off the bench, and might get an occasional start against a lefthander. And of course, one our four starting outfielders will always be on the bench. And if there’ a need, the Dodgers have the means to acquire a quality backup. I’m sure there are questions that need to be answered, but that’s the case for just about every team.

    And pitching looks fine to me, both starters and the pen.

    Put me in the same camp with Badger, Quas, and W.

  17. Roger Dodger says:

    Bench — ok, the bench.

    One of the 4 outfielders will be – on the bench.

    Here is where I call for some sense. With the everyday players and the total pitching staff — like one guy getting $10 million for a couple of out 50 or 60 times . . . .

    Do not go cheap on the rest of the bench. The bench will will some and hold some games.

    Get one bomber type hitter. SVS is not that.

    Get one solid singles – doubles guy.

    Keep Gordon and so this bench up.

  18. Rob says:

    We will see badger what move if any Ned makes for third.

  19. Pete M. says:

    I dont think Puig is fragile, loco maybe, but not fragile. He must embrace the fact that walls will not move for him and maybe a lil time in Maury’s sliding pit… Some of his slides last year were of a pure kamikaze nature…
    Big Guerrero fan and he did look good at the Homeboy Industries. He will figure out different wrinkles at 2B and his offense like most big leaguers will be all about adjusting… Here’s hoping…

  20. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Roger,

    One of the big bombers for the bench is the 4th outfielder not playing that day. Also, I understand that SVS is questionable, but at the same time who is out there to provide a bomber off the bench? Most “bombers” are starters elsewhere, not bench guys. SVS definitely has the power, and does occasionally connect.

    In 129 ABs last year, SVS hit .240, but had a .342 OBP. Also. .465 SLG, and .807 OPS. Of his 31 hits, there were 8 doubles and 7 HRs. That’s about half his hits going for extra bases. I’m not a huge SVS guy, but really that was pretty good production off the bench.

    I’m sure there are better players out there, but none of them are All Stars. If there’s a better alternative, fine. If not, SVS does a good enough job, at least until he shows otherwise. And again, our primary bat off the bench is going to be one of our 4 outfielders, unless, of course, something changes between now and opening day.

    • Badger says:

      Any OPS over .800 works for me. Too bad he doesn’t back up third. If he did he could make an extra couple milyun a year. If it were me I would be taking 100 grounders a day at both corner sacks. The Dodgers don’t him to play outfield.

      You know what’s a good exercise for third baseman? Playing ping pong left handed.

  21. Gionfriddo says:

    KC just DFA’ed Emilio Bonifacio–I have always liked his game & how versatile he is..last yr he played 90 games @ 2B, 38 in the OF, & 6 @ 3B…Stole 40, 30, 28 bags from ’11 to ’13– THIS is our utility guy we’ve been wanting— Figgins is 36, Bonifacio is 28. This is a no-brainer.
    Get a deal done, Ned…..

  22. Bob says:

    Michael young is class act and I was embarrassed last year by some of the comments that I have read about him on this and other websites. Maybe, his partial year with the Dodgers helped him realize that all he really wants is to be with his family and sleep at home every night. Good for him.

    Ellis is wise for settling his arbitration case. I predict that he will start 114 games in 2014 and have less than 450 PAs.

    Bonifacio? He had a WAR of 1.2 last year will playing 6 different positions. I would be very happy if Alexander reaches that level of success in his rookie year. Why not hedge the bet and trade a # 51 prospect, of lesser value to the Dodgers than Pratt Maynard, for Emilio’s over priced contract, or just wait to see if he lasts through the 10 days.

  23. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I guess there’s a reason they DFA’d Bonifacio. In 2013 he had a combined .243 AVG., .295 OBP, .625 OPS for Toronto and KC. Yes, Bonifacio is faster and younger than Figgins, but I’ll take my chances with Figgins. It’s not like you’re asking the guy off the bench to play everyday, and it’s not like this is going to be a long term gig for either of these part-timers. If Figgins is able to reprise any of what he’s done in the past, he would be my choice. But I would have no problem with the Dodgers signing Bonifacio to a minor league deal, which is probably the most he’s going to get from anybody. Another NRI in camp in fine with me.

  24. Badger says:

    3.5 mil is a little steep, but the guy can run and play solid D all over the place. I think it’s a good fit.

  25. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Just looked at the details of Bonifacio’s DFA. If the Royals can trade him, well so be it. If the $3.5 million isn’t guaranteed, and the Dodgers can pick him up on the cheap, fine with me. Maybe he could become organizational depth or flipped to another team for something. But honestly, I suspect that Figgins will turn out to be a superior player.

  26. N1120A says:

    Young has been awful for like 3 years on offense and 10 on defense

  27. Bobby says:

    I like the Bonafacio idea. Man is he fast!!!!

    If he can play 2b, ss, and 3b, Im in

  28. dpwtv says:

    Michael Young had a stellar career…. and deserves all the accolades his accomplishments on the diamond.

    But the whining and asking to be traded when the Rangers brought in Kinsler and Beltre to play the positions he was playing…. is not made up. They were reported in papers and it was confirmed by the Rangers.

    Maybe he’s changed and matured… maybe, in general, he played the game the right way and was a good clubhouse presence, as long as things were going his way…. it’s easy to be pleasant and supportive when things are going great. The true test is being pleasant and supportive when things aren’t going your way. From what I’ve read…. he didn’t succeed in that at least two important times in his career

  29. Watford Dodger says:

    Fair point. Think that’s why all our players love Uribe – because of the way he conducted himself during those desperate two year struggles.

  30. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    The quote below came from this article:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/la/legendary-broadcaster-vin-scully-fanfest-crowd-excited-over-dodgers?ymd=20140201&content_id=67358498&vkey=news_la

    “Colletti later told reporters that he expects to sign a utilityman to a Minor League contract in the next five days….”

    Same thing is this from MLB Trade Rumors (at the very end):

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/02/quick-hits-red-sox-indians-crain-mets-dodgers.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MlbTradeRumors+%28MLB+Trade+Rumors%29

    Doesn’t sound like Bonifacio to me. And while Bonifacio has some value, he simply doesn’t get on base enough for me.

    Mike Petriello, who apparently will have something to say about Bonifacio tomorrow, thinks that the utility guy might be Justin Turner.

    http://dodgersdigest.com/2014/02/01/dodgers-expected-sign-unknown-utility-infielder-lets-get-ready-welcome-justin-turner/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dodgers-expected-sign-unknown-utility-infielder-lets-get-ready-welcome-justin-turner

    • Bob says:

      Good research.

      “I don’t know about you,” Scully said, “but I’m starving for baseball. After the Super Bowl, it will be all baseball, all the time.”

      MP also says maybe an international player.

      Maybe some exciting news coming down the pike?

  31. Watford Dodger says:

    It’s not all good news however – LA Daily News reporting Kemp unlikely to make opening day as hasn’t started running yet & has only worked on an anti-gravity treadmill. He says he will only come back when he feels 100% due to his experiences last season of coming back too soon & causing himself further injuries. Looks like Ethier will get plenty of starts but it means the bench will be weakened as a result. Of course both Ethier & Hanley were carrying injuries at the end if last season & Guerro is already struggling this season. Looks a bit ominous to me?

  32. Roger Dodger says:

    One of two things should happen with Matt Kemp:

    a) traded to the American League where he can do more DHing, but get something solid in return for him in that trade, or

    b) have the National League adopt the DH, very very soon.

  33. Bobby says:

    In fairness, our opening day is like Mar 18, an not Mar 30.

    Either way, if Kemp starts on the 15 day DL, who cares?? This team is about Sept and Oct, and not April. We’re plenty talented enough to get thru April without Kemp

    • Badger says:

      I care.

      He’s already had months to heal. If he’s not ready by the time the Dodgers get back from down under I will be very concerned. The Dodgers need a full season out of Kemp and Ramirez.

      Most of us knew when we saw that ankle buckle that what the Dodgers initially said about it was pure bullshit. How can we be sure they aren’t continuing the lie? Ticket sakes are up. The price of tickets is up and we are told that is because demand is up. I’m sure they don’t want to mess with “demand”.

      Some honest up to date reporting on Matt Kemp’s medical condition would certainly be good for fans to know, but also might have a direct affect on season ticket sales as well as cable scripts.

  34. Badger says:

    Justin Turner would work, though I’m not sure we really need him. 100 OPS+ and a .9 WAR. Can Figgins or Gordon do that in about 175 at bats? Maybe.

  35. Roger Dodger says:

    Looks like if Joc has a nice spring in Arizona — he just might make the squad in April.

  36. Gionfriddo says:

    Badger, I with you on your Kemp narrative… been 3 months since the ankle surgery. He said in LA times he’s walking pain free–that’s great, but I need to see him go 1st to 3rd like he did in the past, care free & with a burst amazing to see for a man his size…

    You can’t win the West in April (or March) but it can give you headaches (if u start out slow) come August or Sept when you’re fighting to win it–

    Turner? I’m ok with him because his bat plays above Sellers, Gordon, & Brendan Harris… not going to go into detail over Bonifacio (a couple sites will do that today) but he’s a guy we need for many reasons..that being said, once Ned signs Turner, Bonifacio is off the table..let’s hope he stays out of NL West…

  37. Bobby says:

    We went 42-8 in a 50 game stretch last year, and Matt Kemp played in maybe 1 of those games?? We can play a month without him.

    A HEALTHY Ethier is more than capable of playing CF on a regular basis, as we saw much of last year.

    Let Kemp heal. Opening Day is 80 days away. If it takes him 110 days to be fully healthy, so be it.

  38. Gionfriddo says:

    Good point, Bobby… however, opening day for LA is 48 days away, 55 days for the rest of baseball… IF, indeed, we were 80 days out then the landscape would be different….
    Time will tell the tale…

  39. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Bobby, I’m assuming that’s a typo, and you meant to hit the 5 and not the 8. Season begins March 22, which I roughly calculate to be about 50 days away.

    Of course, after the Dodgers begin the season with two games in Australia, they don’t get down to regular season business again until March 30 in San Diego. Also, like always, there are quite a few days off in April.

    Regarding Kemp, I have my usual suspicions about whatever comes out of management’s mouth, but I also recognize that if they exercise any kind of caution, we are all going to be naturally suspicious. So while I don’t trust a word spewing forth from Dodgerland, I also recognize that going slowly with Kemp and not rushing him back into action may make perfect sense. We’ve already seen the results of rushing him back too early.

    Because they play a limited number of games early in the season, and because the Dodgers can win plenty of games without Kemp, I’m not yet ready to press the panic button. With a little bit of trepidation I will assume that we have everyone else back healthy and ready to play, and that we will have Puig ready on day 1. Last year to start the season we had a not yet ready Kemp, Hanley on the DL, and no Puig. I think things are better to start off this year. Maybe the Dodgers won’t reel off an unbelievable start, but I’m guessing that they should be competitive. We still do have some pitching.

    I saw that part about the Dodgers possibly signing an international player. However, I’m not sure any such signing would involve a player who is big league ready on opening day. Just checked out Justin Turner’s stats. Looks to me as if he’d be OK. I’m not going to get excited, but that’s only because I don’t watch the Mets very much here in NY, and haven’t seen him play a lot. As for Bonifacio, other than his speed, nothing else about him interests me. Doesn’t even play short.

  40. Badger says:

    Bonifacio can play short. He’s done it a few times. I’m fine with him, or Turner. Just do it whatever it is.

  41. Bob says:

    Gordon allegedly now over 170 pounds, up from 155? Maybe the weight will change his game for the better, finally. Hoping that he is a real surprise this spring, finally had his “Come to Jesus” conversation with someone, has improved like Van Slyke did when he finally dealt with reality, and is good enough to platoon with Alexander, and fill in for Rameriz once a week. Better sign another IF just in case.

  42. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    If Gordon has gained some weight it probably has nothing to do with any kind of epiphany, and more to do with maturity. And more important than that has been Gordon’s improved on-base skills of the last year or so. That too probably has something to do with maturity.

    Yeah, I checked Bonifacio again, and realized that I had missed some of those games he played at short. But even so, he’s played there sparingly in his career (both minors and majors), and I still don’t like his lack of on-base skills. Then again, Justin Turner is no on-base machine himself.

    This from Dodgers Digest re: Bonifacio.

    http://dodgersdigest.com/

    I don’t see much there to recommend him. And I totally disagree with the part about him being a better version of Dee Gordon. I see Bonifacio as a player showing signs of decline, whereas Gordon I believe is showing signs that things are beginning to fall in place. Most notably, he’s finally figured out how to get on base.

  43. Badger says:

    I don’t know he is in decline. He will be 29 in April. He managed a 1.2 WAR in 136 games with positives in o and dWARs. Good speed, plays all over. His contract may keep him available for a while, but he obviously will play somewhere. I don’t care. Make it happen.

  44. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    “Decline” was probably a poor choice of words. Daniel Brim at DD used the more appropriate “trend” in the wrong direction. But Bonifacio isn’t a Dodgers yet, and I’ve been wrong before.

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  1. [...] The Bench – What Bench? OK, let’s talk about the greatest catcher of all time:  Johnny Bench!  Wait… wrong bench.  I meant that we should talk about the Dodgers 2014 Bench. What bench? Exactly! Right about now, I can name just one player who will almost certainly be part of the Dodgers bench in 2014:  Tim FedEX (I can’t spell [...]… [...]


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