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The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Uncertain Second Base Situation

January 20th, 2014 at 12:57 PM
By Jimmy Reynolds

There are several questions that surround the Los Angeles Dodgers as Spring Training quickly approaches, but perhaps none is more pressing than the uncertainty regarding the current second base situation. Of course, the Dodgers signed Cuban refugee Alexander Guerrero to a four-year deal worth $28 million ($32 million counting incentives), a contract that seems to indicate they trust him as their Opening Day second basemen. During the Dominican Winter League, Guerrero reportedly suffered through hamstring issues, and some scouts were not exactly high on him to begin with. This begs the question: Who will the Dodgers turn to if Guerrero is not ready to start at second base?

'Skinny Swag at 2B' photo (c) 2013, Not That Bob James - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

General manager Ned Colletti has said that the second base position will be a competition between Guerrero, Dee Gordon and Miguel Rojas. The ideal scenario is clearly that Guerrero is able to win the position out of Spring Training and allays any previous concerns about his health or ability. There is always the possibility that it does not work out this way, however, and if this is the case, the Dodgers’ middle infield could be very scary defensively.

Much has been said about Hanley Ramirez's glove, but last year he did play a solid shortstop when healthy. He has never been known for his defense, and pairing him with Dee Gordon in the middle of the infield could be a trying situation for the outstanding Dodger pitching staff. Gordon, at this point in his career, is trying to turn himself into a utility player, and his stint at short during the 2013 season was nothing less than nightmarish. To pair him with Ramirez would be less than ideal. Gordon does have speed, so if he were ever able to reach base frequently, he could be a valuable offensive asset, but he has yet to prove that ability at the major league level.

Rojas is a bit of an unknown. He is highly regarded primarily for his glove, but his bat is relatively non-existent. At Triple-A Albuquerque in 2012, Rojas could only manage a slash line of .186/.226/.233 through 44 games, resulting in his demotion to Double-A Chattanooga for all of 2013, where his offensive output improved, but never enough to warrant a promotion back to Triple-A. Envisioning a World Series contender with Rojas in the lineup is unfathomable.

One has to wonder why Colletti simply elected to not exercise the option on Mark Ellis’ contract to provide security at second base. The St. Louis Cardinals, who are basically in the same situation as the Dodgers with Kolten Wong, thought it prudent to sign Ellis to a contract which is basically identical to the option that Colletti declined. Ellis would never have been a versatile utility option, but he could have provided security and likely would have been easily moved to another club if Guerrero turns out to be as advertised.

Dodger fans will simply have to hope that Colletti and the rest of upper management know something about Guerrero that the rest of the fan base does not. Guerrero may turn out to be a solid second baseman capable of showing some power, but the questions that surround his health and ability will continue to be a concern until Opening Day.

Tags: Alexander Guerrero, Baseball, Dee Gordon, Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Mark Ellis, Miguel Rojas, MLB, Ned Colletti, spring training

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