Dodgers Cut 5 In Second Roster Trim Of Spring + Players Without Options

magill_grass_2013-04-27

The Dodgers made their second round of roster cuts yesterday, parting with five players: Matt Magill, J.C. Boscan, Clint Robinson, Brendan Harris, and Carlos Frias.

Magill figures to be one of the primary options to get called up if injuries plague the rotation. He helped his case a bit with a solid spring, allowing just a run in 5.2 innings while striking out six. Magill will probably be assigned to AAA.

Frias was less experienced against this level of competition and it showed. He gave up five runs in three innings of work this spring, but will look to use this as a learning experience and will probably head back to AA for 2014.

Boscan was always a long shot to make the roster, and was fifth on the depth chart behind Olivo and Butera. Boscan got limited playing time this spring, and he had one hit in four at-bats with two walks. He’ll likely settle in at AAA.

Robinson was an unstoppable force early in spring, and he ended up posting an .826 OPS in 23 at-bats. Most importantly, he put the fear of god into Adrian Gonzalez that he was about to lose his job at first base, thus motivating A-God to his .988 spring OPS. Clint Robinson for President. AAA is calling his name.

Harris was another long-shot to make the team given all the utility bodies in camp, and he didn’t help himself much by posting a .419 OPS in 19 at-bats. He’ll be a solid option to have in reserve at AAA.

All in all, no surprises yet, and the toughest decisions are yet to come. The team still needs to make decisions on the utility infielders, the reserve outfielders, the fifth spot in the rotation, the starter at second base, and also sort out the bullpen crunch.

=====

Given all that, the roster cuts figure to be coming quicker and quicker in the coming days, so it’s worth looking at the guys still in camp without options. They include Scott Elbert, Javy Guerra, and Drew Butera. If cut, the trio would have to clear waivers to remain with the team.

Elbert will remain with the Dodgers, if only because he’s currently injured and on the 60-day DL. The tough decision will come down the road when he’s ready to return.

Barring injury, Butera is almost assured to be cut eventually, as A.J. Ellis and Tim Federowicz have the starter and backup spots locked down. Also, he’s getting the fourth most playing time this spring, behind even Miguel Olivo, and hasn’t helped himself by posting one hit in eight at-bats with two walks. Butera’s a useful defensive option as a third catcher, though a team in need of a backup could pick him up.

Guerra has had a solid spring thus far, even if the peripherals are mediocre. In five appearances and six innings of work, he hasn’t allowed a run while striking out three and walking two. However, the bullpen situation is simply packed at the moment, and the only realistic shot of making the team for him is multiple injuries. So in order for him to be retained, he’ll either need a phantom injury or will need to clear waivers. I still think he could be an effective middle innings guy for someone, but he’s arguably the 10th best reliever in camp, so he belongs in AAA for now.

2014 Spring Training Preview: First base

There isn't much depth behind Gonzalez at 1B. (By: Dustin Nosler)

There isn’t much depth behind Adrian Gonzalez at 1B. (By: Dustin Nosler)

Age BA OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR
Adrian Gonzalez 32 2013 .293 .342 .461 .346 124 2.8
’14 ZiPS .282 .339 .453 .335 n/a 3.2
’14 Steamer .292 .358 .486 .362 135 3.7
Scott Van Slyke 27 2013 .240 .342 .465 .353 129 0.9
’14 ZiPS .249 .325 .420 .325 n/a 1.6
’14 Steamer .245 .332 .408 .327 111 0.2
Clint Robinson 29 2013 (AAA) .213 .323 .352 .313 91 n/a
Jamie Romak 28 2013 (AAA) .242 .322 .461 .345 104 n/a
Aaron Bates 30 2013 (Atl. Lg) .306 .397 .411 n/a n/a n/a

If the catcher series could have been titled, “‘Oh please oh please oh please A.J. Ellis stay healthy,’” then the first base series could be titled, “Wrap Adrian Gonzalez in bubble wrap so he doesn’t get hurt because the Dodgers have no viable backup.”

Gonzalez should have no problem playing 150-plus games, as he has never played fewer than 156 games in a full season in his career. He had a 2013 season he could easily duplicate in 2014. He’s not the 30-plus home run threat he was a few years ago, but he’s still a formidable hitter and figures to hit cleanup for the Dodgers.

He provides a consistent bat in the middle of the order — something the Dodgers lacked last season with all the injuries. Gonzalez was a stabilizing force at times and is still among the top third of first basemen in the game.

Van Slyke is probably the Dodgers’ best backup first baseman, even if he profiles better as a corner outfielder. He has improved his bat speed in the last year-plus, so he’s at least decent option for the Dodgers if he has to play extended time. More likely, he’ll give Gonzalez the occasional breather when a tough lefty is on the mound… if he even makes the roster.

Robinson is a career minor-leaguer, but he’s probably third on the first base depth chart (if you don’t count Juan Uribe). He had a few solid seasons in Double- and Triple-A from 2010-12 in the Royals’ system, but he wasn’t ever much of a prospect. He’s almost unplayable against lefties, so if he had to play extended time in the majors, a Van Slyke-Robinson platoon could work, but not for that long.

Romak signed with the Dodgers in November, and his versatility could help him in Triple-A and maybe the majors. He has experience at all four corners (and even two appearances at pitcher) in the minors, logging most of his time in right field. But he also has 242 games played at first base and 150 at third base. He’s a big right-handed hitter not unlike Van Slyke (but the ‘Stache is better).

Bates was signed out of the Atlantic League. You’re probably wondering what league that is. Well, it’s an Independent League team, hence the somewhat impressive numbers. He was originally drafted by the Red Sox in the eighth round of the 2005 draft by the Marlins. He didn’t sign and was drafted in the third round by the Red Sox in 2006. He’s a righty all the way and, aside from one season in the California League, has never shown the power to play first base. If he plays for the Dodgers this season, something has gone horribly wrong.

Next up: Second base