Having had the opportunity to personally witness eight spring training games thus far over the past two weeks, it is becoming a bit more clear who will most likely find themselves in minor league camp (or designated for assignment) within the next week or two.
On the pitching side, it’s pretty safe to say that non-roster invitees Kelvin De La Cruz and Gregory Infante won’t be around much longer, along with fan favorite NRI Peter Moylan. That being said, J.P. Howell and Matt Palmer are making a strong bid for a bullpen slot and will undoubtedly make it through the first round of cuts. (I anticipate that Howell is guaranteed a spot because of his $2.85 million contract). By the same token, I foresee Chris Capuano, Aaron Haring and/or Ted Lilly as trade bait (or being demoted to the bullpen) because of their less-than-stellar performances thus far this spring, although Capuano did look very strong in the first two innings of Saturday’s game against the Mariners before the wheels fell off in the third inning. This decision could be made easier because of the emergence of young Matt Magill, who is having an outstanding spring thus far.
On the position player side of things, without question, non-roster invitee Dallas McPherson absolutely has to go, as he has been nothing short of awful as a back-up first baseman on both sides of the plate. He is muffing simple routine plays with the glove and struck out twice during Saturday’s game – the first time on three pitches and the second time on four. He also projects an “I don’t really care” attitude that is pretty hard to miss – even by a novice such as myself. McPherson is 1 for 12 (.083) in the seven games that he has appeared in this spring, so it’s not as though he hasn’t been given an opportunity to prove himself.
An then, of course, there is Juan Uribe who is every bit the same Juan Uribe of the past two seasons. Simply put, he just plain sucks – despite Colletti’s and Mattingly’s never-ending attempts to squeeze blood out of a turnip. Uribe is 2 for 11 (.182), which pretty much mirrors his numbers since becoming a Dodger in 2011. If Uribe is not designated for assignment by the conclusion of spring training, he will continue to be nothing more than a roadblock on the 25-man and 40-man rosters. Why Colletti and Kasten even bother to hang on to Uribe is anyone’s guess. The Uribe experiment has failed (and miserably) and it is time for the Dodgers to cut their losses with him; it’s as simple as that.
Although Justin Sellers is having a decent spring (especially defensively) I anticipate that he will not be on the Opening Day roster, but my guess is that he will remain in big league camp for the duration. And though Jeremy Moore is making a very strong argument to make the ODR, I honestly suspect that he will not make it (unless Uribe gets DFA’d).
The guy who may very well be playing himself onto the ODR is Alfredo Amezaga, who is hitting .417. That said, his defense has been a little shaky and may lead to his eventual cut to the minors. Here again, Uribe may be a roadblock for Sonora, Mexico native. Tony Gwynn Jr. is also a likely candidate to begin the 2013 season at Triple-A Albuquerque. It is clear that the Dodgers are trying to work utility infielder Brian Barden onto the roster, as he is seeing time at both third base and first base. Barden’s current .538 average (7 for 15) and his decent defensive skills make him someone to keep an eye on over the next three weeks; but realistically, I do not see him bumping Jerry Hairston Jr. off of the ODR in spite of Hairston’s lesser .400 average (2 for 5) in four games played. Hairston also figures to be the opening day left fielder with Carl Crawford suffering a setback from his shoulder surgery last August.
There are undoubtedly sever other guys in camp who will be on the chopping block in the coming weeks, but these are a few of the more obvious one.