Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Utility Guys Wanted in L.A.

ESPN'S Buster Olney tweeted the following yesterday:

"Dodgers were prepared to re-sign Nick Punto, but Oakland had an offer markedly higher than L.A."

It’s probably safe to say that this was the first time in a long time that the A’s agreed to outspend the Dodgers for a player.  But...

That’s a good thing.  Thirty-six year old utility infielders shouldn’t get multi-year deals.  Not in this age of baseball.  The magic potions brought forth by PEDs a few years ago seemed to buy older players more years of playing time.  Those days are gone now.  There are younger, more athletic and more productive utility guys out there to be had, and Colletti will find some.
Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto are a 2013 memory now, both signed this past week to multi-year deals outside of Los Angeles. (photo by Alex Gallardo/AP)

Some are concerned that the loss of Punto and his carpool buddy, Skip Schumaker will be irreplaceable cogs in the Dodger’s championship wheel.  To that I can’t disagree more.  They were contributors in 2013, but they weren’t invaluable.  Both those guys brought clubhouse chemistry to the team and were a good fit, but winning brings chemistry more than mediocre utility players with a good attitude.  There are bench players that can be found.  They are plentiful and cheap.  You can't tell me that a utility player won't be eager to latch on to a top tier team like the Dodgers.  A team that has most of the pieces in place to go all the way.
Franklin Gutierrez, a free agent on the move. (photo by Tonmy Gutierrez/AP)
There are free agent players out there to be had like former Dodger Franklin Gutierrez who can fill in all outfield spots.  He’s only 30 years old.  There’s a 33 year old Cesar Izturis, who can fill in as a defensive replacement at all infield positions.   Thirty-three is a bit on the older side, but a one-year deal to Cesar wouldn’t be a horrible deal and we all know that his glove is great.   The Dodgers already signed utility infielder Brendan Harris to a minor league deal and he’s 5 years younger than Schumaker.  Harris has a minor league deal, as he should, because he has never really performed on the big league level.  He’s young and he’s not locked on to the 40 man roster, so where’s the damage?

Grady Sizemore attempting to garner interest as a comeback free agent in 2014. (photo by Chuck Crow, Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Then there’s the guy you might want to catch on the comeback trail, such as Grady Sizemore.  Taking a flier on Sizemore who has let the world know that he’s willing to accept a minor league deal in order to come back from injury, is an adventure with little risk.  They’ve got nothing to lose there. Sizemore hasn’t played a major league game since 2011, but he’s only 31 years old.

There’s the possible players that will be non-tendered that should be considered as well.  Some utility guys on the bubble that might surface are former Dodgers Tony Abreu of the Giants, Don Kelly of the Tigers and Darwin Barney from the Cubs who had a terrible 2013, but is 27 and has upside, particularly as a second baseman.  All those guys get the Dodger bench corps much younger than what they would have had with Schu and Punto.

It's almost inevitable that Colletti will sign a number of players that many consider to be scrubs to report to Camelback Ranch on minor league contracts.  Watch for those names to surface with barely a blip on the radar.  A few of them will surface as the Puntos and Schumakers of 2014 for the Dodgers.


  1. Wilson Betemit would be one guy that would interest me. Relatively young at 32, SH, versatile, quite productive.

    Tony Abreu also interesting. Not as much power as Betemit but also a SH.

    Good question - why not Grady Sizemore?

  2. Did you see Shawn Tolleson was waived and picked up by Texas? That's a "huh!" for me. Kind of early to quit on him. There was little need to clear 40 man roster space as there would only be 32 on it including Tolleson while Butera, Sellers, Baxter and Buss are still on it.