Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dodgers' Winter Meetings shopping list: Bench pieces - Baker, Chavez, Davis, Gutierrez, Nelson, Turner

In the third of a four-part series, I look at what the Dodgers could do to strengthen the bench during the Winter Meetings, which begin Monday.

The Dodgers have already lost Nick Punto (Oakland) and Skip Schumaker (Cincinnati) to free agency, and they're not expecting to bring back Jerry Hairston and I hope they steer clear of Michael Young.

Jeff Baker

Baker mashes against left-handed pitching -- perhaps better than any other free agent available. He can play multiple positions and a guy Mike Petirello looked at in early November.

In 800 career plate appearances against lefties, he owns a .298/.353/.522 triple slash. He's probably limited to the corner outfield or first base. However, he's played a little second- and third base in his career.

He'd be a nice addition so the Dodgers could sit Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier against tough lefties.

Eric Chavez

I had the Dodgers signing Chavez in my offseason plan, and he'd be a great left-handed power bat off the bench. While he's been a third baseman most of his career, Chavez is more of a 1B/3B baseman at this point. He can handle third base, but he'd need a right-handed platoon partner.

Chavez has hit .281./.341/.488 over the last two seasons as a part-time player, and he figures to be a hot commodity this winter.

Rajai Davis

Davis should be able to land a starting position on the open market, but at 33 years old, he might be ready to go into a part-time role on a championship-caliber team.

A speedster, Davis can play center field, but he's better suited to play left. He's a career .268/.316/.377 hitter, but he's a career .294/.354/.425 hitter against left-handed pitchers. Davis also has 268 stolen bases at nearly an 80 percent clip.

Franklin Gutierrez

This will be short, as I wrote an extensive post about Gutierrez last month. The Dodgers need a true backup center fielder, and Gutierrez is the best one available.

That really shouldn't hamper him come the 2014 season.

Chris Nelson

Nelson had a wild 2013 season, spending time with the Rockies, Yankees and Angels. At 28, he's the youngest guy on this list and would be worth a flyer.

The former No. 9 overall pick in 2004 is more of a 3B/2B, but he played 532 games at shortstop in the minor leagues.

Nelson went to Pasadena City College, so he has some local ties. He also owns a .268/.312/.399 career triple slash. In 2012, he hit .301/.352/.458 in 377 plate appearances, but was aided massively by Coors Field (.347/.411/.500 at home).

Justin Turner

Turner is probably the most realistic option on this list, as the Dodgers have reportedly checked in on him. I heard to the same thing, and at first glance, there are worse players the Dodgers could acquire.

He's not spectacular, but he's solid for hat he is. From Petriello:
"Turner was expected to be tendered by the Mets, but it didn’t happen after an injury-plagued year, and so he’s free after parts of five years and just under 1,000 major league plate appearances. Over that time he’s got a 93 wRC+ and a .684 OPS, making him somewhat below league-average, but he’s made starts at second (88), third (50), short (21), and first (17), which is pretty nice versatility. That said, DRS (-21) and UZR/150 (-21.5) both hate him at second, which is where he’s seen the most action, so it’s hard to call him a plus glove."
That's pretty much him in a nutshell. I'd bet on him being a Dodger before the end of next week.

Next up: Relief pitchers (please come back, J.P. Howell)

Photo credit: mikelachance816, Flickr


  1. Good summary. I might take Davis, but Chavez comes with a bad reputation, doesn't he?

  2. I like Mike Moustakis of the Royals if Ned can make a trade

  3. anonymous December 12,2013 at 9:45AM
    They should get Chavez he will fit well with Wilson