Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Dodgers' 3B situation: strained hamstring, bitten-off ear, mediocrity

Coming into the 2014 season, third base was a position of strength for the Los Angeles Dodgers at the major league level in addition to great promise for the future with the inevitable move of Corey Seager from shortstop to the hot corner.

The same could not be said the last couple of seasons with the massive struggles of Juan Uribe, but following a 5-fWAR campaign, his excellent defense and suddenly solid offensive contributions were something to look forward to. Though he has walked less and struck out more through the early portion of this season, his overall line is nearly identical and his defense is still Grade-A stuff.

Unfortunately, what has not carried over is good health. A hamstring injury a few weeks ago sidelined Uribe, but he returned to the field after about a week off to recuperate. That week off could look amazing compared to what is likely in store for Uribe after he re-injured the same hamstring in Tuesday's game against the New York Mets.

Ken Gurnick reported the injury as a right hamstring strain, and David Vassegh chimed in with added information as well as words from Juan himself.
With Hyun-Jin Ryu slated to be activated tomorrow from the DL and the Dodgers in need of a 25-man roster spot, a faux-DL stint for somebody was already a possibility. Uribe's injury simply makes it that much easier to free up a spot for Ryu while letting Uribe rest the hamstring in an effort to not have it linger all season long.

The bench would be short a guy but the club has gone that route before, and Ned Colletti has proven to care more about not cutting end-of-the-roster players in the fear that somebody claims them rather than keeping the most talented guys in the majors.

Of course, the Dodgers do have the perfect replacement, who is tearing it up in Triple-A Albuquerque: second baseman/shortstop Alex Guerrero, who entering play today was hitting .368/.411/.737/1.148 with a .482 wOBA and 191 wRC+ in just over 120 plate appearances. Yes, it's Albuquerque, but he is 27 already and the issue all along with him has been defense.

Unfortunately for Guerrero, tearing it up doesn't mean anything right now after he was physically torn up by teammate Miguel Olivo, who tried to attack Guerrero on the field; sucker-punched him in the dugout; and then sealed the deal and his fate in the big leagues moving forward by biting Guerrero's ear and taking a chunk out of it.

Guerrero's agent Scott Boras said plastic surgery to repair the ear is in order. How soon Guerrero returns to action remains to be seen, but putting him out of the question for the time being means third base will be handled by some combination of Justin Turner and Chone Figgins.

Turner is hitting .230/.280/.284/.564 with a .254 wOBA and wRC+ of just 60. Figgins sits at .211/.423/.263/.686 with a .340 wOBA and 119 wRC+. That's due to him somehow drawing six walks thus far. Neither is an appealing alternative to Uribe or Guerrero.

As I suggested on Twitter, it's pretty much come to this.
Photo credit: Dustin Nosler, Dodgers Digest

1 comment:

  1. Guerrero works his whole life for a shot, including escaping his country & leaving everything behind, and literally on the day he would have got the call, this happens. Unreal.