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Category: Matt Treanor

The offensive emptiness that is the Dodgers 2012 bench

Look real hard and you can find it. It’s there, just not exactly under the spotlight. Maybe not in hiding, though you could make the argument that the Dodgers will try it.

It is the Dodgers’ bench, such as it. And as it is, it’s wholly unimpressive.

Presenting your 2012 Dodgers in reserve: catcher Matt Treanor, infielders Jerry Hairston Jr. and Adam Kennedy, and outfielders Tony Gwynn Jr. and Jerry Sands.

There’s some versatility and some nice defensive elements, but offensively there just isn’t much there. The power hitter is Sands, he of the 194 career at-bats? The left-handed bats are Gwynn and Kennedy?

This is all as currently scheduled, of course. And these things almost never go as scheduled. Which would explain why the Dodgers started last season with Xavier Paul, Hector Gimenez and Ivan DeJesus Jr. on the roster.

General manager Ned Colletti said he thinks this year’s bench can be superior to last season’s, before quickly asking which Dodgers’ bench he should reference.

"Unfortunately our bench ended up playing," Colletti said. "The bench was really the second bench."

Which is why the 2012 edition is so scary. Chances are, some of them are going to have to play more than expected. And this is what manager Don Mattingly will have to choose from based on last season’s numbers:

Player                         Avg.                OBP                 SLG

Treanor                      .214                .338                .291

Hairston                     .270                .344                .383

Kennedy                     .234                .277                .355

Gwynn                        .256                .308                .353

Sands                         .253                .338                .389

And as a group, it’s not like it’s a bunch of kids approaching their prime. Kennedy is 36, and Treanor will be in March and Hairston in May.

Plus you have to remember the Dodgers’ regular everyday lineup is already going to have its risks. Rookie shortstop Dee Gordon batted .304 last season but in only 224 at-bats, so we’ve yet to see if pitchers adjust to the slight Gordon. And A.J. Ellis is going to be the main catcher, and has a career .262 average with zippo power in 206 career at-bats.

There’s not a strong pinch-hitter in the group, either. Career averages as pinch-hitters: Treanor .200, Hairston .174, Kennedy .223, Gwynn .288, Sands .000 (only four at-bats). There's not really a reserve shortstop.

Last year the Dodgers wanted to start the season with a bench of Dioner Navarro, Jamey Carroll, Aaron Miles, Tony Gwynn Jr., Marcus Thames/Jay Gibbons. Navarro and Thames were busts, and Gibbons couldn’t overcome vision issues. Yet they still might prove a better group.

The Dodgers 25-man roster is basically set. If everyone makes it through spring healthy, there are no position openings.

 ``If it goes the way it’s planned, the team has some flexibility to it but not a whole lot,’’ Colletti said.

On days when Juan Rivera or James Loney don't start, the bench will get a boost but it could use plenty more. It could have used a Coco Crisp, but Colletti denied an interest in the outfielder before he re-signed with the A’s.

``Never had a conversation,’’ Colletti said.

Colletti is operating under budget constraints unworthy of a team playing in the second-largest market in the country, but such are the times when your team is in bankruptcy court.

And such is the bench.


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McCourt mum on Fielder, calls Dodgers sale interest 'fantastic'

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodger Stadium. Credit: Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times.

Daily Dodger in review: The failed gamble on Dioner Navarro


DIONER NAVARRO, 27, catcher

Final 2011 stats: .193, five homers, 17 RBI, .276 on-base and .324 slugging percentages, seven errors.

Contract status: Free as a bird.

The good: Two of his five homers won games. Ah, that’s just about it.

The bad: Everything else? OK, that’s a bit harsh, but maybe only a bit.

He could not hit, which apparently came as a surprise to no one but the Dodgers. He was sporadic behind the plate. He did not work hard. He took up space that belonged to A.J. Ellis, who could have used the experience now that he’s in place to be the Dodgers’ primary catcher in 2012. And the Dodgers paid Navarro $1 million, even though one else seemed interested.

What’s next: Navarro is open for business. Of course, he’s been open for business since the Dodgers released him Aug. 23. Wonder if they figured out why no one picked him up?

He’ll only be 28 in February but his career looks over.

The take: Imagine the shock — shock, I say — that Navarro did not pan out. General Manager Ned Colletti has a thing about his backups being veterans (see: Matt Treanor), but this was a poor idea from the moment it formed as the smallest kernel of a thought.

Navarro had one good fluke season in his seven major-league seasons. Otherwise, he’s proven a major disappointment. He hit just .194 for the Rays in 2010, then got churlish about not being added to their postseason roster.

He came back to the Dodgers last season and hit .193. He was a consistent fellow. Though he never proved a problem in the clubhouse, his lack of dedication to his difficult position finally proved his undoing with the Dodgers.

The day after they cut him, Manager Don Mattingly let it be known he was  disappointed Navarro had failed to put in the work and time required to be a good player. So to his list of failings, add work ethic.

Maybe being cut hit home with Navarro, he gets a non-roster invite to some team, puts in the work and makes a club. And maybe not.

— Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dioner Navarro watches his home run soar into the stands in the eighth inning to beat the Houston Astros, 1-0, at Dodger Stadium on June 19. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Dodgers sign Matt Treanor as their backup catcher

Turns out, the Dodgers aren’t going all that young behind the plate.

The Dodgers have signed veteran free agent catcher Matt Treanor to a one-year contract that The Times’ Dylan Hernandez reports is worth $1 million. He will receive $850,000 next season. There is an option for 2013 at $950,00 with a $150,000 buyout.

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told The Times’ Mike DiGiovanna he expects Treanor to play between 50-60 games.

Treanor is pretty much a miserable hitter – the seven-year veteran has a .225 career batting average and a .307 slugging percentage – but is well regarded behind the plate.

His signing follows Tuesday’s earlier news that the Dodgers had signed second baseman Mark Ellis, another excellent defensive player.

"We got a real good defensive second baseman, and we wanted to be as strong up the middle defensively as we could,’’ Colletti said. ``He's a good catch and throw guy, he has a good feel for leading a pitching staff, and he can help teach our younger guys, A.J. (Ellis) and Tim (Federowicz)."

Continue reading »

Dodgers not expected to make run at Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols

Dodgers_600The Dodgers aren’t expecting to make a run at top-line free agents Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols.

Asked Tuesday of the possibility of adding a big bat this winter, General Manager Ned Colletti said, “As of today, it looks less realistic.”

Fielder was at the top of the Dodgers’ wish list at the start of the winter, but Colletti said he has no meetings scheduled with Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras, at the general managers meetings in Milwaukee this week.

In fact, the Dodgers’ payroll in 2012 will be less than it was this year, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The Dodgers’ payroll was around $110 million last season.

The Dodgers finalized an eight-year, $160-million contract with Matt Kemp on Monday. Colletti wouldn’t confirm the deal, which is expected to be announced in the coming days.

Without a premium bat coming in, Colletti said, “we’re going to have to find other ways to produce runs.”

He said he is counting on Andre Ethier, James Loney and Juan Uribe to produce as they have in seasons past.

“Their seasons weren’t indicative of their careers,” Colletti said.

The Dodgers are closing in on a deal with light-hitting catcher Matt Treanor, according to baseball sources. Treanor would back up A.J. Ellis.

Colletti said he would like to add a backup infielder capable of playing shortstop, but wouldn’t mind starting the season with Justin Sellers as the utility man.

Colletti said he is also looking for a starting pitcher, adding that Hiroki Kuroda hasn’t told him whether he would re-sign with the Dodgers.


Frank McCourt apologizes to Dodgers fans

Mark Ellis signs two-year deal with Dodgers

Bill Plaschke: Matt Kemp's new contract is the first step in Dodgers' revival

-- Dylan Hernandez

Left photo: Prince Fielder. Credit: Zia Nizami / Belleville News-Democrat / MCT

Right photo: Albert Pujols. Credit: Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press


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