The Dodger’s Plans for Travis d’Arnaud Are Pretty Strange

The Dodgers acquired Travis d’Arnaud a few days ago. The right handed hitting backstop had been recently designated and then released by the Mets only hours before the Dodgers picked him up. The move seems wise as the Dodgers are essentially getting d’Arnaud for next to nothing due to the Mets being on the hook for the remainder of his 3.5 million dollar salary. The Dodgers will pay him a pro-rated minimum salary for the rest of the season. It’s a win-win for the Dodgers. If he doesn’t hit, and it becomes a disaster then the Dodgers have lost nothing and virtually spent no money. However the Dodger’s announced plans for d’Arnaud’s usage are quite bizarre.

The Dodgers needed a right handed bat to balance out their lefty heavy lineup. With the injury to A.J. Pollock (he’s going to be out for a while) the Dodgers not only needed another righty bat, but they also needed another catcher. With Russell Martin being old and unlikely to make it through the season without getting injured again, the Dodgers certainly felt the need to add another catcher. Getting him for next to nothing was an added bonus.

The Dodgers obviously feel that prospect Will Smith is not ready for the big leagues yet. Martin’s age and injury history were probably more of a motivation than just seeing a right handed bat for free on the open market. So instead of installing a rocking chair for Martin in the dugout and having to play Rocky Gale anytime Martin’s back flared up, d’Arnaud seems like a much better option.

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Only d’Arnaud has had his problems with injuries as well. He had a partial UCL tear back in 2018, and has also had wrist and shoulder problems. The Mets dumped him after he went 2 for 23 to start the season in 2019. The Dodgers recently announced that they would be using d’Arnaud as a multi-positional guy, moving him around from first base, and getting him playing time in the outfield. There’s only one problem with that, d’Arnaud has never played those positions in his MLB career.

Other than playing one game at second base, one game at third, and a few games in the minors at first base d’Arnaud has never played any other position other than catcher. He’s never sniffed the outfield in his professional career. Playing guys out of position, especially ones that have no experience at those respective positions can be a very dangerous experiment.

I have no problem with the Dodgers acquiring d’Arnaud. If he hits then this could be a very productive move. It can also allow the Dodgers for some good flexibility in late inning strategy with an extra catcher on the bench. But using d’Arnaud around the diamond is not a good use of his abilities. I understand the Dodgers love to move guys around, but playing d’Arnaud at first base, or the outfield robs established regulars of playing time. Guys like Alex Verdugo, Max Muncy, Chris Taylor, and Joc Pederson should not be having their playing time diminished for this experiment. I get that those guys need days off, but come on. This seems a little weird to me.

The Dodgers should use d’Arnaud like he’s supposed to be used. He’s supposed to be used as an occasional catcher to spell Russell Martin (and Austin Barnes) and occasional pinch-hitter off the bench against left handers. Even though he’s not performed well as pinch-hitter (3 for 27 .111) he has hit pretty well at Dodger Stadium. During his career d’Arnaud has slashed .304/.360/.565 in 25 plate appearances he is 7 for 23 with two home runs and a .925 OPS. I think if the Dodgers use d’Arnaud correctly they will get better performance and production. Not to mention they’ll save us and themselves a lot of aggravation.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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22 thoughts on “The Dodger’s Plans for Travis d’Arnaud Are Pretty Strange

  1. Probably the best way to use D’arnould would be as you say, a RH pinch hitter off the bench and occasional 3rd catcher option.

    What might also work is giving Barnes a few relief assignments at 2B AND have Martin in the game at the same time, behind the dish. That would leave D’Arould as a emergency catcher, should Russell or Barnes have to leave the game, or if a relief catcher is needed in extra innings, should Kenley blow a save and send them into late extra innings.

  2. Dammit, I thought when I read the title of this blog, that they would use d’anaud as the closer and let Dr. GasKanley get about 6 days rest between each blown save opportunity.

    Did anyone pick up Kemp for next to nothing yet?

  3. I don’t like this signing at all. Another injury prone vet to block our kids. Arnaud is not even that much older than Will Smith, who David Hood at TrueBlue has seemed ready for the majors as the Dodgers’ number 2 prospect (number 1 is Verdugo who has shown he belongs). Let the kids play and stop blocking then with vets with injury histories.

  4. From Forbes yesterday:

    “The Dodgers do not like to invest unwisely. They also do not like to admit mistakes. Well, it appears that they committed a couple of whoppers in A.J. Pollock and Joe Kelly, free agents signed for five years and $60 million and three years at $25 million, respectively, over the winter.

    Coming on the heels of wasteful spending for Brandon McCarthy, (three years, $48 million), Scott Kazmir (three years, $48 million), Yaisel Sierra (five years, $30 million) and Hector Olivera ($62.5 million, of which $23.5 million is the Dodgers’ responsibility), all told that’s $234.5 million thrown straight into the Pacific Ocean. And California is an environmentally-conscious state.”

    Okay the first sentence of article was obviously written while author was smoking a fatty but the rest is quite, well, frightening. So does someone want to still tell me the Friedman is a genius? Or does Friedman just throw so much shit at the wall that eventually a fragment sticks?

    1. True Blue, for one thing, Freidman is NO genius. the spending for basically zero, as said in your post answers that question. But I concur to allow travis to be a 3rd catcher, RH hitter off the bench and maybe play other positions in a run away game either way. But not at the expense of denying playing time from the guys mentioned here.

  5. Dis the “Dumpster Diving”, and let the Kids play!

    Hey, where is the blog for Ryu’s GEM? What about JT’s 3HR performance? Everyone too tongue tied and too shocked to make a positive conversation?

    Scott? Oscar? Yo’ Adrian? Anybody home?

    1. I am here, and am proud and glad to see a complete game by a Dodger pitcher for the first time in well over a year!. JT is on schedule with the power numbers starting to take shape.

  6. True Blue,

    Just goes to show you that money does grow on Palm trees in California.

    Might as well build a MLB Retirement Home West in the Dodger parking lot. The dough the Dodgers are dishing out, these guys can afford the $50/day parking fees. Who said that one cannot afford to retire in Southern California? Just encamp yourself in a So Cal Dumpster (preferably Walmart… it is Blue), and you will be found by Andy.

    1. It really is frightening the credit that this guy gets and really doesn’t deserve. I truly don’t think the Dodgers win a WS while Friedman is running things. He really has signed a load (yeah that does remind you of something) of pretty awful players and to big money too. To make matters worse he has a puppet playing manager for him. I still don’t think Roberts the player would absolutely hate to play for Roberts the manager. This wholesale lineup shifts from game to game is just bullshit. This has to be one of the most frustrating, regular season winning teams to watch that I can recall.
      Wow, we really are the Los Angeles Braves of the 90s or whatever decade it was that the Braves refused to get a happy ending. Shyte even Bob Kraft knows how to get a happy ending and he’s 107 years old.

      1. True Blue, and not only Roberts not wanting to play for the manager Roberts and the puppet master upstairs, but I am sure several players are taking note of these constant wholesale lineup shifts and for that reason among others is why Dodgers most likely fall short in the WS or fall short of even making it to the WS.

    2. Added note. Before Dodger Stadium was built, Chavez Ravine was actually an “old goat farm”, before the farmers were evicted for the new stadium. So, MLB Retirement Home West would certainly be appropriate resting place for these Dumpster finds. Was also the location of one of the first cemeteries in LA, Old Calvary Cemetery.

      1. Don’t forget the chicken ranches, my Dad never mentioned goat farms but he did mention a bunch of chicken ranches. My Dad worked for LA Water and Power, at that time, and installed much of the infrastructure for the Blue Heaven.

        1. Right, True Blue. Goats, Chickens… poor farmers just trying to make a living, only to be ousted by Dodger Stadium.

          Cool your Dad worked for DWP. He must be a bank of knowledge and history and unknown facts about our great city.

          1. Yep he knew a bunch of inside dope, God rest his soul. My Uncle Jack, was the head of DWP during those days. All sorts of funny stuff goes on inside those huge unionized institutions. As a kid, I used to serve beer to him and his “associates” that came to his house to play pool and broker interesting issues. Those guys were heavy tippers to my beer serving efforts. Boy could my Uncle Jack pull strings to anything and everything that had to use DWP energy or water (yeah everyone). I never waited in a line at Disneyland or at a Dodgers’ game when I was a little boy.

          2. LOL. I bet you heard great stories. I like the movie Chinatown, with Jack Nicholson. Interesting thriller based on LA water issues.

  7. d’Arnaud’s signing is definitely a head scratcher. Using him at 2 positions that he basically has no experience at is even more puzzling. As for Pollock, lets see how his elbow reacts after it heals. He has 4 1/2 seasons to make the deal worth while. Kelly can be an asset if he fixes what is wrong. If not well then you can say it was a terrible signing. As for all the others on that list, they hit the nail square.

  8. Ryu, for you! Nobody wants to talk about it. Go figure.

    Ken Gurnick called Buehler’s game a “Gem”…. Seriously?

    Last night… this is what you call a “Gem”. Ryu in total command mixing pitches and locations…. complete domination! Ryu pitches a 4 hit, complete game shut out, 6 K’s, no walks! Only 93 pitches! Ryu said, “NO Kelly & Kenley Show tonight!”. Ryu loves home cooking, that is for sure.

    Tacked with an early lead, Ryu was in cruise control. Amazing what an early lead and sharp defense can do to spark your pitcher. The Chubby Dodger Cherub played some hustle defense as well! Hope Jansen took some notes. The Dodger bats kept piling on the runs, thanks to JT’s 3 HR, 6 RBI performance. Muncy looking like a regular every day 2B-man, and he continues to hit lefties, 2-4 tonight. YES, that is right Friedman…. Lefties CAN hit lefties. Verdugo 2-3, Bellinger 2-5. Besides JT, how did your righties do last night?… goose eggs Andy, GOOSE EGGS!

    Baseball is a great game when played right. It’s been a long time since we have seen a game like this… something like 3 years? Go Blue! Go Ryu!, and YES Go JT!

    1. I didn’t see the game, didn’t even hear much mention from MLB Network about Ryu, they focused on Turner mainly. Oh how the press can manipulate anything and everything to get you to hear only what they want you to hear.

      Yes it is true, L words can hit L words. Please send a note to the FO to FO!

      Many feared a let down from Muncy in his second season with us, I did not share that fear. My fear has always been the FO screwing up all our L words with their insistence on being retarded with the use of L words. I think the Dodgers are winning in spite of the FO not because of the FO. Hell the Dodgers are winning in spite of the Planned Parenthood Pen even, however that will only remain as long as we get to face the cannon fodder teams in the MLB. If everything remains the same as current, the PPP will be exposed severely when we face the the better teams in the playoffs.

      1. Hell, MLB made such a big deal out of Vladi Jr’s MLB debut, then real baseball news. Sure JT got, and deserved his accolades, but Ryu’s feat just a side note…. Go figure.

        1. Blue
          Just thinking, Ryu pitched one heckeva game. One of the best I have seen in a long, long time. It occurred to me that this is what the FO does. When it gets a player that they are not going to keep they say very little about that player and it is hard to see why that player is pulled early or doesn’t play at all. It is AF MO.

          1. Yeah Package,

            You also have to remember that he is in a contract year. He just accepted the qualifying offer this year, so he will be up for a new contract again after this season. FO does not want to put this guy too high up on a pedestal.

  9. Great game by Ryu and Turner. Turner warming up is a great sign, now that Kike and Pederson have cooled off.

    Ryu has been very consistent over the last couple of years. He’s really tough at Dodgers Stadium and I hope he keeps it up. It’s a great story with him having to comeback from his injuries. He’s on his way to an all star berth!

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