Nobody likes to be negative, but as a writer I have the responsibility to bring all of you the truth, no matter how non-positive that may be. One undeniable truth is that every season there are several players in spring training and during the regular season that make the Dodger roster that shouldn’t. I affectionately refer to these players as roster spot wasters.
I am sure that all of these players are nice guys off the field and I always wish them the best. None of these guys want to make this list or appear in this article. Unfortunately the reality of professional baseball is that not every player is good, or good enough to make the roster. These players are good in comparison to amateur or collegiate players, but in comparison to their Major League counterparts they don’t rank highly. So I’m going to have to use a Spock star trek quote to illustrate my point here. The needs of the team greatly outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.
Roster spot wasters are a detriment to the club and often block younger and more productive players. The Dodgers have several roster spot wasters in camp this spring. Here is a list of the potential roster spot wasters that could stink up the opening day roster below.
Enrique Hernandez (Kike)
I’ve written before about how bad Kike is many times. Not only was he terrible in 2016, he was nearly historically terrible. Hernandez came close to batting below Garret Anderson’s record breaking punch-less 2010 season. Anderson hit .181, Hernandez batted .190 in 2016.
Keep in mind that Kike batted .307 in 2015, which means his average dropped over a hundred points in just over a year span. That’s surely some record level suck. His OPS fell over 200 points from .836 in 2015 to .606 in 2016. He also had more strikeouts (64) than hits (41). Hernandez posted a 66 OPS + last season.
Not only was Hernandez totally punch-less at the plate, he was also horrendous defensively as well. The plucky utility banana was 52 runs below average defensively at second base last year. It’s hard to believe a major leaguer could be this bad, but Kike made being unproductive look fun.
Look it’s unlikely that Kike will be as bad as he was in 2016. It’s almost certain that he’ll bounce back in some way and improve from last season. He can only go up. However there are better players within the organization that can do what he does. I think it’s time to say goodbye to Kike and his annoying banana shtick.
One of the worst signings of the Friedman administration still haunts the Dodgers as the veteran right hander is entering the third year of his four year contract. So far McCarthy has provided the Dodgers with just 13 starts and a 5.28 ERA in 63 lackluster innings of work. The 33-year old signed a 48 million dollar contract with the Dodgers before the 2015 season and has 5 wins and only 14 appearances to show for it.
The injury riddled right hander posted 5.9 BB/9 rate while missing significant time after recovering from Tommy John surgery. It’s hard to imagine McCarthy providing any value to the Dodgers in 2017 if he is unable to remain healthy. I think we all know what the Dodgers should do here. (Hint: it rhymes with Schmesignate)
The embattled middle reliever was acquired from the Marlins along with Kike in the Dee Gordon trade. He was a converted catcher turned pitcher who was never able to put it all together on the mound. But he throws hard! Or so his supporters will say. Yes Hatcher certainly throws very hard. Unfortunately his 97 MPH fastballs have little to no movement. The right hander has struggled with command since the Dodgers acquired him and his attempts at closing games have failed spectacularly. To be fair many of his attempts at pitching have failed.
His first season with the Dodgers wasn’t a complete train wreck. The 32-year old actually had stretches of usefulness throughout the year. He finished with a 3.69 ERA in 49 appearances, and struck out 10.4 batters per nine. Not bad at all. He fell off the cliff entirely in 2016.
Last season he posted a 5.53 ERA in 37 appearances, allowing 8 home runs in 40.2 innings pitched. He allowed 8.9 hits per nine, and walked 4.6 batters every nine innings as well. It seemed he sucked the most in high leverage situations. He allowed opposing batters a .917 OPS against in those situations. He sucked so much last season that the Dodgers felt he deserved a raise, signing him to a 1.25 million dollar contract this winter. He earned 1.065 million in 2015.
He had a strange reverse split. He limited left handed hitters to a .150 (9 for 60) batting average against. Right handers hit .316 against him. An oblique injury also played a big part in Hatcher’s terrible campaign. I guess Hatcher could still be useful this season, as long as you only pitch him in low leverage situations and mop-up duties. Don’t let him pitch to right handers either.
He’s just your run of the mill Mendoza line hitting utility guy. I hate to pick on Taylor. He’s a nice guy, but why is he here? Taylor batted a blistering .207 (12 for 58) for the Dodgers in 2016. In case you forgot, this was how much former first round draft pick Zach Lee was worth. The Dodgers acquired Taylor straight up in a one-for one deal from the Mariners for Lee. He’s not a terrible defender, but man he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. Even if he doesn’t make the 25-man roster, he’s still hogging a spot on the 40-man roster. He’s unlikely to make the roster anyways, but I would still take him over Kike.
There you have it. These are the potential roster spot wasters of the 2017 Dodgers.