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The Roster Spot Wasters of 2017

Kike Hernandez

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.

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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.

Brandon McCarthy

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)

Chris Hatcher

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.

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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.

Chris Taylor

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.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

22 thoughts on “The Roster Spot Wasters of 2017

  1. Did you ever play the game at a level above little league? These are grown men you are talking about. Do you think you are funny? Is being a smart ass and calling people names what you call being a professional writer? Sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you are an idiot, than to speak and prove it…

    1. Oh boy do you take the internet way too seriously. Please please lighten up and have some fun. I’m not an athlete obviously, which is why I write. Part of my job as a writer is to critique baseball players. Some of these players aren’t very good, and it’s my job to document this. For example when a player bats .190 and strikes out more than he gets on base, I have to document that. It’s bad, and I have to let the world know it. It’s part of the game, and professional athletes have to be able to deal with potentially being critiqued if they are going to play on the big stage.

      When did I ever call anyone names?

      Being a smart ass is a big part of being a professional writer. I don’t know if I am funny, but I think I make the internet a little bit more interesting. So please, I beg of you have some fun and stop taking everything so seriously.

    2. Yeah, we’re back to poorly written articles that serve no purpose.

      Being a smart ass is NOT ANY part of being a professional writer. It’s ancillary to that and, more times than not, used instead of talent or insight.


    3. @Jwat:
      Dude do you follow soccer? What Scott writes is nothing compared to football fans and their “critique” of their club’s players.

      And of course like all hypocrites: ” Sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you are an idiot, than to speak and prove it”…. you can’t follow your own advice!

      But it’s cool. Here’s to paying some big bucks to see Kike, McC, Hatcher and Taylor play in the same game!

  2. Although it might be sacrilegious to say it, I might add the 2017 version of Chase Utley to your list. He is a lefty hitting reserve INF who can’t play SS, he’s 38 and he pretty well stunk last year after May. With the Dodgers going with a short bench (4 guys) due to having an 8 man ‘pen, they need 4 guys who can play all over the place. With Barnes at C, Van Slyke as a righty-hitting 1B/OF and now Gutierrez, they need a reserve INF who can play all 3 INF positions.

    Roberts has already said that he doesn’t plan on using Barnes at anywhere other than C. If they plan on sitting Gonzalez against tough lefties more often this year (Roberts has said this too) then they need a righty 1B, meaning Van Slyke. They will keep Gutierrez, so Utley is the backup INF – except he doesn’t play SS. They have already said they will move Forsyth to 3B when Turner gets a day off, and they prefer not to play Forsyth at SS – so Utley is pretty much a wasted roster spot.

    I really don’t get the Gutierrez/Utley signings – neither one makes sense with the roster that they have and the number of bench spots available.

    This assumes that Toles and Kike are optioned to AAA and Thompson starts the season on the 60 day DL.

  3. You might consider following your own advice there jwat.

    I get the premise of this piece. I’ve considered the same topic myself, with Utley one of the names that ran through my head. Rick is right about his fit here. I like Chase as an influence and hope we keep him in the organization after his retirement. He might have his moments but, don’t we eventually intend to get younger? Hatcher could be useful if can learn to throw strikes on the margins and spin a ball down. Will he? Who knows. In Kikés defense, in a thoroughly undefined role he has slashed .246/.314/.397 in two years with the Dodgers. Not great, but as a young player he needs experience. I would simply ask the FAZ, why did you trade for a 23 year old if you weren’t going to play him? My feeling now is do the kid a favor and trade him. Toles is about to become invisible as is Thompson and Taylor. OKC is a long way from LA, but with our injury history those stuck there might get a peek later.

  4. No need to be a douchebag.

    I liked Scott’s article. I am ready to move unproductive assets to be other teams unproductive assets! He who produces needs no excuses. I love seeing the kids get a chance. My current beef is why won’t Cody Berlinger “take every snap” while Agone nurses his elbow? SVS had his chance, Chase is fine. Let’s see what the kid can do now!!

    1. Bluto

      About the third time through the line up.

      Kazmir often didn’t pitch well enough to face the line up, the second time around, so I don’t see how he can be frustrated, by that.

      And if he is having to be treated throughout the off season, and during the season, it must be because, this is a chronic condition.

      When a condition can’t be cured, it is a chronic condition.

      And if he needs to get on going treatment, that means, it is only a temporary fix, until the next treatment.

      And he still hasn’t been tested, since spring training, just began.

      And seriously Bluto, I think he only was able to pitch past the second time around, only a few times.

  5. Scott, I get you were trying to be sarcastic in this article. I liked it.

    Mostly I agree, but I expect Kike to have a big rebound year. I also can’t believe this -52 stat on defense. I always liked his D, but then again, what the hell do I know??

    5 more days till game time!

  6. Well I did not see any name calling. I saw a writer telling it like it is and he was right on. Kike did suck most of the year. His season highlight came in MAY! Hatcher has pretty much sucked ever since he put on the blue. Guy has nasty stuff, but does not know where it is going half the time. Every one on here bitches about McCarthy. He is villain number one as far as an overpaid roster waster. Taylor had a couple of decent games but did not play enough to show much. I do not believe there is any way the Dodgers can go with an 8 man bullpen. Not in the NL. Barnes is the backup catcher. SVS will backup Gonzo and play some OF. Utley can play 3 infield positions not 2, 1B, 2B, and 3rd. Gutierrez unless he gets hurt is a lock to make the roster, and herein the problems start. You will have 3 starting OF’s, most likely, Puig, Pederson, and if he is healthy, Ethier. So Gutierrez and SVS the backups, unless SVS gets injured or is cut loose. Toles and all the other posers on the roster are toast. Kike could be a super utility guy, but in order to stick with this team, he is going to have to have the spring of his life. I like Culberson better as the utility guy because he is a much better SS than Kike. Taylor’s main asset is his glove, and if he has a great spring, he could knock them both out. Bull pen shapes up as Jansen, Romo, Dayton, either Avilan, or Liberatore, not both, Fields. Wood as the long man, and in my book the 7th guy should be Ravin. Cut Hatcher loose. They keep Ethier and Utley because in a pinch the are the only LH bats off the bench. I firmly believe that Kike starts the year in AAA. Same with Toles, and Taylor. Eibner, Holt, all those guys to OKC too. Ryu, and McCarthy candidates for the DL. Starters will be Kazmir, Maeda, Kershaw, Hill, and Stripling out the gate. Urias to extended spring. Stripling could get beat out by Stewart, but I will stick with Ross.

  7. Good job Scott. I thought it was a well written and thought provoking post.

    And I agree with your assessments of the aforementioned players… Hey, they sucked.. So what’s so bad about saying it…

  8. It’s harder to be a smart ass than it looks when blogging, and I know that Scott really tries to change things up once in a while, and he also tries to avoid repetitiously bashing the same player or the same event over and over again using the same words. One has to appreciate the art in the roast.

    I have to be honest though, Scott, you’ve done better but hey it’s spring training. Other than Kike, of course, who for some reason always brings out the best turns of phrase in you (and this one was no different – the ways you keep coming up with comical descriptions of his 2016 woes always crack me up).

  9. This is a poor analysis. While I don’t necessarily disagree with the conclusions for these players, your examples are *garbage*. Using -52 runs for Hernandez is either lazy, or shows that you don’t understand the statistics. I assume you’re speaking of Zone which bbref defines as “Rtot/yr — Total Zone Total Fielding Runs Above Avg per 1,200 Inn The number of runs above or below average the fielder was worth per 1,200 Innings (approx 135 games).”

    The problem is you’re extrapolating this over the whopping 49 innings he played at 2b last year. Why not the 350 innings he played in the OF where the metrics have him at well above average.

    Of course, fielding metrics are unreliable over short sample sizes so neither would be a good example. Neither is bagging on Taylor over wow, 62 PA.

    I’d been reading some articles here lately in the hopes of finding a new blog to follow, but this sort of lazy, mean-spirited writing is a big turn off.

    1. If you think I am being unfair towards Kike then perhaps you didn’t watch many of the games he appeared in last year. I used that as an example because second base is one of his primary positions and he was awful there. Was it a small sample size? Yes, but second base is one of the positions that he is sure to see a majority of time at as a backup this season if he makes the roster. He’ll likely see most of his time at second base, left and center field. He was horrendous on both sides of the ball in 2016, offensively and defensively.

      Do you feel sorry for some of these guys? For the record I do not feel sorry for a guy who made half a million dollars to bat .190. These guys are making a lot of money to perform on the big stage and if they perform as bad as Kike did then it is my job as a writer to point out their poor performances. Nothing mean spirited about it. Everything I wrote was the truth. Don’t feel sorry for these guys. Let me tell you something, I would take a half a million dollars to bat below the mendoza line any day. So who should you feel sorry for? The rich professional baseball player that under performs at a historic level? Or the poor baseball writer that will likely never see a half a million dollars in his lifetime?

      Poor poor Kike. Poor poor Chris Taylor. My heart goes out to those guys. Stick around and have some fun, I promise I am not a mean spirited person.

      1. I think second base is one position where we’re least likely to see KH–otherwise, why Utley? The fact that he can play CF and SS–sort of–is what gives him a chance to make team if he can hit in ST.

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