Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I like Van Slyke backing up first

Random thought here, but I really like the idea of using Scott Van Slyke backing up first base.  It's a good use of his abilities, and hopefully gets him to stick around LA permanently.

This is something I would bring up on occasion last season.  Rather than dangling him up and down between LA and Albuquerque like a freakin' yo-yo, why not find another position like first base to go along with outfield, keeping his powerful bat on the bench to hit late in games and provide spot starts?  It's a win-win for everyone.

In looking at the Dodgers' official website, he's listed as 6'5'' and 250 pounds.  In comparing him to the rest of the 40-man roster, only Jamey Wright and Seth Rosin stand taller at 6'6", and Hyun-Jin Ryu weighs more at 255.  Of course, take all of this with a grain of salt, especially since Ryu looks lighter and has said so himself, though he wouldn't elaborate on just how many pounds he's shed.

Because of how big of a dude he is, first base seems like a natural fit, something that hasn't been lost on the Dodgers this spring.  I'm glad to see it happening.

As of now, the Dodgers have put him in both left and right field, along with a handful of appearances at first this spring.  With all of the loses the Dodgers have suffered from their 2013 bench (Schumaker, Punto, Young, Hairston), I think Van Slyke lines up perfectly as one of the guys to take over the bench role and spot starting duty.

Let's also remember, too, that Adrian Gonzalez isn't getting any younger.  He'll turn 32 in May, has played in 1,333 games, and had major shoulder surgery not too long ago.  He held up incredibly well last season by appearing in all but five games while putting up 100 RBIs.  I'm certainly not saying he's ready to break down, but I'm not so sure we should expect 157 games out of him again.

I'd like to see Don Mattingly start sprinkling in some starts for Van Slyke at first during the year.  It would obviously come against lefties, as A-Gon hit .273 against them, compared to .303 against righties.  There's already a log jam in the outfield once Matt Kemp comes back, so get Van Slyke comfortable playing first every now and then.  It gives A-Gon some extra rest, and gets a home run threat like Van Slyke more playing time.  Make it happen.

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