Tuesday, April 8, 2014

With A.J. gone 4-6 weeks, Dodgers have catching problems

No disrespect to Drew Butera and Tim Federowicz, but the thought of them starting behind the plate for the next month-and-a-half doesn't exactly get me excited.

In fact, it kind of makes me cringe.

A.J. Ellis is done for the next 4-6 weeks thanks to a torn meniscus in his left knee.  Butera was already the backup catcher and got the start on Sunday.  Federowicz has officially been recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque today.

Look, it's not like Ellis is the starting catcher because of his awesome bat anyway.  On the season he was 4-for-24, all singles.  He has reached double digit homers the last couple of seasons as the full-time catcher (13 and 10), but has only hit .254 for his career.

On the contrary, he's the starting catcher because he calls a great game and can throw people out.  Period.  The hits are a bonus.  He has gotten some timely hits, such as the game-winning home run that led to a victory over the Diamondbacks last September, clinching the NL West.  So he has his moments.

Butera has an even 500 at-bats in his career, and is hitting a pathetic .180.  He has virtually no power and doesn't get on base in any way.  Federowicz has a much smaller sample size with 176 AB's, and is hitting .227.  It's a little sad when you're a .227 hitter and that's considered better than some other guy.

Any way you slice it, the Dodgers should not expect their catchers to make a difference at the plate for April and most of May.  These guys just cannot hit.

The Dodgers might want to consider doing one of two things.  One, they can call up Miguel Olivo, who's only played in four game in Albuquerque, but is 7-for-15.  He's the journeyman who's now with his seventh team in his career.  Two, they can make a trade.  I have no idea for whom, but I would hope he'd hit better than .227.

Who knows, maybe more consistent playing time will get someone like Butera or Federowicz going.  We will all wait and see.

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