The Dodgers announced moments ago that Jerry Sands would be getting the call from AAA and that Tony Gwynn Jr. has been designated for assignment.
@dodgers today designatedTony Gwynn Jr. for assignment and recalled outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands from AAA Albuquerque.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 6, 2012
Sands has done his part to deserve the shot, hitting .286/.368/.521/.889 at AAA, including a BABIP around league average. He’s hitting lefties and righties about equally well, so putting him down as a platoon guy seems a bit asinine, and unlike last year, when he posted a 1.153 OPS at Albuquerque and a .659 OPS away, this year he’s at .964 and .826, respectively.
It’s also worth noting that even if you don’t believe Sands will be a regular in the future, he has put up a .248/.329/.381/.710 line in his MLB career, which puts him 60 points higher than James Loney and Juan Rivera in 2012.
That fact happens to be exactly what I don’t understand about getting rid of Gwynn though.
Mike Petriello doesn’t mind ditching Gwynn because he doesn’t think Gwynn has any utility left for the team. While that’s true, I’m not quite sure what utility the others have either.
Designate plus-plus defender and fourth outfielder, keep two mediocre 1B who are only useful in a platoon and all around useless 3B.
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) August 6, 2012
I guess my argument is less that the team needs Gwynn and more that it needs Rivera, Loney, Juan Uribe, and Adam Kennedy less.
Gwynn’s .232/.276/.293/.570 line is terrible, without a doubt, but he’s still a plus-plus defender that’s better than anybody in the Dodgers outfield by a long shot. The type of player he is has value as a pinch runner, as a defensive replacement, and as an emergency starter — even if they can’t hit.
What utility do Loney, Rivera, Uribe, and Kennedy have? To me, they aren’t even useful off the bench as a pinch hitter (maybe Rivera).
Tony Gwynn Jr.: career .305/.372/.405 hitter in 147 PA as pinch-hitter. Between that and defense, should have been kept instead of Uribe
— Jay Jaffe (@jay_jaffe) August 6, 2012
Dodgers had (at least) four guys who are let’s say offensively challenged (Uribe, Loney, Rivera, Gwynn). They cut the best defender
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) August 6, 2012
Regardless, it’s hard to get worked up about it, as we’re likely talking about 50-75 PA for Gwynn and whatever amount of defensive replacement appearances he would have got, but I just disagree that moving Gwynn instead of one of the other four was in the best interests of the Dodgers roster.