The main question that has come up in the Dodgers media and with all reporters is what they should do about their catchers and who should get the games.
LA have used three catchers in the year so far; AJ Ellis seems to be the main starter among the three but went down with a meniscus tear earlier in the month and is on the DL. This left Drew Butera and Tim Federowicz to fight it out for the role. Tim “FedEx” Federowicz was in AAA Albuquerque until AJ’s knee injury and then got called up and has ad 10 of the 23 starts for the year, with all of them coming in the last 15 games. Drew Butera was the back up for AJ but has only caught 6 games, even though he backed Ellis up and is now backing FedEx up.
The problem with this for the Dodgers is all three of their offence. We all know about the big hitting catchers in the MLB like Brian McCann, Yadia Molina and Evan Gattis who are all hitting above .261 for the year. Admittedly the year is still young with only 23 games having been played but in comparison the the three amigos in LA this is a step beyond them.
Drew Butera has the highest batting average for the Dodgers in the catching ranks and it is still only .222, with 4 hits in 18 at bats. The starter for now is of course FedEx and he has only .108 in his 37 at bats with 4 hits. Injured AJ Ellis doesn’t even beat Drew in the race for the batting average crown amongst Dodger catchers with his .167.
These three combined have contributed 0 home runs out of the Dodgers 11 and also only the one RBI for the Dodgers 84 RBI total for the year. Even pitcher Josh Beckett has the same number of Runs Batted In as FedEx and more than both Drew Butera and AJ.
This isn’t even the biggest offensive problem in LA, all 4 main outfielders, minus sophomore Yasiel Puig are hitting under Drew Butera’s average, but that is a post for another day.
So the question is, how do the Dodgers fix this? They have a few options for the job, one is to let it happen and see if these bats can wake up like the whole offence did last year in the 42-8 run last year. This could work for Federowicz, he hit .231 last year, this is perfect for the back up catchers role but it is a massive .115 difference on his average now. And he doesn’t seem to be able to replicate that season for the second year straight.
This may work for AJ Ellis too with his average .071 down on last years .238. It is no surprise with stats like these why the catchers occupy the Dodgers 8 spot on the line up but some days this year you could put the pitcher ahead of the catcher and it would have helped the team.
The second option would be to trade some one on the roster plus a catcher for another good catcher. LA’s minor league system is good enough to do that with some young guns just missing out on the 25 man roster that could easily come up and fill in the bench players role, and with 5 outfielders now all gunning for 3 spots maybe one of them is a surplus. The only problem with this idea is that teams don’t want to get rid of their power hitting catchers that easily as they don’t come around that often.
Should Mattingly and co chose to go down this route they would need to find a team that doesn’t have a good hitting outfielder and also has a catcher up for sale. This is a hard thing to do. San Fransisco has one hitting outfielder, that little b*** Pagan and also that catcher Buster Posey both of whom annoy us whenever we play them but I don’t think Dodger fans want them on our team.
If the Dodgers can find that team to trade for I wouldn’t be against it, especially with the outfield depth we have, it would take a bit of surrendering on our part but I’m sure it would be worth it come October.