Turning the page on 2012, the Dodgers declined their options on outfielder Juan Rivera ($4 million, $500,000 buyout), Todd Coffey ($2.5 million, $300,000 buyout) and Matt Treanor ($950,000, $150,000 buyout) for 2013.
All three were easy calls.
Rivera, unsurprisingly, was a waste of $4 million for the Dodgers. He hit just .244/.286/.375 in 312 at-bats last season while typically starting at first base or in left field against left-handed pitching. Now 34, he might not be in line for anything more than a minor league deal this winter.
Coffey had a 4.66 ERA in 19 1/3 innings before going down with elbow soreness and requiring Tommy John surgery. He figures to miss at least the first two months of next season, so he’s another in line for a minor league contract.
Treanor hit .175/.281/.282 in 103 at-bats as the backup to A.J. Ellis. Now that the Dodgers have gone from bargain hunters to big spenders, they’ll be looking for a backup with a bit more pop this winter.
The Dodgers were shut out by the Giants in an entire series this week, becoming the first team since 2010 to go scoreless in three straight games. Worse, in the finale against San Francisco, they lost Andre Ethier to a strained oblique that will probably put him on the DL. It’s going to lead to some lineups that look like this for the next couple of weeks:
SS Dee Gordon
2B Jerry Hairston Jr.
RF Bobby Abreu
LF Juan Rivera
1B James Loney
C A.J. Ellis
3B Juan Uribe
CF Tony Gwynn Jr.
With Elian Herrera, Adam Kennedy and maybe Josh Fields or Scott Van Slyke also in the mix.
Even with Ethier playing regularly, the Dodgers have the worst OPS in the majors this month. They’re hitting .219/.295/.295 in 25 games during June. They have just six homers, half as many as the team in 29th place in that category (the Padres).
Assuming that Ethier lands on the DL, here will be their leading home run hitters on the active roster:
Ellis – 6
Rivera – 3
Loney – 2
Abreu – 2
Hairston – 2
Matt Treanor – 2
So, yeah, things look bleak. But I’ll buck the odds anyway; it may not happen tonight or even this weekend, but the Dodgers will score again. Call it a gut feeling.
Jerry Hairston Jr. played in 1,289 major league games leading up to Sunday. In none of them was he ever penciled into the third spot in the lineup.
Well, of course, Don Mattingly did it today after never hitting him higher than fifth previously this season. And all Hairston did was respond with his first career five-hit day in the Dodgers’ 5-1 victory over the Astros.
Hairston hadn’t had as much as a four-hit game since 2008 before today’s outburst. He ended up with four singles and a double, and he now has a .381 average in 63 at-bats on the season. Today’s game was just his third back from a DL stint caused by a hamstring strain.
Hairston is certainly playing way over his head at the moment, but that goes for a number of Dodgers. Chris Capuano picked up win No. 7 today, tying him for the major league lead. Catcher A.J. Ellis is playing like an All-Star, and his backup, the normally light-hitting Matt Treanor, homered in his second straight game today. Even Elian Herrera, whom no one had heard of three weeks ago, is batting .342. It’s looking like a charmed year for the team in L.A., and Mattingly will skate to NL Manager of the Year honors if this keeps up.