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Dodgers: Alternative Options for Second Base

Photo: Jason Getz, USA TODAY Sports

Second base is an area to address for the Dodgers this off season. Are they comfortable with their current options or do they want to bring in another player? They most likely want to add a player, whether it’s an everyday starter or a platoon option. Tim Rogers recently took a look at some of the more well known options available, but what if the Dodgers decide they just want to add some depth to compete with Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez, and Max Muncy? Ideally, the team would add a second baseman who hits right-handed pitching well so they could platoon him with Taylor or Hernandez. As Tim pointed out, Muncy could be that guy, but it would weaken the overall defense a lot, so let’s take a look at some other options.

Derek Dietrich

Dietrich is a 29 year old utility player who has spent his entire career with the Miami Marlins. Through 6 MLB seasons, he has hit .254/.335/.422 with a .329 wOBA, 109 wRC+, and 6.4 wins above replacement. What we really want to focus on are his career numbers vs right-handers. In his career versus them, he has hit .259/.343/.434 with a .337 wOBA and 114 wRC+. Even better, his career road numbers versus right-handers are even better. He’s hit .280/.361/.469 with a .359 wOBA and 124 wRC+ when away from the pitcher friendly Marlins Park. He also has the versatility to play almost every spot on the field. The Dodgers have a lot of those players but you can really never have too many.

And I know this is talked about with a lot of players now but he could unlock some extra power with a swing change. His batted ball profile shows he has an above average hard hit rate. By cutting out some of his ground balls, he could see a boost in offensive production. He’s not going to add 35 home run power but he already had 16 last season, he could add a few more on. To get the potential added upside on an already solid player who won’t cost much is always an intriguing proposition.

His defense isn’t good but it wouldn’t hurt the Dodgers as much as playing Muncy at second base. If they decide to go with Muncy as the left handed hitting second baseman, the team would have to move Bellinger back to first base and then be stuck without a good defensive center fielder. The defensive drop in center field from Bellinger to Verdugo is pretty significant.

Dietrich isn’t a game changing player but he is the type of player a team should want on their bench to mix in at multiple positions. He could be a good option to start some games vs right-handers while Taylor or Hernandez see most of the time.

Asdrubal Cabrera

Cabrera is a 33 year old who most recently played with the Philadelphia Phillies. He can play second base, third base, and shortstop although he isn’t a good defender at any of them.

Cabrera hits right-handers well, posting a .267/.327/.497 line versus them last year to go along with a .351 wOBA and 124 wRC+. Overall last year, he hit .262/.316/.458 with a .332 wOBA, 111 wRC+, and a 2.7 WAR. The Dodgers would definitely have to use him in a platoon role because he doesn’t fare well against left handed pitchers. In a limited role, he could improve the lineup but some team might decide to pay him as an everyday player.

The Dodgers would probably be better off sticking with what they have but he’s an option that fits what they might be looking for.

Adam Frazier

Frazier is a 27 year old currently on the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates may not want to move him as he is currently penciled in as their everyday second baseman and has 4 years of team control. On the other hand, he’s probably best as a platoon player and the Pirates, who seem to be in a constant rebuild, know no player is untouchable.

Frazier is coming off a year in which he hit .277/.342/.456 with a .343 wOBA, 116 wRC+, and 1.9 WAR. Versus right-handed pitching, Frazier hit .291/.363/.490 with a .364 wOBA and 131 wRC+. Something else that could interest the Dodgers is he doesn’t strike out much as he has a career 14.1% strikeout rate. He also started a potential breakout in the 2nd half of the season as he hit .306/.357/.533 to go along with a .375 wOBA and 138 wRC+.

Defensively, he has played every position but first base and catcher. He’s an above average defender at second base and left field and an average to below average defender at the other positions.

Frazier is my favorite of all the targets I’m discussing but he is also the most costly. Maybe they could get him and catcher Francisco Cervelli in a trade to fill 2 spots.

Final Thoughts

The Dodgers don’t truly need to add an everyday second baseman this off season. They would be perfectly fine starting Hernandez or Taylor there every game. What they do really need is middle infield depth. Seager is coming off 2 major injuries and Taylor and Hernandez may platoon often in the outfield often. They have already been connected to DJ Lemahieu and Josh Harrison. Whatever they decide to do, expect the Dodgers sign someone who can play second base.

[button link=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/2019-dodgers-first-baseman-max-muncy/2019/01/05/” type=”big” color=”red”] 2019 DODGERS FIRST BASEMAN: MAX MUNCY?[/button]

Written by Blake Williams

I'm a journalism major currently studying at Los Angeles Pierce College. I've been a Dodgers fan since 2007 and a stats nerd since 2012. Around the age of 13, I decided I want to work in baseball and be around the game as much as I could. I wasn't good at playing it so I looked for other ways to make working in baseball possible. I believe writing about it is my path, so here I am!

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  1. If the choices are limited to LH hitters then Dodgers already passed on 2 pretty good options, Descalso (signed with Cubs, $5MM for 2 years) and Cory Spangenberg (signed with Brewers for $1.2MM). The reason Dietrich was non tendered by Marlins was his poor defense with a projected arbitration contract based on his offense. The Bosox Brock Holt would fill that role nicely, but the cost in players would be high. The best FA is Marwin Gonzalez, but he will be expensive and I believe he is looking for a job as a regular position player rather than utility. Then there is a guy currently on the 40 man roster who I like for a utility role, Matt Beaty. Beaty will be 26 in April, plays multiple positions, and has been a good hitter n the minors with a low K rate and high OBP. Give Beaty a chance in ST to win a spot. Bring in Dietrich on a split contract to compete with Beaty, but if given a fair shot I believe Beaty is the guy.

  2. Love the idea of Beaty they obviously believe he has talent or they would not have put him on the 40 man roster. This is a great example of the Dodgers having former FO guys now General mgr’s in Atlanta and SF that would have picked up Beaty had they left him vulnerable in Rule 5 draft. Normally as Beaty was injured most of 2018 they might have tried to sneak him through.

    Beaty is a hitting, contact guy with lots of upside. He is also another great utility piece as he can play almost everywhere and can even catch in an emergency. Not fast enough for CF but otherwise good anywhere. If you look at his number he is an excellent hitter and we truly need a guy that will make contact.

    I like the mix at second with Muncy, Kike, Tayler and hopefully Beaty. The guy can hit….

    I like that the club looks to be giving Verdugo and Toles opportunities this year. Love their upside.

    We should be able to win the NL West without too much of a fight so the team can try some different guys to see who grabs the opportunity. Some people shine in the spotlight some do not…

      • As you know from team’s experience with Puig, hitting RH does not insure success against LH pitching. I am fine with LH hitters who hit well against both RH and LH pitching.

  3. Good to hear intel on in house options from the comments section. I do not get excited about fishing outside our own pond for catch who don’t offer any better than what we have farm raised. A refurbished Taylor would be just fine with me.

    • I firmly believe that 2nd base is an important middle infield position and just wish the Dodgers would stop thinking they have to platoon there. I am so sick of this platooning. let’s try and find a player who can play everyday there and NOT be platooned. an occasional rest day is fine but it simply is a case where Dodgers have created too many marginal players who can only hit one side of the pitcher or the other.

      • I agree 100%. Probably another reason our offense is inconsistent. You have to let guys earn and then own their positions, then give routine, regular work there. Might translate into more consistent production.

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