When the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero in late October, it was assumed that the 26-year-old infielder would take over primary second base duties. Mark Ellis had the $5.75 million option on his contract for 2014 declined, but the Dodgers continued conversations about him possibly returning in a bench role before he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals.
However, an injury to Guerrero during winter ball has seemingly shifted the Dodgers plans since he hasn’t gotten the necessary at-bats or time at second base, which is an entirely new position for him. Talking to ESPN LA AM 710 this morning, GM Ned Colletti named the three possible internal candidates to play second base in 2014:
We have some internal candidates: Alexander Guerrero, Dee Gordon and Miguel Rojas
Of the three, Rojas is a player not many Dodger fans are familiar with. The 24-year-old infielder has played primarily shortstop during his minor league career, with just 42 games at second base. With Double A Chattanooga last season, Rojas hit .233 with five home runs and 32 RBI, but made 16 errors in 130 games for the Lookouts while playing shortstop.
Meanwhile, Gordon is trying to transform himself into a super-utility player as he played center field in winter ball with Tigres del Licey before returning stateside to train in Florida. Once thought of as the heir apparent at shortstop, Gordon also started taking ground balls at second base and could head to Arizona early to train with the Dodger coaching staff.
Still, Colletti didn’t rule out adding someone to the mix since utility players Nick Punto, Skip Schumaker and Jerry Hairston, Jr. have either moved on or in Hariston’s case, retired. With a lineup filled with power hitters, second base could also be more of a defensive position, rather a source of power according to the Dodgers GM.
The Dodgers second base position will be one to watch leading up to and during Spring Training as Guerrero, Gordon, Rojas and possibly another addition compete for playing time.
ICYMI: The Dodgers and J.P. Howell agreed to a two-year deal earlier this week