The baseball season is nearly here and Dodgers pitchers and catchers are reporting in just three days. Throughout the off-season, we’ve taken a look at which players are on the rise (trending up) and those who haven’t had things go their way (trending down).
In our final installment before the Dodgers season gets underway, here’s who’s trending up and down this past week.
The now lone Ellis on the Dodgers’ squad agreed to a one-year deal last week that’s worth just north of $3.5 million, avoiding arbitration. The catcher hit only .238 last season with 10 home runs and 52 runs RBI, but shined on defense. He kept the run game in check, throwing out a National League leading 44.4 percent of base stealers. His contract leaves Kenley Jansen as the last Dodger eligible for arbitration.
Manager Don Mattingly revealed over the weekend that the “Wild Horse” could hit leadoff man this season. Puig had an excellent .391 OBP last season and hitting him atop the order would improve the balance between righties and lefties. Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez would switch spots at the three and four spots in the order.
The lefty reliever had an outstanding 2013 campaign, except down the stretch and in the playoffs. Rodriguez made 76 appearances out of the pen for the Dodgers and it’s no mystery why he struggled late in the season. It was Rodriguez’s first full season in the bigs and he admitted that he was fatigued in September.
However, at Fan Fest on Saturday, Rodriguez addressed the fans about that issue and told them that his training program this off-season has him better prepared for the demands of the baseball season.
The Dodger center fielder has been affected by a multitude of injuries over the past two seasons that have limited him to appearing in just 150 games. Kemp will report on time Spring Training in 3 days, but it appears unlikely that he’ll be ready to go on Opening Day.
The two-time All Star had surgery on his left ankle back in October and more than three months later, he still hasn’t started running drills. Kemp told reporters at Fan Fest on Saturday that he won’t rush his way back onto the field, but hopefully he’ll be healthy for most of 2014.
The Dodgers were banking on the 27-year old Cuban second baseman to be able switch positions and be ready to start on Opening Day, but as the season looms closer, there’s increased competition for his job. The natural shortstop spent time in the Dominican Republic Winter League at second base, but was slowed down by hamstring injuries, something Dodger fans are all too familiar with.
Guerrero’s defense has been shaky during the transition and the options the Dodgers have behind him at second base are recently acquired Chone Figgins, as well as Dee Gordon and Miguel Rojas.
ICYMI: Here’s our Dodgers Nation Fan Fest Video