Jesus Flores Joins Crowded Dodger Backup Backstop Mix

He's not behind a net. This is just how the Washington park  looks. via

He’s not behind a net. This is just how the Washington park looks. (via)

Add another name into the spring battle to back up A.J. Ellisper Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, 28-year-old Jesus Flores has signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers that also includes an invite to spring training. Flores spent parts of five seasons with the Nationals after joining them from the Mets via the 2006 Rule 5 draft, and was for some time seen as their catcher of the future, considering he’d hit 21 homers with a good throwing arm in A-ball in 2006.

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that way. He spent most of 2007 on the bench, as you’d expect from a Rule 5 guy, and then the plan to actually let him play every day in the minors in 2008 fell apart when Paul Lo Duca & Johnny Estrada did. In 2009, he was off to a wonderful start – .311/.382/.522 in 103 plate appearances — before a Chris Young foul tip fractured his shoulder on May 9. It’s all been downhill since then for Flores, who missed the rest of the season (save for a few September pinch-hitting appearances) while trying to rehab, and then all of 2010 after he could put off surgery no longer.

By the time he’d returned in 2011, Wilson Ramos had taken over the job, and even though Flores had the most plate appearances of any Washington catcher in 2012, thanks to a string of injuries to others — he hit only .213/.248/.329 in 296 plate appearances — the presences of Ramos and Oakland import Kurt Suzuki pushed him down the depth chart, and he was non-tendered in November.

Of course, the writing may have been on the wall for Flores in August when the team acquired Suzuki… and no one bothered to tell him:

There was a somewhat unfortunate scene in the Nationals’ clubhouse after Friday night’s doubleheader when reporters approached Jesus Flores to get his reaction on the Nationals’ latest acquisition, catcher Kurt Suzuki, who is expected to become the team’s primary receiver. 

Flores, who has assumed the starting catcher’s role since Wilson Ramos tore the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee in May, said he was unaware that the team had made the trade.

“I didn’t know,” Flores said. “I just know because you told me. Nobody has told me anything.

“Nobody has say anything to me about it, so I’m just surprised.”

“I don’t even want to talk about it,” Flores said. “I’m just in shock. I didn’t know we had a new catcher.”

Awkward. Anyway, Flores will battle  Eliezer AlfonzoWilkin Castillo, & Ramon Castro for the right to challenge Tim Federowicz for the backup job, but more than likely end up in Albuquerque — where Matt Wallach may move up from Chattanooga. Obviously, not all of these guys are going to make it, but I have to admit I’m somewhat rooting for Flores, given that he’s still on the right side of 30, ostensibly talented, and has shown some life against lefty pitching (.730 career OPS).

On the other hand, this report from MLB.com in November isn’t great…

Flores lost his job as the starting catcher last August after the Nats acquired Suzuki from the Athletics. Washington was unhappy with Flores’ game-calling. It was learned that Flores would often go against the game plan against opposing hitters. There were even some in the organization who felt that Flores cared more about his offense than his game-calling.

…and that’s how you end up as a non-roster guy just happy to get an invite to camp, I suppose.

405 comments
Batted Bob
Batted Bob

So no australian to the dodgers? Good, I didn't want to drink Fosters anyways.

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

I will do anything for love. But I won't do that

Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson

I'm always late to the commenting party on days the Dodgers actually do something. Ah, well. My thoughts on some of today's subjects:

I like the Flores signing. He's better than the Alfonzo/Castillo/Castro mashup. With him I think it's 50-50 now that FedEx comes back to ABQ for 2013. Should be one of the few interesting competitions to watch in Dodgers camp this spring.

Went through FKB's top 50 prospects list. Too high: Magill (6), Garcia (7), Gould (9), Smith (15). Too low: Martin (40), Miller (35), Rathjen (27), FedEx (25), Santiago (18). I agree with most of his other assessments.

And I really wish the Dodgers would keep stockpiling starting pitching candidates for the Isotopes. Right now there are 4 SPs (Fife, Magill, Castro, Palmer). Would be nice to add some more, Ned!

*VND*
*VND*

In defense of Lance, Bonds comes to the pediatric oncology ward all the time. So hes lying to cancer patients as well. THEYRE ALL LIARS

*VND*
*VND*

Thats a riot

Batted Bob
Batted Bob

 @Chris Jackson Is it really the end of the world to put a top pitching prospect in ABQ instead of Chattanooga? The players know about the different park affects as much as anyone. I don't think it would be as confidence shattering as everyone says.

baeksu
baeksu

 @The Monocle 25.media.tumblr.comis not available on your network becauseit is categorized as adult.

baeksu
baeksu

 @Disgruntled Goat  Keep Bonds and Clemens out.  I've heard all the rationalizations for and against.  To me, if Pete Rose can't get in, then neither can those two.  Bonds admitted to taking steroids and anyone with a shred of common sense can deduce that Clemens did as well.  Past that, different people can draw their own lines of "reasonable doubt."

Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson

 @Bob Meripol I don't think it's the end of the world. It just depends on how the Dodgers view guys from a mental perspective. They are not afraid to send relievers here. I still think Magill ends up with the Topes, others do not. The big test will come when Zach Lee has dominated Double-A and there is no room in LA. Will they risk him here?

The Monocle
The Monocle

 @baeksu dude, you are missing out.  It's way better than Dr Wang's neck abscess video.

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

 @Catfishin Roger that. Ya know the Academy Awards (which i don't really care about) are voted on by peers. Perhaps that should be the model. If course that makes it all a bit self-congratulatory. 

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

 @baeksu The part i thought was interesting was the idea of getting sports writers out of the voting. 

Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson

 @efb  @Bob Meripol Trade value? GMs don't look at stats the way we do. They'll go off scouting reports, and plenty of scouts include notes along the lines of "would have been a flyball out anywhere else." The scouts who come to Isotopes Park tell me you look for different things in guys who play here. Mostly how pitchers handle the adversity of the altitude/dry air/wind, as well as how hitters avoid letting their swings get long and get too homer-happy, those sorts of things.

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

 @baeksu  @Disgruntled Goat   @Catfishin My Idea is that writers are educated intelligent people for the most part(Plashcke and Simers) being the obvious exceptions. You have to entrust this responsibility to some one. So it naturally fell to the people who are supposed to attend every game.

baeksu
baeksu

 @capnsparrow  @Disgruntled Goat   @Catfishin Point is, you don't have to have personally watched a player to still be able to research and form your opinion on the player's qualifications for the Hall, based on the criteria they are supposed to follow.

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

 @Disgruntled Goat   @Catfishin At least If your going to have writers vote Have writers who arent from golf or other sports and have writers who actually cover baseball vote

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

 @Mike Petriello  @baeksu  @Disgruntled Goat  The only way to keep from altering the outcomes of games is to ban gambling on them by the players. I agree with that part. But like almost everything gambling is fun at first and unless you keep a ledger you have no idea how much fun or expensive it is. Just getting your figure for the week does not qualify as a ledger. Pete wasn't smart enough to keep a book so he really had no idea but he was banned from further managing and playing in the game. He's still the greatest hitter the game has ever seen.

Mike Petriello
Mike Petriello moderator

 @Disgruntled Goat   @baeksu Yeah, really. Anyone who thinks that the game is 100% clean today - whether that's "steroids" or "HGH" or "bull semen tranquiler" is just not paying attention.