Justin Sellers, Really?

justin_sellers_on_baseAs we wait for confirmation of Clayton Kershaw‘s reported deal — TrueBlueLA has a good roundup of the other reports who have heard similar to what I have — there’s other business to attend to as the Dodgers head into their final game of the spring tonight.

When Hanley Ramirez was injured and Dee Gordon shipped out, it quickly seemed clear that Luis Cruz would move to shortstop and that some combination of Jerry Hairston, Nick Punto, and Juan Uribe would handle third. Yet over the last few days, we’ve been quietly hearing various reports that Justin Sellers is actually still in the mix to take shortstop, despite the fact that he was optioned to the minors on March 19. That’s becoming more prominent now that Sellers has been in the starting lineup at short in each of the first two games of the Freeway Series — though it’s fair to note that Cruz was playing in the Rancho Cucamonga game on Thursday night.

The reasoning behind this, apparently, is that Don Mattingly is impressed by Sellers’ defensive skill and considers Sellers/Cruz a stronger defensive left side than Cruz/busted trio. I agree with that, I suppose, but it seems to be by a very slim margin; for all the complaints we have about Punto & Uribe, their defensive skills aren’t really in question. It’s not a case of sacrificing offense for defense, either, because nobody has any confidence in any of the guys named here to contribute with the bat.

Going the Sellers route does open up some other questions, as well. First and foremost on that list would have to be, “how does he get on the roster?” He somewhat surprisingly survived the winter without being DFA’d, so he has a 40-man spot, but if he makes the active roster it means Alex Castellanos definitely doesn’t and that the bench would continue to be brutal. In this scenario, the main backups would be Hairston, Punto, Uribe, and Skip Schumaker (along with backup catcher Tim Federowicz), and that’s just bad.

In addition, keeping Cruz at third does cost us one of the perceived silver linings of the Ramirez injury, and that’s the opportunity for Cruz to prove himself as a regular shortstop, thus hopefully making it easier to slot Ramirez back in at third base when he’s healthy. If Cruz has spent that time at the hot corner, Ramirez is almost inevitably the shortstop when he returns. Maybe that’s going to happen no matter what, but I like the idea of there being an alternative, no matter how slim the odds.

If this does happen, I can’t say it’ll be a huge problem, because Sellers/Cruz would make for a nice defensive left side. I guess I’m just not sure the benefit of that is worth what it’d take to get him there. After all it’s only Justin Sellers, who heads into his age-27 season with as many arrests in the last year as big league home runs.

As always, the end result is this: come back soon, Hanley.

204 comments
EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

If u have the means and the time and can go to opening day WHY THE HELL DONT YOU GO?!?!?

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

I feel like there should be an msti meet up before the game or something. 

Nineteen84
Nineteen84

Looking to fill some slots, NL only classic 5x5 rotiesserie. Draft at 5pm est. Yahoo. League ID 179927 Password: Piazza.

Competitive but fun.

Mike Petriello
Mike Petriello moderator

Yankees are about to start an exhibition against Army in West Point, first time since 1974, free on MLBtv. That's pretty fun.

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

Someone accused me last night of writing Beckett and League off for the season after a couple of bad ST starts. Apparently expressing concern about some iffy performances means you have given up on the team

ThtsaPaddlin
ThtsaPaddlin

@Mike Petriello This, combined with Shaikin's announcement, make me wonder whether I should pick up my dad and go.

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

@Nineteen84 I would just let the robot draft for me and have the infield of Punto, schumaker, Cruz and Mellis again

Mike Petriello
Mike Petriello moderator

@Catfishfryin wife and i spent a weekend at a small town just across the river from West Point two summers ago. (Actually I remember exactly when, it was the weekend Torre ended Broxton's career against the Yankees). Really gorgeous up there.

rodney stubbs
rodney stubbs

@The Monocle Me too! I'm going to all three games against the evil gigantes

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

I have no idea what to expect and its making me frustrate

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

@Catfishfryin wow. Thats... What

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

@KMT59 gonna go shop for appropriate gear then. Haha

KMT59
KMT59

@capnsparrow @Ya See El Puig? loved doing it for the Navy...You had to be able to determine where the sub was hiding, what missiles to use, if the seals could use NVG's or would encounter muddy ground when the tides were out...etc

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

@KMT59 thanks!!!! And yay no rain!!!! Mid 60's means no sun dress tho. But this is good news

KMT59
KMT59

@capnsparrow @Ya See El Puig? No rain, cooler temps Low 60's, Scattered clouds [thinking either the lower puffy smaller white clouds (cumulus) or mid-level cumulus] 

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

@capnsparrow @Ya See El Puig? Har har