2013 in brief: After some early season up-and-down, spent most of the year backing up A.J. Ellis in Los Angeles, doing little to change his “good field / no hit” reputation.
2014 status: Under team control, likely to see considerable playing time, though he does have an option remaining.
You may or may not have noticed that this site has category tags, which means that you can easily sort through all posts tagged by any player or topic. It’s not used every time a player is ever mentioned, but whenever he’s the primary focus of a post. For example, here’s the link for Yasiel Puig. Lots of articles appear.
With Castillo & Castro gone, the battle to back up A.J. Ellis is essentially over. There’s three catchers remaining behind Ellis in camp, and two of them are Matt Wallach (a warm body who has never played above Double-A) and Jesus Flores (one hit in 19 spring plate appearances). Barring injury or trade, it’s difficult to see Tim Federowicz not breaking camp with the team, especially since he’s the only one of the three to already own a 40-man roster spot.
Perhaps that’s a bit unfair to Federowicz, who spent the majority of the year with the club, but it’s also a good indicator of just how much the second-string (and sometimes third-string) catcher occupied our thoughts this year.
If there was something noteworthy about his season, it’s how it started. Federowicz did indeed break camp with the club, a situation that didn’t last long, because on April 6, Ramon Hernandez arrived in a trade for Aaron Harang. He went down but for barely more than a week, because on April 17 he was back up when Chris Capuano was hurt, and his wild ride had hardly even begun. April 24 saw him go back down for Ted Lilly; May 8 saw another return when the team tired of Justin Sellers, but only until May 19 when he was optioned to make room for Mark Ellis, then back up again on May 30 when Matt Kemp was lost, leading us to wonder why exactly the team was carrying three catchers when A) Hernandez was both not playing and not producing and B) injuries were destroying every other position that could badly have used the depth.
We later learned that Ellis was dealing with an oblique injury that sent him to the DL, and Federowicz took advantage of the playing time to hit his first big league homer on June 1, then popped another one four days later. Finally, on June 14, Hernandez was mercifully DFA’d, and Federowicz retained his spot for the remainder of the season.
But really, other than becoming Capuano’s personal catcher — with extremely mixed results — Federowicz didn’t do a whole lot to make a name for himself, even as Ellis struggled badly down the stretch, and he never got off the bench in the postseason. Basically, before the season, I thought his future would be as a backup catcher who could be a solid defender and hit enough to not kill you, but not enough to be someone you’d want as a starter. Despite some absurd offensive stats at Triple-A and the usual home/road splits to go with it (since 2011, .348/.416/.592 at Albuquerque, .255/.338/.390 on the road), that impression really hasn’t changed much for me. That’s good enough to make a career out of, so that’s something. It’s just not a lot to hang your hat on.
Next! Ramon Hernandez knows what GIF is coming, and he’s not going to like it!