Monday, May 06, 2019

Welcome to the Blue, Travis d'Arnaud!

Something strange happened over the weekend. The Dodgers signed a player at a position that I didn't think we needed help in. For months we've been sold the idea that we are rich at the catcher position, but Sunday's signing appears to beguile that. As you likely know, the Dodgers signed recently released Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud. Infielder Matt Beaty was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for him on the active roster. BTW, he will wear #72 and you can follow him on Instagram here: @travisdarnaud. Per Rowan Kavner at Dodger Insider:
D’Arnaud was released by the Mets on Friday after appearing in 10 games in his seventh season in New York. He missed almost all of last season with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. 
The former 2007 first-round pick and Southern California native is a career .242/.303/.401 hitter who enjoyed his best season in 2015, posting an .825 OPS with 12 home runs. He hit as many as 16 home runs as recently as 2017. 
D’Arnaud has historically performed better against left-handed pitching, slashing .252/.323/.415/.738 against lefties compared to .239/.297/.396/.693 against righties.
Apparently, the Dodgers value him not only as a right-handed pinch hitter, but also plan to use him throughout the infield. Per Shaun O'Neill at
The Dodgers, however, see d’Arnaud as a player who will strengthen their bench and will fit into their philosophy of using players at multiple positions. 
“We’re going to move him around,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Just getting him here, the goal is to have that versatility all over the outfield, the infield. If you look at our roster, we have a lot of guys who are versatile. He’s going to be added to that.” 
The Mets famously shuttled d’Arnaud between second and third base during a game against the Yankees in 2017. He started two games at first base in the Minors.
Nevertheless, I still find it weird that the Dodgers signed him and I suspect there are other reasons that aren't being shared. For instance, maybe Russell Martin's injury is more severe that we are being told. Additionally, this deal is a clear sign of no-confidence in veteran Triple-A catcher Rocky Gale -- who had been previously called up when Martin went on the IL. Lastly, top catching prospect Will Smith has not had a good start to the season in OKlahoma, so his 'cup of coffee' will have to wait.

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