Groundhog Day musings: Dodgers depth-chart revelations


To close or not to close? That is the Kenley Jansen question.

What to do on a cold, Groundhog Day when the crack of the bats and the pop of the gloves are still weeks away…

What to do on a cold, Groundhog Day when the crack of the bats and the pop of the gloves are still weeks away…

What to do on a cold, Groundhog Day when the crack of the bats and the pop of the gloves are still weeks away…

…get it? That’s my poor attempt at a Groundhog Day joke! Sorry about that.

After checking the usual suspects like Facebook and my favorite sports sites, I decided to visit the Los Angeles Dodgers official website – It’s the cookie-cutter site that every MLB team has that usually doesn’t shed much light on what’s really going on with our favorite teams.

However, this morning, gave me some reasons to sit back, take a sip of my whole bean coffee and say, “Hmmm.” Once I sifted past the meaningless news about the Dodgers’ winter caravan, I stumbled upon the official 2013 Dodgers depth chart.

When I read over what the Dodgers are projecting as their depth chart for the upcoming season, I saw a few things that piqued my interest:

Dee Gordon’s Dodgers days are numbered – We all heard the rumors this offseason that the Dodgers were entertaining offers for the speedy string bean, former-starting-shortstop Gordon. After the Dodgers acquired Hanley Ramirez from the Miami Marlins last season, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize Gordon might be taking a long walk on a short Dodgers pier in 2013. I just found it kind of hard to fully grasp that the Dodgers would really give up on a 24-year-old kid who stole 32 bases in only 87 games last season. It’s right there in black and white, though, on the Los Angeles website – Ramirez starting at shortstop, Luis Cruz starting at third base and Gordon running in place in the dugout. There are, most definitely, teams that would jump at the chance to get a young shortstop with blazing speed, so the Dodgers should have plenty of suitors for Gordon.

Skip Schumaker is going to do everything but sell Dodger Dogs this season – On the 2013 depth chart, Schumaker is listed as a key backup at all three outfield positions and at second base. Heck, I bet Schumaker could play catcher if the Dodgers need help behind the plate. The Schumaker signing didn’t garner nearly the attention this offseason as Zack Greinke, but here’s betting that this utility player makes some solid contributions to the Dodgers this season. Schumaker is a career .288 hitter with a .345 on-base percentage. Schumaker isn’t the guy you want at the plate if you need a two-out grand slam to win a game in the bottom of the ninth, but he is a guy who will drive pitchers wild with his plate discipline.

Who is going to be the Dodgers’ closer in 2013? – We all remember how Javy Guerra began the 2012 season lights-out closing games for the Dodgers. Then we surely can’t forget how Guerra imploded and started blowing games. Enter Kenley Jansen and his power fastball. Then enter Jansen’s injury and time on the disabled list. Then enter the trade with Seattle for former Mariners closer Brandon League. League wasn’t exactly untouchable for the Dodgers after he took over for Jansen, but he finished strong. League saved 15 games in 21 chances with a 3.13 ERA. Jansen had struggles of his own before he went down last season. Although he had an impressive 2.35 ERA, Jansen blew seven save opportunities (he saved 25 of 32). I guess having three closers is a conundrum a lot of teams would love to try to solve, but it still makes the upcoming spring training interesting. It should be a two-man race for the closer’s role between League and Jansen, as Guerra seems more suitable in a set-up role. For what it’s worth, MLB Network named Jansen as the seventh-best closer in all of MLB.

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