Is the end nigh for Luis Cruz?

We’ve had these kind of thoughts before. Heck, we had them with Juan Uribe all the time last year, and not only did it never come about, we’re actually glad Uribear has stuck around.

But Scott Van Slyke is poised to be activated from the disabled list Friday, according to Austin Laymance of MLB.com, and – barring a new injury to the team, of course – there’s finally no one else to vacate a spot among the position players besides Cruz.

The Dodgers could keep Van Slyke in the minors, but they seem committed, and most rightly so, to taking advantage of Van Slyke’s power bat off the bench.

“With Scott, he allows us to go all right-handed (in the outfield) if we want to against a tough lefty,” Don Mattingly told Gurnick.

Who else could go off the roster? Not regulars or veritable regulars A.J. Ellis, Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Ellis, Hanley Ramirez, Juan Uribe, Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp. Not fellow reserves Tim Federowicz, Jerry Hairston Jr., Nick Punto or Skip Schumaker. Not anyone from the bullpen, which is at the now-conventional number of seven relievers, unless Brandon League somehow gets stuffed on the disabled list with sprained talent.

No, the arrow is pointing directly at Cruz, who has a .175 on-base percentage and .164 slugging in 128 plate appearances this season, has five hits in the first 26 days of June and hasn’t played since June 19. And keep in mind the likelihood that after designating him for assignment, Cruz could easily clear waivers and end up back in Albuquerque, where everyone wants him.

There’s still a couple days for things to change, but you’ve been warned. Or teased.

  • http://atomsareenough.tumblr.com/ atomsareenough

    Not just Cruz, right?…

    Let’s say we have 12 pitchers (that’s only 7 relievers and 5 starters, but maybe we can juggle a reliever and the 5th starter between the majors and AAA to mostly have 8 relievers when we need)… So that means 13 position players. When Crawford and Van Slyke are back, that means we have the following position players:

    1. AJ Ellis
    2. FedEx
    3. AGon
    4. MEllis
    5. Hanley
    6. Uribe
    7. Puig
    8. Ethier
    9. Kemp
    10. Crawford
    11. Van Slyke

    …and that only leaves 2 more spots for Punto, Schumaker, Hairston, and Cruz. So, Cruz will definitely be gone and probably one more guy, right?

    • Anonymous

      SVS goes before any listed except Cruz

      • http://atomsareenough.tumblr.com/ atomsareenough

        Schumaker, Punto, and Hairston are more or less the same guy, except Schumaker is bad at defense. Why do we need three of them? A healthy SVS can hit, at least.

        • Anonymous

          to play the OF if Kemp or Ethier can’t; to play 2nd against RHP which M. Ellis ca’t hit well

          • http://atomsareenough.tumblr.com/ atomsareenough

            Those aren’t good reasons. If they’re throwing Ethier out in center, there’s no reason Crawford or even Puig couldn’t handle it in a pinch. Keeping Schumaker for that makes no sense. And if you want to platoon Ellis (which means giving him 1/3 of the plate appearances and the platoon partner 2/3), Schu is a bad opt-in because his hitting is only marginally better against righties but his fielding is way, way worse. He really has no business playing at second base. We’d be better off trying Gordon or something. Or if we want to just give Ellis a day off, Punto or Hairston would be just fine. So really, we don’t need all three.

          • foul tip

            Ethier at least played CF before in the minors, so it wasn’t totally dumb to put him there. He has played there creditably, by most accounts.

            Given his arm alone, Crawford would be a CF disaster of the likely to cost a game or more variety. Doubt he could cover enough ground not to be a general defensive liability.

            Doubt Puig has ever occupied a CF anywhere anytime. Has he? Dude is major athletic and maybe could play there in an emergency but deliberately putting him there even for a few games wouldn’t be prudent, to quote a former President.

          • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

            Puig played two innings in CF for the Dodgers June 9.

          • http://atomsareenough.tumblr.com/ atomsareenough

            Ethier has done a decent job, to his credit. Crawford has played there, but it’s been several years. But the numbers say his defense in left has been good. If his hamstring is healthy, I think he could cover enough ground if we had to throw him in center. Agree the arm is questionable, but if we’re playing him in left anyway, is the difference that meaningful? Besides, we’re taking about a scenario where Kemp and Ethier are both out. I think Puig is also worth a shot in this scenario. The point is, do we need to keep Schumaker around JUST in case this specific possibility comes about? I’m saying no.

          • Anonymous

            last year M. Ellis had an OPS of 612 against RHP; Schumaker 741
            This year the difference is marginal but Schumaker got off to a very bad start.
            As others have said Crawford can’t throw well enough to play CF

          • Anonymous

            Don’t teams that think they need more depth to continue their run at a playoff spot like to trade for players like the 3?

        • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

          Pretty sure Schumaker is considered a better defender than Hairston.

          • http://atomsareenough.tumblr.com/ atomsareenough

            According to the metrics, he shouldn’t be, at least in the infield.

        • Anonymous

          You have a point, though I think it’s written in stone that SVS goes down when (and if?) Crawford returns.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

    Phillies score two in the top of the 13th

    • Anonymous

      Love it.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah it’s a bummer about Cruz who filled in very nicely last season but with the guys available in front of him on the roster, not much else you can do but DFA him.
    It’s a whole new Blue…

  • Anonymous

    Phillies score two in the 13th.

  • Anonymous

    ‘sprained talent’ love it!!

  • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

    Ball Game in SD

  • Anonymous

    NL West, Saturday through today:
    Dodgers 5-0
    Rockies 2-2
    D’backs 1-3
    Giants 1-4
    Padres 1-4

    That’s how you make up ground in a hurry in the division.

  • Anonymous

    Dodgers have only 7 relievers since Withrow was sent down

  • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

    it was a good night…night all

  • Anonymous
  • foul tip

    “disabled list with sprained talent” Great line!

    With a secondary diagnosis of pitching cluelessness, maybe…

    Highly unlikely anyone is desperate enough to claim Cruz. If he got back to ABQ and a different situation, maybe he could recover enough of last year’s magic to be helpful at some point.

    Maybe. But we’re unlikely to turn blue holding our breath.

  • http://www.oneforfive.com/ heyblue

    You got a IRL LOL from me on the “sprained talent” line.

  • Anonymous

    The bigger question is who goes away when Crawford comes back.

    Personally, I don’t see the value of having seven relievers when you only trust three of them to pitch in games that count. Guerrier, Howell, and League should be appearing only in mop-up duty, so why not get rid of one of them? Oh yeah, because of a Rule 8 violation.

    League is the obvious choice, but isn’t going anywhere because of his rule 8 violation. Howell has been less awful lately. That leaves Guerrier, who’s in the final year of his rule 8 violation, and if the Dodgers are prepared to spend $400 million next year to sign Kershaw AND Cano, the final four months of Guerrier’s $3.75 million 2013 shouldn’t bother them.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      Crawford’s return is still so far away that it’s mostly a waste of time to speculate on who would leave the roster to make room.

      I don’t think Howell, Guerrier and League are interchangeably bad, at all. Their 2013 stats are all quite different from each other. Howell has the third-best WHIP in the bullpen.

      • Anonymous

        Howell has definitely been the best of that bunch. Moylan’s sample size is too small. League has been unequivocally awful. To me, that leaves Guerrier, a guy Mattingly clearly doesn’t trust to use in a close game. I know the conventional wisdom is to have more relievers, but I’d rather have an extra bat off the bench than a lousy arm in the pen.

        Jon: given your theory about relief pitching being a rather hit or miss proposition from year to year, wouldn’t you agree that it’s better to use your best relievers more frequently? If you can’t tell who’s going to be good from one year to the next, who cares if you Scott Proctor a guy to death as long as you get one good year out of him?

        • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

          Basically, yes. I mean, that’s generally what happens, and no doubt part of the reason why some simply get worn down. But there’s little point planning for the future with a good reliever.

          Take Kenley. You don’t want to burn him out, but his performance in 2015 shouldn’t be a reason to hold him back.

          • Anonymous

            Agree with you about Kenley. But I see no reason not to cut Guerrier and give his innings to MoylanHowell. Or as they called him on Gilligan’s Island, Lovie.

    • Anonymous

      SaMo, this was my thinking to. While the timing is to be determined, it would seem that if SVS didn’t seal his fate, that Crawford certaninly would. Barring injury, it would seem a combo of SVS and Crawford would spell the end for Cruz and a reliever, but could Hairston suddenly find himself at risk if the bullpen number ends up being static?

      • Anonymous

        the team has 7 relievers 6 would be too few

    • Anonymous

      Howell and Guerrier, in my eyes, have been pretty darn good, and particularly underused.

  • West Coast Ram

    Jon,
    “……unless Brandon League somehow gets stuffed on the disabled list with sprained talent.”
    That is one of the best lines I’ve ever read. You wordsmith!

  • john galt

    Rumor has it the Dodgers are negotiating for Ricky Nolasco. Supposedly they are willing to ‘eat the money’ but the question remains that they don’t have an acceptable prospect to offer. How much is a prospect worth? Could they ‘eat’ his $6M salary and throw in an extra $5M in lieu of prospect or take another bad contract and DFA the player if they don’t want him?

    • foul tip

      Why? His career numbers are mediocre, not as good as Barney’s very small sample size.

      Maybe PVL, as in 1213 IP in the majors….during which he’s allowed 1285 hits. WHIP decent, 1.29. 4.43 ERA, 300 less Ks than IP. Is there something the numbers don’t cover?

      The Marlins got him for Juan Pierre. That would seem to be a good trade..;-]).

      • Anonymous

        I’m with foul tip on this. Nolasco’s career ERA is higher than those of Beckett, Lilly, Capuano or Harang. Nolasco’s ERA this year is below 4.00 for the first time since 2008. Given our difficulty in scoring many runs — a problem that we all hope is being remedied — I just can’t see how he would help us that much. However, he doesn’t turn 31 until December.

        • john galt

          Man, I’m just asking about a published rumor, I don’t claim enough expertise to say ‘Yay” or “Nay’.

          • foul tip

            And all we’re doing is tossing it around…not ganging up on you. It’s the kind of thing that happens at DT all the time. ;-])

          • Anonymous

            john galt: Sorry if it appeared that I was being critical of you. That was not intended. Thanks for sharing the information about Nolasco.

          • john galt

            “unsubscribe”

            Subject: Re: New comment posted on Is the end nigh for Luis Cruz?

        • foul tip

          Maybe better to focus on RHP & Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, scouted by the Dodgers and others and reportedly to sign somewhere soon.

          Thought is he’s ready to help someone this season.

          Plus, he and Puig can commiserate about life in good old Cuba. Puig’s being a Dodger very well could influence Gonzalez.

        • Anonymous

          Yeah, I’ve been cringing at this one. Until Fife proves himself to be a worse pitcher than Nolasco, what’s the point?

      • john galt

        “unsubscribe”

        Subject: Re: New comment posted on Is the end nigh for Luis Cruz?

        • john galt

          Sorry for the inane posts, I’m just trying to follow the directions to stop the emails to every reply.

    • Anonymous

      I’d much rather see the Dodgers go after a reliever than a starter. Fife isn’t going to start the All-Star game, but he’s been more than capable as a 4th/5th starter.

  • Anonymous

    Not sure if Kenley Gurnick was intentional or not, but love it

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      It was intentional but organic :)

      • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

        Or Orgurnick. :)

        • Anonymous

          Gurnick link goes to article by Austin Laymance which brings up the question of the difference between romance and lay…..

          • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

            Crap, that’s a really unfortunate mistake by me.

  • Anonymous

    ” Ok. And, finally…. well, it’s official. Michael Jordan is leaving baseball to return to basketball. It is unclear whether the media will now refer to him by his old basketball nickname, ‘Air Jordan,’ or his more recent baseball nickname, ‘Senor Crappy.’ ….” – Norm McDonald (SNL Weekend Update)

    ….
    Just a little nugget I ran across between patients…. the only 30 free seconds I’ve had all day.
    Time productively spent? Yes, because it made me laugh.
    ….
    Come on boys! Let’s go for 6 in a row! :-)

  • foul tip

    Couple commenters seem to think SVS is ABQ-bound soon. Not if Mattingly is to be believed. Talked about his RH power off the bench and offering option to start 3 RH outfielders,. We’ll see, soon.

    • Anonymous

      no one said soon; I said when Crawford comes back

  • Anonymous

    D-backs, Nats, 2-2 tie, bottom of the ninth. Go Nats!

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT