Dodgers: Is an Outside Second Baseman Really Needed?
The Dodgers’ off-season continues to unfold slowly with the free agent market held up by Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Do the Dodgers really need a second baseman?
The Dodgers have a few positions they are looking to sort out this off-season and those are catcher, second base, and what to do with the surplus of starting outfielders. LA has shown interest in DJ LeMahieu and will most likely show interest in Jed Lowrie at some point this off-season.
The question is, will Lowrie or LeMahieu really be an upgrade worth ten plus million dollars a year? The Dodgers would be better off using that money elsewhere like more bullpen help, or a legit catcher to pair with Austin Barnes. They could even bring Yasmani Grandal back on a one or two year deal with that money if his market falls apart.
The Dodgers currently have Kiké Hernandez, Chris Taylor, and Max Muncy as options to play second base. While Taylor and Hernandez will play all around the field, as usual, the Dodgers could start one of them at second base while the other fills in somewhere else on the diamond and still have a quality second baseman.
Both Hernandez and Taylor have been just as good, if not better, than the top two second baseman on the free agent market. Here is a breakdown of the 2018 numbers of CT3 and Kiké compared to Lowrie and LeMahieu:
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Taylor: .335 wOBA 113 wRC+
Hernandez: .342 wOBA 118 wRC+
Lowrie: .347 wOBA 122 wRC+
LeMahieu: .322 wOBA 86 wRC+
As the numbers show, Jed Lowrie had a better season than Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernandez but the numbers are very close. Factor in that Lowrie will turn 35 years old next April and it’s fair to wonder if he will start to decline rather than get better. Kiké and CT3 on the other hand, are still improving and could be even better in 2019. Especially Kiké who showed he can hit right-handers in 2018 and displayed his power.
Defensively is where DJ LeMahieu really stands out from the crowd but the Dodgers are not going to pay LeMahieu just because he defends better than the other three. It’s also worth noting that Taylor and Hernandez played all over the field and were not able to focus solely on second base. If the Dodgers had them spend more time at second base, their defensive metrics would improve at second.
Andrew Friedman will look for ways to improve the Dodgers this winter and try to get over the World Series hump, but he should focus on other positions. The Dodgers have two solid options in Kiké Hernandez and Chris Taylor. If Max Muncy shows he can handle second base then his bat will certainly play up at second base as well. Jed Lowrie, DJ LeMahieu, and other free agent second basemen should not be signed this winter by the Dodgers.