JUSTIN SELLERS, 27, infielder
Final 2013 stats: .188 batting average, one homer, two RBI, .263 on-base and .246 slugging percentages in 77 plate appearances.
Contract status: Last year under team control.
The good: Honestly, there's not a lot to report. Had three hits April 23 in a 7-2 victory over the Mets?
The bad: Still can’t hit. Or maybe he just hits like his dad, Jeff, who was a former major leaguer, but as a pitcher.
What’s next: Candidate for utility infielder.
The take: When Hanley Ramirez went down with his thumb injury in the spring, most assumed the starting shortstop spot would go to Dee Gordon.
But Manager Don Mattingly surprised most by electing to start the season with Sellers at short, figuring he was the superior glove and there was enough punch in the lineup to make up for his weak bat.
Only Sellers was unable to seize his opportunity. He hit worse than even expected (.188) and had three errors in 23 games (all but one inning at shortstop). Soon he was back at triple-A Albuquerque where he hit just .270. He seemed well off the Dodgers' radar when rosters were expanded in September and he did not get a call-up.
Yet at the moment, he is a real candidate to make the club has a utility infielder, mostly because somebody has to. At this point there is little reason to believe Sellers will ever be more than a high-energy guy with a pretty nice glove, who can’t hit a lick.
Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker have moved on to other teams, and Jerry Hairston Jr. has retired. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have added no one to the 40-man roster who can fill the utility role. They may yet, but for now Dee Gordon is learning second in the Dominican winter league and is the only other major candidate to act as a utility man. Plus, Gordon has dabbled some as an outfielder.
It’s pretty clear the Dodgers have bigger things in mind than having Sellers on the team in any role, but the same was said last year and he opened the season at short. If nothing else, he’ll get an opportunity to state his case in the spring.