The Dodgers are long past making the kind of roster moves they’d like to make, so here comes Dee Gordon.
It is not a very attractive development, but the kind a team is forced to make when they’re asking for a show of hands of the healthy and hoping at least nine go up so they can play.
With Hanley Ramirez headed to the disabled list because of a hamstring injury, Gordon is not coming to sit on the bench. He figures to be the everyday starter, which also means the Dodgers are changing their approach.
When Ramirez started the year on the DL following thumb surgery, the Dodgers elected to play Justin Sellers, arguing defense was more important to a pitching-rich club. So much for that.
Gordon is most definitely a step down from Sellers, defensively, and there is absolutely no guarantee he’ll be much better offensively. But the offense is struggling to score, Sellers is hitting just .194 with no indication he’s turning it around and at least there is the possibility of the high-energy Gordon providing a spark.
The Dodgers will still have three players on the roster that probably can’t start -- Mark Ellis (quad), Carl Crawford (hamstring) and Adrian Gonzalez (neck) -- and Ramirez will mark their 11th DL move in the first five weeks of the season.
This isn’t a baseball team, it’s a "MASH" reunion. And they’re not done yet, either. Monday they expect to activate Chris Capuano from the DL, to they’ll have to make at least one more move by then.
Really, they need to make another now. They can’t keep playing down three players. And if Gordon is going to start, Sellers has minimal value beyond his defensive versatility. They might as well send him down now, too.
Trouble is, there are no obvious answers on the 40-man. Outfielder/infielder Alex Castellanos would offer advantages but he’s currently on the triple-A DL with a sore forearm.
If Gonzalez and Crawford can’t start, then the Dodgers would be better off bringing up Scott Van Slyke, who has been playing first at Albuquerque and tearing it up (.404 average, 8 homers, 26 RBI, .747 slugging). He would have to be added to the 40-man, since he was designated for assignment in the winter and every single team that could have had him for absolutely nothing -- even the Astros and Marlins -- passed. That screams plenty.
But this is the situation the Dodgers are in. Trying to make the best of a series of unattractive choices the Dodgers have yet to make the Gordon move official, so Van Slyke may yet happen too.
For all that payroll, their options are slim. And right now, they’re reduced to hanging on and hoping the injured start to become healthy and the reverse doesn’t continue.