The Dodgers haven’t made a big splash this offseason, but they’ve been quietly adding depth pieces that may affect the future of the 2021 season. Most recently, they added former Dodger, Tim “FedEx” Federowicz and former Padre, Carlos Asuaje.
So let’s take quick look at these additions and how they may be used this upcoming year.
- C, Tim Federowicz, Minor League Contract
The 33 year old was ecstatic to rejoin the organization he debuted with. He didn’t play in 2020, and the veteran has never been more than a backup playing only 163 major league games over 8 seasons. It’s mostly been unpleasant for the catcher as he has a career slash line of .192/.241/.328.
Almost on par with his 2019 performance of .160/.213/.347 with 4 homers in 75 at bats. A third of his 12 hits that year. 2 more were doubles. So at least he aging catcher hits for power when he does happen to get a hit.
Defensively, Federowicz could be a decent backup. Smith is not a solid framer yet. We haven’t seen Ruiz enough to say. Barnes is the only Dodger catcher ahead of Tim that can handle the Dodgers staff to their full potential.
Specifically, Fedex, is best at stealing strikes by widening the plate. That’s fantastic for a staff that typically stays out of the top of the zone. Kershaw in particular would probably pitch to Tim if anything were to happen to Barnes this year. He loves to live on the black of the plate to get ahead of hitters.
At most, FedEx will catch a dozen games due to trade or injury. He’s still capable of hitting .200/.300/.400 after a year of rest. At the very least, FedEx will be a great player-coach for the young talent at Triple A.
Even though this doesn’t really move the needle for the Dodger’s organization talent wise, it’s an underrated emergency play that makes the team, player, and fans happy.
- 2B, Carlos Asuaje, Minor League Contract
The Dodgers are looking for another breakout star to make, and Asuaje looks like exactly the type. They would be far from the 1st to get something out of Carlos however. He’s been with the Red Sox, the Padres, the Rangers, the Diamondbacks, the Cubs, and now the Dodgers.
The small but strong Asuaje will be entering his 9th professional season and auditioning for a Major League role on the World Series Champs for his 4th major league season.
He also has barely played at the highest level. In his 3 seasons with appearances so far, he’s been a platoon player at best for a career 175 games. Still his career line isn’t awful at .240/.312/.329 in 586 plate appearances. But it’s really the only the tale of two seasons. One promising, and one crushing.
In 2017, Asuaje had 343 PAs and went .270/.334/.362. He hit his career high 4 homers, 12 doubles, a triple, 28 runs, and 21 RBI at the bottom of their lineup. He was making contact at a career rate, while ranked in the 65th percentile in OAA with a .992% fielding clip at 2nd.
But in 2018, he could only muster .196/.285/.280 in the Show despite excelling in he minor leagues. Yet somehow, his hard hit rate increased from his 2017. The Dodgers likely want to introduce him to the walk and slug approach at the plate.
Just under 35% of Asuaje’s career batted balls have been hit 95mph+, otherwise known as a hard hit ball. For comparison, Seager was in the 98th percentile in hard hit rate last year (A huge reason for his success) at a whopping 55.9%.
But the difference is made up in the 20% of Carlos’s batted balls that were hit 90+ MPH. Not bad considering Seager is half foot taller. And a great sign for progress as far as Asuaje’s power goes. He could hit a dozen homers to short right in Dodger stadium if given the opportunity.
He doesn’t really have much to prove in the minors anymore with a career AAA line of .294/.371/.440. He’ll have to make the most of any MLB opportunity he gets for a shot to stay with the Dodgers. And even though her hits .261/.334/.366 against righties, he’s on a team full of potent lefty bats.
There’s no losing here. He’s an upside play for almost no money. If Lux needs more time in the minors next year, expect to see Asuaje in his place.