Over the last week or so, as the Dodgers get closer to finalizing their opening day roster, it has become more and more apparent that Nick Green will make the roster. Glancing at the calendar today, it might seem like an April Fools joke, but sadly it is not.
Even though manager Joe Torre has said Rafael Furcal will get less rest this season, meaning there would be less than the 21 starts by backup shortstops made last season, the team still seems intent on carrying a true backup shortstop. That's where Nick Green comes in. He is not much of a hitter (the 31-year old Green has a career .307 on-base percentage in 1,108 plate appearances), but he can field the position well:
|Nick Green at Shortstop|
If recent history is any standard, Nick Green is a better player than either Juan Castro or Angel Berroa, the last two backup shortstops the Dodgers have had. It can be debated that Green isn't any better than Chin-Lung Hu, but then again Green doesn't have the taint of hitting .181/.252/.233, like Hu did in 2008. However, on a team that will have Jamey Carroll on the bench, I'm just not sure a roster spot is needed for a true backup shortstop.
It is four days before opening day, and the Dodgers still haven't named their regular second baseman. Blake DeWitt has played there all spring, and has hit well, yet all we hear from Torre is that it would be better for DeWitt's chances if we had 11 pitchers instead of 12. That leads me to believe that Nick Green has a more secure hold on a roster spot than does DeWitt, and that just seems wrong.
Perhaps giving up that 12th pitcher for Green won't come back to bite the Dodgers after all. Green pitched two innings of a game for Boston last August 27, against the White Sox. Amazingly, the game wasn't a blowout; the Red Sox were only down 9-5 when Green entered the game. Even more amazingly, Green didn't give up a hit in two scoreless innings, though he did walk three batters.
Green signed a minor league contract that will pay him $550,000 if in the majors. He can also earn up to $100,000 in contract incentives based on plate appearances. If Green isn't placed on the active roster by Sunday, he can opt to become a free agent.
|2010 Projections - Age 31 Season|
|Thanks to FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference for the data|
I'll guess Green hits .240/.296/.376 in 56 PA.
What is your guess for Nick Green in 2010? Be sure to pick BA/OBP/SLG, as well as plate appearances.