2012 Dodgers in Review #17: UT Ivan De Jesus

November 4, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Posted in 2012 in Review, Ivan DeJesus | Leave a comment

(w/ LA) .273/.324/.364 37pa 0hr 0.1 fWAR (inc.)

2012 in brief: Clearly passed on depth chart by many others, De Jesus’ departure was inevitable and few shed a tear when he was sent to Boston in the big trade.

2013 status: Out of options; will fight for a bench spot with the Red Sox.

******

The surprise wasn’t that Ivan De Jesus was traded in the big Adrian Gonzalez deal. It’s that he even lasted as long as he did with the Dodgers, since the club often went to whatever lengths they could to avoid using him. While it can be argued that his career really has never been the same after the broken leg that eliminated his 2009, it’s been whispers of poor attitude and two consecutive September roster expansion snubs that really sealed his fate, or lack thereof, with the Dodgers.

In fact, the organization seemed to think so little of him that they refused to take advantage of his services until there were literally no other options available. A strained oblique late in camp shot down any slim chance he had of making the roster, and by the time he did eventually get called up after Mark Ellis‘ leg exploded in May, it was more out of desperation than anything – he was the only remaining healthy infielder on the 40-man roster. Actually, that’s not even telling the entire story, because he had been bypassed by Elian Herrera (who was not on the 40-man), and if you remember, we actually had to have a post here trying to figure out just who the hell Elian Herrera was.

With the Dodger roster tattered by injury, De Jesus stuck with the team through the rest of May and nearly all of June, though he started just six games in that time. Oddly, De Jesus briefly became one of Don Mattingly‘s preferred pinch-hitting options, though as Mattingly continued to start Adam Kennedy instead, we continued to wonder why, even half-heartedly starting a “Free Ivan De Jesus” movement:

Yet here we are again tonight with Harang on the mound, and Kennedy is back in the lineup at second base. I’m at an absolute loss to explain why; as if Kennedy’s .226/.321/.290 line wasn’t atrocious enough – somehow even worse than his awful 2011 was – it’d be below .200 if not for that 4-4 game he stumbled into in May. He’s contributing nothing, on offense or on defense. Meanwhile, Ivan De Jesus is buried, despite hitting .310/.344/.414 in his short time up.

Now, you know as well as I do that the 32 plate appearances De Jesus has are basically the definition of “small sample size”, and the shine has long since worn off his prospect status after a 2009 broken leg and multiple reports of a poor attitude since then. Frankly, from what I’ve heard about his reputation within the organization, I’m shocked he’s even still a Dodger, and that most likely goes a long way towards explaining why he’s been up for a month and has received only four starts, none since June 1. But all you can really do is ask a player to perform when he’s given the chance to, and so far, De Jesus has.

This isn’t really about De Jesus, of course, because I don’t see him as an everyday player and the jury is still out on if he can even be a major leaguer, especially if he’s mainly limited to second base. But we do know that Kennedy offers little – if any – value at this stage of his career, and no matter what kind of person De Jesus might be, there’s at least a chance that he can help you win some games. If and when he does get in, it’s hard to expect a young guy to help you after being nailed to the bench for three weeks at a time, anyway.

Of course, that was a whole lot more about wanting to see Kennedy on the bench than it was to actually see De Jesus in the lineup, and when Scott Van Slyke was recalled in late June, De Jesus went back down, never to return. De Jesus wasn’t moved at the July deadline – it later came out that he had wanted to be, and thinking about it now, pushing him to Philadelphia and their uncertain infield situation in the Shane Victorino deal would have been a far better fit for him than trying to fight Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks, & Pedro Ciriaco in Boston – and finally he was a Nick Punto-level total afterthought in the massive August deal.

In eight plate appearances for the Red Sox, De Jesus struck out six times, and while I shouldn’t read anything into that small sample, I will. I hope it works out for De Jesus somewhere, but at this point he looks like a utility infielder at the absolute best. Not exactly what we hoped for from him a few years ago, I suppose; I also can’t say he’ll really be missed.

******

Next up! Shane Victorino disappoints in every way possible!

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