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Nats sign veteran Dobbs to minor-league deal

May 12, 2014, 11:35 AM EDT

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The Nationals have signed Greg Dobbs to a minor-league contract, acquiring the veteran pinch-hitting specialist, who was released by the Marlins last week.

Dobbs, 35, spent the last four seasons with Miami, where he saw significant playing time and posted a .264 batting average with a .307 on-base percentage and .362 slugging percentage. Re-signed over the winter to a $1.7 million deal, he wound up serving only as a pinch-hitter this season, going just 1-for-13 with zero walks and four strikeouts.

The Marlins designated Dobbs (who previously has played both corner infield and outfield positions) for assignment on April 29, then released him Tuesday, eating his salary in the process. The Nationals haven’t yet decided where he’ll report, but they could choose to add him to their big-league roster in the near future.

Given the surplus of injuries they’ve sustained to key lineup members — Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche all are currently on the disabled list — the Nationals have been forced to move bench players into everyday roles. That, in turn, has weakened their bench, which currently includes veterans Kevin Frandsen and Scott Hairston, rookie Zach Walters and catchers Jose Lobaton and Sandy Leon.

The club could decide to add Dobbs to its bench at some point, especially if team officials decide there’s no need for a third catcher.

  1. Ghost of Steve M. - May 12, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    Interesting. Wish they had him 2 years ago. For the 2nd place Marlins to give up on him is telling.

  2. Ghost of Steve M. - May 12, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    Mark, you’re correct that moving bench players into the starting roles has weakened the bench.

    To analyze the situation though is starts with the presumptive 4th outfielder who just can’t get going and that hurts even more as McLouth has been a black hole in the lineup.

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - May 12, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    I can segue to an offline discussion I had on the bench and fringe stated situation and do a partial cut and paste.

    Hairston should never be allowed to play defense.  He’s awful in range, arm and glove and that’s a problem as his bat just doesn’t warrant a bench spot. Replace Dobbs with Hairston if you want.

    When RZim comes back the bench should be:

    Lobaton SH
    Leon SH
    Espi SH
    Walters SH
    Frandsen RH / McLouth LH

    When ALR comes back, TyMo goes back to Syracuse.

    Send Hairston packing.

    When Bryce comes back you then have enough time to evaluate who stays.  I think at some time McLouth needs a bruised “something” to get him on the DL so he can get on a rehab assignment and get restarted.  

    Not sure where Dobbs fits in but is no loss if you bring him up today for Hairston.

    • David Proctor - May 12, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      Um, if you think Dobbs is an improvement on Hairston, you’re in for a bad surprise.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 12, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        You are correct. Read Post #1 I made. Not a great add on considering his 2 year slide.

  4. rmoore446 - May 12, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    I agree that Hairston should not be allowed to play defense, except in an emergency or in a game with a lopsided score. But I think he is unlikely to be released as he will earn $2.5 million in 2014 of which less than 500K will be paid by the Cubs. I assume that if Dobbs makes the team at some point, the Marlins will pay a big chunk of the $1.7 Million. I could see both on the bench down the road with Hairston facing lefties and Dobbs righties.

    • Section 222 - May 12, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      Does the fact that Hairston got 2 of the Nats 4 hits on Friday night mean nothing? I’m not a huge fan of the guy, actually I’m not a fan at all, and I agree he’s a defensive liabilty, but he can hit LH pitching.

      If MW isn’t going to use Ramos on days when he’s not catching (like yesterday would have been a perfect opportunity, against a lefty, no less!), then there’s no need to keep 3 catchers.

      • David Proctor - May 12, 2014 at 12:22 PM

        Hairston is like Soriano. No matter what he does, people will bash him. When he screws up, the mistakes will be magnified.

      • rmoore446 - May 12, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        I have no problem with Hairston coming off the bench to PH against lefties, which is his strength or DHing in games with the AL. But I cringe everytime I see him in the outfield.

  5. texnat1 - May 12, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    It’s critical that the Nats go on a run these next few weeks playing relatively weak competition. Injuries or no, you have to take advantage of the schedule. Because June looks pretty tough competition wise.

  6. micksback1 - May 12, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    a better manager could handle the current situation, i have little faith in MW, we could be 10 back by July

    • nats106 - May 12, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      Mick, I really think it’s too early to tell with MW. You could well be right, but I think it takes time. From a lot of my friends’ standpoint they are mystified by his lineups and his use of the bullpen. I decided that my frequent rants last year didn’t help the team or my blood pressure, so I’m going to enjoy baseball and hope that our new manager “gets it” at some point and we start winning more games.

      In the meantime, if we do continue to flounder, I’ll be rooting for the Marlins to displace the Braves if it can’t be us. I would be surprised if we are 10 back in July. I believe we will be right there, despite or because of the current personnel.

      Always have like Dobbs, but the fact that the Marlins released him tells me that they are increasingly confident with their youngsters, who just don’t seem to know better that they are not supposed to be winning.

      • micksback1 - May 12, 2014 at 12:59 PM

        agree wiith you on the Marlins. I just have very bad vibes on MW, when he went after Bryce that for not hustling I was dumbfounded from the standpoint that there are so many others who could have called out as well . I personally like MW and his interview with the junkies was hysterical. I said no matter what, he is a cool guy, i just do not think he is a good manager for this group. it also may be that some in this group should be traded while they are still considered hot prospects

  7. micksback1 - May 12, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    I really think there is enough young talent in our minor league system with players who are hungry and determine to play and will give 100% every moment they are on the field or in the batter’s box. I would love to see Rizzo go bold and deal off certain players to teams who think they are a position away from winning and then bring up some of our talent. I am already sick of desmond, he is not a leader and clearly is not a player who has his team’s back when things are tough. If he was worth the hype, he would have been stepping up the past few weeks. Gio is another one. I am not suggesting that the nats would win the WS with such a move, but the team would be a real contender in 2015 if they went bold now before other teams have no interest in a Desmond. In a sense, Desi is getting what he deserves by not signing the multi year contract offered to him in the winter.

    • Section 222 - May 12, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      Don’t take this personally Mick, but you’re just way off the right track on both points. Desi is having a bad year so far, no doubt about it. But it’s way, way too early to give up on him. Not with the kind of years he’s had recently. And as far as dealing away our starters and bringing up “young talent,” that’s just crazy talk. Not only because it’s too early to throw in the towel on this year but because the fans aren’t paying top dollar to see a AAA team out there at Nats Park.

      At least you’re not suggesting we’d win the WS this year with such an extreme move, though it sounds like you are suggesting that we’d be a real contender in 2015 if we started TyMo, Souza, Walters, Taylor, Goodwin, and Purke. You may be right about that — a contender for the cellar in the NL East.

    • Hiram Hover - May 12, 2014 at 1:11 PM

      I understand that your comments are motivated by the disappointment and frustration of a fan.

      I hope you understand that venting and actually running a team are 2 different things.

  8. micksback1 - May 12, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    I hear you sec222 and hiram, not suggesting T Moore, etc.. or for that fact, that many called up. I just do not feel the way most do on Desi and perhaps he would bring almost a steal for the team in a trade since I assume other MLB teams feel about him the way most here do. I am also not accepting the injury situation as an excuse for the simple reason that again, all the experts stated the Nats had the best bench in MLB, if that were true, these injuries would not be as magnified. so, this indicates that the team is simply lacking a championship caliber roster. Remember, you could have and infield of RZim 3b, move Espi back to his original position at short and Rendon at 2b. If rZim plays 1b, then perhaps a Z Walter at 3rb

    something as to be done as this is now 2 seasons in a row, this is not an anamoly, this is the true state of the nats, maybe a 85 win team at that, who knows? The only positive is that the pitching is number one in terms of minor league talent,

    • Section 222 - May 12, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      I don’t remember a single “expert” saying we had the best bench in MLB. It seemed to be greatly improved over last year, when it was one of the worst. McLouth has been a disappointment, though the venom directed his way (“McOut”) puzzles me, especially after his game saving catch vs. the Dodgers.

      Based on what are you saying we are No. 1 in terms of minor league pitching talent? That seems a stretch to me.

      Finally, Espi has cooled considerably. He’s batting .146/.160/.333, with 21 Ks and no BBs since April 25 (14 games, 50 PAs). Desi, during that same span, (59 PAs) is batting .245/.322/.302 with 11 Ks and 6 BBs. You really want to dump Desi and make Espi our starting SS?

  9. Theophilus T.S. - May 12, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Because people still seem to want to talk about it, I’m going to speak, again, in favor of Williams’s handling of Harper. Williams gave the whole team a behind-closed-doors ultimatum about not running out GBs. When Harper showed his immaturity by lolly-gagging (I think that’s an accepted baseball term) on his way to 1B, he left Williams hanging in the wind. The public reprimand wasn’t just about Harper. Absent the team-wide warning, the team would have understood that the benching was pursuant to established clubhouse management practice. Given that Harper (A) ignored the warning and (B) effectively thumbed his nose at the rest of the team (“I’m above that Little League crap,” the public dressing down was notice to the rest of the team that everybody else would receive the same treatment and that the consequences would be dire.

    How Williams deals w/ Gonzalez is, for now, unknowable. But given Gonzalez’s publicly-commented on diva-ishness, and similar incidents in the past, he can’t be treated as just an “emotional player.” Williams needs to do whatever he did to Soriano. If there any repeats of this incident or, frankly, Gonzalez doesn’t start keeping his emotions on the mound under control — no more, “I’m pissed; I don’t care if this next one leaves the park” — the Gonzalez moves to the Winter Meetings “available” list.

    • Section 222 - May 12, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      What did MW do to Soriano? And for what and when? MW wasn’t here last year, remember?

      Gio is a cipher for sure. How he could groove a second 3-0 pitch to Norris after what happened on the first one is baffling. And if he can’t pitch without ALR around to hold his hand when he gets upset, that’s a problem.

    • zmunchkin - May 12, 2014 at 5:06 PM

      Nonsense. MW made a stupid rookie manager mistake.

      Pulling Hatper was defensible (but still wrong). But why didn’t Williams do that for the other players who loafed to first after the meeting and before he pulled Harper. And then calling him out after the game was simply inexcusable.

      And if you check the replay you can see that the umpire is already starting to move his arm to make the out call when Harper starts to veer off. You can criticize Harper for not running out of the box harder. But not for not touching the first base bag. And Williams compounded his error with his absolutely absurd statement about the transfer rule.

      I think Williams could be a very good manager. But he is making lots of mistakes. And if he learns from them, he will be a good manager.

  10. David Proctor - May 12, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Remember Gio and Werth getting into it last year? These things happen to every team. The Braves had it happen with one of their COACHES and a player last year in public. This is much ado about nothing.

    As for Gio on the mound, this is normal for him. He’ll have a clunker followed by 4 or 5 starts followed by a clunker. No pitcher is perfect, Gio isn’t perfect. However his performance on the whole is very, very good and he has one of the most team friendly contracts in baseball. He may be a diva, but he’s also about the furthest thing from a locker room cancer, too.

    I can’t envision any scenario where he becomes “available” at the winter meetings. Especially not with JZimm likely soon to depart.

  11. NatsLady - May 12, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    I suspect (without evidence except his own words) that Gio went to one too many parties in Oakland/San Fran. Hopefully that will not be a problem in Phoenix.

    • knoxvillenat - May 12, 2014 at 3:51 PM

      NL,

      Where did you read or “hear” of Gio perhaps taking in one too many party while in Oakland/San Fran?

  12. senators5 - May 12, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    When teams buy “has beens” (Dobbs &Harrison and even McLouth) and rely on bottom feeders (Espinosa) what can you realistically expect except to hope and that doesn’t work at the MLB level, plain and simple.

    • Nats Amore - May 12, 2014 at 3:38 PM

      Scott Hairston, not Harrison.

      • senators5 - May 12, 2014 at 9:07 PM

        Sorry about that I am always thinking Presidents, living here in the DC area

  13. letswin3 - May 12, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    Just a couple of quick points. It’s not about guys “stepping up” … they can’t turn it on and off at will. And they are all trying … you simply don’t understand the competitive drive, if you think that professional athletes sometimes just don’t give a damn. And my second point is that there is no reason ever for Bryce NOT to be called out for failing to give it a hard 90 to first base … what, you think a prima donna gets special dispensation from baseball standards that have stood forever? Not a chance … every guy must abide by the same expectation levels. Even his teammates (including Werth, the guy closest to him, said they understood the need to discipline him. If Williams DIDN’T call him out, I would be criticizing Williams.

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