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Nats add Dobbs to roster, send Leon to AAA

May 16, 2014, 1:18 PM EDT

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The Nationals have added Greg Dobbs, signed to a minor-league contract on Monday, to their big-league roster, adding a veteran pinch-hitting specialist to the club.

Sandy Leon, one of three catchers on the roster for the last week, was optioned to Class AAA Syracuse. Outfielder Eury Perez was placed on the 60-day DL to create room on the 40-man roster for Dobbs.

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 for the Marlins 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 last week, eating his salary in the process. The Nationals waited until he passed a physical before adding him to their big-league roster.

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 catcher Jose Lobaton.

The decision to add Dobbs bolsters the Nationals’ bench and gives manager Matt Williams a left-handed bat who can play first base if needed while LaRoche is on the DL.

  1. adcwonk - May 16, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    We’re so depleted that the best we can do is somebody who, this year, is 1-for-13 with zero walks and four strikeouts?

    • Hiram Hover - May 16, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      To be fair, Dobbs isn’t very good, but he’s better than that.

      And unlike Sandy Leon, he does have some chance of seeing action from somewhere other than the dugout.

      So for a 25th man on the roster, why not?

      • adcwonk - May 16, 2014 at 3:59 PM

        I don’t mean to criticize, just wondering. He wasn’t good enough to be the Marlin’s 25th man, so, . . . . hopefully he just needs a change of scenery or something?

      • Hiram Hover - May 16, 2014 at 4:33 PM

        I don’t know enough about the Marlins roster to go thru all the possibilities, but he was released when 3B Ed Lucas returned from the DL.

        I think if the Nats had a choice, they’d take Lucas over Dobbs too.

  2. Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    When MW didn’t use Ramos to pinchhit on Thursday and opting for Hairston in a key spot it was a clue the 3 catchers was a waste of time. Why do it if you aren’t utilizing your best option on the bench was Ramos was available?

    Dobbs at 1-13 and last years results which were poor isn’t a great sign. Most of Dobbs production was against the Nats in 2012 and prior.

    • Section 222 - May 16, 2014 at 3:34 PM

      +1. I have to assume that MW;Rizzo decided that when Ramos has an off day he should have a complete off day. If that’s the case, then the main reason for keeping Leon is nullified. Presumably they think that Dobbs is a better PH option than Lobaton. Not sure I agree based on his numbers this year, but it’s not the most consequential decision in any event.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2014 at 3:37 PM

        Perfect analysis and frankly there aren’t good LH pinch hitters sitting around on the market in May. There will be in July. It’s low risk at this point. When RZim, ALR and Harp return tough decisions will have to be made. Hairston and Dobbs and TyMo have to prove their value to stay.

      • 6ID20 - May 16, 2014 at 6:08 PM

        Clearly they kept Leon for the west coast road trip as insurance in case Ramos wasn’t quite ready to be back. Nothing more than that. The press is notorious for over analyzing the long term implications of what was always just a short term roster move.

  3. tcostant - May 16, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Did Dobbs get any minor league at bats with us???

    • nats2005 - May 16, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      It doesn’t look like it.

      He’s always been a platoon player, but offers some flexibility being from the left side and I believe, will be a much better pinch hitter than Sandy (who was never allowed to pinch hit anyways).

    • DaveB - May 16, 2014 at 2:40 PM

      At the time they signed him, they said he would spend some time with the staff in XST in Viera, and then “maybe” spend some time with one of the minor league teams … looks like it never got to that point

  4. Drew - May 16, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    “Dobby has no master! Dobby is a free elf and has come to save Harry Potter and his friends.”

    (We can use some elfing magic.)

  5. Theophilus T.S. - May 16, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    What’s wrong w/ Perez? Physically, I mean; I know he can’t hit the ball out of the infield.

    • therealjohnc - May 16, 2014 at 3:20 PM

      He also can’t play first base and doesn’t hit from the left side.

  6. nats106 - May 16, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    Perez is dealing with a left toe fracture. Perez hit .228 in 92 at-bats at Triple-A Syracuse prior to the injury This from CBS Sports.

    My opinion-he is on a 60 day cross fit crash course so he can get strong enough to hit the ball over 100 ft.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      It doesn’t take 60 days to heal the toe but i understand they wanted a 40/25 spot for him and didn’t want to DFA anyone.

      Remember that the Nats have another spot to clear for Ross Ohlendorf soon.

  7. Theophilus T.S. - May 16, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    Don’t really see the point in Dobbs. Hasn’t hit well in three years, not a big power guy anyway. A nine-day LH fill-in until LaRoche comes off the DL? At whatever price they signed him for it seems excessive.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2014 at 2:21 PM

      The Nats are only on the hook for about $385,000 if they DFA him and nobody else picks him up as the Marlins are on the hook for approx $1.3 million more.

      • tcostant - May 16, 2014 at 2:27 PM

        I agree with Ghost, he has a week or so to show he belongs once ALR (or RZimm) come off the DL and a roster spot is needed…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        That’s not much time which makes me think that Hairston is the one on borrowed time and Dobbs will be next on the clock.

      • DaveB - May 16, 2014 at 2:54 PM

        I was hoping that TyMo would get a few days in a row of regular ABs to see if he could go on a run. Will be interesting to see if they use Dobbs instead against the RH pitchers, just to see what they got.

        Have to think that picking up Dobbs is mostly about a lack of confidence in either McLouth or Walters (as a LH) as a PH against RHP, so any decision on Hairston would seem to be based more on how TyMo (and maybe Zach) performs than Dobbs.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2014 at 3:02 PM

        Dave, I’m thinking the same as lefty bats on the bench are poor since McLouth can’t buy hits. That’s where Rizzo will be looking in July to fill a possible need if Dobbs and McLouth don’t step up.

      • Theophilus T.S. - May 16, 2014 at 2:59 PM

        $385K is excessive if the guy has truly lost it. Surely there is a LH bat somewhere in the system that can give them 15 ABs, maybe even a hit or two, over the next 9 days.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2014 at 3:04 PM

        Theo, chump change since he’s only due league minimum but sure that’s nothing to sneeze at if he was DFA’d and nobody else picked him up.

        Low risk but seems to me they are wishing on a player who hasn’t produced consistently for a few years.

  8. Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    The Scott Hairston farewell tour makes another start in LF.

    Why not Frandsen or Walters who field better?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      Tonight has to be the night for Hairston to homer against the Lefty Niese

    • Hiram Hover - May 16, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      Ghost

      You think the poor defense is going to get Hairston canned? It’s not pretty, and we’ve seen more of it than we’d like given injuries. But his hitting actually seems to be coming around – small sample size and all that, but he’s 6 for 15 and 5 for 11 vs lefties. And providing a bench bat vs lefties is mainly what he was brought here to do.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2014 at 3:00 PM

        He’s one dimensional and Walters and Frandsen very nicely provide beeter RH bats and better defense. There’s nobody taking Hairston’s spot now until RZim, ALR and Harp return. I think TyMo goes back first. Then we wait and see who’s next.

      • Section 222 - May 16, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        I do believe I owe you a virtual drink HH. That will teach me to do research and reply to a comment before reading other replies.

    • Brookstoor - May 16, 2014 at 3:05 PM

      I wish the Scott Hairston farewell tour would hurry up and leave town. I am not a fan of his. He was brought in to pinch hit, not field. But here he is, doing his best impression of a fielder. He actually does have a very good approach vs lefties at the plate. I only want to see him once a game, batting in the pitchers spot, then back in the dugout reading “Fielding for Dummies”.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2014 at 3:10 PM

        This is the same problem the predecessors have had where it looks like they are showcasing a has-been. He was a poor trade last year and should’ve been traded for a bag of balls. Here we are again. Good teams don’t do this. Even the cheap Marlins cut Dobbs loose when they were on the hook for over 1 million remaining.

    • Section 222 - May 16, 2014 at 3:39 PM

      Hairston has 6 hits and only 3 Ks in 15 ABs so far. It’s hard to be too critical of that.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2014 at 3:45 PM

        2 errors wipe out the equivalent of 4 singles, it’s not easy to forget how awful he is in the field. His spot easily would get more production from Frandsen or Walters.

        Again, he should be the last RH off the bench but with all the injuries he has a spot so it’s not like he is blocking anyone right now in the Minors.

        I’d prefer to see Frandsen or Walters getting starts against lefties but I appreciate that Hairston has a familiarity with Niese.

        I think Frandsen matches up perfectly with Niese as he’s hit him for a .400 BA and a .900 OPS

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        BTW, Hairston is .250 BA with a .583 OBP vs Niese.

        Of course both sample sizes are about 10 looks each.

        Espinosa has the best stats against Niese for active players.

  9. mauimo22 - May 16, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    I’d much rather see growing our own like Stephen Sousa and Zach Walters. I think either/or Hairston or Dobbs – not both!

    • Danny - May 16, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      They should be growing with regular time in AAA. Not bench duty in the majors.

  10. Eugene in Oregon - May 16, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    I can kinda/sorta understand why they made this move, but it sure doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

  11. philipd763 - May 16, 2014 at 4:22 PM

    Dobbs used to be a hitting machine coming off the bench in years past. I hope he’s not over the hill. This seems to be a decent gamble.

  12. rmoore446 - May 16, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    I’m hopeful about Dobbs helping the bench. Maybe I’m influenced by the memory of Fred C. Dobbs in my all-time favorite movie. Just don’t ask to see their stinking badges, Dobbsie.

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