It was at least a mite curious when the Dodgers decided to add backstop Travis d’Arnaud over the weekend. There’s additional clarity now to the team’s thinking, as J.P. Hoornstra of the Orange County Register reports.
d’Arnaud joins fellow catchers Austin Barnes and Russell Martin on the active roster in Los Angeles. Some teams go with three receivers, at least for stretches, but it doesn’t appear that the Dodgers anticipate giving him much time behind the plate.
Manager Dave Roberts says that the team envisions utilizing d’Arnaud at first base and in left field. It’s a whole new world for the 30-year-old, who has logged exactly nine MLB innings in the field without a mask on. (He appeared briefly at second and third base in 2017.) d’Arnaud also played two games at first base in the minors, but has yet to line up on the outfield grass.
It’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out. Having an experienced backstop available will help increase Roberts’s flexibility in making late-game decisions, even if the club doesn’t expect to lean heavily on d’Arnaud while he learns a whole new staff. And it’s quite nice to have him on hand as an added depth piece to help account for any injuries.
If d’Arnaud can rediscover his former form with the bat and learn some new positions along the way, he could end up being a rather interesting asset for the Dodgers. If things don’t shake out as hoped over the next several weeks, the club can reassess the health status of A.J. Pollock and scan the trade market if there’s a need for another right-handed bat.