Dave Roberts: Eddy Alvarez, Jason Martin ‘Raise Floor’ Of Dodgers Bench

Last offseason the Los Angeles Dodgers lost Kiké Hernandez and Joc Pederson in free agency, then saw their bench depth further eroded when Edwin Rios’ year was ended due to a partially torn labrum in his right shoulder that required surgery.

As injuries started to pile up, L.A. was forced to rely on an array of Minor Leaguers such as Sheldon Neuse, Luke Raley, Zach Reks and Billy McKinney, among others, to fill the gaps in the lineup. That didn’t pan out as they struggled to hit with any sort of consistency.

Upgrading the bench this past offseason was a key priority for Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who signed Eddy Alvarez, Jason Martin, Jake Lamb and Tony Wolters to Minor League deals. Hanser Alberto was added on a reported Major League deal that hasn’t been finalized due to visa issues delaying his arrival in Spring Training.

While the Dodgers have yet to see their depth tested during the season, manager Dave Roberts is already encouraged by what Alvarez and Martin have shown in Cactus League play, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

Alvarez, 32, has experience at second base, third base and shortstop. He made his MLB debut with the Miami Marlins last year and appeared in 24 games for the club this past season before he was outrighted off their 40-man roster in October.

The Miami native has hit .188/.287/.287 with five doubles, one triple, one home run and eight RBI over his limited opportunities at the Major League level thus far, but has found more success in Triple-A, where he is a career .279/.377/.447 batter.

The versatile infielder also has a unique story in that he’s one of just six athletes to ever win medals in different sports at both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Alvarez played for Team USA last year and earned a silver medal, and he previously took home silver as part of the U.S. 5000m relay speed-skating team at the 2014 Winter Games.

Martin, 26, was selected by the Houston Astros in the eighth round of the 2013 MLB Draft. He appeared in 58 games for the Texas Rangers this past season, batting .208/.248/.354 with three doubles, six home runs and 17 RBI over 154 plate appearances.

Martin saw time at all three outfield positions, but received most of his opportunities in left field. Over parts of three Major League seasons that includes a previous stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Martin has hit .206/.260/.328 with five doubles, six home runs and 19 RBI (85 games).

So far, Martin leads the Dodgers in home runs during Cactus League play with two.

Dodgers bench outlook

Dependent on whether or not MLB allows for expanded rosters, the Dodgers figure to carry a four-man bench to start the season as they build pitchers up.

One spot undeniably will go to Austin Barnes, and others to Gavin Lux, along with the tandem of AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor. Alonso figures to be part of the equation as well.

That would leave the likes of Alvarez, Matt Beaty, Andy Burns, Martin, Zach McKinstry and Rios vying to be the final bench player.

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