February 23, 2013 at 12:49 pm by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves
Prior to yesterday’s home run, a name seldom heard this spring — at least compared to last year — has been that of Joey Terdoslavich’s. This time last season, he was trying to make a defensive transition to hopefully be able to be the heir apparent at third base for Chipper Jones. The struggles he had both offensively and defensively are well documented, and the lack of success Terdoslavich had in the transition caused him to be kind of a forgotten man. I have never been as high on Terdoslavich as most, but I have always viewed him as a legitimate role player on this team down the line. With the current construction of the roster, he looks like the best player to fill the team’s final bench spot.
He would have to be added to the 40-man roster, which the Braves have room to do regardless, so that issue does not seem to be too worrisome if he plays well enough to earn the spot. In being a switch-hitter and a primary first baseman, he fills two holes the Braves currently have on the bench. The first would be left-handed bat off the bench, which is a pretty important role over the course of the season. The other is backup first baseman, as Chris Johnson is the likely favorite or potentially Ernesto Mejia — I would be vying for Mejia if he were left-handed. Terdoslavich is no gold glover at first, but he is certainly better than Johnson defensively, at least at his accustomed position.
Terdoslavich could also be used in the outfield a bit if the team suffers injuries at the corners. As it currently plays out, the Braves would be forced to play Reed Johnson, Jordan Schafer, Jose Constanza, or potentially Todd Cunningham against right-handed pitchers if Heyward or Upton were to be injured. With how much the offense should rely on those two players, getting at least close to replacement level offense is vital. It is doubtful that any of the four aforementioned outfielders would be able to do that for any legitimate stretch, but it seems reasonable to expect Terdoslavich to be the best hitter of the bunch against righties. The defense would not be as adequate, but if the team is looking for offense from a corner he looks like the next best bet.
I am not suddenly bullish on Terdoslavich — and especially not just because he hit a home run yesterday — but it just seems like his overall skill set fits with what the Braves need from him at this point. With his failure in transitioning to third base and the Braves acquisition of Justin Upton, there is no spot for Terdoslavich to find regular playing time at in the next three years. The Braves have made it clear that they do not see him as a starter at left field, right field, or first base with how they have constructed their roster, so it is time to put his skills to best use and make him one of the team’s more flexible bench options.