Categorized | Mark Timmons

The Persona of the Position

I think some of you don’t understand what it takes to be a professional athlete…. and I don’t mean that with any disrespect.  I’m not talking about the level of skill required or the hours and years of hard work.  I’m talking about the mental part of the game.  It’s just that these guys are praised, coddled and treated like royalty from the time they are kids.  The position they play becomes part of their persona and as big and strong as they may be, their psyche’s are somewhat fragile.

How do you think Matt Kemp would have responded if the Dodgers had anointed Shane Victorino the CF when he was acquired?  Victorino is after all, a better CF than Kemp.  The Dodgers didn’t even consider it because after all, Matt is a CF – part of his DNA now.  The Dodgers knew he probably couldn’t mentally handle the change and who knows, maybe that’s why Victorino didn’t do well either.  He’s a CF too forced to play LF.  Maybe it messed with his head.

So why rail on Hanley Ramirez whose persona is that of a shortstop?  Oh, he says he will move to 3B, but everyone who has ever been around him at all knows it will mess with his head.  A happy Hanley can be MVP.  An unhappy Hanley can hit .255.  Mark Saxon of ESPN/LA wrote this yesterday:

Gordon is blocked for the foreseeable future by Hanley Ramirez and, if he’s sent to Triple-A in March, he’s not going to be a happy player.

Mark covers the Dodgers for ESPN/LA and knows what the score is about SS.  There’s not even a question that Hanley won’t be the Dodgers shortstop next year.  Forget the silliness of moving Gordon to 2B – I’ll play there before he does!  If there were any inclination Gordon would play 2B, he’d be getting time there now.  He’s not.

I used to be high on Dee Gordon, but I’m not keeping on the blinders like I did for Andy LaRoche.  I was convinced that Andy LaRoche would be the second coming of Mike Piazza.  Boy was I wrong!  Let’s face it – Dee’s time with the Dodgers is likely over.  Saxon suggests that the Dodgers trade Zach Lee, Dee Gordon and a 3rd prospect (Pederson?) for James Shields.  I’d do that is a New York minute and throw in Harang or Capuano too… and some money.

We talk about Gordons’ speed, but in the DWL he has stolen 9 bases and been caught 6 times.  He also has 9 errors and is no longer playing the field as much.  Maybe he will make it, but I now see him as a utility player.  He can’t even harness his great speed.

Dodger Player Targets at the Winter Meetings:

  1. Zach Greinke – The Dodgers need a number 2.
  2. Kyle Lohse – Maybe for a 3-year deal, but I hate losing a pick.
  3. Anibel Sanchez – He’;; get 5 year deal.  Yikes!!!  I am not sold on him.
  4. Jair Jurrjens – There’s a reason ATL is letting him walk.  He’s damaged goods.
  5. James Shields – and a number 3 Starter – He’d look good there.
  6. Brian Wilson – (2) TJ’s leave doubt… but…
  7. Joel Hanrahan – Closer material and the rumor is Capuano – I’d do that.
  8. Daniel Schlereth – LH specialist?
  9. Third Baseman, but I don’t know who…

CLICK HERE for the full Baseball Winter Meetings Schedule.

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

21 Responses to “The Persona of the Position”

  1. Badger says:

    While I agree with most of what you just said, I also think the right handlers (agents maybe) can get more out of players by telling them what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear. Matt Kemp, in my opinion, belongs in right field and Hanley Ramirez, if he intends to continue at shortstop, needs to put in some serious work there. He stinks as a shortstop (negative dWar four years running) and I don’t see him getting any better as he gets older.

    And I am all for trading Dee Gordon to the other league if it brings back a starting pitcher.

    I like Schlereth, but do we need him? I like Wilson too, but only if he agrees to shave that beard and take a mid reliever role. If he is better than that, then a few incentives could be added to the deal. Lohse would probably pitch well in the NL West. I agree about Jurrgens, but if nobody else signs him, give him a shot. Greinke, Shields, Ryu + Hanrahan and our staff would look pretty darn not too bad.

  2. SpokaneBob says:

    Greinke, Shields and Ryu would be great. Brooklyn said he was dreaming, but it could happen. I have never been so excited about a GM meeting in my life. I would love to know what the actual game plan is for the Dodgers.

  3. Bobbie17 says:

    The meeting might bring a trade, but free agents will wait into January.

  4. Gionfriddo says:

    Mark, I’m with you on this one.. I’ve said in here ad nauseum that the Ramirez topic is a touchy one and don’t think for one minute the brass didn’t take that into account before pulling that trigger. I do agree that Hanley is NOT the defensive SS he was 5-6 years ago but let’s be real, Gordon has not progressed IMO (NINE E’s in DWL) defensively like he should. He is not playing SS for Licey in the DWL simply because Jurickson Profar is head and shoulders better with the glove (Profar has struggled with the bat @ .158). Personally, if Dee brings back a Shields like Mark Saxon suggested then I’m all for it.

    Going to be interesting @ the Gaylord Opryland Resort the next 4-5 days. Are they solely focused on Greinke? Or, if they land Greinke, will they double down and make a deal for Shields? I’d like to know what the plan is for a legit 4th OF and I know TGJR is inked for this year for 1.5 mill but I said a LEGIT 4th OF. Does the brass go get a 3B in Youkilis? Or do they take a shot with a non-tender like Mark Reynolds or even offer a NRI to Chone Figgins? One guy I really like who had a horrible year is Ryan Raburn. He can play both corner OF slots and can fill in @ 2B & 3B.

    Badger is right– we land Greinke, Shields, Hanrahan and Ryu, Ned will have pulled off a heist..

  5. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    B17 could have it right. Maybe a lot of this will drag on into January. Winter meetings could be active, but may not yield everything we want, and could create some immediate disappointment. In the long term, however, I get the feeling that things will work out.

    I don’t like losing a draft pick for Kyle Lohse. Which Lohse do we get? The 12-year 4.45 or the 1-year 2.86. He’s probably somewhere in-between, and at 34 (35 next Ocotber) I don’t think he’s worth the risk in performance, dollars or the lost pick, especially since there are so many other alternatives.

    I keep hearing about James Shields, and he would be a welcome addition to the Dodgers rotation. However, I’ve also heard Jeremy Hellickson’s name mentioned. He might even be a more attactive target given his age.

    If Gordon is sent to AAA in March he definitely won’t be a happy camper. And he shouldn’t be. The question is, if that happens, what does he do when he gets to AAA? Does he pout like some think Hanley would if he had to play 3B, or does he go out and perform at his best with idea of showing the Dodgers that they were wrong. I would bet the latter. Just like Badger mentioned his linear thinking, the path to the big leagues is not always linear, but can include some bumps in the road. How a player handles those bumps can go a long way in determining long term success.

    Yes, Gordon isn’t playing 2B. Of course, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be shifted over there. The transition probably doesn’t take all that long, although I’m sure the more time you have at any position, the better you get through familiarity and repetition. And maybe he isn’t playing 2B because the Dodgers see him as an option at shortstop, with Hanley moving over to 3B. And just as I think Matt Kemp might move over to RF if the issue arose (see below), so too do I think Hanley would willingly move to 3B. I believe he is very happy in LA, and correct me if I’m wrong, I believe he was hitting better while at 3B with the Dodgers than he was after the shift to short. Again, correct me if I’m wrong, because I don’t have any numbers to back that up as I write this.

    And who says Matt Kemp wouldn’t move to RF if it was best for the team? I think I’ve heard somewhere that Victorino is no longer the CF he used to be. And I’ve seen nothing that says Matt Kemp wouldn’t move if that’s what was best for the team. Seems to me that he has a very good relationship with Mattingly, and probably wouldn’t create any waves. Who knows, he might even buy into the move, because he’s smart enough to recognize that he would be protecting his long term health, especially given the hamstring problems he had in 2012.

    Mark, I’m sure it was just an error, and you know that Pederson is not a 3B prospect. And I’m sure you know he couldn’t be converted into one because he throws lefthanded.

  6. ken says:

    What Badger said.

    Watch out for the Nationals trying to create a Dream Team rotation and outbidding the dodgers for Greinke.

    What Spokane Bob said.

    Grienke may be the first pitcher to sign a contract with all others waiting to learn what the new market prices are. But with Borass, the wait can be forever. Therfore bobbie17′s statement could be right on the mark, but then again Ned may decide to overpay, would not be the first time, in order to get Greinke this week.

    Mark – RE: Pederson – I understood what you said.

  7. Joseph Olivas says:

    I like it

  8. SpokaneBob says:

    I won’t be disapointed if everything doesn’t get done next week. I know Ned will keep working on improving the team right through spring training. This ownership group is not going to stop.

    Lets face it. After all these years of disapointment and discouragement. It is once again a great time to be a Dodger Fan. We all deserve it.

  9. Gionfriddo says:

    Agreed, SpokaneBob…

  10. Badger says:

    Once Greinke signs the dominoes will fall. The sooner the gooder.

    Gordon could be great at second base. Yeah, he prolly won’t go there but I think he should. His current value is his speed and athleticism. He was voted, among other things, the bedt athlete in our system. Before we send him down I would project him everywhere as my starting shortstop and shop him for pitching. Somebody will bite.

  11. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    My bad Mark. Too much skimming, not enough reading.

    Ditto what SpokaneBob says, same for Badger.

    Ken, I’m not sure if you were implying that Greinke’s agent is Boras. Maybe not. But for the record, his agent is Casey Close. Does that mean Greinke will sign soon? Not necessarily. Probably negotiations with Ryu will go down to the wire, because Boras is his agent.

  12. Bball says:

    Ethier, Gordon, lee, Pederson, capuano to Seattle for the king. Then sign Hamilton to 4 years 100. Make it happen Ned

  13. DRomo says:

    BBall- interesting… Hmm?

    I agree with Mark that changing positions screws up athletes. Absolutely! But we all agree the time comes where they have too. They just have to buy in. How many positions did Pete Tose play? He bought in, and his bat never quit. My point here is Kemp will eventually have to move to RF. I wonder if he would slide over now for Michael Bourne. I feel we have a sure need of a true lead off guy. We thought Gordon would provide that but sadly Dee took a huge step backwards. It’s not his fault he got hurt but the kid just can’t hit enough or make up for the errors he commits. Just as a side note: I follow Dee Gordon on twitter. This kid shows a lack if maturity for his age in my opinion. And he is not THAT young anymore.
    I dangle Gordon, Ethier (in the right move), Capuano, Harrang, & Guerra off the MLB roster to see what happens. I’m cautious to give away prospects at a time we are desperately trying to rebuild the farm system. But let’s see what happens.

    I’m excited like you guys are. It’s gonna be a fun week.

  14. Bball says:

    I have a question. Uribe is owed 9 mil. If the dodgers cut him a check and got rid of him would he still be considered part of next years payroll, or would his money be cut out of the luxury tax payment. If yes he is really costing the dodgers 9 more million right. Makes sense to get rid of him I think. Hope that’s understood

  15. Rob says:

    I like the idea of trading for a #2 starter but am not big on over paying greinke because we can. We should make the trade for that pitcher and sign ryu. LA would be a bad fit for Hamilton because of his abuse history, I would rather keep eithier and hope big Mac can fix his approach with lefties.

  16. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Bball, the Dodgers are on the hook for Uribe’s salary in 2013 unless another team picks it up (which will happen when winter in Arctic becomes a season in Hell).

    https://www.google.com/search?q=winter+in+the+arctic&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=yb1&tbo=u&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ei=DQK8UPjWEY2M0QGZoIGIBw&ved=0CDEQsAQ&biw=1524&bih=1008

    However, if they cut Uribe loose and he signs on with another team, that team will be obliged to pay him the MLB minimum, cutting the Dodger obligation by that much pocket change.

    The luxury tax is addressed in this article by Bill Shaikin:

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb/dodgers/la-sp-1203-dodgers-spending-20121203,0,1454260.story

    Speaking of that article, the line I like best is this from Stan Kasten: “I spent 90% of my time talking to guys like you about how we’re rebuilding our pipeline. I can’t get any of you guys to write about it. You’re just focusing on free agents.”

    It’s pretty clear that the Dodgers focus long term is on player development, and that they intend in the future to concentrate on continuing to build the team with homegrown talent, and rely on free agents only when that talent isn’t available in-house.

  17. Badger says:

    “I spent 90% of my time talking to guys like you about how we’re rebuilding our pipeline. I can’t get any of you guys to write about it. You’re just focusing on free agents.” Stan Kasten

    Well DUH Stan. Dodger fans have suffered through the impecunious ownership of the Frank’nJamie McBorrow, now we have filthy rich owners who have publicly declared they will do whatever it takes. The “pipeline” may be sexy to you, but we are a “what can you do for me now” country and we fans want to know – what can you do for us now? That cannot come as a surprise to you.

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