With Spring Training only a few days away, it seems more and more likely that the Dodgers will go to Glendale with the team, as is. It is likely that they would trade Andre Ethier, if they were overwhelmed, which they evidently haven’t. The World Baseball Classic is what will impact Spring Training more than anything as Luis Cruz, Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzales and others will be playing for their respective countries and some of them could be absent from Spring Training from March 2nd through March 19th. MSTI thinks much the same way as I do about Luis Cruz:
It’s nice to have confirmation of the Dodger interest in Rolen that was reported earlier this month, and even nicer to know that the hot final six weeks that made Cruz into a folk hero haven’t completely fooled the team management. That said, Rolen’s a very flawed alternative at this point himself, and we’ve been over this so many times that there’s really almost no chance of an outside improvement this late in the winter.
Honestly, it puts us all in a very awkward position. Sure, we all hope that Cruz is for real, that he’s a solid player who helps this team win — an example, essentially, of “found money”, as opposed to the millions of real dollars spent on uncertainties like Carl Crawford. But objectively, it’s difficult to think that six weeks of good play — without walking, ever — overcomes 12 years of mediocrity, and the issue is that tons of fans aren’t thinking about this objectively — they’re 100% certain in their hearts that Cruz is the next big thing, that he’s the hard-working fighter who made his way through years of obstacles to finally become a local hero after getting the “chance he deserved”.
Players will start reporting on February 11th, so depending on when they join their own countries teams, they could be gone nearly a month, if the get into the Championship Round Finals. I guess this is not a big deal with guys like Adrian Gonzales because he’s been around for some time, although it means that Big Mac won’t be able to work with him as much. However, it really hurts Hanley Ramirez who fancies himself a shortstop in that he won’t be playing the position at all in the WBC unless Reyes is injured. The player who could be hurt the most by playing in the WBC could be Luis Cruz – the WBC could cost him a spot on the roster if Gordon and/or Uribe really step up.
Don’t kid yourself – contract years do strange things to players. I don’t really believe that Uribe the Doughboy will win the 3B job, but it would not surprise me either. Someone said that this was the only site where it is reported that Hanley will be a head case if he doesn’t play SS. What do you expect the Dodgers to say “Hanley will sulk and pout if we don’t let him play SS?“ Of course, they aren’t going to SAY that, but ask yourself why, why are they saying he’s the short stop? If you don’t know the answer you are a little green around the gills.
The best thing that could happen to the Dodgers would be for D-Flash (that’s my new name for Dee Gordon) to show up, step up and grow up. If he can get hot in the Spring, Hanley could voluntarily offer to go to 3B if he doesn’t play SS in the WBC. That’s a lot to ask. Dee has to field, hit and run like he never has. It could happen, but don’t hold your breath. Still, I am hoping for that.
This 2013 Dodger team can be really, really good, but man-o-man, there are huge question marks!