I have to say this again: I’m not sure Don Mattingly is the right guy to manage this bunch, but here we are anyway. That said, this team has some glaring weaknesses that have to be overcome or the Dodgers will continue down the path they are currently on.
Consider these things:
- Neither Ethier or Crawford is going to get his timing down with less than 250 AB’s a season. They both have been starters their whole careers and alternating them won’t work (hasn’t worked), especially when Van Slyke plays against some lefties.
- With Uribe back, the infield is strong defensively at the corners and very weak up the middle. Hopefully, Dee Gordon will hit .300 and get on base at an over .350 clip so that the Dodgers are solid at the leadoff position, but he will never be a great defensive second baseman – It’s just not in his DNA! Oh, he will make some great plays at times and then a couple of horrible ones. However, if he can keep hitting, it can be tolerated.
- Hanley Ramirez is not Happy Hanley. Oh, he’s not really mad right now, but he wants a $130 million + contract and the only team that can (should) give him that is one that has a DH. As the season progresses, if Hanley does not have a new deal he will become a head case!
It’s time to make a move. I don’t think the Dodgers have a shortstop in their system that is ready to play. Guerrero simply isn’t a shortstop – his range is limited (he could possibly sub there). Seager isn’t close to ready and Arruebarrena may never hit. Guerrero’s bat looks like it could be solid at the major league level, but he has to play 2B or 3B. Maybe it’s time to revisit a 3 or 4 way deal where the Dodgers trade Hanley to a team that is willing to give him his deal because they have the DH. Also, in that deal, the contracts of Ethier and Crawford would be moved and Guerrero could be part of the deal… maybe even Zach Lee. Trade partners are limited with Texas, New York and Boston being at the forefront.
Texas does need a starter or two, but I have no idea what they think of Lee (I don’t see him as any more than a #5). I would like to see the Dodgers get someone like Elvis Andrus, back and a top catching prospect like the Yankees Gary Sanchez... or someone like that. Andrus would hit second with Puig moving to the #3 spot in the batting order vacated by Ramirez. The Dodgers would have to eat some payroll but it could work and maybe Guerrero doesn’t have to be a part of that deal. I would be happy with this lineup (and it would be stronger defensively):
- Gordon 2B
- Andrus SS
- Puig RF
- Gonzalez 1B
- Kemp CF
- Uribe 3B
- Pederson/Van Slyke LF
- Ellis C
Sometimes subtraction is addition. Hanley is not a SS, neither is he a second baseman! He’s a DH in waiting who could play 2B or LF too. This is a simple answer to a much harder question. I know it’s not this simple, but moves need to be made… sooner than later, which also brings us to the pitching staff.
The pen is a disaster. Brandon League still hasn’t earned Mattingly’s trust (but he should have) while Donnie keeps rolling out Arsonist Wilson to light wildfires on the other teams bats. Paul Maholm (bless his heart) just isn’t very good and Kenley Jansen needs some tough love.
I think the Dodgers are making a BIG MISTAKE by keeping Paco Rodriguez at AAA where he is getting shelled. Bring him up or put him at AA – he stuff won’t work in the PCL. At any rate, Maholm and Wilson have to go somewhere. Red Patterson or Matt Magill couldn’t do any worse. Ryu should be back in a week or two, but Maholm is not the answer. Shoot, start Drew Butera! The guy is a #1!
It’s time for some change. Some injection of youth!
Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.
Speaking of Wildfires, I drove through Carlsbad, Fallbrook and Temecula on Wednesday and it was a mess. Godspeed to everyone there.
My Psycho Pacers could sweep the Heat or get swept – neither would surprise me!