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I keep saying it and I’m going to keep saying it:  This team won’t win it all without a real centerfielder who can play defense.  They might be able to limp by with Hanley Ramirez at shortstop – IF he can hit like he did last year, but centerfield is a trainwreck.  Van Slyke and Ethier are corner outfielders, at best, and really have no business in center.  Matt Kemp is the best centerfielder on the team, but I understand why they want him in LF – in fact, I suggested it long ago.  Matt has to play and hopefully get back his MVP hitting style and LF now suits him best.

Crawford is hurt again and again and he can’t play anywhere except where Kemp is.  I can’t believe that there is anyone who would want Ethier, but maybe there is.  Ned needs to re-make the outfield, but trading Ethier and not getting a CF back means that when Crawford comes off the DL, Kemp has to go back to CF.  It’s just a bad deal all around.  Joc Pederson and Dee Gordon are two in-house options, but there is no indication the Dodgers want either one to play CF.

What is going on with Adrian Gonzalez?  Is he already is steep decline?

The pen remains an issue, but the solutions may already be in-house as well.  I think some change is in order.  It’s time to quit talking and start chalking!

  1. Pete M says:

    Maybe a wee bit early, but Pedro Baez @ AAA could soon be looking for an bullpen audition…
    I was talking about Kemp to CF in your previous post. Why not???
    What’s the opening $$ to re-sign Beckett for 2015+ ???

  2. BOB says:

    Who would have predicted a mid-season record above .500 if at the beginning of the year you were told that 6 of the top 7 top batters were?
    #2. Arruebarrena
    #3. Turner
    #4. Uribe
    #5. Gordon
    #6. Truinfel
    #7. Rojas

    We all know that Ned will always lie regarding whether or not one of the players has an injury but I suspect that at least three of the following five have an injury that is limiting their performance:

    Name, April, May, June
    Gonzales, .337, .231, .198
    Puig, .284, .398, .233
    Ethier, .2638, .296, .197
    Greinke, 2.04, 2.35, 4.40
    Haren, 2.03, 4.30, 5.20

    Now that the Dodgers are only 2 games behind the Midgets, and have the 3rd best record in the NL, how about rotating some of these guys through the 15 Day DL so that they do not look like Bird Poop when trying to play during this summer?

    How about Ethier, Lots of $, Lee, and Anderson to either AZ for Pollock, Houston for Fowler, or Phillies for Revere? All 3 teams are out the 2014 race and need pitching.

  3. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Ethier, SVS and Kemp have no business in CF, and I don’t see making the trade-off of losing defense at 2B to add it to CF (in other words, I’m not too keen on Gordon moving to CF now in midseason, and would prefer he remain at 2B long term as well). We’ve seen how important defense is (especially up the middle), so for me the concentration needs to be on upgrading CF.

    I suggested Fowler in an earlier post, and I’ve thought about Revere. My problem with both of those players is Fowler’s negative dWar (pointed out by Badger in an earlier post), and Revere’s relatively low OBP to go along with his total lack of power, and his negative dWar. But I could go along with the part of Bob’s trade suggestion that gets us A.J. Pollock from the DBacks, although I’m not sure the DBacks would do that deal. Just because Ethier is from AZ doesn’t mean the DBacks want him. In fact, the Ethier they would want is the earlier, more powerful version that doesn’t appear to exist anymore.

    And if none of the above CF’s are obtainable, I’m sure there are other alternatives. I understand the Red Sox are in the process of converting Mookie Betts to CF. He appears to be a speedy on base machine that would fit perfectly in our order at the top of the lineup with Dee Gordon. There are actually some similarities between the two which was touched on in the most recent Baseball America (July 4-18, 2014 issue). But given the Red Sox’s current position in the standings, and their need for a CF themselves, I’m sure a top quality prospect like Mookie Betts wouldn’t come cheap. Whatever the case, I’m sure there is someone out there that the Dodgers could obtain, somehow, someway.

    Regarding Pederson, does anyone know his current condition? I believe he went out with a shoulder injury (don’t remember the details), and I’m wondering if there is a timetable for his return. Also, I suspect that although he can probably do an adequate job in CF (certainly better than what we have out there now), he’s probably best suited to a corner outfield spot, which on this team is LF, given that we have Puig in right.

    Totally disagree with Mattingly’s take that the ball that dropped between SVS and Puig last night was not a ball that you can communicate on. If SVS was a true CF he would have taken charge and called Puig off that ball. He couldn’t do that, because unlike a true CF, he didn’t have the range to be fully confident he would get to the ball. And Puig, of course, certainly couldn’t have had much confidence that SVS would get to it. A superior CF would have changed the complete dynamic of that play.

    I don’t see any evidence that Agon is in the midst of a steep decline. I would like to see him do what he did last night, and go against the shift more often. For the most part, I think, he’s just in a slump, and it’s too early for me to read too much into it, at least for now. And maybe he needs a day off a little more often.

    I definitely think there may be some in-house solutions to the pen. Certainly those solutions can’t be worse than Chris Perez and Paul Maholm.

  4. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Here’s a potential CF candidate in a trade. Juan Lagares of the Mets. I don’t have the time to watch Mets games, but I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about his defense in CF. And he’s been hitting this year. Last year had 3.5 dWar and it’s 1.5 this year.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/l/lagarju01.shtml

    I’m not sure what the Mets would want in return, but I’m sure they just wouldn’t give him away. Might be something the Dodgers want to explore (maybe they have).

    • Badger says:

      Why would the Mets trade their star, team controlled center fielder? They would might probably consider fleecing Jed for Granderson, but they won’t trade Lagares. He is one eof the few things that is right about that team.

      We know what’s wrong with this team. The middle of the lineup isn’t producing as the are paid to produce. We need a real center fielder, that is true. And we have one. He will get into our lineup eventually or will be used in trade to improve the ML roster. If it were me I would put Ethier out there EVERY DAY until we decide what to do. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – what he needs is to know we trust him to get it back by giving him an important role. Guys his age, players used to playing every day, need to know they will play every day! Kemp was being honest when he proclaimed he was not a backup. He’s not. Neither is Andre. He just hasn’t gone public with it.

  5. bobbie17 says:

    I think something is wrong with Ryu too. He says everything is fine, but he gives up lots of hits. No more clean games from him. Hasn’t been the same since the injury. Still ok though. Competitive game last night. Still this team can’t seem to come from behind. Not much scoring from them in 7,8,9. Should take a lesson from the A’s. The only available outfielder with trade value is Kemp. He has his age and potential still going for him. The others are done, except for 1-2 year contracts. I hate to get rid of Kemp, though, for those same reasons. Does Agon hit the gaps anymore? It seems that he has become a singles hitter, and not many of them. He is the one guy that can light up this team on offense. No doubt though that he is on the downhill slope, maybe half way there.

    • Campy says:

      Agon started out the year hitting like an all-star, in fact, he was in first place in the voting for a while because of his hot start. I can’t believe that one day he woke up and was over the hill. I think he is either an a dreadful slump or there is something physically wrong with him. I have noticed he is trying to go the other way once in a while and even trying to bunt. What does that say????

      You have to be strong up the middle and we aren’t. Even if the hitting suffers (and how could it be much worse) you have to shore up the defense in CF and SS (when Hanley is playing). The longer we wait the harder it is going to be to adjust to the changes and the less likely we will be ready to go in the post season, assuming we will get there. Rojas and Gordon have been doing a good job defensively but at the same time Hanley’s bat is really needed since we are having such a tough time scoring right now.
      As I posted earlier, Hanley is the real puzzler. What do you do with him when he gets back????

  6. Bobby says:

    I do agree with the basic premise: we have too many holes

    Yet we’re 2 out, and I feel this division is ours. Any positive adjustments and/or guys coming out of their slumps and we start to go on a roll.

    Gona be a good, but frustrating summer. At least nfl training camps open up soon too

    • Badger says:

      We are counting on our hitters hitting. We have a month before the deadline. A lot can happen in a month. What if we are in first place in late July? (I believe we will be) What moves are made on a first place club?

      My guess is we move bolster the pen. I would love to have a Legares type center fielder but I don’t know how that happens so I stick my best out there – Andre Ethier – and see what happens at the waiver wire in late summer. If we trade Ethier for bullpen help its take a chance with Pederson (my choice) or roll with SVS. FOR SURE I have a pow wow with my entire pitching staff and tell them no fly balls the rest of the year. Your out pitch on the team is not a navel high fastball it is sinkers and sliders at the knees. Fly balls are your enemy.

      I think it’s going to be a great summer.

  7. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    That would be an interesting thing to tell our pitchers that “Fly balls are your enemy.” Interesting, because the Dodgers play in the NL West, where the spacious ballparks, some affected by the marine layer, are supposed to make fly balls a pitcher’s friend.

    Regarding Lagares, I just threw his name out there as a player the Dodgers might want to express interest in. Like I said, the Mets wouldn’t give him away, but they might be interested in a package that included Zach Lee, among others. Might be a package deal that included other players, or a three or four way deal that included other teams. If there’s a will, there might be a way. Also, I’m not suggesting that he is the target, but just someone like him. There are likely a number of other candidates available, requiring nothing more than imagination. And it doesn’t have to be Colletti’s imagination. There are scouts, etc. in the Dodgers organization, some of which I’m sure have imaginations. And let’s not assume that the braintrusts of other teams are all geniuses with unlimited imaginations.

    Defense is certainly not the only problem the Dodgers have. This team still doesn’t have a consistent offense that tacks on runs throughout a game. And they’re going to have to figure out what the best mix is. Is it a strong defense without Hanley in the lineup, or a stronger offense with Hanley at the cost of a more porous defense? I for one prefer the defense, and will hope that Agon and Puig will pick it up again, and that Kemp will suddenly break out with strong second half that compensates for the loss of Hanley’s bat. If Hanely is healthy and remains with the Dodgers, he’s going play everyday. The only way I see the Dodgers emphasizing infield defense during the second half is if Hanley is traded, and hopefully brings some value.

    • Badger says:

      The hitters just need to start doing what they’ve done their whole career. I believe they will. Just heal up for the run.

      Ground balls are a pitchers best friend. Especially with our outfield.

  8. idahoal says:

    Everyone on this board sees the same problem. We have been playing very good defense lately because Rojas and Turner have been playing. Either is the best option right now in center field and should play every day. I said this spring that four starting outfielders was not an option and I have not changed my mind. When Crawford comes back he and SVS need to be the subs. If Eithier is traded, Pederson has to come up. I think you have to keep Handley at ss for the rest of the year and then let him go. I think we can win the West with Handley, but am not sure how far we can go in the play offs with him at ss. If he hits like last year, we are ok. The bull pen needs help, but we have the players to fill the holes. Perez and Maholm need to go. If I was Colletti, I would not do much before the trading dead line except to help the bull pen.

  9. Roger Dodger says:

    Here is a way to make some outfielders happy — for a bit more playing time.

    Send Puig down to AAA for two weeks or so, to get his hitting eye back. He has been terrible. Hitting a bunch of bouncing balls in the infield, mostly — to striking out.

    His average is dropping faster than AJ. Send him down — Puig is hurting the team.

  10. Bobby says:

    Well barring something completely idiotic we’ll have taken the first 2 of the 3.

    Tomorrow to me has to be a win as well. Taking 3-4 from this team would be a good sign

  11. BOB says:

    What a difference a day makes. Dodgers playing great, Cards playing bad. Lyn WAS hot, Grienke WAS cold.

    What do you do with all of this time watching TV? I thought that since I have criticized Ned so much I would look and see what the players are doing whom he did not bring back this year.

    Position player, 2014 OPS+, 2014 OPS+, Difference
    Ellis, 90, 49, -41
    Schumaker,88, 61, -27
    Punto, 86, 75, -11
    Hairston, 52, Retired
    Cruz, -2, Retired
    Sellers, 45, 49, +4 (Still Bad)
    Hernandez, 102, Retired
    Young, 100, Retired
    Buss, -26, minors
    Castellanos, 51, minors
    Herrera, 42, 46, +4 (Still Bad)

    Pitchers, 2013 ERA+, 2014 ERA+, Change
    Capuano, 85, 89, +4 (just a reliever now)
    Nolasco, 103, 70, -33
    Belasario, 91, 74, -17
    Guerrier, 76, 123, +47 (Needed a change)
    Volquez, 87, 82, -5
    Lily, 72, Retired
    Marmol, 145, 49, -96
    Moylan, 57, Retired?
    Guerra, 55, 170, +115 (Needed a change)
    Wall, 21, 10, -11
    Tolleson, 0, 116, +116 (Still don’t know why he was released)

    22 players were let go from last year, man that’s a lot, and overall Ned made good decisions.

    • Michael says:

      I think it’s Aruba Time. We’re there, this Hanley [ not Handley ] thing has gone on too long. Give him off until after the All-Star break to get better[China Doll] we might need a real motivated possible FAs bat in the long haul.

  12. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I saw all of Chris Perez I want to see. Given that he threw close to 30 pitches tonight, DFA him and bring up a fresh arm tomorrow.

    Roger, can Puig stay? He did have two hits tonight.

    Did I miss much in the 2nd inning? Thought tonight’s game started the usual time, so I missed most of it.

    • Roger Dodger says:

      Send him down . . . I want to see the old Puig back. He needs to sharpen his game. —– see, every time I call for something like this — they perk up and play better.

      Perez looked terrible. He is still in Spring Training mode. Only problem, the Dodgers kept him.

      Cardinals looked terrible. Falling on their faces today.

      Nice Dodger win.

    • Campy says:

      I think Perez looks great. 95mph fastball, good slider, what more do you want in a relief pitcher? Oh, I suppose you are going to want him to get it over the plate as well :)

  13. Badger says:

    Perez has to know he’s on thin ice. He should accept assignment if it comes to that and we bring up one of the 3 guys at AAA that is pitching well.

    You didn’t miss much Brooklyn. A couple of miscues on defense a few doubles a few singles.

    7 for 13 WRISP. 50,910 attendance. All in all a damn good night. That is IF Turner and Ramirez are ok.

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