Holes to fill: A glimpse into the future of the Dodgers
Chavez Ravine is a somber place this season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are not good on the field or off it in 2011. The owner is a joke, the team can barely pay its players every month and it is floundering near the bottom of the National League West.
So, what do Dodger fans have to focus their attention on besides the possibility of a new NFL team in Los Angeles?
The future, baby! Since today is lost, what does tomorrow hold for the Dodgers? What will the team look like in 2012 and beyond?
Here is a look at what we can expect in the Dodger Blue infield once Steve Garvey and Orel Hershiser bring respectability back to the franchise:
First Base — James Loney isn’t exciting. He isn’t an All-Star. He isn’t at the top of the discussion of the best first basemen in the National League. What Loney is, though, is a dependable player who will show up every day, rarely gets hurt and who is solid on defense. Free-agent first basemen like Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder aren’t coming to L.A. Don’t even think about that. Loney is only 27-years-old, so unless we trade him away, he’s our man at first for at least a few more years. Get used to it.
Second Base — Aaah, the black hole for the Dodgers, once again. Quick, name the last solid second baseman the Dodgers have had … don’t look it up. Jeff Kent? Steve Sax? Davey Lopes? Unless a free agent is signed or a trade is made, second base is going to end up as a huge question mark for the Dodgers in the future. We’re stuck with Juan Uribe for at least two more years, so he might make sense here. Another option is Ivan DeJesus, who is hitting .316 at triple-A Albuquerque this season. DeJesus is 24-years-old now, so the time has come for him to stop living on his father’s name and prove that he is legitimate. DeJesus did hit .296 with 70 RBIs for Albuquerque in 2010.
Shortstop — Dee Gordon, plain and simple. Gordon is getting a taste of the big leagues this year thanks to the team stinking and to Rafael Furcal being an old waste of a roster spot. Gordon has already made some spectacular defensive plays and is holding his own at the plate with a .268 average. The 23-year-old Gordon should be a fixture at short for the Dodgers for years to come.
Third Base — Russ Mitchell looks like the hot corner future for the Dodgers. The 26-year-old third baseman has had small tastes of the big time in Los Angeles the past two years. Mitchell’s minor league numbers are impressive – 23 homers in 2010, 22 in 2007 and 19 in 2006. Mitchell also has hit for average — .315 in 2010, .289 in 2005 and .270 in 2007. It’s time to sink or swim with Mitchell at third.
Catcher — Oh, for the love of Mike Piazza, can we please get a solid catcher? The catching position is even more of a boondoggle than second base for the Dodgers. A.J. Ellis has been the potential face of L.A. catching for what seems like five years. He isn’t the answer. Unless a miracle appears in the minor leagues, there really isn’t a stud catcher in the Dodgers’ future. Matt Wallach is the best bet at double-A Chattanooga, and his numbers don’t exactly make fans think of Piazza. Wallach, who isn’t a kid at 25-years old, is not a power hitter and he hasn’t shown that he can hit for average. In other words, Wallach is probably a career back-up behind the plate.