It’s good to be a Dodgers’ fan right now … well, at least it’s better than it was this summer.
Since the end of the 2011 regular season, there has been much more good than bad for the Dodgers. Here is what has gone right:
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• The Dodgers are undefeated (of course, they haven’t played a game, but that’s beside the point!)
• The wicked witch of the West, Frank McCourt, is almost dead.
• The Dodgers signed their best player, Matt Kemp, to an extension that should keep him in Dodger Blue for many years.
• Clayton Kershaw won what might be his first, not only, Cy Young Award.
As is SOP – Standard Operating Procedure – with the Dodgers, not everything has been extensions and awards this offseason. Instead of holiday visions of sugarplums and Prince Fielder in their heads, Dodger fans have been relegated to stale Cheez Whiz and outdated eggnog in the form of free-agent signings.
Any fan who is excited about Mark Ellis and Matt Treanor (not his hot beach volleyball wife, but the never-has-been catcher) needs a serious dose of reality. Juan Rivera coming back to left field and first base isn’t a horrible thing, but it sure doesn’t get me tingly all over like J-Lo’s see-through outfit at the American Music Awards.
Since it is that time of the year when we give thanks and count the days until the Jolly Old Elf comes down the chimney with his bag of goodies, here is what I want for Christmas (and beyond!) at the plate and in the field for the Dodgers in 2012:
In addition to a new Bugatti Veyron, I told Santa that I want Prince Fielder in a big blue bow (and clothes, please!) at first base for the Dodgers this offseason. Unfortunately, Santa told me that I have a better chance at getting the Bugati. James Loney did get off the DOA list last season and end the year on a positive note – 12 homers, 65 RBIs and a .288 average. Loney is above-average on defense, but he’s just never going to be Prince or Albert Pujols or Ryan Howard. I guess I can live with that.
Santa, I just want a second baseman who doesn’t use a bat as a means to swat gnats during the sultry summer evenings. Is it really that hard to find a second baseman who can hit better than .250? I really don’t understand the Ellis move at second base. Is Ellis a good defensive player? Certainly. However, we just forked over almost $9 million for a guy who is going to hit around .250 and will be lucky to knock in 50 runs. I would have preferred that the Dodgers save that money and go with Justin Sellers or Ivan DeJesus at second next season.
Thank you, Santa, for granting at least one of my offseason Dodger wishes. We finally come to a position that is settled and is moving in a positive direction for the Dodgers. Here’s hoping that Dee Gordon will man shortstop for many years to come. He hit .304 last season and had 24 stolen bases. Gordon might hit one or two homers each season just to keep things interesting, but he gets on base, works counts and scores runs.
I guess third base is the black coal in my stocking that Santa thought I deserved. Ned, Ned, Ned, why did you stick us with this black hole buffet-wrecker Juan Uribe? In one of the worst free-agent signings in Los Angeles history, the Dodgers are still stuck for two more years with Uribe. He only managed to play 77 games last season before retiring to the buffet to get fatter. Unfortunately, the Dodgers have no choice but to play Uribe at third base until his belt loops explode and Russ Mitchell can be given a chance. Mitchell is 26 years old and can hopefully get some time at third base this season with Uribe.
In addition to my unfulfilled Bugatti wish, Santa also rooked me in left field this offseason. I don’t want Rivera in left for the Dodgers. I want Jerry Sands, plain and simple. Rivera wasn’t even good enough for the Toronto Blue Jays last season, but we signed him for a bag of bats and he didn’t totally suck. Unfortunately, that was a kiss of death for Dodger fans, because Rivera’s non-sucking looked like MVP numbers compared to previous left field stiffs like Jay Gibbons and Marcus Thames. Rivera hit five homers and had 46 RBIs with a .274 average. I know that. However, Sands is way cheaper, way younger (32 versus 23) and he started getting a grasp on big-league pitching the last month of the season. I see a platoon here with Rivera being the main man and Sands making cameo appearances.
Center Field/Right Field
Center field is an area we don’t need to talk to Santa about this offseason. Kemp should win the MVP trophy (but he probably won’t) and he had an out-of-body experience kind of year in 2011 with 39 homers, 126 RBIs, 40 stolen bases and a .324 average. However, I am asking Santa this Christmas for some Midol for Andre Ethier in right field. I’m not saying that Ethier didn’t have knee issues last season, but he also didn’t act like a team leader should. He whined and complained and was in and out of the newspapers with a “he said, she said” tit-for-tat between himself and management. We need Ethier to come to spring training with a healthy knee and a positive attitude. Then, the numbers at the plate should follow accordingly.
Santa, can you please see if it’s not too late to get Steve Yeager to procreate and give the Dodgers a legitimate catcher? Thank God we didn’t re-sign Rod Barajas and his strikeouts and horrible defensive play. Treanor is basically a player-coach for A.J. Ellis and Tim Federowicz behind the plate. In fact, the Dodgers would probably help to speed up games this season when Treanor is playing by just giving their opponents an out and skipping Treanor’s spot in the lineup. Treanor is a career .225 hitter and has knocked 16 homers in eight career seasons. Nice! Ellis hit a respectable .271 last season with two homers and 11 RBIs in 31 games. I would love to think that Ellis is ready to be “The Man” behind the plate for the Dodgers, but I would also love to forget that I thought Lindsay Lohan was once sexy.