The Los Angeles Dodgers are toast in 2011; we already know that.
It’s not news that the Dodgers have more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese. What is news, though, is what Los Angeles is going to do with the rest of the season and in preparation for the future.
When you have a bad baseball team, the first thing that usually happens is a fire sale. High-priced players are shuttled out of town for prospects. However, in today’s strange economic times, that’s not always the best option for teams that are buying talent.
So, what should the Dodgers do in the midst of this dreary 2011 season? How should Los Angeles proceed … with caution, or full steam ahead?
If I were the GM of the Dodgers, this is what I would do to move forward from the present disaster:
• Give us a legitimate catcher — Cut bait with Rod Barajas, his weak (non-existent?) defense, his .220 batting average and his prodigious strikeouts. Admit that A.J. Ellis is never going to be a starting catcher in the Major Leagues. Make a trade for a solid catcher or give Matt Wallach the job in Spring Training in 2012.
• Say goodbye to Rafael Furcal and pick a shortstop — Furcal was great five years ago. He was good three years ago. He’s old and injured now. Let Furcal ride off into the sunset and give Ivan DeJesus Jr. or Dee Gordon the starting shortstop job. Don’t sign another Juan Castro, please!
• Pencil (or Sharpie!) Jerry Sands in the lineup every day in LF — Stop the revolving left field door and tell Sands that he is your left fielder of the past, present and future. Sands has been a stud at every minor league level, and he’s holding his own after being prematurely thrust into the bigs this season. Don’t waste the fans’ time or management’s money on retreads like Marcus Thames, Jay Gibbons or Tony Gwynn, Jr.
• Settle the Juan Uribe traveling salesman experiment — The Dodgers are stuck with Uribe, his bulging gut and his three-year, $21 million contract. Put him at second or third base and then do something about the other position. Casey Blake is a great guy and has one of the best beards in baseball, but he’s not the answer anymore as a regular infielder. If Russ Mitchell’s our future third baseman, then let’s see what he can do. If not, sign a free agent or make a trade for a third baseman.
• Let Kenley Jansen close games — Jansen has a 100-mph heater. He’s got good off-speed stuff. What he doesn’t have is closing experience. What better time to find out if Jansen is the closer of the future than during a lost season? Jonathan Broxton is never going to be the closer again for the Dodgers. I would like for someone to show me a championship baseball team with a closer-by-committee. I don’t think you’ll find one. Trade Broxton if he can come back and do anything positive at all; if not, release him.