Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The Dodgers' exciting left-field platoon!
Well, at least Don Mattingly's now got a viable option in left field, the Dodgers having signed Marcus Thames. Steve Dilbeck:
Yet this black hole in left was the Dodgers’ own doing. They got themselves into this quagmire, so it is only because previous options were so poor that adding Thames counts as something of a modest upgrade.
He does have a little pop, something they desperately need, though it’s hard to get excited about a Jay Gibbons-Thames platoon, if indeed that is their plan.
The two are remarkably similar. Born just four days apart in March, both have reasonable power but something sadly below reasonable defense.
Right fielder Andre Ethier, too. About the defense, I mean.
Which now makes the signing of Tony Gwynn Jr. look pretty smart. While Gwynn's brilliant defense is sort of wasted in the corners, Matt Kemp's probably not moving and Gwynn should come in handy if Mattingly is willing to use Gwynn like Bruce Bochy used Nate Schierholtz down the stretch last season.
Still, it is hard to get excited about Gibbons and Thames, mostly because their (medium, actually) pops aren't accompanied by acceptable on-base percentages. Well, you have to take the bad with the good. Left field does seem like a long-term problem for the Dodgers, and so does Ethier's defense in right field.
It's looking like James Loney won't hit like a first baseman's supposed to hit. If he doesn't, he's soon going to be earning more money than he's worth. Which might eventually open a space at first base for Ethier, but of course that just means a hole in right field.
In the short term, the Dodgers have filled their holes well enough to be competitive in the short term. But this does feel like they're in a holding pattern until a benevolent billionaire comes along and the McCourts can live happily ever after.