Dodgers Should Try to Catch a Fish from South Florida
By Editorial Staff
For all the talk and hoopla over Cliff Lee and every other name pitcher mentioned in the free agent market, what is consistently overlooked is how weak and meager the Dodgers infield continues to be. While the team boasts an outfield trio as talented as any in the majors, the Dodgers infield home run totals are as follows: Martin – 4, Loney – 5, DeWitt – 1, Furcal – 3, and Blake -8. As a group, they have the same number as Tigers first basemen Miguel Cabrera. While the Dodgers have made it to the NLCS the last two years, it is difficult to fathom anything beyond that without a sufficient power upgrade in the infield.
The Dodgers difficulties in acquiring infield talent is somewhat understandable. In Russell Martin and James Loney, they have two young players with outstanding pedigrees who have shown their ability in spurts. Martin arrived and thrived early, garnering great fanfare and expectations. Loney is a former 1st round pick who is a favorite of Dodgers management and coaches Joe Torre, Larry Bowa, and Don Mattingly. The team consistently praises his attitude, work ethic, high-RBI totals and anything else you can think of. Their effusive praise of Loney at times seems to be almost an act to send a message to the more self-assured young guns like Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. But the reality is that they are average players at best, currently. The Dodgers should be lauded in giving the young guys every chance to star, but the failure to upgrade at these positions is glaring when cheap upgrades such as Troy Glaus, Aubrey Huff, and Adam LaRoche were available and subsequently acquired by NL teams in free agency. Meanwhile, Casey Blake provides veteran leadership, solid defense, and serviceable production at the hot corner.
Which leads to second base.
The Dodgers didn’t really commit anything to the position after letting Orlando Hudson walk in free agency. They signed Ron Belliard as a backup and opted to give former 1st-round pick Blake DeWitt a crack at the starting job. While DeWitt has been decent, he is cheap and hardly a roadblock to acquiring an upgrade.
Which leads to that fish I was talking about. He’s playing second base for the Marlins and his name is Dan Uggla. The Marlins have been fading of late and ownership clearly has been disappointed by the team’s 37-42 record, which led to the dismissal of manager Fredi Gonzalez. The tight-fisted ownership group led by Jeffrey Loria will probably look to dump salary at the deadline and if the team’s decline continues, the power-hitting second baseman could be available. His name was bandied about in the rumor mill nearly all off-season but Uggla remained a Marlin, probably because his salary was needed to stay above the MLB-mandated minimum for total player salaries. His 50 runs, 15 HR, and 46 RBI would be a huge aid to the Dodgers lineup. Imagine how it would look with Uggla in the fold.
1 – Furcal
2 – Kemp
3 – Ethier
4 – Ramirez
5 – Uggla
6 – Loney
8 – Martin
Looks pretty good to me!!