Today, I slip into
The core talent here is as good as you'll find for ability, age, payroll and team control.
Yet the Dodgers have some problems. Outside of Martin, and the notion that Kemp is a centerfielder, it's a pretty weak team up the middle. A Hu/
DeWitt was, in a small sample, a statistical positive at second base, and there's an argument that it's the only place his bat will play. On the other hand, he looked awkward at the keystone almost all of the time, the Dodgers currently have no third baseman, and second basemen are something of a dime a dozen. It seems like a better idea to move DeWitt back to third and hope that the upward trend in his plate discipline was more than just a lineup-position thing. It's an open question for the 23-year-old, who drew a disproportionate number of intentionals (nine of his 45) and had just three unintentional walks in 108 PA outside of the seventh and eighth slots in the lineup. With
That leaves second base as a hole. I'm not ready to anoint
I mentioned Kemp as a center fielder earlier... he's a right fielder by trade, with good raw speed that doesn't translate well to center, and equipped with a right-fielder's arm. The decision to play him in center, flanked by Ethier and
There is no easy answer here, in part because a year after being lousy with center fielders, the free-agent market is short of them. All of the options are aging, injury-prone or not very good, and quite frankly, the Dodgers have too much of those things. The trade market is basically
Getting creative, the idea of trying to pry
There's a notion that the Dodgers have a rotation problem, but I don't see it, not unless Billingsley's leg injury is much worse than expected. A rotation of Billingsley, Kuroda, Kershaw, McDonald and
A better solution is to buy your way out of the problem. Just eyeballing the numbers at
I've argued again and again that the safest bet in this year's pitching market is
With the big moves out of the way, the focus also has to be on managing Martin better than was done in '08.
What about Ramirez? Well, he's 36, and he's a big negative defensively whose presence creates worse defense at the other two outfield spots as well. There are better fits for Ramirez than the Dodgers, and the team should recognize that and put their money elsewhere. Letting Ramirez's fantastic two months drive a $50 million decision would be a mistake.
So here's the plan, in order of importance: