I know this topic has been beaten more than a dead horse in a wood chipper, but it’s definitely worth bringing up again. Now that the ownership is official, we’ve got some moves to make.
Surprised? Because of the stellar record in April? Don’t be. Our Dodgers are not as good as you think. Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are not going to combine for 50-plus RBI every month, and the starting rotation won’t keep up it’s current pace either.
So here are the first five things Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten must do with their deep pockets:
1. Replenish the Pen
My god. Please. Please get some new bullpen arms. Six of the Dodgers’ eight losses this season have been in the opponent’s final at-bat. That’s absolutely inexcusable. And it should tell you all you need to know about the bullpen. Javy “Guerracuda” Guerra must stay, but other closer options should be explored. Kenley Jansen, Josh Lindblom and Jamey Wright have all been pretty dependable. Scott Elbert is a blown project and a complete joke of a reliever. Matt Guerrier has been disappointing, and Mike MacDougal has already been cut. So let’s go out and get one more impact arm on the right side, and two lefties. Todd Coffey and Elbert can go, and with Ronald Belisario on the way back, we’re just looking for two lefties to come out of the bullpen.
2. Re-Stock the Bench
As it stands now, our big bats off the bench are Adam Kennedy, Tony Gwynn, Jr. and Matt Treanor. Seriously? If nothing else, get Jerry Sands and his medium power potential up to the bigs. Or better yet, cut Justin Sellers or Juan Uribe and bring the 20-homer potential of Josh Fields up to The Show. My preference would be to find a veteran who can still hit (so NOT Bobby Abreu, though that seems inevitable at this point) and is willing to play a pinch-hitting role. Is someone like Greg Dobbs or Eric Hinske available for trade? How about Vladimir Guerrero? Just get someone that strikes fear into the opposing reliever in a pressure situation.
3. Sign a Starter
Clayton Kershaw isn’t going anywhere, but the other four starters are all questionable, despite hot starts. Chad Billingsley is only consistently average, so be prepared for a let down, and celebrate with me if he ends up having a big season. Chris Capuano has a career ERA over 4.00, despite finally living up to his potential so far this season. I think he has the best chance to continue the success out of him, Bills, Ted Lilly and Aaron Harang. Speaking of Lilly, he’s probably the best left-handed option we have available. But Harang could be better served as a long-relief option out of the bullpen. I can’t count on him for more than 10 wins and lower than a 4.00 ERA. Not terrible for a fifth starter, but it’s not like we have a “Big Three” (or even Big Two for that matter…) like many contenders. So Magic and Stan need to look for a pitching-rich team willing to trade a young, talented arm (Arizona or Atlanta, anyone?).
4. Get a Solid Corner Infielder
I love James Loney. I have a well-documented bromance for him. But he’s one of those guys who seems like he’ll never live up to his potential. I’d love him at first base if we had another infielder who could hit for power. But when the combination of A.J. Ellis, Mark Ellis, Dee Gordon and Juan Uribe will likely hit a combined 25 homers this year, something’s got to change. I’d prefer to keep Loney for his glove, and replace the pathetic waste of space that is Uribe with a third baseman like David Wright, I just don’t know if it will happen. Temporarily, the answer could be Jerry Hairston, Jr., who has definitely earned a starting spot with his play thus far. Could Loney platoon with Sands, to at least give the kid a shot. If nothing else, he might provide some surprise pop from the right side.
5. Dump Ned Colletti
It’s time. New ownership, new team…now let’s get a new G.M. Don’t forget, this is the very same Ned Colletti who inked Uribe to a three-year, $21 million dollar deal after a fluke of a season. Did Colletti forget that Uribe had a .297 career on-base percentage? I could stand in the box and take every pitch of my career and have a better on-base percentage than that. Colletti, for all the good intentions he has, never panned out in Los Angeles. I think Magic needs to clean house in the front office and give the fans someone who will spend money wisely, rather than in a panic. If Don Mattingly can get a better quality lineup, we can see what he’s really capable of as a manager.
Those are my five cents (hah, see what I did there?). Let me know in the comments below what you think! Go Dodgers!