So as we all feared, Hanley will require surgery on his injured right thumb, and is going to miss eight weeks with a torn ligament. Our worst nightmares have come true. Hanley suffered the injury in the championship game of the pointless contrived World Baseball Classic. Of course it was in the final game. It’s annoying enough. But I’m not going to talk to you about all the reasons why the WBC should be
canceled overhauled, that’s a discussion for another day.
Today I am going to talk about the Dodger options, and what the hell we are going to do about the left side of the infield now that we know Hanley is going to be out for a while. Of course cue up all of the ridiculous trade and free agent ideas that are bound to pop up all over twitter. No we are not trading for Alex Rodriguez, or going to sign Scott Rolen, who is like 100 years old, or whatever. No, the Dodgers have internal options they can use.
One idea that comes to mind immediately is to play Dee Gordon at short, and just move Luis Cruz over to third. This would probably be the best idea, and Gordon’s sprained ankle he suffered last week, is minor, and Gordon is expected to be back playing by Friday. But that’s not what manager Don Mattingly is going to do. Nope, it’s not. So what is he going to do about this problem? What are the Dodgers more than likely to do? Two months of utility guys!
Webster’s dictionary defines the new modern definition of scrub as….”A scrub is a now generalized term used as a synonym for a “noob” or “newb,” which is someone who is bad at a video game or activity in general.”
That’s the modern day term for the word Scrub, but I also want to refer everyone to three modern day poets, named TLC. They describe a scrub a bit differently…..No, I don’t want no scrub, a scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me Hanging out the passenger side Of his best-friend’s ride Trying to holler at me
Remember this song from the mid 90’s? Yes, thank you TLC, well put. The hanging out the passenger side of his best friend’s ride thing doesn’t really apply here, but you get the drift. A scrub is a non-starter. A player who should be riding the pine. A player of low skill level. (no offense to Jhair and Schumaker, and Herrera. I like those guys, but they are bench players for a reason.)
One of the Dodger’s options is to move Luis Cruz to shortstop, and rotate the scrubs at third base. The Dodgers have a bunch of internal options that can play third base, and shortstop, and considering the Dodgers M.O. of playing bench guys when the regulars are hurt, it wouldn’t surprise me to see this idea come to fruition. By the way, did I mention how much I hate this idea? The Dodgers have Jerry Hairston, Skip Schumaker, Justin Sellers, Elian Herrera, Nick Punto, and yes Juan Uribe. All of them can play third base, and shortstop, to varying degrees of aptitude. The problem is that none of those guys can hit. Which will leave a huge gaping hole within the lineup.
How are all of these guys doing in spring? Well let’s take a look.Justin Sellers- .150 (3 for 20) Jerry Hairston Jr. -.214 (6 for 28) 1 HR Skip Schumaker- .256 (11 for 43) Juan Uribe – .378 (14 for 37) 1 HR Elian Herrera – .342 (13 for 38) Nick Punto – .292 (7 for 24)
Anyone notice that Juan Uribe is hitting .378 this spring? I know, I know the results of spring games are meaningless, but it makes you do a double take doesn’t it? Of course it doesn’t mean Uribe will actually hit during the regular season. I didn’t throw in Alfredo Amezaga in this mix, only because he is not on the 40 man roster. The Dodgers would have to open a spot for him, if they wanted to.
The Dodgers have plenty of options to choose from. They could start Gordon at short, and move Cruz to third. The scrubs go back to the bench where they belong, and maybe we can survive until May when Hanley comes back. I like this option the best. It’s cost effective, none of the scrubs get playing time, and Gordon gets to show us what he’s improved upon, while utilizing his speed. Hey if we’re going to lose Hanley’s power, then we might as well replace it with some much needed speed in the lineup.
Another choice involves the Dodgers going outside the organization to sign someone like a Scott Rolen. This is the option that is the most unlikely to happen. We are too close to opening day to be signing guys, especially 37 year old infielders who can’t hit anymore. I have trouble seeing the Dodgers doing that. No offense to Rolen. He has been a great player and third baseman over the years, but he is way past his prime.
Then there is the third choice. The one that scares me the most. The annoying choice. This is the choice that could cost the Dodgers a lot of games in April and May this season. The choice that is most likely to happen. I’m talking about the scrub rotation choice. This involves moving Cruz to shortstop and rotating several of the guys I mentioned above. Hairston and Schumaker are probably the best hitters out of the group, but Uribe is the best defensively. I cant believe I am writing that, but it’s true. If there is one thing we learned from last season, it’s that we can’t win with scrubs in the lineup. Even just one or two scrubs can cost the Dodgers vital run production early in the season. Expect the April and May run differentials to be the worst of the year.
The girls from TLC said it best. We don’t want no scrubs! However be prepared for this to happen. Mattingly loves to platoon for some reason. Perhaps someone should play some TLC in Don Mattingly’s office.