Uribe, Leaders, Star F’rs and Sawdust Head Donnie
A boring winter meetings for the Dodgers and their fans.
Yesterday it was nice to see Juan Uribe resigned for 2 more years. It was a wise move for him, as Florida would have been a death sentence, and smart for the Dodgers since third base league wide is sparse and the options were downright hideous. Fans love Uribe, but there are still some holdout dummies who point to his first two poor seasons in LA. Obviously if looking at Uribe’s entire body of work, that is valid commentary, but my opinion is why go there? Uribe stepped up and filled a void the Dodgers had after the debacle Luis Cruz experiment (Cruz fans – a career AAAA player isn’t suddenly going to become a star). Odd though – even after Uribe proved to be the best option for third defensively and offensively, and showed he was resurrected in a contract year perhaps due to Big Mac’s input – Donnie still tweaked and overthought his lineup and ensured Uribe oftentimes was on the bench. And all those times asking him to bunt! What a dumb fuck.
I am happy Uribe is back and while 2 years like last year may not be in the cards, it really doesn’t matter. If Uribe struggles, the real plan is for uber prospect Corey Seager to save the Dodgers anyway, so Uribe is just a bridge to that utopia, however long it is. If we get 1 solid year out of Uribe, it will be worthwhile. If we get serviceable hitting and the standard great defense at the hot corner, the Dodgers and the fans win. Most likely Seager will push the questions mid-season or by the end of the year, so there’s a good chance Uribe will spend year 2 coming off the bench, helping all around the infield, or be dealt. His 2 year/$15M contract is hardly an obstacle nowadays. In other words, if you’re a Uribe hater, your life must be so charmed that this is your biggest concern. Juan Uribe is a solid citizen, a leader in the clubhouse and a solid fit for this Dodgers team. Imagine if Michael Young were the everyday third baseman! Eek!
I am also happy, of course, Brian Wilson came back. It’s smart for the Dodgers and smart for Wilson. It also shows Wilson’s loyalty and belief the Dodgers will certainly be in the post-season mix. He could have went elsewhere and been guaranteed a closer’s spot, but opted for occasional closes for a hometown winner. I like what Wilson brings to the field, as well as to the clubhouse. His bad boy attitude may be a cartoon, but it’s the swagger the team needs more of. In my estimation too many Dodgers are worried about how they look in the mirror and who they can bang. Wilson looks ridiculous with the dyed beard, but he’s got the right amount of “asshole” the team needs. Besides, unlike dickhead Dodgers of the past, he’s not an asshole. He’s just bizarre. Bizarre with ability like his is ok with me.
I feel I should take a sabbatical because twitter is abuzz with Kobe and the NFL, both not very interesting to me. Baseball is right around the corner, and I only stick with it because I’m a junkie and also because this Dodgers team is an incomplete puzzle. There is a bench to fill out, leaders to find, bullpen arms to add, outfield question marks, and perhaps a stud Japanese starting pitcher to add. The off-season is my fun time. I enjoy the putting together/figuring out aspect more, sometimes, than the games themselves. It’s like Alfred Hitchcock (who I look like, btw), who said preparing his movies were more fun than shooting them. That’s when all the strategy occurred. Once the season begins, I get frustrated at Donnie’s stupidity, Kemp’s nonperformance, Kemp fans’ need to blow their hero, and Kasten doing odd things like picking up shitty pitchers and insisting on using them through the pennant race even though more capable kids are waiting idly by.
I wonder where the leaders will come from; surely Kasten and Ned will add some. Perhaps Michael Young comes back in that role, or some other has beens. I like the geezers being around, but not too many and not at the expense of starts for more reliable players. With Donnie, who comes from the Joe Torre school, if you have someone who used to be a name around, you need to disregard the fact they’re done and play them anyway. See why I get frustrated?
While I don’t think losing some of the names we’ve lost is bad – most weren’t that good anymore anyway – I do question what remains. I see very talented players with issues; injuries and otherwise. I wonder how this mix will gel and who will become that leader the team needs? I don’t see Hanley being that guy, or prima donnas like Kemp or Puig. Ethier is too quiet, Crawford too horny for reality stars, Guerrero too fresh and untried. AJ and A-Gone, perhaps Uribe, are the closest things the team has to leaders. Smart players who know how to play the game right. I think the bench has to replenish with a few others – hopefully below the age of 60.
The team is confusing to me. I’m not sure, for example, what the lineup could look like. As someone on twitter pointed out, does it matter? Donnie will never field the right lineup anyhow, and if he does, it will change the next day. I imagine he will go back to putting Puig up at top, or Crawford, because it’s the simple-minded thing to do. Both hitters are not ideal for the leadoff spot and can benefit the team more batting lower, with their homeruns and RBI counting greater than in the one spot.
I proposed – given this current mix, which could still change – something like: AJ, Uribe, Crawford, Hanley, A-Gone, Puig, Pederson, Guerrero. My reasoning is AJ gets on base and since this team has no prototypical leadoff hitter, at least you have a smart and patient hitter who gets on base a lot out there for the RBI guys to drive in. Uribe is versatile and can move AJ along and then you have the meat of the order in lefty/righty synchronicity. I put Joc Pederson in there because in my opinion he needs to be playing centerfield. Of course if healthy and around, Kemp is the centerfielder, but this is where I differ from those who want to massage his ass; it seems very unlikely Kemp can stay healthy to be an issue. When he falters, inevitably Pederson gets the call. Kemp, if ever healthy again, should be at a corner spot anyway to save his fragile body. Ethier? He’ll be there if Kemp is not ready and if not dealt. While he fielded CF last year, Andre Ethier as the everyday CF is not a great idea in my opinion. Not fast enough.
If Ethier is dealt Pederson is still there for when Kemp drops. Also, Van Slyke is around, and I imagine some other outfielder will join the bench. Ethier is a curious piece because do you deal him to deal him and potentially clear up some of the OF logjam that could exist? Or do you keep him knowing Kemp likely will be unhealthy? And if you deal Ethier, what do you get for him? Obviously it only makes sense if you get something back better than Andre Ethier. Since third base is now fixed, where is the need? A good reliever? A few good prospects? Oh, so perplexing.
Anyway, that’s it for now. I just wanted to get some words out. The winter can be long and dull without occasional baseball chatter. I hope you enjoyed and if so, share with friends and/or comment. Speaking into a void is pointless. Any good therapist would tell you as much. Aloha.