Off Base

Naughty of Nice, Dodgers Need to Check Christmas List Twice


December 19, 7:02 p.m..

While we can that agree that the addition-by-subtraction method has some merit when applied to baseball, few among us would endorse the strategy as a plan for an entire offseason.

The Dodgers have jettisoned Ronald Belisario. OK, now that works, certainly. It works a lot, actually. Let’s give them that. And before we bid adieu to Beli once and for all, let’s recall the play the Mike Petriello once termed “the most Ronald Belisario play ever.” We’ll miss that kind of thing. The righty reliever was non-tendered by the club and subsequently landed on Chicago’s south side.

Chris Capuano was also let go, although there is still a chance of his re-signing before it’s all said and done. Scott Hairston called it a career, Skip Schumaker was lost to the Reds as a free agent, with Nick Punto signing a two-year deal to play in Oakland, the latter of which hurts a bit, especially with Mark Ellis going to St. Louis on a one-year make good deal.

The Dodgers have lost most of their bench and they need to get a move on if they want to go to war with something better than what’s being threatened now – castoffs Mike Baxter, Miguel Rojas (uh, who?) and Dee Gordon as super-sub, which is beyond frightening, because while a multi-positional utilityman might not be expected to be of Gold Glove caliber worth at one particular position, it sure helps if he is. And Gordon is pretty much the opposite of the description.

He plays no single position well, and in the case of shortstop, his “natural” spot, is downright awful. If you consider picking the baseball and throwing to first base significant skills for a middle infielder to possess, that is.

The Dodgers are also considering re-signing Michael Young for a bench role, and while I liked his acquisition late last season, the soon to be 37-year-old infielder really didn’t live up to his advance billing.

He was fine in the field in limited action, but didn’t hit a lick when it mattered – in the postseason – and showed zero of his former-self in the power department. And like Gordon, at this point in time he really doesn’t  play a single position well enough to warrant the role he’d be getting. At all.

The player I want in Blue is Ramon Santiago, late of the Detroit Tigers. This is not a Hall of Fame player we’re talking about here; not a star by any means. But a quality utilityman? Absolutely. Santiago is the Punto-piece of the Dodgers bench, 2014 edition, the best possible of the options on the free agent list, and I think there’s a good chance the team will sign him.

Like Punto, Santiago plays all over the infield, plays good defense and switch hits. In 2013 with the American League pennant winning Tigers, Santiago split his time in the field evenly, with 27 games at third base, another 27 at shortstop, and 33 at second base, which is the type of split the Dodgers need. It’s exactly the type of the split they need. He made a grand total of two errors in his 27 outings at shortstop (to give you an idea, Gordon made seven in his 27 games at the position) last season, while fielding a cool 1.000 at both second at third in his time there.

Santiago hit .224, which isn’t a ton, obviously, but he’s a .243/.311/.330 hitter lifetime, which is fine for the role he’d play in Los Angeles, and there’s no reason to think he can’t manage .240 in 2014. In the years of 2007 to 2011, Santiago hit a fine .284, .282, .267, .263, .260, with an .870 OPS in 2008.

He’ll contribute with the bat at times, much like Punto, give the team a little sock here and there, run the bases well, get down a bunt, etc. More importantly – much more importantly – he’ll fill in for Hanley Ramirez well when called upon, do the same for Juan Uribe as needed, and spell Alexander Guererro at second base, assuming the Cuban rookie even starts the season in the lineup.

If for whatever reason L.A. does not sign Santiago, Cesar Izturis works as a backup plan. Neither player will cost the team an arm and a leg, nor will he need a two-year deal for much money. We’re probably looking at a million or two, on a one-year deal. Chicken feed.

Tim Federowicz and Scott Van Slyke more than likely round out the bench. With Santiago (or Izturis) in the fold, the Dodgers can forget all about both Gordon and Young, which is a very good thing. Talk about your addition by subtraction.

Then perhaps we’re looking at one more bench piece and they're good to go. They’ll probably bring in one more relief man, and maybe just maybe another big-time starter, who quite possibly is a phenom out of Japan by the name of Tanaka.

We’ll find out soon enough. Check out your baseball betting options and be ready for another great season. We’ll see you at Spring Training, circa 2014.

And remember, glove conquers all...








About Us | Archives | Contact | Gift Shop | Home | Talkback | Where Are They Now | Write For Us....................
Copyright © 2005 by