The Dodgers Are Pursuing the Wrong Player
An eventful day took place yesterday. First, a press conference introducing fans to the new ownership group, who promised that changes were coming, including improvements to the already capable roster that stood in first place not only in the NL West, but all of the National League.
Then came the ballgame, a rather odd contest, one that witnessed Clayton Kershaw struggle at the end of the game, and slip away a Dodgers lead. The team would fight back and tie the game the following inning in the ninth. Still, no pitcher was not going to stop the Colorado Rockies on that day. Pitcher Jamey Wright technically relieved Kershaw, but continued to struggle, allowing the first two batters to reach base before allowing a walk-off home run to the still-obviously capable Jason Giambi.
Then it hit me, the Dodgers could use more pitching, but we already knew that. Another bat most definitely needs to be added to that anemic lineup, but again that’s obvious. But what about a heavy bat off of the bench?
The Rockies had their situation perfectly set up. With two runners on base, Giambi’s presence intimidated Wright and the Dodgers.
Could they have walked him? Absolutely, but it would have loaded the bases for Carlos Gonzalez, who already had two home runs on the afternoon, followed by Troy Tulowitzki, who’s always dangerous. Thus the logical choice was to throw the team’s lefty-specialist Scott Elbert. The rest was history.
The loss stung all of Dodgers Nation. Clearly a Kershaw start didn’t guarantee a victory, but the game left a lasting impression about a need that nobody has talked about: a powerful, intimidating bat off of the bench. Perhaps Stan Kasten was taking notice because later that evening a rumor broke out that the Dodgers were in serious talks with Bobby Abreu, formerly of the Anaheim Angels.
Just about eight hours earlier the tone was that the new ownership group would be aggressive, and in play for each major free agent. While Abreu isn’t anything major by any means, he will be cheap, and serves a cause. He is out to prove to the baseball world that he still has something left in the tank, enough to garner him a contract next season. Most importantly, he is a much better choice off of the bench than: Adam Kennedy, Tony Gwynn, Jr., or Jerry Hairston, Jr.
You might ask how Abreu is a better choice. I understand that he only hit eight home runs last season in 142 games, an equivalent of 62.75 at-bats per home run. Which is why he being a better choice than that group is nice, but it doesn’t make him the choice.
Compare him to Giambi, who homered once every 10 at-bats last year. Power like that is imposing, and eventually necessary for a National League club looking to compete against the best of the American League in a possible World Series berth. While this player might not be able to play defense, they clearly are supposed to be carrying a heavy bat, one that slots them into the designated hitter role, evening out the odds on paper.
If not, the Dodgers would be sending Juan Rivera to be a DH, placing Gwynn or Hairston in left-field.
So who out there is better than Abreu? Is there an option that would be cost-effective and allow us to pursue bigger names as the season unfolds?
There sure is.
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