Off Base

The First Step in Recovery is Admitting You Suck

August 9, 2010, 7:00 p.m. Or admitting that your roster management skills suck, anyway. Way to go out on a bender with the oh-not-all-that-important-left-hand-bat-off-the-bench-OF-IB spot, Dodgers.

Poor Garret Anderson. You can't really blame him for picking up a paycheck, as long as the club was giving it to him. What's he going to do, run to Ned Colletti and beg for a pink slip? Like, "Look man, you really need to go in another direction, and sooner rather than later. I'm toast. Why don't you fire me already?"

For awhile, I'd wondered if the club was so cash-poor that it couldn't afford to sacrifice as little as the just-above major league minimum ($550,000) it costs to keep a guy like Anderson around, because they'd have to pay someone else actual major league minimum ($500,000) to replace him.

Joe Torre has taken responsibility for sticking with GA for more than two thirds of the season, and in effect, fallen on his sword for Ned. The "nice guys finish last cliché" applies here, but certainly we're talking silly at best, with negligent being the more apt label for Torre's decision making on the matter.

Ned should have managed his manager, and they share blame. Pure and simple, it cost the Dodgers games in the standings that can never be made up.

But OK. What's done is done. They promoted Jay Gibbons, who made an impact within seconds of his first appearance as a Dodger, pinch-singling in a key eighth inning situation, for an RBI.

I knew Gibbons was a PED guy when the Dodgers signed him over the winter, and expressed my thoughts on the topic here and in both my Facebook and Twitter posts as recently as two weeks ago, when it looked like the one-time slugger might get the call.

I try to keep the blowing of my own horn to a minimum, but I was the only person in the Dodger media to have an inkling and a comment about Gibbons without having had it put in front of him. And I'm the only writer, apparently, who thinks some combination of radar and conscience has a place here. That shouldn't be the case.

All I want to say about Gibbons now is that it's incredibly important that if the Dodgers were going to bring in another tainted player, that they get a man who's shown some actual contrition, and one who raised his hand right then and there, in 2007, to apologize, not when prompted before his next job.

He's not Eric Gagne, nor Gary Bennett, Jr., nor Guillermo Mota, and he's certainly no Manny Ramirez. Wouldn't it be nice if the organization of Jackie Robinson would lead consistently when it comes to substance abuse in the sport, rather than do what's best for them baseball-wise (which they don't even know half the time) like most teams do?

Maybe a tad ironic that the club gave Gibbons Mike Piazza's old number 31, but whatever. I like Gibbons, and the team is better with him on it…

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Dodgers Due and Doing: Obviously, we'll know more about L.A.'s chances after a seven-game roadie to Philadelphia and Atlanta, which starts tomorrow at Citizen's Bank Park, Vicente Padilla vs. Kyle Kendrick. I think the Dodgers will win four, and possibly five games in the east, and be back in the race for both the division and the Wild Card.

What I know is that the club managed a modest 4-3 record last week, which is more than you can say for the Giants (2-4), Padres (3-4), Cards (2-3) and Rockies (3-3). A small thing, but it's a start. And they're going to miss Halladay in Philly.

The new Dodgers have their sea legs under them. Scott Podsednik looks to have adapted and will be fine, Ryan Theriot is playing a great second base and hitting the baseball exactly as I said he would, and tell me Ted Lilly isn't a treat to watch.

I like how he gets ahead in counts and doesn't throw the ball over the plate unless he has to, which leads to a minimum of pitches, and overall ease of the performance. Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw cannot help but look, listen and learn.

Lilly just looks in complete control on the mound. The back-to-back homers he surrendered in the second inning yesterday were more a result of sitting during the Dodgers long turn at bat after his own quick top of the first than anything else, and I wasn't concerned.

Ted Lilly, Dodger. I'd put his chances of coming back for 2011 at better than 50-50.

More importantly, the Dodgers have five solid starters for the first time this year, leaving no easy game for the opponent. They've added a pinch hitter, Rafael Furcal will be back soon enough, and with Jamey Carroll continuing to be a godsend, Raffy can afford to be conservative. Even George Sherrill is throwing the ball better.

Russell Martin's going down is a loss, to be sure, but Brad Ausmus and A.J. Ellis will contribute where they can. With even as much as a week of good baseball as evidence that the club is going to compete, if need be, Colletti will make a quick move to acquire a catcher. Brian Doumit, John Buck, or perhaps Ivan Rodriguez.

And forget what you're hearing about Martin's injuries leading to the end of his Dodger career. If anything, it's going to be easier for him to return.

No team is going to offer Martin much to catch under the current medical circumstances, and no team will have Los Angeles' skinny about his progress. He might be healthy in October, but it could be February for all we know. And the Dodgers don't have to deal with contract tendering until December.

It's conceivable Martin might have to switch to another position, like third base, or be a utility man for a time. And he might just become a better hitter, after getting out from under the workload his managers have insisted upon for most of his career. We'll talk about this more as we learn more. In the meantime, relax. The Dodgers and Russell Martin have reasons to stick together…

Latest on John Ely: Shield your eyes before looking at this line from Saturday night. One and two thirds innings, nine hits, eight earned runs, three walks, three strikeouts. Ely's AAA ERA now stands at 6.63. Albuquerque trailed 12-1 in the bottom of the sixth only to rally for a 13-12 victory over Sacramento. The winning pitcher, with three scoreless, was none other than Cory Wade…

Media Savvy: The view from Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire, re newly installed role player, Jason Repko, who's hitting .314 for the Twins.

Interesting piece from IBWAA founding member and YahooSports baseball writer Tim Brown, about our old punching bag, Paul DePodesta, who for all intents and purposes will always be remembered for saying he'd gladly "take nine Milton Bradleys" if given the chance.

To be fair, here's the entire quote, and a link to the AP story, which ran on June 4, 2004. I guess our being fair doesn’t actually benefit DePo in this instance, but we have to play the cards we're dealt now, don't we?

"When we traded for Milton, I think we knew everything that came along with it," DePodesta said. "We knew the past, we don't necessarily think that everything's going to be completely different because he came to a different place. That's fine. I would take nine Milton Bradleys if I could get them."

And thanks to IBWAA founding member and Los Angeles Daily News columnist Tom Hoffarth for passing along this beautiful story, which first ran on AP, as penned by John Curran. I'm inspired…

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

Remember, glove conquers all….


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