Off Base

Top Ten Things the Dodgers Must Do That, While Granted, Might be a Tad Challenging, Need to be Initiated Immediately - Like, Stat

May 20, 2008

1. Enough already with Andruw Jones. Enough. Getting excited about an RBI-ground out or a ten-pitch walk is folly. Center field needs to be addressed right now, to-day, im-med-i-ate-ly.

Yes, Jones can refuse a trip to Las Vegas, but it's time to ask him. There's no excuse for waiting a single solitary second longer. If he says yes, great; hallelujah.

Get him a room at Caesars, and reserve every last spa session on the schedule. Weight loss treatment, with round-the-clock monitoring of the food intake. Serious conditioning employed, along with sports psychology, yoga, and whatever the hell else they can come up with.

"Baseball activities," as they're referred to nowadays, ought to be the last thing on anybody's mind.

If Jones refuses, find a way to disable him. The Cards just did it with Jason Isringhausen, and there are always ways. Always.

Jones' is without question the single worst display of hitting by an L.A. starting player ever, and it simply has to end today. Jones needs to drop a minimum of 20 pounds, go back to square one, and should not put on the Dodger uniform again until he's ready. Not when, but if.

Addition by subtraction is an overused phrase, but the energy created by Jones' removal, however temporary, will be nearly incalculable.

While he's demoted or disabled, I think the club would agree that a little professional media training wouldn't be a waste of Jones' time either. He's making TJ Simers look like the sagest, most reasonable man on earth.

2. Actual qualified major leaguers only. With the club carrying two essentially full-time pinch hitters, and the serial overuse of Russell Martin, the Dodgers cannot afford the likes Yhency Brazoban, Chin-Lung Hu, and Gary Bennett all at the same time.

When you consider the better options available during the winter (Mike Lieberthal and Damian Miller, to name just two), and the knowledge of his steroid use, Bennett is the most glaring roster error of 2008. He doesn't play the position to the level necessary, and he certainly isn't worthy of a spot based on his bat. Sign a qualified reserve catcher. It's not that complicated.

3. If you think that interleague road play and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were the determining factors of the weekend vanquishing of the men in blue, think again.

With the starting pitching and fielding the team tossed out there, along with the mere presence of Andruw Jones, the Dodgers had plenty of reasons to lose the series. The Angels are good, but they're not that good.

4. Spend a thimble full more than major league minimum to bring in a solid utility infielder, one who can hit .250 and really play the field. Hu is not that person. At least, not today. There are such players out there. Go get one, and let him spell Jeff Kent a bit.

Contrary to opinions elsewhere, Kent is not done. He shouldn't be hitting cleanup, perhaps, and he needs pacing, but he's not done.

5. Get a real pitching coach. Rick Honeycutt is not a real pitching coach. Whatever it is that's wrong with Brad Penny and Derek Lowe, which is a ton, Honeycutt has less of an idea of what to do about it than is reasonable. And if Honeycutt can't fix it, and the myriad other concerns of Dodger pitching, then he ought to be replaced by someone who can.

Honeycutt is a guy who almost never has an answer to a problem. He's a guy under whom pitchers regress rather than progress, which in effect, makes him the Steve Lavin of Chavez Ravine.

And he's a guy with the longest losing streak in Dodgers history, at 12 games. Let's remember him for that, shall we, and promote Ken Howell from the minors, or bring in someone fresh.

6. Teach Derek Lowe the art of fielding. Sinkerballers are usually the best glove men among their peers. They have to be, or they take it in the shin, and the foot, and the chest, and the arm, and the noggin. Lowe is the exception to the rule, and is rarely in position to actually catch the baseball.

There's no need to wait until Greg Maddux gets traded back to the Dodgers in July. I'm sure Orel Hershiser will happily put himself at the club's disposal for such a worthy cause.

If the Lakers can use Kareem Abdul Jabbar to tutor the occasional needy center, to great success recently, the Dodgers can do something similar with one of their former stars. Help can be on the way. Call Orel today.

7. Forget all about Jason Schmidt coming back. It's not going to happen.

8. Rest Russell Martin. Period, exclamation point. If you don't like Gary Bennett backing up, replace him. It's not that complicated.

9. Fat is not acceptable. This is 2008, for Lasorda's sake! C'mon. All 750 big leaguers should be in condition to perform like professionals of the highest caliber.

Not that we care about what goes on in Milwaukee or San Diego or Tampa, but this is Los Angeles, for no-crying-in-baseball out loud! Fat is just not acceptable.

10. No more unsupervised free agent signing for Ned Colletti. Confiscate his calculator, pen and Jugs gun, if you must. Just don't let me out there in the deep water again without a lifeguard...

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Magowan's Legacy: Keeping the Giants in San Francisco and putting up a nice ballpark? Nope. Sorry, but no. Ignore every word coming out of the city about such things. A building can be a legacy, kinda, but it's not in this case.

I'm not going to regurgitate the entire Mitchell Report here, so let's just say Peter Magowan was one of the bad guys. There are a bleepload of them, yes, but comparing this bad guy to that bad guy to determine which bad guy is the badder of the bad guys is pointless. It's bad.

And we're not going to get into one of those lame "what did he know and when did he know it " exercises. Read the Mitchell Report, or just plain take my word for it. Magowan was one of the bad guys.

Oh wait; one more thing. Magowan helped extend the Giants' consecutive seasons without a championship to, and forgive me for including 2008 already, 54 years. 54! A grand total of zero for San Francisco. Add that to his list of accomplishments, will you please.

Cool Threads: Created in 2005 in response to the Angels name change, which we thought then and think now is retarded, No Angels tees took at least one county by storm then, and have been dusted off at Freeway Series time ever since. We sold all but the last handful during the weekend, and we're not going to re-up on our inventory. This is your last chance. Get 'em while the Dodgers aren't hot.

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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