February 3, 2010, 10:22 a.m. That's slow, old, fat and tall, if you're scoring.
Previously, on "This Week in the Dodgers Get Slow, Old and Fat," and with some seriously-reinforced fishing equipment, the club reeled in Ronnie Belliard. Definitely slow, old and fat (tipping the scales at something more than 209 pounds, how much more no one knows), but certainly not tall, at just 5' 8."
But OK, if Belliard has been brought in to pinch hit primarily, as I've been told he has, then fine. He can do that fat.
Next thing you know, Los Angeles is in talks with Garret Anderson, who's slow and old, but tall (at 6' 3" easy), and who wouldn't be a good fourth outfielder because, well, if you're paying attention, in addition to being a left fielder only, is slow and old.
But, credit where credit is due. Ned Colletti and company went out and found the best fourth outfielder available, signing Reed Johnson, late of the Chicago Cubs. No flimsy reed, Johnson is a great defensive player and can easily handle all three spots. He's essentially Jason Repko, but with a better bat and substantial major league experience. I'm happy, and you will be too.
Don't buy into this crap about Johnson not being able to hit right-handers. Just because a guy's numbers are sub-par in a particular statistical category at certain times during his career, doesn't make it a character flaw.
Yes, Johnson hit just .206 against righties last year. BFD. It was a down year generally, and we're talking 96 at bats. Not completely meaningless, but almost.
Johnson hit .280 against right-handers in 186 ABs in 2008, .316 against them in 297 ABs in 2006, .262 in 233 in '05, and is at .260 lifetime in 1665 at bats.
He's going to be great subbing for Manny on a regular basis while spelling Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp every so often. And I promise you he'll be a fan favorite by mid-April.
Neither slow, nor old, nor fat, nor tall. The Reed Johnson signing is a coup for the Dodgers.
As for second base, obviously I wasn't crazy about the Belliard move, and I still say Orlando Hudson is the far superior player, and was for most of last year. But I'll let it go now, finally, and turn my thoughts to the guys in-house.
The Dodgers are going to give Blake DeWitt every chance to win the job in Spring Training, and I think the team is pulling for him to do so. As am I. He doesn't need to tear the cover off the ball or run into walls to make it happen. A March average of .265 or so, with a handful of extra base hits, and some steady play around the bag ought to do it. Anything more is gravy.
From there, DeWitt simply needs to look like a major leaguer to a keep at least a platoon's share of the position, most likely along with Jamey Carroll.
So let's give the club a break on this one. Maybe you can't have an All-Star at every position. The club is coming together with some fine additions. And they're moving on from SOFT. Definitely a good thing…
Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…
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A mini-tournament to benefit the Dodgers Dream Foundation, the Dodgertown Classic pits Vanderbilt and Oklahoma State, February 28 at 10 a.m., and USC vs. UCLA in the "night-cap," at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are just five bucks if purchased in advance…
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Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…
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Remember, glove conquers all….
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