Off Base
Mets Supply the Tonic

July 26, 2010, 3:30 p.m. Who needs performance-enhancing drugs when the New York Mets are available? Talk about your cure-all.

With a bad manager (see Jerry Manuel walking Garret Anderson to get to, well, anybody) and a really bad general manager (see Omar Minaya, pick your topic); man, is this bad team.

The Dodgers get a we'll-take-it three out of four weekend series victory over the Queens team, and a solid 48 hours for Ned Colletti to improve the club heading into a big three-game set in San Diego.

I'm not as concerned with the recent lack of offense as I am the steps taken to do something about it. All teams – all teams – go through spells like this during a season, and I think the Dodgers are a better hitting club than they've shown recently. Call it the "dog days of August," in July.

I also believe the streaky Andre Ethier will come around soon. That in and of itself will be like a mid-season trade for a star player.

But the Dodgers are carrying around more dead weight than they ought to, and you simply cannot win a pennant without making obvious changes. By my count, 25% of the roster fits into the dead weight (or thoroughly unqualified to be here) category: Garret Anderson, Ronnie Belliard, James McDonald, George Sherrill and Jack Taschner.

McDonald and Taschner will probably be replaced by week's end, but with Sherrill saying he's found a flaw in his mechanics yet again, don't count on any literal or figurative relief there anytime soon.

Anderson could be replaced by free agent Gary Matthews, Jr. quickly, and it's worth considering.

Matthews just finished a stint at AAA Louisville with a .317 average and a .361 OBP, and while I understand we're talking the minors, it's impossible for him not to be better than GA. Plus, you get switch-hitting, speed and excellent defense at all three outfield spots. For major league minimum.

I'm more intrigued by Jim Edmonds, who's seems rejuvenated after a year on the sidelines. It would take a trade to get him from Milwaukee, where he's hitting .286, with seven homers in 217 at bats, but I think the Brewers would let him go to a contender for a marginal prospect. Again; easy to acquire, great defense and a small salary. An almost perfect bench player for the stretch run.

Oh, and there's this little thing called "postseason experience." Edmonds has played in 14 October series, with a .274, .361 and .513, to go along with 13 homers and 42 RBIs. I'd really like to see Edmonds in Los Angeles, as opposed to say, St. Louis.

Belliard might be more difficult to replace, but the new man doesn't necessarily have to be a second baseman. He ought to bring at least one thing to the team, however, whether it be hitting, fielding, or the ability to steal a base or get a bunt down. Belliard currently does none of those things. I'd take Juan Castro if need be, and he's looking for a job.

But enough with the patient approach. Colletti should make moves on Anderson and Belliard immediately, in time for Petco…

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

More Importantly, Pitching: Despite the chatter about Roy Oswalt's staying in Houston, I really do think he's going to be traded, and that the Dodgers have a legitimate chance.

I continue to say that Oswalt's 2012 option is not a deal breaker, and that it's a good thing that 2011 is part of his deal. And I'm sorry, but Oswalt is a much better pitcher at this point in time than Dan Haren. The Angels blew that one.

There is zero chance of Ethier, James Loney or Matt Kemp being involved, but Ivan DeJesus, Scott Elbert, John Ely, Dee Gordon, Aaron Miller or Chris Withthrow, or two of the above just might get the Astros to bite. It's absolutely doable, and I think both teams will be motivated to agree to something like this.

If all else fails, the Dodgers will and should be happy to "settle" for Ted Lilly or Livan Hernandez, or to a lesser extent, Jake Westbrook.

And lookout for a trade coming completely out of nowhere, one that hasn't been rumored or even considered in the media…

The Hall with It!! Just a reminder, that with Andre Dawson and Whitey Herzog being inducted into the Hall of Fame yesterday, the IBWAA selected Bert Blyleven in its second annual election in January.

While I did not vote for him myself, I can see the reasoning behind Dawson's selection. So congrats to the Hawk.

Whitey Herzog, on the other, no. Here's what I said in an earlier column on the matter:

For all the criticism the old writers group takes for its Hall of Fame voting, and an Internet association has been created as an alternative (results announced January 5, 2010), they're considerably better at it than the Veterans Committee, which really doesn't have a clue.

This time out, the Joe Morgan-led vets elected umpire Doug Harvey and manager Whitey Herzog. Umps get in based on personality primarily, so as far as Harvey is concerned, all I can say is "whatever."

Putting aside the wisdom of electing a manager with but one World Series win on his resume, and the discussion of whether or not that opens the door to dozens of other men, Herzog is as over-rated a manager as they come. But like Harvey, and for that matter, Tommy Lasorda, Whitey had a way about him.

And I apologize for the obligatory "if so-and-so is in, then so-and-so also has to get in" line, but if Herzog is a Hall of Famer, than what about Danny Murtaugh? And how about some consistency, veterans? Bill Mazeroski's a Hall of Famer, while his manager, with two – count em – two rings to his name, is on the outside looking in?

Herzog managed four teams while being fired twice, won 1281 games, with a winning percentage of .532. Murtaugh managed one club, the Pittsburgh Pirates, for 15 seasons over 19 years, left on his own accord, with a lifetime mark of 1115-950, a winning percentage of .540, and of course, World Series wins in 1960 and 1971.

The former gets a shrine at Cooperstown because, well, he's alive and can politic on his own behalf. The latter doesn't because he's no longer with us and is forgotten by men who should know better – and as a matter of course just don't."

Don't Look Now: At one time being mentioned in this space in the same breath as Bob Gibson, Ubaldo Jimenez has given up 28 earned runs in the 33 innings of last six starts. That's a 7.63 ERA. Meanwhile, the Rockies have lost six straight, to fall two games behind the Dodgers for third place in the NL West…

Media Savvy: Nice piece of writing, as always, by IBWAA founding member Tim Brown, of YahooSports, about Joe Torre and Lou Piniella.

And an good read about the meaning of 600 home runs, from Joe Posnanski, at…

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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