I brought the site back for this?!

Aaannnd… we’re back, after some site issues.
Hey, so who wants to tell me what the hell is going on? After a brutal sweep at the hands of Arizona, the Blue now sit 4 games _41444275_baseball_getty416.jpgout of first and are actually closer to 4th place, only 1.5 games ahead of the Rockies. They’ve lost 5 series in a row. Jeff Kent is hurt, and his nominal successor, Tony Abreu, hasn’t played in weeks down in Vegas due to his own injury. The pitching staff is in shambles. The kids have stopped hitting. Grady Little is running Russell Martin into the ground. Dodger Stadium is infested with rats! Okay – that last one is actually someone else’s problem. But still, the way things are going, it wouldn’t surprise me if locusts descended on Chavez Ravine.
 So, what can be done about this? I’ve put together a handy list of things the Dodgers should do yesterday to stem this tide of ineptitude while it’s not too late.
1. DFA Ramon Martinez, promote Wilson Valdez.
Obviously, I’d prefer this to be Tony Abreu, but he’s still injured, and I’m talking about moves that are more.. now-ish. Wilson Valdez is by no means the savior of the 2007 Dodgers, but the man’s doing pretty damned well for himself in AAA, putting up a .329/.387/.420 line. As we saw when he started the season with the Dodgers, he’s often solid and sometimes spectacular defensively, and he can play just about anywhere except for 1B and catcher. Basically, this is less about extolling the virtues of Wilson Valdez, and more about getting rid of the Wrong Ramon Martinez (or, as the brilliant posters at Dodger Thoughts dubbed him, “Lucille II“, which is a joke you either think is fantastic, or you just don’t get in any way). Martinez, now forced to start 5 games in a row with Kent sidelined, is hitting a robust .174/.238/.207. I just bought a new laptop, and typing that line in nearly made it throw up on itself.
 2. DFA Big Sexy, promote Andy LaRoche
Look, I love Big Sexy. I do. He’s been one of my favorite Dodgers for nearly 4 years now. But the man is done. Cooked. Like the bacon he so obviously loves. He’s only hitting .179, and while I know that since he plays so rarely it’s hard to judge based on that, he just doesn’t look the same at the plate. His bat is slow, and even against lefties, which he used to feast on like a delicious breakfast ham, he’s been even worse – just 5 hits all year for a .152 average. LaRoche, on the other hand – assuming the back soreness which has sidelined him for a few games is as mild as is thought – has been red-hot in Vegas. He hit .415/.490/.939 with 11 home runs – in July. Call him up, let him win the job from Nomar, make Nomar the new Big Sexy.  
3. DFA Brett Tomko, promote Eric Hull. (Note: while “DFA” means “designate for assignment” in the earlier points, here it means “Death From Above!”)
This would require moving D.J. Houlton into the rotation. Here’s how bad Brett Tomko has been; despite the paucity of pitching talent available anywhere, I still don’t want him on this team. He’s beyond the point of turning his season around; he won’t fetch anything via trade; and he’s not signed for next year. He doesn’t give the team a chance to win when he starts, and he pouts and is awful out of the pen. As with Valdez, Houlton is not “the answer” here. But here’s just an example of why this would be a step in the right direction – in 2005, Houlton was a Rule V pitcher forced to stay in the bigs on a crappy team all season, even though he was clearly unprepared. Predictably, he was bad – 5.16 ERA, 1.277 WHIP, 86 ERA+. Brett Tomko this season? 5.56 ERA, 1.573 WHIP, 79 ERA+. Fancy veteran Brett Tomko is worse than a Rule V pitcher. While Houlton’s no stud, he’s clearly improved since 2005, making him: better than Brett Tomko.
There’s other moves I’d have in mind, but for now, that’s enough to both shake up the boat and get some younger, more talented players involved. And if that doesn’t work? Well, I hear Arte’s got a bit of a rat problem. But he’s also got a first place team. Smells like causation to me!

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