Seven More Days Until Life Matters Again

Exactly 7 days from the time I’m starting to write this (save a minute or two), Brad Penny will kick off the 2008 Dodgers season with a first pitch to.. who’s leading off for the Giants these days? Dave Roberts, I guess? Man, it’s going to be a brutal season by the bay.

Which means we’re down to what I consider to be one of the most fun parts about being a Dodger fan: roster decisions. Really, except for the last spot out of the pen, and whether or not out-of-options guys like Delwyn Young and Hong-Chih Kuo stick (smart money says: both do), this roster is pretty much settled. The question is the same question that’s been asked for weeks: will the Dodgers acquire an infielder due to the injuries piling up to Nomar, LaRoche, and Kent?¬†For most of the last few weeks, I would have said they’d certainly get at least someone for depth – of the names mentioned, I was particularly intrigued by Esteban German. I also liked Mark DeRosa, who had been linked to the Dodgers by exactly nobody but me, but since the Brian Roberts deal still isn’t any closer to completion it’s unlikely the Cubs would move him.

We’ve been through a litany of unattractive options (Crede, Inge, Belliard) around here, but let’s add another to the fire, thanks to the Rocky Mountain News:

Veteran second baseman Marcus Giles, signed to a minor league contract, said he was told Sunday he will not make the team. There were indications he will be given a chance to make another team.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have shown some interest in light of injuries that have sidelined second baseman Jeff Kent (hamstring) and their two third base candidates, Andy LaRoche (torn right wrist ligament) and Nomar Garciaparra (broken bone in his right hand).

Can we just say “no” to this right now? I know, I know: we’re in a bit of a spot here, Giles is just free talent (low cost in salary, zero cost in players), and for a fill-in we can’t expect to be getting an All-Star. Fine. But do you want to see something really, really scary?

Marcus Giles OPS, 2005-072003-07-12-inside-prior-gil.jpg
2005: .826
2006: .728
2007: .621

That’s not just bad: that’s frightening. That’s 100 points a year. If current trends continue, by 2013 he’ll somehow be in negative OPS, or as we call it around here, Grabowski-land. Seriously, though, not only is he looking like an offensive zero, but he’s strictly a second baseman. Why bother getting infield depth if he can only handle one of the two spots we need? I chose the picture at right not to make him look bad – the statistics do that just fine – but mostly for the classic look on current Dodger Rafael Furcal’s face, which I believe is roughly translated as, “I don’t know what’s worse – the concussion he’s currently getting, or the idea that 5 years from now we might be reunited after his career has fallen off a cliff.” Not only that, in 2004, he collided with Atlanta’s center fielder, causing serious injuries, including a broken collarbone for Giles. That center fielder, of course, was new Dodger Andruw Jones. Do we really need another guy with a proven history of hurting his own teammates? I think the one we have is more than enough.

In a somewhat related note, if you’ve been following our hallowed minor leaguers and drooling at the stats, check out Giles’ absolutely insane line as a 20-year old in A ball, in 1998: .329/.433/.636 37hr 108rbi. He slugged .636; last year in the bigs he couldn’t even combine his OBP and SLG to get there.

As we move closer to the start of the season, I think it’s now more likely that the Dodgers won’t go out and get anybody. Tony Abreu seems to be healthy enough to handle duties at 2B and 3B, Jeff Kent likely will be ready within the first week of the season, and Chin-Lung Hu may get a shot at each position as well. There’s no one out there who’s really a huge upgrade over these guys; why not give them a shot and not give up anyone in the process?

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

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