Despite the fact that Andre Ethier apparently offered to give up his #16 jersey, Garret Anderson decided to go with number that suits him best: #00. The double-zero is appropriate because that’s exactly the amount of contribution I expect the Dodgers to receive from him.
That said, we’ve learned a bit about the competition for the last spot off the bench in the day or so since Anderson signed. Brian Giles’ knee is apparently responding so poorly that the expectation is that he’ll call it quits in the next week or so, according to Tony Jackson. Jackson also reveals this interesting note about Doug Mientkiewicz:
After dislocating his shoulder last season, Mientkiewicz said he no longer can make the throw across the diamond from third base, meaning he will be limited to playing first from now on.
That, at least to me, is new information. I hadn’t heard anything that suggested Eyechart’s injury was still affecting him that severely. Since this bench spot is apparently ticketed for someone who only fits the qualifications of “old and left-handed”, whether or not Eyechart can play anywhere other than 1B might not be a big deal. Still, one of the few reasons I liked him was because he did bring some nice versatility, and that appears to be gone.
So on that level, the signing of Anderson makes a little bit more sense, since Mientkiewicz isn’t what we thought and Giles may not even be in the competition. Yet what this also does is shine a light on the fact that the way the bench competition was structured this offseason was done so oddly that the team is now in a situation where Anderson may actually be the best option, just because they’re desperate for a lefty bench bat.
Simply put, it didn’t have to be this way. You could have been looking for the best bench option, rather than the best lefty bench option, and quite easily. They could have signed a lefty 4th outfielder (like the names I suggested, such as Randy Winn or Gabe Gross) rather than righty Reed Johnson, and it’s not even that I have a problem with Johnson, it’s just that it was an odd choice from the beginning to add another righty bat since it’s not like Johnson was a “must-have” addition. Or (and yes, I promised I’d stop harping on this) they could have added a lefty-hitting infielder like Felipe Lopez rather than Jamey Carroll. If either of those things happen, the Dodgers aren’t so desperate for a lefty bat that they’re going to choose between the old (Anderson), the old & infirm (Giles), and the old, infirm, & hard-to-spell (Mientkiewicz).
Of course, the correct option is right under our noses. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a lefty bat who’s likely to be as productive as any of these three, and not only won’t kill you in the outfield but has a strong arm and would be a great defensive caddy for Manny? Sounds like Xavier Paul to me, and as Jon astutely notes, the Dodgers have not had a good history with 35+ reserves. Let’s hope we don’t have to add another name to that list.