Normally, a minor-league hitting coach losing his job isn’t something I’d spend much time on. However, I was taken aback by what former Isotope hitting coach John Moses told Tony Jackson about why he was let go:
“They said it was because [Dodgers prospect] Xavier Paul didn’t improve in the outfield,” said Moses, who also had the responsibility of working with outfielders at the Dodgers’ Triple-A Albuquerque affiliate. “I was shocked, let’s put it that way. A lot of people were. I think the job I did spoke for itself, if you look at the things that happened offensively over the last three years. … But the way I look at it is, it’s their loss.”
Now, I have no idea if Moses did a good job, and neither do you – though Paul did have some outfield adventures in his short time with the Dodgers. It’s kind of shocking to a specific player’s skill called out like that, though, isn’t it? That’s probably a conversation the Dodgers would have preferred to remain private, though perhaps the public nature will motivate Paul to improve.
As you’ve probably seen, the Dodgers elected to pick up their half of Scott Podsednik‘s mutual 2011 option today. He has until midnight Thursday to decide to stay in Los Angeles for a $2m salary or test free agency. You don’t need me to remind you how lousy he was for the Dodgers, or how much I don’t want to see him back. Fortunately, most observers seem to think he’ll turn down the option and look elsewhere. If he remains, well, Ken Gurnick has some ideas about his role:
With Matt Kemp in center field and Andre Ethier in right, Podsednik could be the starter in left field, work in a platoon with Casey Blake if the Dodgers acquire a power-hitting third baseman or be a fourth outfielder if the Dodgers acquire a power bat to play left.
Obviously, Podsednik as an everyday starter would be a disaster, and moving Blake to left field seems unlikely. As a 4th outfielder, though? I suppose you could do worse as a guy with a bit of speed off the bench, though he’s a poor defensive outfielder. For $2m, it’s not the end of the world, but what I do find most interesting is what that’d mean for the makeup of the roster. Like Ethier, Podsednik’s a lefty batter. Most think that Jay Gibbons will have a spot, and Paul’s out of options, so something will need to be done with him as well. Certainly, not all of these guys are going to make the roster, but they’re all lefties, so if Podsednik does return, that may be the end of Paul as a Dodger right there.