Surgery for Jerry Hairston Changes Infield Equation

I don’t want to talk about the hideous sweep the Dodgers just suffered at the hands of the Giants – and let it not be forgotten that the most likely path to the playoffs runs through the NL West rather than the wild card, so beating the Giants would seem to be somewhat important – and neither do you, so let’s not talk about it.

Instead, let’s talk about the ripple effect the somewhat unexpected news that Jerry Hairston is now out for the year following hip surgery has on the infield. (And despite how pleasant of a surprise Hairston was this year, he’s only going to end up playing in 78 games thanks to multiple injuries, once again showing the risk of signing veteran players in their mid-to-late 30s.)

When we talked about whether or not it mattered that Dee Gordon was getting healthy earlier this week, part of the discussion was predicated on the fact that Hairston’s injury was relatively minor, and on a team with a relatively set lineup which didn’t have a huge need for a traditional utilityman, he would be available to share time at third with Luis Cruz and/or be a safety net should the Cruz fantasy fall apart suddenly. That being the case, and since Hairston couldn’t play shortstop and Gordon was hardly necessary to slot back in, it made sense to keep the current configuration of Hanley Ramirez at short and Cruz at third.

Now… now, I’m not so sure about that. Ramirez hasn’t been awful at short, but he’s clearly a below-average defender there, and Cruz is average-to-above at the position. I think we’d all agree that the best defensive configuration would be to swap the two, and Hairston’s absence changes the equation going forward, because now, you pretty much have to play Cruz & Ramirez every day. Hairston’s not coming back. Juan Uribe barely exists and keeps his job only because of continued injuries to others. Adam Kennedy is a space-filler at best. Alex Castellanos can’t be counted on defensively yet, especially not in a pennant race. That means Cruz & Ramirez are your left side of the infield, and that being the case there’s a pretty solid argument to be made to play them where they best serve the defense. As we’ve seen just in the last few days, even poor defense that doesn’t get marked as errors can still hurt a team.

None of this changes what we said about Gordon the other day, of course. No matter how they’re positioned on the field, if someone’s losing playing time in order to get Gordon back on the field, it’s not going to be Ramirez. It’s going to be Cruz, and with solid defense along with two more hits last night, there’s absolutely no argument to be made for Gordon to be taking time away from Cruz right now. (“I’ll take sentences I never thought I’d write for $600, Alex.”)

So in the short term, it seems a swap would be a better defensive pairing. In the long term, it allows for easier slotting if Cruz does fall apart, because I’d rather have Gordon at shortstop (with Ramirez at third) than Kennedy & Uribe at third (with Ramirez at shortstop). The one thing I’ll admit that we cannot know is how much Ramirez enjoys playing shortstop and what the effect might be on him if he was moved; all indications are that he would be flexible to such a move, but he is hitting well and there’s always the thought that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

It might not be broken, and it probably won’t matter if other people don’t start hitting. In a race that seems likely to come down to the final day, however, even the slightest improvements matter, and this might be an easy way to give the defense a boost.

1122 comments
Hi
Hi

you all probably remember this but ... Cruz was brought up BEFORE Gordon was hurt to give him some 'mental days.' The fact is that Gordon was a below average ML shorstop and needed to be replaced for defense alone.

Dang88
Dang88

Trade will probably happen tomorrow Beckett can't leave without asking his beer

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

seriously. who the fuck claimed upton????

Frank J Lapidus
Frank J Lapidus

Ok I'm back...did Ned acquire all the Boston Red Sox yet?

Deuce (is loose)
Deuce (is loose)

The only important question I have regarding this trade:  Will Beefalo survive it?

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

This makes the Dodgers a very old team, doesn't it? We are going to need youth someplace. 

Dang88
Dang88

@truebluela: RT @nickcafardo: Source: Sox will have to wait approval of whether Josh Beckett will waive no trade. Indications are he will.

Danny H
Danny H

I feel like Boston is going to throw in $100 million. And if that's true, I like the deal. The next 3-4 years is the dodgers time to go for it. You have Kemp in his prime, Kershaw in his prime, Hanley in his hopefully return to prime, and some very good years from A Gon. Rubby, ya I love him, but he's still a big unknown. You never know. Same with Webster. We overvalue Sands because we know him (not saying he's bad, just that we overvalue him). Ya, its a big risk, but in my opinion one that was worth the shot.

TaintsnifferMcGillicutty
TaintsnifferMcGillicutty

The Giants have the easier schedule down the stretch, 3GB, i guess they thought the FA pool wasn't that great and they have a better shot of going deep into this postseason. It's not like they were going to ever give Sands a chance, plus A-GON! Sure it's a lot of money but it's still better than another pointless Ned deal. I'm gonna go buy a cigar! Looks like i saved my voucher for the right time woooot

Kewldood69
Kewldood69

Over/under on Beckett hitting up Roscoe's tonight? (Sorry, that was bad.)

davstein48
davstein48

Fenway not a good park for Lefty power hitters like Loney. But wait, If he can just get a little more distance on his pop ups to left they would be off the wall for doubles.

MSTIer: Jake
MSTIer: Jake

Everyone needs to just calm the fuck down. This is a minor league system that still has Chris Reed, Corey Seager, Yasiel Puig, Zach Lee, and that phenom 2nd round pick. There will be picks and new guys out of nowhere every year. I understand Rubby is a special talent and Im gonna miss him, but the idea that we "are sacrificing our future" is ridiculous. 

Deuce (is loose)
Deuce (is loose)

Ned held out for Punto, and got him.  He's happy.  GRIT!

MFYG (MSTY Dankest Brog 2013)
MFYG (MSTY Dankest Brog 2013)

trying to talk myself into this, obviously because i have absolutely no choice:

more pitching available this year in the offseason and no 1B on the market?

fuck it, i can't right now.

Kewldood69
Kewldood69

Where's Hee Sop Choi when you need him? (Sorry, I don't know what this means either.)

AJ to Hall
AJ to Hall

Dodgers most affected by this deal: Rivera, Loney (obviously), Victorino, Blanton.... and dodger fans from about 2014 on. A fire sale of great prospects is never a good idea. 

DBrim
DBrim moderator

 @VietnamDodger I would say that it doesn't matter but I don't know anything about anything anymore.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

 @Deuce We have 3 people needing spots on the 25-man, with one open spot.  Castle option, Uribe DFA, League DL?

DBrim
DBrim moderator

 @Dang88 It would be hilarious if he said no, just to stick it to the Sox.

TheWerg
TheWerg

 @JakeHorvitz Exactly what I'm saying. Our farm system is looking basically the same as it did before. Now our major league team is a lot more imposing, though

TaintsnifferMcGillicutty
TaintsnifferMcGillicutty

 @JakeHorvitz Most prospects don't even work out. So people were crying to get rid of Mccourt for so long for somebody who can spend money and now they're crying yet again when we upgraded our roster?

Crow T Robot
Crow T Robot

@DBrim @Deuce Keep Castle for OF backup and DFA Rivera (wishful thinking)

Dang88
Dang88

@AJ to Hall @DBrim @el serracho After the world series win?

Dang88
Dang88

@JohnM @el serracho I need to know all details