The WBC Might Actually Affect the Left Side of the Dodger Infield

hanley_smilesI haven’t talked that much about the World Baseball Classic because I don’t really find it all that interesting, and there’s no Dodgers on the American roster anyway. That said, there are seven Dodgers representing other nations — including 75% of the projected infield — and Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times makes some cogent points about what that time away from camp means for Hanley Ramirez.

To help him better reacquaint himself at short — the Miami Marlins had moved him to third last season after they acquired Jose Reyes –  the Dodgers wanted him to play short during winter ball.

But Ramirez suffered an early minor shoulder injury playing in Puerto Rico and ended up a designated hitter, not playing short or anywhere in the field. And now he’ll potentially miss most of spring training – and he’s unlikely to play any shortstop for the Dominicans.

Reyes figures to be their starting shortstop. And with Adrian Beltre at third and Robinson Cano at second, Ramirez is likely looking at DHing yet again. Plus, the Dominicans have strong-fielding Erick Aybar as the backup at short. The Dominicans list Ramirez as a third baseman.

As Dilbeck goes on to note, this is seemingly bad news for the Dodgers, given that the shortstop who needs to work on his defense isn’t actually going to play much shortstop at all before the season — potentially returning to camp only a week before the season starts if the Dominicans make it to the finals.

On the other hand, I do wonder if it’s an opportunity. If the main argument towards keeping Ramirez at shortstop is simply the worry that he won’t want to return to third, being able to point out that he was unable to show any improvement defensively this winter — which the Dodgers made clear they needed to see — would seem to be a pretty convincing selling point. Hell, perhaps that’s been the plan all along; as we’ve argued all winter long, if you’re going to go into the season with a left side of Ramirez & Luis Cruz, then there is just no justification for not putting Cruz at shortstop.

Now that being said… Cruz was horrible in his own stint in winter ball, hitting .184/.213/.398 in 75 plate appearances, and he’ll be away from camp for a while as well, joining Adrian Gonzalez on a potentially strong Mexican team. If Cruz & Ramirez are both absent, that may give Dee Gordon a stretch of two weeks or more where he’s the only shortstop in town. (Which, by the way, get ready for a bunch of infields that feature Nick Evans / Mark Ellis / Gordon / Dallas McPherson during the spring).

I’ve been pretty clear about my desire to see Gordon back in Albuquerque fine-tuning his game this season, but I also acknowledge that he’s probably the only way we’re going to avoid a lineup that has Ramirez at short & Cruz at third. That span of time might be Gordon’s last best chance to show that he’s a contributor this year — though, again, I don’t think he is.

Not that I think he’ll take advantage of it, of course, but the opportunity could at least be there. And if not? Please, please, just swap Cruz & Ramirez. It shouldn’t be that complicated.

142 comments
designatedave
designatedave

Why are we letting Hanley play in the WBC? Aren't we paying him enough to focus on preparing for this upcoming season at SS.

Guitar
Guitar

"During one particular tirade with an umpire, Weaver headed to the dugout  screaming, 'I'm going to check the rule-book on that' to which the  umpire replied, 'Here, use mine.' Weaver shot back, 'That's no good - I  can't read Braille.'"

 

HAHAHAHAHA. Effing brilliant.

 

RIP, dude.

*VND*
*VND*

Someone created an Uribe twitter acct

Jobu
Jobu

I have been a big fan of Dee.  With proper training on being more patient at the plate and keeping focus when at SS -- he really has the potential to be a big contributer to the team.  He was pushed too early, but that does not mean his potential cannot be realized.

*VND*
*VND*

GuitarBilly is back on MSTI. I hate you

*VND*
*VND*

I wasnt even invited to this fuckin party

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

I don't want to fret about the SS and 3B situation. Why wont they let me not fret?!?!

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

I wish @dbrim were here. I want him to know that it was a little too hot on my bike ride today. 

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

Hey what version do you prefer? Yellow Lego heads or flesh color ones for Dodger players?

Lobo
Lobo

 @Scruffy Since VND brought up video games, what are some of your favorites?

*VND*
*VND*

Persona 4. Worth it or no?

*VND*
*VND*

Haha i swear its not me.

*VND*
*VND*

Yeah apparently there a casino with blackjack

MSTIer: Jake
MSTIer: Jake

 @Lobo  @Scruffy gtas, ratchet and clank, jak and daxter (only the first one), pokemon, uncharted, super smash bros melee, mlb the shows, and kingdom hearts is my all time favorite game

*VND*
*VND*

I can see that. Haha

*VND*
*VND*

I thought LBP wouldve been a nice rec. since it changed how communities interact with the platform

*VND*
*VND*

I wasnt a big fan of Shadow actually

*VND*
*VND*

Ah i meant the vita! Good catch. Yea its for a guy.

*VND*
*VND*

The one for the PSP i think. Im gonna give it as a gift

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

 @Disgruntled Goat  I miss having it at Moscone up here. So much easier. Now I have to budget and plan if I can go. Might be either this or ST. : /

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

 @EephusBlue when-ish? spring or summer? anaheim convention center is like 6 miles from my house. 

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

 @Disgruntled Goat  U should check it out this year. Gonna be in Anaheim again. Im debating if I should trek down

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

 @Disgruntled Goat  Also why I like Wondercon. Not crazy huge like Comicon but still big enough to have interesting and big name things

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

 @EephusBlue i've never been to any cons..cept bike industry stuff. but only cus i'm disinclined towards crowds. 

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

 @Disgruntled Goat  Y'know thats why I like Wondercon. Everyone gets to geek out and be total dorks. For the most part no one attending judges them. Just people having a good time

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

 @Disgruntled Goat  I am torn with that. I hate applying colors. People bitched that the commercially available Matt Kemp is too pale

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

 @EephusBlue Ummm well, we have different races represented, so i'm not sure how it places out. For whitey, maybe go traditional lego yellow.