Our First NRI Bites the Dust

And to no one’s surprise…

Brian Giles announced his retirement today. (via Dylan Hernandez)

This hardly comes out of the blue, as we’ve been hearing for about a week now that Giles’ knee just wasn’t allowing him to perform, which largely precipitated the signing of Garret Anderson. We haven’t seen Anderson play yet, but if he’s got anything left (and doesn’t totally embarrass himself in his experiment of trying to play 1B) he seems to have an excellent chance to make the team.

This also means that the post I wrote last week

I don’t think he’s got much of a shot to make the Opening Day roster, so in all likelihood his official line will never show that he played for the Dodgers, and it’ll be all but forgotten. Yet, this picture will always be out there, haunting us, proving that it almost happened.

…came true. It didn’t happen… yet it happened. Look over to the “Non Roster Invite” section on the right sidebar, and you’ll see the results of the most enjoyable <strike></strike> code a man has ever written.

Garret Anderson Chooses an Appropriate Number

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.

This Is Never Going to Feel Okay

You know how it feels really odd to see those late-career images of guys like Joe Namath as a Ram, or Willie Mays as a Met? That’s how I felt when perusing the spring training wire today to find this image of Brian Giles in a Dodger uni. The same guy who led those pesky 2006-08 Padres teams that always seemed to beat the Dodgers (you know, when he wasn’t busy beating up his girlfriend) is now wearing the glorious Dodger blue.

I don’t think he’s got much of a shot to make the Opening Day roster, so in all likelihood his official line will never show that he played for the Dodgers, and it’ll be all but forgotten. Yet, this picture will always be out there, haunting us, proving that it almost happened.

Brian Giles. A Dodger. Just can’t wrap my head around it.

Dodgers Sign Brian Giles 4 Years Too Late

Is it just me, or have the Dodgers signed about three times as many veterans to minor-league deals as usual? I half expect to see Lenny Harris, Tim Teufel, and Paul O’Neill coming in next. The trend continues with today’s entry in “Who Can Be the Most Old and Busted?”, Brian Giles, reports Ken Gurnick at Dodgers.com.

As you’d probably expect, I don’t have particularly high hopes for Giles to stick. He’s 39, hit just .191 last season – when he wasn’t missing half the year with an arthritic right knee, because “arthritic” is always a word you want to hear when it comes to elderly outfielders – and is a lousy defender, ranking below-average in UZR at all three outfield spots over his career.

That said, 2009 was the first year of Giles’ career in which he had a below-average OPS, and his 2008 was actually pretty good – .306/.398/.456 in 653 plate appearances, so what the hell – toss him a few spring training at-bats and see if he can be the 5th outfielder/main lefty power bat. Since there’s no guarantee here, it’s probably worth the time to see. Not that I really think he has anything left.

What really interests me, though, is Gurnick’s mention of Ned Colletti’s previous interest in Giles:

Giles nearly was general manager Ned Colletti’s first acquisition after he took over the Dodgers in the winter of 2005, but the San Diego native re-signed with the Padres and Colletti turned to shortstop Rafael Furcal.

Oh, what could have been! Between 2006-08, Giles hit .280/.378/.423 in the batting graveyard of PetCo Park, but more importantly, if Colletti had spent big money on a free agent outfielder for 2006, it might have saved us all the pain of the Juan Pierre era.