MSTI’s 2010 in Review: Second Base

Blake DeWitt (C)
.270/.352/.371 .723 1hr 1.1 WAR

I know a lot of people focused on the fact that DeWitt hit just one homer as a Dodger, and I won’t act as though that’s acceptable. But note that his OPS was .723, and then realize that James Loney and Casey Blake, playing the more traditional power positions of 1B and 3B, ended up at .723 and .727, respectively. If DeWitt wasn’t the answer, nor was he high on the list of problems.

After winning the second base job with a strong camp, DeWitt had just two extra-base hits (both doubles) in April, though he made up for it with an excellent .382 OBP. Despite ridiculous rumors that he’d be sent down in May, he managed to increase his OPS each month of the season he was with LA, from .681 in April to .745 in July.

In June, I noted that I was impressed with his gradual progression:

Just as I was about to write a post saying that while I’m pleased with Blake DeWitt‘s play this year, sooner or later he’s going to have to show some power, he crushes a three-run shot deep into the night, setting in motion a much-needed offensive showing by the Dodgers in a 12-4 win.  DeWitt’s got an .801 OPS since May 1, along with an improving glove, but he hadn’t been able to leave the yard until last night.

Though the various fielding metrics ranked him from average to slightly below, it was clear that all the hard work he’d put into the position switch was paying off, because the DeWitt we saw in July was far ahead of the DeWitt we saw in April.

Now, let’s be clear. He’s likely never going to be an All-Star, and I think his ceiling is as a solid everyday player with a good OBP and a bit of pop. Still, there’s value in that, especially considering he was just 24, and so you can imagine why I was so disappointed when he was dealt to Chicago in the Ted Lilly deal for the useless Ryan Theriot, who you’ll be reading more about in a second:

I can’t express my disappointment in this enough, and I don’t even like DeWitt all that much. I think he’s done a decent job, but with absolutely zero power and defense that’s average at best, he’s not really proving himself to be a piece you build around. I just want to repeat that; the Dodgers are giving up someone I’m not an enormous fan of, and this is still a big mistake.

I suppose that’s a topic we’ll get into more in the Ned Colletti review, though. As for DeWitt, between his miraculous initial success as the emergency Opening Day 3B in 2008, resurrection as the playoff second baseman later that year, driver of the LA-to-ABQ express in 2009, and fulltime second baseman in 2010, DeWitt built quite the career into his relatively short time in LA. He will be missed.

Ryan Theriot (F)
.242/.323/.283 .606 1hr -0.1 WAR

In what you’ll soon see is a recurring theme in these reviews, I’m trying not to blame the player for the misguided decisions of others. It’s not Ryan Theriot‘s fault that he was part of the regrettable Blake DeWitt/Ted Lilly deal, and it’s not his fault that Joe Torre insisted on hitting him 2nd all the time. And I’ll even admit that (probably in large part due to low expectations) I was pleasantly surprised with his defense at second base.

But it is Theriot’s fault that he made a lousy impression by getting on base just three times in his first eighteen plate appearances as a Dodger, and it’s definitely his fault that he started September on a 2-29 skid on his way to hitting .159/.260/.159 for the month. It is fault that his Dodger OPS was about 120 points less than even DeWitt’s modest mark, and it certainly doesn’t help that his last extra base hit of the season was a double on August 26th.

Really, I already went into detail about how awful Theriot is when I noted him in our arbitration decisions series, so let’s revisit that quickly:

Where should I start? Oh, I don’t know. How about with the fact that there’s 157 players who have accumulated at least 475 plate appearances in 2010, and Ryan Theriot is the 3rd-worst in baseball in OPS+? Beating out Alcides Escobar and Cesar Izturis is hardly an achievement:

Rk Player OPS+ PA Year Tm R H 2B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Miguel Cabrera 180 648 2010 DET 111 180 45 38 126 89 95 .328 .420 .622 1.042
153 Jason Kendall 70 490 2010 KCR 39 111 18 0 37 37 45 .256 .318 .297 .615
154 Jose Lopez 69 618 2010 SEA 48 141 28 10 58 22 65 .239 .269 .337 .606
155 Ryan Theriot 69 618 2010 TOT 68 153 15 2 29 38 73 .270 .319 .314 .633
156 Alcides Escobar 66 530 2010 MIL 56 115 14 4 40 33 66 .236 .287 .326 .612
157 Cesar Izturis 53 500 2010 BAL 42 109 13 1 28 24 53 .236 .282 .275 .557
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/28/2010.

“But,” you say, “OPS doesn’t measure defense, or position, or baserunning. That’s an unfair comparison.” Okay, then. Let’s go with WAR, and compare against only fellow second basemen. How does that turn out for Mr. TOOTBLAN? Well, he’s only the worst second baseman in baseball in 2010 (min. 300 PA):

Rk Player WAR/pos PA Tm R H 2B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Robinson Cano 5.5 672 NYY 100 193 39 28 105 55 76 .318 .378 .530 .908
25 Skip Schumaker 0.2 513 STL 64 122 18 5 41 43 63 .265 .331 .341 .671
Rk Player WAR/pos PA Tm R H 2B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
26 Cristian Guzman 0.0 396 TOT 48 97 12 2 26 20 63 .266 .311 .337 .648
27 Gordon Beckham -0.3 498 CHW 58 112 25 9 49 37 92 .252 .317 .378 .695
28 Ryan Theriot -0.9 618 TOT 68 153 15 2 29 38 73 .270 .319 .314 .633
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/28/2010.

Man. I’m starting to wonder if the F grade was a bit generous. Now as I said, his defense was surprisingly nice, as should probably be expected from a former shortstop. But he’s going to be make something like $3.5m in arbitration this winter, perhaps more. He’s an offensive black hole. You can’t find good defense and comparable offense for about $3m less than that? Of course you can.

But make no mistake, he’ll be back. Of that, I have no doubt. And he’ll be hitting 2nd, because that’s what gritty 2nd basemen do.

Ronnie Belliard (Putting the F in DFA)
.216/.295/.327 .622 2hr -0.4 WAR

I suppose it was overshadowed by Garret Anderson‘s assault on the record books in all the wrong ways and the overall ineptitude of the offense, but I always thought that Belliard’s horrendous year flew under the radar a bit more than it should have. Sure, I suppose he earned some small benefit of the doubt with his performance in 2009 after coming over from Washington, but when he’s not hitting, he’s not valuable, since he’s a lousy fielder.

To be honest, I wasn’t really sure why he was re-signed in the first place, and yes, I’m regretting bagging on Jamey Carroll‘s shortstop skills right now:

Except… isn’t this exactly what Jamey Carroll was for? You know, a mediocre veteran who can play some 2nd and 3rd as needed? Because Belliard can’t play shortstop any more than Carroll can, and it was that “lack of a shortstop” issue that led to Nick Green getting a spring training invite.

So if this isn’t to fill that backup shortstop hole (since Belliard can’t do it) and it isn’t to be the 2B/3B backup bat off  the bench (since that’s ostensibly what Carroll’s here for), what the hell is Belliard’s role? Please don’t tell me he’s the Opening Day 2B, not until Blake DeWitt is given a chance to fail, and not with guys like Felipe Lopez and Orlando Cabrera still out there with rapidly falling contract demands.

Throughout the spring, the main intrigue with Belliard was whether he’d manage to make it under the magic number of 209 pounds, which he was contractually obligated to in order to see his contract become guaranteed:

Part of me wonders: do we even want him to? Blake DeWitt seems all but certain to win the second base job. Belliard’s presence (combined with Jamey Carroll) was mostly to have two options in case DeWitt flopped – but if he doesn’t, Belliard could be a little redundant.

To his credit, Belliard got off to a nice start, with an .849 OPS at the end of April. But it was all downhill from there, hitting just .194/.279/.274 until he was cut in August. When he was finally let go, I wondered why we’d never focused on it as much as we should have, and then tried to slip in a bit of a conspiracy theory:

Belliard’s incompetence is something I touched upon a few times this year, but probably never as much as it really deserved. I mean, since the beginning of July he was hitting just .175/.232/.222, with three extra base hits, and offering a lot of negative value on defense. His spot could have been put to better use months ago, and it wasn’t.

The timing of it makes me wonder. Just how much of Belliard’s continued employment was an attempt to make Manny Ramirez happy, since it’s well known that the two were good buddies? Manny’s been gone for barely a week, and now Belliard is out the door, despite no desperate roster need to do so, and no new on-field evidence to demand it (by that I mean, he doesn’t suck any more now than he already has all season).

I always figured that Belliard’s friendship with Manny was just a nice additional perk from a mostly useless backup infielder. Perhaps it was his only use to the club at all.

Ah, well. So long, Ronnie. We’ll always have the awkward way in which Orlando Hudson was minimized though, won’t we? Good times.

Nick Green (inc.)
.125/.222/.125 .347 0hr 0.0 WAR

I wanted to make a joke saying “Nick Green was a member of the 2010 Los Angeles Dodgers” and nothing more, because he got just nine unimportant plate appearances and I’d sort of forgotten he ever existed. But, this is probably a good time to look at how badly the team wanted to both acquire and keep him for some reason which I never did understand.

Remember, this is how I spoke of him when we first heard rumors:

If you don’t know much about Green, that’s because you shouldn’t. This is a guy who is 31 and has played for five teams in parts of five seasons, almost entirely as a backup. In 2009, he was pressed into service as Boston’s starting shortstop for nearly half the season thanks to a multitude of injuries, and responded with a pretty bad .236/.303/.366 line. That’s not even a case of a guy being exposed due to too much playing time; that mirrors exactly his career line of .239/.307/.352. Even in over 3000 PA appearances in the minors, his OBP is just .324. “Getting on base” is clearly not Nick Green’s strength, no matter where he plays.

“But hey,” you might say. “He’s a shortstop, so if he really can’t hit, he must be a whiz with the glove, right?” You’d say that, and you’d be wrong. For his entire career, he’s a whopping 0.6 fielding runs above average. That’s not horrible, but nor is it an asset.

So please, enlighten me. When you’re trying to come up with backup infielders, paying Nick Green more than you’d have to pay Chin-lung Hu to be 5 years older, a far inferior fielder, and a likely inferior batter (Hu at least has a .342 OBP in the minors, and at his age still has time to improve) makes sense in what way exactly?

Of course, when he signed the next month, I had this to add:

But you know what makes it even better? That’s three paragraphs about how Nick Green is a lousy ballplayer and a bad idea, and that was before I heard that he had back surgery this offseason. Back surgery, which he is behind schedule in recovering from.

Green didn’t make the roster, but he did report to ABQ until being called up when Rafael Furcal was injured, which I was thrilled about:

So what’s changed since then? The correct answer is “well, it’s only a month into the season, so unless Green’s already put up 20 homers while Hu broke his leg, that’s not nearly enough time to be more important than the last several years of established history”. But we all know it doesn’t work like that, because if it did we wouldn’t have seen any Ortizii on this squad.

In spring training – and yes, I know that these stats don’t mean much, but don’t pretend they don’t often decide jobs – Hu had a line of .281/.324/.281. Obviously there’s no power there, so it’s not stellar… but it’s also streets ahead of Green’s .139/.324/.167. After camp broke, neither one has been hitting very well in the first month at ABQ - Hu at .227/.261/.242, and Green at .219/.242/.438.

Of course Green got just one hit, and was eventually DFA’d when Scott Elbert came up. Let’s be honest; he was totally irrelevant, and I probably spent more time digging up those quotes than he did on the active roster. Don’t you love these infuriatingly bad veteran signings?

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Next! Rafael Furcal just can’t stay healthy! Jamey Carroll was actually pretty rad! Chin-lung Hu makes his yearly cameo! And wait, that’s Juan Castro? It’s shortstop!

Ronnie Belliard Gets a Pink Slip

Well, I can’t say I saw this coming:

Ronnie Belliard was designated for assignment and Trent Oltjen was called up from Albuquerque.

That’s via Ken Gurnick, and he means Trent Oeltjen, who we knew would be recalled yesterday.

Belliard’s incompetence is something I touched upon a few times this year, but probably never as much as it really deserved. I mean, since the beginning of July he was hitting just .175/.232/.222, with three extra base hits, and offering a lot of negative value on defense. His spot could have been put to better use months ago, and it wasn’t.

But what’s odd here is that Belliard’s being DFA’d in September, after rosters have expanded. As I mentioned yesterday, the 40-man is full, but one way to get around that would be to put Xavier Paul on the 60-day DL, since he won’t be back this season after suffering a neck injury. It’s the long-established m.o. of the Ned Colletti administration to keep as many players under club control as possible, sometimes going to absurd lengths to do so.

That wasn’t done here, and the timing of it makes me wonder. Just how much of Belliard’s continued employment was an attempt to make Manny Ramirez happy, since it’s well known that the two were good buddies? Manny’s been gone for barely a week, and now Belliard is out the door, despite no desperate roster need to do so, and no new on-field evidence to demand it (by that I mean, he doesn’t suck any more now than he already has all season).

I always figured that Belliard’s friendship with Manny was just a nice additional perk from a mostly useless backup infielder. Perhaps it was his only use to the club at all.

Jonathan Broxton’s A Starting Pitcher Now, I Guess

I wanted to talk about how Clayton Kershaw really showed something on national TV tonight, going seven strong innings while not walking a batter for the first time in his career. Then I was going to laugh a bit at the Yankee defensive ineptitude in allowing the Dodgers to score three runs in the second while barely getting a ball out of the infield, and finally I was going to ask someone to tell me when the last time was that the Dodgers dropped down three bunts in a row. And I really wanted to laugh about Joe Morgan referring to OPS, but rhyming it with “stops”.

But let’s not pretend anyone cares about any of that right now, because obviously all of the focus is on the disastrous ninth inning from Jonathan Broxton. Because, things I’m not looking forward to tomorrow? Idiot fans and bloggers (yep, there’s those too) pointing to this as some sort of proof that Broxton doesn’t have the “guts” or “courage” or whatever you want to call it to close, as though A) he hasn’t been awesome 97% of the time, B) he’s not more awesome than 97% of the rest of closers in baseball and C) the blame is his alone.

Look, Broxton wasn’t good tonight. Four runs, four hits, two walks – I’m not pretending otherwise, even if I do think that only a steroid-fueled Eric Gagne can reasonably be expected to go entire seasons without blowing games.  But there’s quite the laundry list of blame to go around here. Without totally absolving Broxton – who, again, was lousy – let’s run this down quickly.

Joe Torre. #1. In the 9th, Broxton was brought on to pitch for the 4th time in 5th days, two of which were for more than one inning, despite the Dodgers having a four run lead. As Eric Stephen will happily tell you, “the last 3 [games were] with win expectancies of 95.5%, 98.8%, and 98.8%” when he entered. The point being, those are the kinds of situations in which you bring on your lesser relievers, at least to start. Even if you don’t trust them – as Torre clearly doesn’t, other than Hong-Chih Kuo – if they run into trouble, then sure, bring on the big man. And no, I’m not suggesting that Broxton should only be brought into save situations (which he hasn’t seen since June 9) but you have to measure his usage a little more carefully, especially in all of these non-vital situations.

So when the lead was pushed to four on Rafael Furcal‘s 8th inning double, that’s when you pick up the phone to the bullpen and say, “you’ve pitched enough lately, Jonathan, especially yesterday. Sit down and we’ll let the other guys pick you up, and only bring you in if there’s a disaster.”

But no, Torre brings in the clearly overworked Broxton, and we’re supposed to act surprised that one of the best teams in baseball fouled off pitch after pitch, dropped in hit after hit, and patiently drew walks. Broxton eventually tossed 48 pitches, topping his previous career high of 44 set on July 3, 2006.

If there’s any takeaway from this, it’s this: Broxton has thrown 99 pitches since June 23rd. By comparison, the Dodger starting rotation since then has these counts: Kershaw 101 (tonight 6/27), Kuroda 110 (6/26), Padilla 111 (6/25), Haeger 102 (6/24), Ely 97 (6/23). Because apparently, Broxton is a starting pitcher now.

(update: As Plaschke Thy Sweater Is Argyle points out, Broxton was warming up in the one game of that five game stretch in which he didn’t enter. I can’t verify that, nor do I know how long he was up, but if that’s accurate it’s an even bigger indictment of Torre’s usage.)

Joe Torre. #2. Kershaw has one of the most effective outings of his career, not walking a single man (for the first time ever) and throwing just 101 pitches through seven, and just ten in the 6th, yet he’s not even allowed to start the 8th despite rookie pinch-hitter Colin Curtis leading off. Ronald Belisario came in and just narrowly avoided getting himself into trouble, but even that was largely thanks to a fantastic 3-6 double play started by James Loney. We may not get to find this out now since it’s going to be all Broxton, all the time, but I’d love to know why Torre yanked him so quickly.

Joe Torre. #3. Okay, I may be reaching a little bit here because I’m so down on Torre, but he put Garret Anderson into the game as a “defensive replacement” for Manny in the 9th. The mere thought of that sentence is laughable. Now of course, there’s no way Torre could have known that the game would go on, meaning that Anderson would bat 2nd in the bottom of the 9th rather than Manny, but since Anderson’s just as terrible of a fielder, the move was totally pointless. If you really wanted to improve the defense, send Matt Kemp out to center and push Reed Johnson to left. Otherwise, don’t even bother, and still have Manny available to hit in the 9th.

James Loney. With men on first and third and one out in the 9th, and the Yankees trailing just 6-5, Curtis grounded to first base. At this point, Loney has two choices. He can either throw to second, attempting to start a 3-6-3 DP and end the game, or he can immediately throw home, possibly starting a 3-2-3 DP, but cutting off the tying run regardless.

Yet Loney chose to step on the bag first and then throw to the plate, despite having the speedy Curtis Granderson on third. The throw wasn’t perfect and was going to be late anyway, as you can see in the lead picture of this post, and the game was tied. Had Loney done either of the two correct options, instead of choosing option #3, this game might have ended far differently. Loney’s been playing fantastically lately, so let’s not get on him too much – but this was a poor choice, magnified by the situation.

And of course, Broxton deserves his share of blame for such a terrible outing, and you can’t entirely ignore that. I’m sure he won’t be putting blame anywhere else but on himself, which is nice. Just remember when you read all sorts of internet idiocy (and dear god, now that the Lakers are done I can just hear Bill Plaschke cracking his knuckles, scraping aside the Twinkie wrappers and cans of Jolt Cola and getting ready to tackle this), that Broxton’s a human being who was incorrectly used by his supposed Hall of Fame manager. Because it’s going to get ugly.

Anyway, after all that, George Sherrill comes in to allow a dinger to Robinson Cano and, well, that part doesn’t matter so much. We all knew that was going to happen, didn’t we? (At least this guy on my Twitter did.)

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This is going to get lost in the aftermath, but the 9th inning implosion deprived Kershaw of his 8th win, through no fault of his own. Wins are stupid. (Commenter dodgerbobble notes that if the Dodgers had come back in the bottom of the 9th, Broxton – of all people – would have gotten the win. Wins are doubly stupid.)

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Russell Martin went 0-4 is now hitting .241/.349/.327, which is awful, yet he’s been allowed to catch more innings than anyone in the NL (and 2nd most in MLB). As I said on Twitter as he was being tossed for arguing a strike 3, “I think Martin cracking his bat on the ground was the most solid contact he’s had in weeks.”

This is going to require an entire post devoted to it, and soon, but for now let’s note that he’s 162nd of 173 qualified big leaguers in SLG, and the names below him aren’t exactly pretty (Pedro Feliz, Jason Kendall, and Gordon Beckham).

Today’s Weird Lineup Actually Sort of Makes Sense

After yesterday’s debacle, in no small part fueled by the miscues of backups Jamey Carroll, A.J. Ellis, and Ronnie Belliard, you could be forgiven for hoping to see the regular starting 8 today – especially with tomorrow being an off-day. If you’re like me, you cringed a little bit when you saw Eric Stephen of TrueBlueLA post the lineup on his Twitter:

#Dodgers lineup: Furcal SS Martin C Ethier RF Kemp CF Blake 3B Belliard 1B Johnson LF Carroll 2B Kershaw P

Belliard at first? Johnson in left? Carroll at second? The bottom half of that lineup seems downright brutal, especially after yesterday. But with a bit of a deeper look, it starts to become a little more reasonable.

Let’s start at first base, where Belliard gets his first crack at resting James Loney. I realize that along with Matt Kemp, Loney is one of only two Dodgers who hasn’t received a break yet, though I can’t say I’m all that worried about making sure 25-year-olds get a day off two weeks into the season. But if you’re going to do it, now is the day, because Loney has been absolutely putrid against Barry Zito – in 20 career tries, Loney has reached base exactly one time. Once. And even that one time was merely a groundball single between 1B and 2B back on Opening Day of 2008. He’s struck out 6 times, and hasn’t walked at all, so his line is .050/.050/.050. I’m all for acknowledging small sample sizes, but I can see that this seems to be a trend you don’t want to tempt – especially when Belliard has a line of .324/.395/.441 in 38 plate appearances. So I’m totally fine with this.

In left field, this is a little more disappointing, because Manny’s crushed Zito in their careers – a .913 OPS with 3 homers.  However, Manny did leave Friday’s game early, and sat out Saturday’s, with a strained calf, so in the interest of seeing a 38-year-old last the season, I suppose I can see the appeal of combining that time off with Monday’s off-day to make sure this calf doesn’t become a serious issue. It’s too bad, though, because while Reed Johnson has had nice success against Zito as well (.938 OPS in 16 PA), this would have been a great opportunity to let Andre Ethier skip a lefty he’s had little hope against (.540 OPS in 22 PA). Still, if Manny’s calf is the reason here, it’s an unavoidable choice.

Finally, you’re looking at Jamey Carroll at second base. DeWitt’s hardly made himself irreplacable at second yet, especially with the glove, and while he’s just 1-5 against Zito, Carroll does have 8 hits and a .381 batting average. Granted, since he’s Jamey Carroll and has zero power against anyone, he’s also got a .381 OBP and a .381 SLG since all 8 hits have been singles, but it’s still something.

So none of these replacements are really arguable today, and if you look at the total list of Dodger hitters vs. Zito, all that really matters anyway is that Matt Kemp is playing. Kemp’s stepped to the plate 37 times against the $126 million dollar man, and though he doesn’t have a homer (yet), the results are eye-popping: .469/.541/.563 for a 1.103 OPS. Uh, yeah. That’ll do.

Weighty News & Notes

There’s a lot of small pitching items going on in the worldwide camp that is Dodgers spring training right now, so to recap quickly…

  • Hong-Chih Kuo was scratched from his Taiwain appearance with a sore left elbow (uh-oh).
  • Rule 5 pick Carlos Monasterios is impressing, having thrown 5 shutout innings… despite not knowing what the Rule 5 draft is.
  • James McDonald is getting beat up, having allowed 6 runs in 8 hits over just 4 innings. More disturbingly, he’s walked 3 while striking out just 1. I’m fine with all the standard “spring training stats don’t count, and either way it’s still early” disclaimers… except that it’s one thing to give up a spring training homer, and it’s another to allow a dinger to Scott Podsednik. McDonald may be pitching himself right out of the 5th starter job, though he’d almost certainly end up in the ‘pen.
  • Both of the undead Ortiz’ (Russ and Ramon) are making cases for jobs, as they’ve put up identical lines of allowing 3 hits over 5 scoreless innings.

Yet despite all that pitching staff minutiae, one story that seems to be a little forgotten is Ronnie Belliard’s battle with weight. As you might remember, his contract only becomes guaranteed if he gets down to 209 pounds at some point during the spring. Since he claimed he was at 210 when he reported, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion, but according to Dylan Hernandez on Twitter, it still hasn’t happened yet:

Still hasn’t made weight, from what I understand. @MikeSciosciasTI Any news on Ronnie Belliard’s weigh-in/guaranteed contract?

Part of me wonders: do we even want him to? Blake DeWitt seems all but certain to win the second base job. Belliard’s presence (combined with Jamey Carroll) was mostly to have two options in case DeWitt flopped – but if he doesn’t, Belliard could be a little redundant, as I said when he was signed:

Except… isn’t this exactly what Jamey Carroll was for? You know, a mediocre veteran who can play some 2nd and 3rd as needed? Because Belliard can’t play shortstop any more than Carroll can, and it was that “lack of a shortstop” issue that led to Nick Green getting a spring training invite.

So if this isn’t to fill that backup shortstop hole (since Belliard can’t do it) and it isn’t to be the 2B/3B backup bat off  the bench (since that’s ostensibly what Carroll’s here for), what the hell is Belliard’s role?

With the roster crunch the Dodgers are facing in terms of difficulties with having a lefty bat and a backup shortstop, having two guys who do basically the same thing seems like it may be a luxury they can’t afford.