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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Late: LAO On What's Wrong With The Dodgers

Three days old now, but still a great read: Phil Wallace in LA Observed on what's wrong with the Dodgers. There has been some criticism of this piece for its early-season use of UZR, which requires a lot of data to be valid (i.e. it's more useful late in the season than early), his observations are otherwise sound:
How did the Dodgers defense get so bad? While new fielding metrics have made teams place a greater emphasis on defense, the Dodgers appear to have fallen behind the curve. Blake DeWitt is out of position at second base, and is a downgrade defensively from Orlando Hudson, who won a Gold Glove last year yet was not offered arbitration. DeWitt's natural position is third base, which is currently occupied by 36-year old Casey Blake, whose range continues to decline.

Rafael Furcal is one of the better defensive shortstops in baseball, but we all know about his health issues. While he's been on the DL, 36-year old Jamey Carroll has been at shortstop, a position he has no business playing. Signing him to be a backup for injury-prone Furcal was one Colletti's worst offseason decisions, especially when a guy like Felipe Lopez went for less money. Even using Chin-lung Hu would be better right now.

We all know about Manny Ramirez's fielding issues, but few realize that Andre Ethier's defensive skills have been rapidly declining. As good as Ethier is with his bat, he's actually one of the lowest-rated defensive right fielders in the game. Moving forward, the Dodgers are going to need to find a way to work around Ethier's problems, and that could mean a position change to left field (when Ramirez leaves next year) or even first base.

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He makes some obvious points, but I can't respect him when he uses Gold Gloves as his standard for good defensive players, especially when Hudson should not have been awarded that Gold Glove.

It should have gone to Chase Utley. Certainly not O-Dawg.

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