Since he's a Dodger, Nomar's injury is worse than originally anticipated. He has a micro fracture in his wrist, which will almost certainly cost him April (despite the general optimism, wrist injuries tend to take a long time to heal) and has a good chance of dropping his already poor performance for the remainder of the season. With Andy LaRoche, Tony Abreu, and Jeff Kent out right now, the Dodgers really don't have any good options to replace him. Blake Dewitt has gained attention from his strong Spring, but he really doesn't have any business being on a big league roster. Jon Weisman has the best argument against his inclusion, saying that if Clayton Kershaw isn't considered ready after splitting time between high A and AA last year, Dewitt certainly isn't, but since I'm a bigger geek, I have numbers to back it up. Dewitt's major league equivalent stats from last year:
Inland Empire (A+, 339 AB): .247/.277/.375
Jacksonville (AA, 178 AB): .253/.277/.406
Dewitt would be a disaster if he held the job for any decent period of time, despite his strong Spring.
The most realistic in house option is Chin-Lung Hu, who would either play the position or shift Rafael Furcal over to third. However, since both of them have never played the position in their professional careers, I can't imagine that they would be great options to man the hot corner.
That leaves going outside the organization for help. Brandon Inge is probably the most productive available option thanks to his great defense, but the 19.1 million he's owed for the next three years makes him a bad temporary solution. Joe Crede provides the similar skill set of defense, decent power, and no on base ability with only a one year commitment, so he's looks to be a better option. But, is getting a guy coming off a major injury as a stopgap the best idea?
The best options seem to be Wes Helms and Esteban German. However, Helms confirmed last year that he's a platoon player (.791 OPS against left, .574 against right) and that his performance against righties in 2006 was a fluke, and would probably be a worse hitter than Dewitt most days of the week. He's also not much better than I would be defensively. This leaves German as the best option. He lacks power, but has great discipline, and would fit very well into the spot of utility guy off the bench. He's also cheap, just entering his first year of arbitration, and can be easily abandoned once we no longer need him. Only problem is that with all of these plusses, he might actually require giving someone up to get him, instead of just eating his salary like we could with any of the other options.
Without any real in house options, the Dodgers are forced to make a move to fill the gap at third base. All we can hope for is that we get someone that will be somewhat productive, and we don't give up anything of major value to get them.
Update [2008-3-20 12:2:19 by Andrew]:Ken Gurnick says Nomar could swing a bat by this weekend, but then compares his injury to the one suffered by Jayson Werth that caused him to miss a year and a half. Knowing how these things generally work, I'm not feeling optimistic about this.
Update [2008-3-20 13:47:45 by Andrew]: Joe Crede will more than likely be the White Sox third baseman this year, and since they're going for it this year for whatever reason, I take this as a sign that they think Crede is their best option. This should probably take him off the market.