With Navarro and Izturis on rehab assignments, and talk of Billingsly coming up on Thursday, I thought we'd take a look at the injured guys, and what moves the Dodgers might make when, or in some cases, if, they come back. We'll start with the position players today.
Ceasar Izturis - SS - With Furcal such a massive disappointment (he's posting a .281/.347/.403 so far this year, a career-worst trifecta), I was mulling over the possibility of slotting Little Ceasar into short and renting Soriano for the rest of the year. Unloading Fucal's contract for the next two years would allow us to spend some money elsewhere. Then I looked at Izturis' career line: .261/.295/.338 and realized that I was insane. In fact, his best year (2004) was just .288/.330/.381, which isn't as good as a hugely disappointing year (so far) for furcal. Besides, Jim Bowden is about the only GM who would take Izturis in a trade. Or maybe I'm wrong about that.... Conclusion: As fond as I am of the guy, it's hard to imagine him staying with the team. If he does, he's a backup infielder and pinch "hitter." And he'll eventually displace Aybar, once Mueller is back. Do you want that? Does Ned?
Dioner Navarro - C - A lot has been made about Russell Martin taking the catching job away from Dioner Navarro. Many wonder what the Dodgers will do with Navarro when he comes back. Well. He's back in Vegas right now, so the time of reckoning is nigh. My fist choice would be to release Sandy Alomar, Jr. and hire him as a coach (a not-on-the-40-man-roster type coach). As I've stated before, there's nothing wrong with having two good young catchers on the roster. And nobody wants to trade the wrong Pedro here. Navarro is younger than Martin, and has had success at the same or higher levels. Generally, that translates to a better career. Hey, I love Martin, too. But I also was quite fond of Pedro Astacio. Conclusion: Navarro is basically free. Keep him. Release Alomar. Now, what would Ned Colletti do? I must admit, I haven't got a clue.
Bill Mueller - 3B - I assume he'll be the everyday third baseman when he gets back. This means Aybar goes to bench, spelling Mueller and Kent unless Martinez does. Or Izturis does (see above). Conclusion: Assuming he's the last infielder back, I think he'll displace a crappy pitcher.
Jeff Kent - 2B - Kent will go right back to second base and the 5 slot in the lineup. The only guy on this roster that I'd play at second ahead of him is Nomar. Conclusion: Guzman goes. He's struggling and the team is in a pennant race. There's no dire need for him with Aybar, Ethier, and Kemp playing well in the bigs. They'll send him back to Vegas to learn...whatever.
Jason Repko - OF - Repko was off to a tremendous start before his Spider-man thing landed him on the disabled list. He has a great personality and has played hard and well all year. Conclusion: I'm guessing Ethier gets the short stick in the outfield. It's hard to complain about what he's done at the major-league level, but: Drew, Lofton, Cruz, Kemp, Repko. Unless someone gets traded, he's probably the odd man out (though Cruz is probably less deserving of a spot.)
Ricky Ledee - OF - He's brittle, old, and your go-to left handed pinch hitter. If you keep him, he blocks one of the (suddenly plentiful) good young outfielders. Conclusion: This is actually tough. Could he be part of a trade? If not, expect him to stay on the roster until his next injury. Also, expect him to stay on the disabled list until fully healed. If he beats Werth and Repko back, I think he'll replace Ethier. Otherwise, Kemp (ugh).
Jayson Werth - OF - I can't see Werth having a place in Ned Colletti's vision of the team, unless some prospects are unloaded in a trade. If he comes back this year, I think he'll go to the minors (does anyone know if he has any options left?). Conclusion: Hmm. He seems like the eighth best outfielder, unless you don't believe in the "proven veteran" thing. Even then, he's maybe sixth best. This team won't carry six outfielders. He won't be on the active roster, most likely.
Of course this is all highly speculative, and I'm sure I've missed a million things. And I know there's no VORPs or WARPs or FRAAs in there, but I don't think I've made too many assumptions. The main idea was to get the mind going on this stuff. The biggest questions seem to be:
Will the young, successful outfielders be favored over the "proven veterans" like Cruz and (if he comes back) Ledee?
Which of the following infielders WON'T be on the roster if they're all healthy: Garciaparra, Kent, Furcal, Mueller, Saenz, Aybar, Martinez, Izturis?
Which two catchers will stay on the roster?
I can't wait.