There is one position on the Dodgers that can be easily fixed with no outside help, and no other investment in resources. All the Dodgers have to do is cut bait on a player that has likely seen his last days of productivity. Of course, I'm referring to third base. There are two very easy ways the Dodgers can save themselves at this position, and all it takes is benching one player to do it.
-Call up Andy LaRoche, give him a real chance.
Say what you will about Andy LaRoche. Say that he's not ready to hit big league pitching, say that he has a hole in his swing, say anything. Before you do that, just ask yourself this, could he be any worse than what we have out there right now?
Nomar, as much as I hate to say it, is probably finished. Over the last year, a stretch of 563 plate appearances, he's hit .254/.304/.358. Combine this with defense that's gone in the toilet, and you have a candidate for the worst player in baseball. Tony Abreu? Sure, a .285 average looks nice, but combining that with a .325 on base percentage and a .414 slug from a corner infielder isn't going to help any. So why not LaRoche? Why not, instead of giving him sporadic playtime over the cours of 40 plate appearances, just run him out there every day for a couple months. He pretty much can't be any worse, and, like I said last week, he can be a whole lot better.
-Failing that, let Wilson Betemit play
Ned Colletti and/or Grady Little seem to place a very high value on batting average, and because of this Wilson Betemit and his .223 average will probably only rarely get a chance to play. Since his horrendous April, Betemit has only received 107 plate appareances. However, our management seems to not notice that he's made the best of him. On April 30th, Betemit was hitting a miserable .125/.297/.167. Since then Betemit has put up an incredible .275/.383/.659 line. Consider this, in 101 plate appearances, James Loney, who we've all gone crazy over is hitting .385/.446/.593. His OPS is only six points higher than Betemit's, albeit it is more valuable since it's more on base percentage based. Same story with Matt Kemp, 100 plate appearances, and a .380/.420/.554 line. Had Wilson Betemit just hit like this in his first 100 plate appearances rather than his second 100, this discussion likely wouldn't even be happening. Betemit would be entrenched at third base, and while there'd be rumblings about the big slump he's in, he'd probably get all the time in the world to back out of it if he hit .275/.383/.659 in April.
My main issue with Betemit when we acquired him was that he struckout a good amount of times, and didn't walk all that often. Because of that, it would be hard for him to sustain a productive on base percentage for any period of time. This year that no longer seems to be an issue, Betemit has an amazing .127 isolated patience, and when you combine that with his power, this is a player that needs to, at the very least, be given a shot over the Nobreau connection at third.
Wilson Betemit has performed like a superstar over his last 107 at bats, yet he is being ignored because his first 64 were terrible. Keeping writing Betemit's name into the lineup, and he could very well be the power bat the Dodgers desperately need. What do you have to lose?