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Furcal Goes Down

with back surgery and is not expected back until late in the season if at all. With the Dodgers now only trailing the Diamondbacks by 1 1/2 games, it is conceivable we could be in 1st place by the all-star game. With that in mind it is imperative that Ned be pro-active and get us a real solution for our black hole.

In-House Options:

Nomar Garciaparra - they are actually talking like they think he can play SS. It is an interesting proposition but is it realistic? I think not, at least not when Lowe is pitching.

Maza - The sooner he is relegated to utility infielder the better. I like Maza as long as he is Kent's caddy because he has looked like a great defensive 2nd baseman.

Angel Berroa - the sooner he is released the better. This was an experiment doomed to failure from the beginning. No skills here.

Ivan DeJesus - is our Futures representative for the World side and made the Southern League All-Star team. I've talked about him plenty of time on Blue Sparks so for those of you who read this web site you should already be educated on his progress this season. With that said while he would be a better option then Berroa or Maza is he going to be good enough to help this team get to the playoffs? I find it difficult to put much faith in a 21 year old SS with only  1/2 season of AA ball when his biggest plus is his plate discipline. It is doubtful that he can keep that plate discipline intact in his first taste of major league pitching.

Chin Lung Hu - this should have been a no - brainer going into the season but all of the luster the Hu collected last season collapsed with his batting average as he made Bart Shirley look like a better hitter. Now back in AAA we have found out that he has complained of eye problems. He is not playing in AAA and I think they are doing extensive eye tests. Usually these can be taken care of quickly but even if they are will Torre ever trust Hu again. I don't think so, not this year.

Ramon Martinez - yes, the old fart is back from injury and playing SS for Vegas. I don't remember his defense being much but even this guy could hit better then our current group.

Trading Options:

Alex Cora - might be available as he is a backup utility infielder for the RedSox and Jed Lowrie could handle the same role. His SS defense used to be superb but the offense is nominal. He would help but only incrementally and cost should be nominal.

Maicer Izturis - the Angels have Aybar as their starting SS and Brandon Wood could back him up but the Angels do not need anything we can offer and they are making their own World Series run so they will probably keep Maicer as insurance. I just put this out because I like him but I know it is not a realistic option

Juan Uribe - should be available. Word was that Ned was looking at him when he decided to cheap out and get Berroa. He's only an upgrade when you consider what we currently have.

Bill Hall - I like Bill Hall more then I should and I expect the price would send some of our True Blue readers over the edge. He lost his job to Russ Branyan so that has to give you pause. At least we would be talking about his strike outs rates instead of Kemps. If we put Kemp/Hall/Jones in a row we could cut down on the air conditioning.

Bobby Crosby - In a few more weeks the A's may decide the present is over and make Crosby available. A healthy Crosby would be a nice addition but it would probably cost us DeJesus. Is that worth the gamble that Crosby stays healthy?

Ronny Cedeno - backup SS for the Cubs who has had some solid  AAA seasons but has not been able to translate those numbers at the major league level.

Jack Wilson - is on a hot batting average streak and used to offer stellar defense. He would be a nice addition the question is at what price.

Felipe Lopez - once upon a time this was a good ballplayer. Not the best SS in the world but beggars can't be choosy. He's on the bench and looking for playing time. I'm sure he's on the market and it can't be to steep. On the plus side if he was to rediscover his game he would also be an option to replace Kent next year.

Miguel Tejada - the price of course would be steeper for Miggy then for any other player on this list. He started out strong but has regressed. He looks old and is starting to play old. Maybe a few vitamin B shots will freshen him up.

I'm curious to see what Ned will do but he has to do something. Kent probably has him against the wall right now and is telling him in so  many words

"I'm busting my ass in my last year trying to win a championship  and you are giving me Berroa and Maza!!!! I'm gonna tear your heart out if you don't do something here"