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Dodgers Sign Kent
2004-12-09 14:59
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Updates to come ... here's the C.V.

* * *

First reaction, with no contract years or dollar figures yet given - I like it. He's three years younger than Steve Finley and offers probably a more consistent bat, albeit from the right side of the plate. It turns Alex Cora into a top-notch backup second baseman, utility man and pinch-hitter. It does weaken the pitching by removing the Cora-Izturis double-play combination, but the authority of Kent's bat should more than compensate.

Kent's on-base percentage has declined for four consecutive seasons, and his home runs are now in the 20s and not the 30s. On the other hand, seven consecutive seasons of slugging percentages above .500 are impressive. (Somehow, the man had eight triples last year.) His EQA of .288 and VORP of 55.2 were second in the majors among second basemen last season.

For an ex-Giant and Golden Bear, he's a player to be reckoned with.

Just waiting to get the tab, now.

* * *

If Beltre rejoins the team ...

Izturis, SS
Bradley, CF
Beltre, 3B
Green, RF (tenuous, but it helps keep the lefty-righty thing going)
Kent, 2B
Choi, 1B
Werth, LF
TBD, C

A continuing work in progress - and we can certainly continue to argue the merits of Izturis as a leadoff hitter. But it's a step.

As long as we're playing around, consider this alternative ...

Choi, 1B
Izturis, SS
Beltre, 3B
Kent, 2B
Green, RF
Werth, LF
Bradley, CF
TBD, C

* * *

Already, you commenters below are noting Kent's versatility - that he can play first or third base if necessary. Kent actually hasn't played third since 1996, however, so he's probably borderline there.

* * *

Here are the terms: two years, $17 million total. So you get Finley-level offense at a more challenging defensive position - and you're not locked in for a third year. You sacrifice a left-handed bat and as I understand it, some personality.

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com also notes that what goes around, comes around - the Astros did not offer Kent salary arbitration, so the Dodgers don't lose any draft picks by signing him.

* * *

Several people continue to suggest that Kent should take Choi's place in the lineup, playing first base, instead of replacing Cora at second. I maintain that Choi is the player with better value potential, but I understand the sentiment.

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