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You’re in Mediocre Hands…
2003-01-31 08:42
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Never trust people selling you insurance. (Except for my man Gary Shepard – he’s excellent.)

Ron Coomer, a 36-year-old third baseman returning to the Dodger organization after a nine-year absence - via a non-roster contract signed Thursday - is past the point of being a candidate for the major league roster. The short rise and steady decline of his career OPS stats:

1995: .779
1996: .851
1997: .762
1998: .701
1999: .731
2000: .732
2001: .706
2002: .662

He also averaged an error every 32 innings at third base last year – that works out to 45.5 per 162 games.

From Ken Gurnick at MLB.com:

Needing third-base insurance for Adrian Beltre, the Dodgers Thursday signed former All-Star Ron Coomer to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training camp.

Mike DiGiovanna of the Times used the word “insurance” too. I’ve noticed more than ever that at this time of year, reporters throw around the word “insurance” most casually. I hope State Farm doesn’t view insurance this way.

Beltre, in his worst season, couldn’t hit or field worse than Coomer. (Well, now he couldn’t. In 1998, at age 19, Beltre’s OPS was .647.)

I don’t mean to disrespect Coomer - he’s got 88 more major-league home runs than I’ll ever have - but he isn’t insurance. He’s a gallon jug of water after your house has been leveled. If Beltre gets hurt and Coomer is your answer, we’re talking The Day After.

It might be possible that Coomer provides insurance for the Dodgers’ AAA affiliate. It might be possible that he provides a needed body for Spring Training split-squad days. That’s it. Coomer doesn’t even merit consideration for the dubious Dodger bench.

We’ll no doubt revisit this in April after Coomer hits a dozen homers in Spring Training.

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