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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
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Things Change
2006-06-20 20:09
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Cesar Izturis is to start at third base for the Dodgers on Thursday - a punchless return to the days of 2005 when the left side of the infield was manned by Izturis and Oscar Robles - but try not to freak out.

Things change, and Dodger manager Grady Little acknowledges it. From The Associated Press:

When asked if Izturis was the everyday third baseman, Little replied: "For now. Two weeks from now, I'll let you know."

Izturis is a preposterous choice to play third base - only at his hottest, as he was in early 2005, does he generate enough offense to be an above-average shortstop. Unlike Rafael Furcal, he can't make up for a hitting slump with stolen bases or walks. At third base, he'll have to save a truckload of runs with his glove to make a difference.

But Little has not come across this season as someone who sticks stubbornly to an idea beyond its expiration date. His experiments may seem like longshots at times, but they do end.

Comments
2006-06-20 20:32:02
1.   MartinBillingsley31
Do you get the feeling ned tells grady what to do sometimes (which are bad ideas) and grady does it but doesn't want to and when it turns out bad, ned says ok grady i was wrong.
2006-06-20 20:35:15
2.   Uncle Miltie
Izturis needs playing time to boost his trade value and show that he has recovered from TJ surgery. This isn't going to last very long. If he plays great defense at 3B, then he may actually be decent, though it still shouldn't continue past 2 weeks. We will also see if Izturis comes back more patient or if all the walks he drew in AAA were a product of AAA pitching.
2006-06-20 21:30:11
3.   ninjavshippo
seems weird to put him at 3B where you're ideally supposed to have a pretty good arm, and izzy's arm has just been put back together surgically. i just hope he doesn't hurt himself trying to impress.
2006-06-20 21:34:57
4.   Jon Weisman
I had this thought before - and then someone today mentioned it - is the throw from third base really that much worse than the throw from the hole at short?

I'm more curious about Cesar's reaction times at third, playing closer to the plate than he's used to when he hasn't even been on the field much in the past year.

If he hurts himself trying to impress ... I'm at the point where I think a re-injury is almost inevitable for Dodgers.

2006-06-20 22:00:07
5.   StolenMonkey86
The plate discipline apparently carries over.
2006-06-20 22:07:42
6.   JoeyP
Cant wait to see the lineup when Kent needs a day off.

Izzy at 3rd. Like a car wreck, but I'll watch for the spectacle.

2006-06-20 22:10:03
7.   Uncle Miltie
So has Ozzie Guillen Jr. turned into The Venezuelan God of Walks? I know it was just a rehab short rehab stint, but Izturis has never, at any point in his career, shown this kind of plate discipline. It seems very unlikely that he'd suddenly get it at 26, but I guess it's possible. Maybe he saw how guys like he and Omar Vizquel need to walk in order to have some value on the offensive end. That or he's watched a lot of video of himself swinging at pitches out of the strike zone.
2006-06-20 22:10:22
8.   StolenMonkey86
Did Izturis say anything to Beltre while he was at third?
2006-06-20 22:50:05
9.   Louis in SF
The grief that many on this site are doling out to Izturis in my mind is unfair. The Dodgers have invested way too much in Frucal, have no plans to get rid of him and didn't expect Izturuis to come back this quickly. If the Dodgers had any guts they would be honest and put Frucal at 3rd and Izzy at short and then decide quickly who would fetch the best front line pitcher. This will not happen and sadley Izturis a gold glove shortstop and best suited to bat 8th or second, but forced to bat first when the Dodgers had nobody else is now getting blamed for healing quicker than the Dodgers anticipated.
At the end of the day while Furcal's on base and power is better it is not off the charts better and thier salarey difference is crazy. How many on this site wouldn't mind using Frucal's salarey to get a frontline pitcher, accept the decrease in on base from Izturis, but get better defense. I wish it could happen but it won't
2006-06-20 23:20:27
10.   GoBears
I'm pretty sure that SS requires a bigger arm than 3b. And it requires more different sorts of throws. I imagine that 3b is safer for Izzy for now.

One minor thing in 9 struck me. Louis in SF repeats something that I've heard many people say before but which makes no sense to me, namely that weak hitters should bat 8th or 2nd. Huh? 8th, sure. But 2nd? Yes, the Dodgers have often done this. But why? The ONLY reasoning that I've heard is that the #2 guy will have lots of chances to sacrifice the leadoff hitter, and that sacrifices are less sacrificial if the sacrificial batter can't hit. But jeez, howzabout having a good hitter at #2 and forgetting about giving up the out?

I'm not aiming this at Louis in SF, who I think was just repeating conventional wisdom. I'm just wondering why anyone thinks that the weakest hitters should hit anywhere but the bottom of the lineup, to minimize their plate appearances.

2006-06-20 23:37:56
11.   dzzrtRatt
10 I think you answered it. Bunting is seen as a critical part of the game. All 32 managers would raise their hands if asked "does bunting help generate runs?"

Sometimes, for this reason, I get exasperated at the exasperation with bunting. It's not the same level of "bonehead" decision as leaving Jeff Weaver in too long. There is a consensus about bunting. Managers have heard the case against it, I assume, but they don't buy it. So of course they're going to use bunting, and plan their strategy around its use. I've yet to see a manager do otherwise, and each year, a buntermaker wins a world championship.

If the teams that bunt consistently finished with worse records than teams that didn't, bunting would eventually die off. But no one's tried it.

It's like asking the Pope to change his mind about priests being celibate. I'm sure they can recite from memory all the reasons why outsiders think that's a stupid plan. But there isn't going to be a change, so there's no point in getting frustrated about it.

2006-06-21 03:55:53
12.   elan cohen
9. completely agree.

izzy is the best defensive shortstop in baseball and the dodgers move him to 3rd base? forget about the fact that izzy dosen't hit enough to play 3rd base on a regular basis. if you are going to put your best defensive SHORTSTOP on the field, shouldn't he play SHORTSTOP?

i could live with izzy at short and furcal at 3rd. that lineup would make a little more sense because atleast you would have your best defensive shortstop at short.

this is in no way a knock on furcal, who while he has struggled is the best leadoff hitter the dodgers have had since brett butler, but why is the organization treating him with kid gloves? if la is going to put izzy and furcal in the same lineup izzy should be a short period. why wasn't furcal asked to play third?

2006-06-21 10:19:50
13.   Jeff Iannucci
11. 32 managers?

Seriously though, managers - all 30 of them - embrace the bunt because it's an element they control. Calling for a sacrificial bunt is one of the few ways they can affect the game. The fact it is often no more successful than letting the batter swing away is irrelevant, since they need to convince their team, owner, fans, etc. that THEY as managers can influence the game.

It's a successful formula; look at LaRussa. He's done all kinds of weird stuff like batting the pitcher 8th which makes people think he's the smartest guy in baseball. In truth, he's probably more successful because he's got a GM who gives him good players. Relate this theory to Torre, Joe as well.

Inevitably perception of managers' in-game moves becomes the reality because someone has to win.

2006-06-21 10:27:37
14.   StolenMonkey86
With Furcal, if you check his "first inning" stats, which would be the beginning of the game leadoff appearances, he's a .233 hitter with a .613 OPS and 5 SB. That also includes 10 K and 3 CS. The combination of that and speed is nice, but we don't know what Izturis will do if Grady lets him try to steal.

I would speculate that one of them would go to Washington in a significant deal that would yield a starting pitcher (probably Livan Hernandez because Colletti likes old ex-Giants), while Soriano is still up in the air. Dodger Math says that Bowden still cares about W-L statistics, so I wonder if he'd be dumb enough to take Odalis Perez because he's 4-2 on the season, younger, and left-handed.

2006-06-21 11:31:47
15.   twerp
4 Izzy's take on throws from 3rd vs short, and difference in fielding, from dodgers.com:

"My arm feels great," Izturis said. "At shortstop, when you're playing in the hole, I think [the throw is] longer than from third base. The difference is going to be [fielding] a slow ground ball."

2006-06-21 12:01:14
16.   chumsferd
I think the insight that Grady will pull the plug on bizarre experiments is a good one. This is not a strong trait of Tracy's - who went with phillips a little too long (by a little I mean >0 games at first base). On the other hand, I think Odalis was given up on a little too early by Little.

Izturis is merely being showcased. He'll be gone. The more interesting question is, what will we get for him. How many prospects will Colletti sink into the closer position this year? Izturis might net us a closer, or at least be a piece of it. Our real need is probably a starter.

2006-06-21 15:05:31
17.   Suffering Bruin
But Little has not come across this season as someone who sticks stubbornly to an idea beyond its expiration date.

Unlike, say... oh, I don't know... another manager that we will probably see on Friday night?

2006-06-21 15:47:54
18.   dzzrtRatt
13 Sometimes I lose track with all the expansion teams. 30 it is! We've got 32 NFL franchises, and I think about 63 NHL franchises. Right?

Your point is well taken, and complements mine. What you're saying is managers have an agenda, and bunting furthers that agenda. So, what will make them give it up? Answer: Nothing. Not until a manager gets fired by some GM willing to say "he bunted too often."

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