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Green Moving to First - Pros and Cons
2003-10-20 10:19
by Jon Weisman

No, moving Shawn Green to first base may not be the answer. But what is the answer? Is there an answer?

As of Monday morning, comments on "The Shawn Green of Old Will Not Return" (thanks to Eric Enders for posting it on Baseball Primer) centered on the epilogue, which speculated about Green moving to first base.

The comments mainly were:

1) Green's injury is to his non-throwing shoulder, so why move him out of right field? Playing first base could exacerbate the injury just as much.

2) If Green's offensive performance is declining, moving him to first base, where the offensive expectations are highter, may not make sense.

I agree with the premise of both these comments. Moving Green to first base may be as sound as reducing the California car tax while trying to balance the budget. However, there is this to consider:

1) For the Dodgers, their biggest offseason priority was already bringing in a left fielder, beacuse the Dodgers were even poorer offensively at left field in 2003, relative to the rest of the league, than at shortstop. Basically, much depends on whether the Dodgers can find two outfielders, or as John Wiebe of John's Dodger Blog advocates, a first baseman like Richie Sexson.

2) The Dodgers began talking about moving Green to first base a year ago, before the injury manifested, when they came close to signing Cliff Floyd. They continued to talk about it toward the end of the 2003 season, so there may already be momentum for the move whether or not the team reads Will Carroll.

3) I still maintain that Green's defense in right field has declined to the point of worry.

But like I said, this is all a footnote. The big issue at hand, regardless of where Green plays, is that his best power days may well be gone. Which is not to say that it's all over for Green. He still had a better-than-average season as far as being a major-league ballplayer goes.

But the glory days? They do pass you by - and perhaps sooner than we expect.

Green took a cortisone shot toward the end of the summer that seemed to help his power production on the short term. Is that going to continue? Can it continue? If not, the Dodgers may be staring at another bloated contract.

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