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While Others Limber Up, Dodgers Limbo Up
2004-03-03 09:05
by Jon Weisman

Definitely getting mixed signals on Shawn Green moving to first base. Jason Reid reports in the Times that "Green probably won't open the season at first base unless the club acquires an All-Star caliber outfielder."

"Green is scheduled to start at first in today's Grapefruit League opener against the New York Mets," Reid adds, "but some in the organization doubt Green will become a full-time first baseman because of his reluctance to make the switch and how the situation might affect his performance at the plate."

As down as I am on Green's defense in right field - he got poor jumps on balls last year, his speed is down and his only asset is his arm - it doesn't make sense to move him to first if it a) weakens the Dodger defense there, b) weakens the Dodger defense in left field (with Paul Lo Duca or Bubba Trammell) and c) weakens Green's offense.

Step one for Los Angeles still has to be the acquisition of a legitimate power bat. But if that bat is an outfielder, it's worth noting that you haven't solved problems a) and c) above - and if the new guy is a poor-fielding outfielder, you haven't solved problem b) either.

There is no doubt we are still looking at a player, and a team, in limbo.

Nevertheless, faced with the problematic alternative of an aging Robin Ventura getting 400 at-bats at first base, the fact that Green is probably going to have to learn to play first base sometime in his career, and the faith that someday, our prince (of an outfielder) will come, Green might as well continue training at first base for the time being.

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