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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

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
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

A Stealth 'Heart and Soul' Campaign for Robles
2005-08-15 09:39
by Jon Weisman

While the desire to drop Cesar Izturis from the leadoff spot in the Dodger lineup dates back to the Hahn administration, I don't understand the people who think Oscar Robles is clearly superior. The difference between Izturis and Robles is marginal, and I have to think that those who favor Robles so passionately are embracing a kind of stealth "heart and soul" argument that often goes unrecognized - namely, the grass is always greener.

This is not an issue I am particularly passionate about - to begin with, it's more important to me that Antonio Perez and Hee Seop Choi see an increase in playing time. However, to fit Perez into the lineup, either Robles or Izturis has to sit, so that's how the debate becomes relevant. And I just worry that people are conflating two issues: Just because Izturis isn't qualified to be the Dodgers' leadoff hitter doesn't mean he should be benched.

Right now, Robles is ahead of Izturis in EQA, .248 to .227, thanks mainly to his plate discipline - in a battle of lightweights, Izturis has a bit more power. But Robles remains a player with a bit less range on defense. Robles also hasn't been around long enough for most of the league to adjust to him, the way opposing teams have for Izturis this season.

Recently, Robles has been the better player, and if you're talking about trading Izturis for value, or allowing Izturis to heal what some believe to be a beat-up body, Robles could certainly serve as caretaker for the position while earning a fraction of Izturis' salary. But the evidence that Robles will be the better player going forward is sketchy at best. Robles is 29; Izturis is still only 25.

With both guys active, it's reasonable that the player who is both younger and more experienced, Izturis, should continue to start most games. The world may have overrated Little Cesar during his 2005 All-Star campaign, but let's not overcorrect.

Comments (176)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-08-15 10:00:31
1.   Jim Tracy
Couldn't agree more. Izzy is not Cora... Robles might be.
2005-08-15 10:02:10
2.   Rob M
Perez should be leading off every day, and Robles/Izturis should play SS and bat 8th. I do appreciate Robles' tendency to extract more pitches per at bat but, you're right. It's a marginal difference and it would be rendered far less relevant if Tracy would only play one of them at a time and bat them 8th.
2005-08-15 10:04:39
3.   Jim Tracy
I think taking Izturis away from the leadoff role might be better for him. He is not a great leadoff hitter and definitely has not earned an automatic leadoff spot that Tracy has bestowed upon him. But, this is not about Tracy and his logic.

Izturis is a very good defender, still only 25 and could easily become a good enough hitter to bat .285 for the rest of his career. Would I take that? In a heartbeat. But that would probably translate to a .315 OBP with Izzy and I would like something better than that in the leadoff spot.

Perez and Choi have to see more playing time. It is maddening how Tracy is the only guy who does not see that. I'm glad even the LA Times are on that bandwagon.

2005-08-15 10:04:55
4.   Howard Fox
2 - I agree, AP should be leading off, period. I don't care where he plays, he is a hitter until he proves me otherwise. It's hard to justify him not being in there considering how poor our offense is.
2005-08-15 10:05:28
5.   Steve
There is one difference (and only one) between Juan Castro and Cesar Izturis. Castro could only dream of receiving the love that Cesar Izturis gets for driving his team into a brick wall.
2005-08-15 10:06:24
6.   Howard Fox
3 - I am okay with Choi not playing regularly. I don't get that warm fuzzy feeling from anything he does.
2005-08-15 10:10:24
7.   Jim Tracy
Steve.. I agree with a lot of things you say... and I am not a huge Izzy fan or anything. But Izturis is way down on the list of people driving the team into a brick wall.

He is among the best defensive SS in the game, and offensively, he has to be top 5 in the NL (I haven't looked it up, so feel free to prove me wrong). It's not his fault that Tracy has him chained to the leadoff spot. Going back to the brick wall analogy, Izzy, like Kent, is chained to the bus that is being driven into a brick wall.

And my argument should be more credible because it is not easy to incorporate "chained" twice into that paragraph.

2005-08-15 10:12:34
8.   Howard Fox
fortunately, though, that brick wall is poorly constructed, what with Khalil Greene out again with another injury...
2005-08-15 10:13:41
9.   dzzrtRatt
Jon, you're right again. The anti-Izzyness around here is a stalking horse for the prayed-for demise of Jim Tracy. There are lots better options for leadoff hitter, but no better options for shortstop.

Tracy still has his media supporters. Did anyone notice that, according to the Times, Perez almost blew the throw to the plate to get Marlon Anderson? He "double-pumped," according to the Times. It was only because Navarro did such a good job blocking the plate that the run was prevented, it was said.

To defend Tracy, his advocates have to denigrate players Tracy doesn't like. Sad. You almost get the feeling Tracy seeks revenge against bench players who show him up by performing well on days they start.

2005-08-15 10:16:34
10.   Steve
The anti-Izzyness is a stalking horse for winning baseball. I hate to denigrate guys with a .310 OBP and .640 OPS who lead off, but sometimes, every once in a while, they just deserve it.
2005-08-15 10:19:35
11.   dzzrtRatt
10 Right. He shouldn't be leading off. But his glove is special, and makes a greater marginal difference for the Dodgers than Robles bat would make. Robles is a good story, but no one's suggesting he's A-Rod.
2005-08-15 10:21:32
12.   Jim Tracy
6 - The guy has an OBP of .329 and an OPS of .794. He is second on the active team in HRs. He doesn't warm-fuzzy me either, but I think we should make room for him in the starting line-up.
2005-08-15 10:22:08
13.   Jon Weisman
10 - But again, the problem is more that Izturis leads off and/or plays ahead of Perez than Izturis is so much better than Robles, don't you think?
2005-08-15 10:23:01
14.   fanerman
The cynic in me says to give Izzy the AP/Choi treatment in reverse. Bench him because his offense is too bad even though he has the glove (as opposed to the other way around).

Either way, the SS should bat 8th. If Izturis batted 8th, we'd complain a lot less about him.

2005-08-15 10:23:56
15.   Howard Fox
9 - the negative press about AP in the times is just them looking for any reason at all to find something in what was a great game, well played all around
2005-08-15 10:24:45
16.   fanerman
I admit I'm in a "grass is greener" mood. I think I'm taking out my AP/Choi resentment out on Izzy, since he seems to get the free pass.
2005-08-15 10:25:25
17.   Jim Tracy
Steve, yeah he's a bad lead-off hitter, but you can't channel your Jim Tracy's-peculiar-lineup-of-the-day frustrations on Izturis. He is an above-average shortstop in the NL offensively and among the best defensively.
2005-08-15 10:25:44
18.   Howard Fox
11 - yet Tracy bats him 3rd..
2005-08-15 10:25:53
19.   Jon Weisman
7 - Izturis is 13th in the NL in EQA.

2005-08-15 10:26:21
20.   Steve
The problem is that Izturis plays.
2005-08-15 10:26:48
21.   Jon Weisman
19 - for shortstops, that is.
2005-08-15 10:29:24
22.   Steve
Izturis wouldn't last a week on the A's.
2005-08-15 10:33:02
23.   jasonungar05
so, who should trace bat leadoff? I mean I don't like Izzy there either, but who?
2005-08-15 10:33:36
24.   fanerman
23 - AP
2005-08-15 10:36:04
25.   Steve
Robles -- OBP .362. That also takes away the bonehead hit and run.
2005-08-15 10:39:19
26.   Jim Tracy
21 - Wow... I had no idea that his season has completely derailed. I can still hear Scully's voice over the last year and a half talking about Izzy leading the league in multi-hit games, and Izzy having multiple 10 or more game hitting streaks. Steve, my apologies. I cannot disagree.
2005-08-15 10:41:17
27.   fanerman
26 - If only the real Jim Tracy could come to that conclusion.
2005-08-15 10:49:34
28.   Colorado Blue
23 - Oscar... anybody that can put a ball in play on a bounced pitch (a bad bounce no less). Seriously though, his OBP is hard to ignore unless you're Jim Tracy.
2005-08-15 10:50:42
29.   Howard Fox
23 - AP, until he proves otherwise
2005-08-15 10:52:19
30.   Howard Fox
I'd bat AP leadoff, and Robles second. AP is one of our top hitters and gets on base, Robles is a contact hitter, perfect for batting second.
2005-08-15 10:53:16
31.   Colorado Blue
23 - Actually, AP and OR can platoon leadoff... it is rare that both start a game anyway.
2005-08-15 10:53:41
32.   Steve
30 -- that would be fine. It tempts the hit and run, but beggars can't be choosers.
2005-08-15 10:54:48
33.   Howard Fox
32 - and at least it gives us the opportunity to try things at the top of the lineup
2005-08-15 10:55:33
34.   Eric Enders
Great post, Jon --- agree with it 100%.
2005-08-15 10:59:32
35.   jasonungar05
if I could I would:


2005-08-15 11:01:16
36.   Howard Fox
35 - I'd flip AP & Oscar, put AP at 2B, Oscar at 3B, move Kent to 1B,put in Izzy batting 8th at SS....other than that I agree completely with your lineup
2005-08-15 11:01:53
37.   Steve
Equating 50 OBP points to "heart and soul" is an advance in our understanding of the concept of "heart and soul"
2005-08-15 11:08:29
38.   db1022
It is nit picking to root for Robles over Izturis. The two more vital elements to the argument is that they should not be playing at the same time, and that they should not be hitting leadoff.

I'd be fine with Izturis if he was slotted 8th, and that Perez or Choi was starting over Robles.

2005-08-15 11:10:22
39.   Steve
Or 50 OBP points could be "nit-picking," which is why this organization is doomed to failure.
2005-08-15 11:14:26
40.   Howard Fox
50 OBP here, 50 OBP there, pretty soon you are talking about real numbers...
2005-08-15 11:20:48
41.   Eric L
Jon's point is pretty well made.

And while we may pine for the extra .50 OBP, it should also be noted that Robles has 184 ABs this year while Cesar has 400+.

Robles might be better equipped to continue getting on base more frequently than Izzy, but 184 ABs is a pretty small sample size.

2005-08-15 11:22:10
42.   Steve
Robles needs to get the chance to make a large sample size -- all Izturis' large sample size tells us is that he can't hit.
2005-08-15 11:23:36
43.   Eric L
Well, he is getting a chance to make it a larger sample albeit at the wrong position.
2005-08-15 11:23:41
44.   Howard Fox
42- Steve, mark this one down for posterity, but I agree with you...
2005-08-15 11:25:55
45.   jasonungar05
yeah, id flip them too in retrospect.
2005-08-15 11:26:13
46.   Steve
43 - But he is blocking Perez at third.
2005-08-15 11:28:16
47.   Howard Fox
I'd put AP at 2B and Kent at 1B
2005-08-15 11:31:09
48.   Steve
That doesn't work because it keeps Izturis in the lineup and has Robles (or...gack...Valentin) playing third. It is true that you can't have both in the same lineup and expect to score runs. You put Perez at third, then stick with the Choi/Saenz platoon at first.
2005-08-15 11:31:46
49.   fanerman
And Kent doesn't want to play 1B.
2005-08-15 11:32:26
50.   Bob Timmermann

Is it an exaggeration Steve to say that you always speak in hyperbole or with a sense of dogmatism that borders on the hysterical?

Of course, sometimes it's hysterically funny. But stating that the Dodgers organization is doomed to failure just seems to be a statement to trumpet your own sense of superior intelligence as compared to the rest of us in Dodgerland.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-08-15 11:33:41
51.   fanerman
I hope Fearing Blue doesn't mind me quoting him from Jon's previous post (comment #152). It's cut and pasted exactly, as follows:

Based on Baseball Prospectus offensive and defensive statistics, our optimal infield would be as follows. The format is Pos: Player: MLVr (Marginal Lineup Value Rate) + (RATE2 - 100)/100 = Run Comparison Value.

C: Dioner Navarro: .104 + -.160 = -.054
1B: Olmedo Saenz: .227 + -.170 = .057
2B: Jeff Kent: .269 + -.110 = .159
SS: Oscar Robles: .001 + .000 = .001
3B: Antonio Perez: .186 + -.080 = .106
Total: .269

But, since Saenz can't play everyday, the second best lineup is:

C: Dioner Navarro: .104 + -.160 = -.054
1B: Hee Seop Choi: .066 + -.050 = .016
2B: Jeff Kent: .269 + -.110 = .159
SS: Oscar Robles: .001 + .000 = .001
3B: Antonio Perez: .186 + -.080 = .106
Total: .228

The new Jim Tracy standard has the following values:

C: Dioner Navarro: .104 + -.160 = -.054
1B: Jason Phillips: -.108 + -.130 = -.238
2B: Jeff Kent: .269 + -.110 = .159
SS: Cesar Izturis: -.129 + .040 = -.089
3B: Oscar Robles: .001 + -.070 = -.069
Total: -.291

The often suggested Kent at 1B arrangement is as follows:

C: Dioner Navarro: .104 + -.160 = -.054
1B: Jeff Kent: .269 + -.130 = .139
2B: Antonio Perez: .186 + -.200 = -.013
SS: Cesar Izturis: -.129 + .040 = -.089
3B: Oscar Robles: .001 + -.070 = -.069
Total: -.086

Even though infield defensive statistics are rough measures, the overall lineup values fit pretty well with my subjective assessment. Thus, I would say that Jim Tracy's preferred lineup is costing the team somewhere between .519 (Hee Seop Choi) to .559 (Olmedo Saenz) runs / game.

2005-08-15 11:35:46
52.   Steve
Well, I don't know, Bob. Why do all the good lineups have Oscar Robles in them and all the bad lineups have Cesar Izturis in them? Because this is an organization on the rise?
2005-08-15 11:38:46
53.   Bob Timmermann

I shall retreat back to my shell because I know that continuing this will lead only to me getting indigestion.

2005-08-15 11:40:03
54.   db1022
The Dodgers aren't "doomed" if Izturis starts over Robles.

Phillips starting over Choi or Saenz or Perez - that's different.

2005-08-15 11:41:46
55.   Howard Fox
52 - Just because you are so adamant about the Choi/Saenz platoon, it will never happen...Choi is our designated late inning one or two runs behind pinch hitter, and Saenz doesn't appear to have the stamina to be an every day player

Given this, and that Valentin clearly is not an answer, there doesn't appear to be a lot of options not including Robles and Izzy in the same lineup. So working around this, we should fit AP in somehow, and move Kent over, unless you are accepting of Phillips as a viable option, which I am not willing to do.

2005-08-15 11:42:37
56.   Howard Fox
53 - try Tums
2005-08-15 11:44:20
57.   Bob Timmermann

Thanks. I have a big bottle at home. I just don't have any at work, so I'll try to ignore certain comments.

2005-08-15 11:45:03
58.   Howard Fox
57 - and stay away from spicy foods
2005-08-15 11:45:52
59.   Jon Weisman
42 - Izturis is a young player and likely to leapfrog Robles. I will concede that if we're talking about Tuesday's lineup, Robles might be the guy to use. But I can't tell if you're speaking about the short-term or short-term and long term.
2005-08-15 11:48:29
60.   fanerman
55 - I agree. Moving Kent to 1st is the most likely "better-than-it-is-now" scenario. I'm still not convinced that it will happen, though, given Kent's wish to stay at 2nd.

Still, the difference between Robles over Izturis is marginal compared to the difference between Choi/Saenz over Phillips and Perez over Robles, as has been said.

2005-08-15 11:50:12
61.   Bob Timmermann

The little known seventh secret of life by Satchel Paige is to "stay away from blog commenters that may angry up the blood."

2005-08-15 11:53:59
62.   Steve
The problem with Izturis is that he is seen as a long term solution at shortstop, when he is not. He is not fast, and yet it is believed that he is fast. He has no plate discipline, and most of LA does not care. Even when he hits well, his contributions are minimal, and when he hits like this year, he is valueless.

Robles is useful because he can get on base. We can also get rid of him in the short term when Guzman comes up. (FB talks up the asian shortstop, but he probably doesn't look like a ballplayer, and would not play).

2005-08-15 11:54:05
63.   Howard Fox
60 - Kent is the type of thoroughly professional ballplayer who might agree to move to 1B, as long as it is for the betterment of this season and not a permanent move (i.e., thru next year)...
2005-08-15 11:54:28
64.   Jim Tracy
61 - Any time now, you will be referred to as an open-minded Blue-stater. And that is a negative!!! And don't mind the comments... once the organization headed for doom starts winning, the bandwagoners will jump right back on. Kind of like how the A's are winning and suddenly websites fawn over the A's. Where were these "fans" when the A's were struggling?
2005-08-15 11:56:21
65.   Howard Fox
62 - I see Izzy traded prior to his next contract increase; I see Robles as a temp until the farm system starts feeding us, or at least as long as he is cheap...
2005-08-15 11:57:11
66.   Howard Fox
64 - they were waiting patiently for the second half of the season
2005-08-15 11:58:21
67.   Jim Tracy
66 - Please... they were waiting patiently for 2006. Anybody who tells you otherwise is lying.
2005-08-15 11:58:51
68.   db1022
59 - Izturis is more of proven commodity, at a younger age. Whether he leapfrogs Robles is open to debate, unless you are considering age.

However, Robles seems to be a suitable replacement (if not an upgrade in certain areas), is a tenth of the cost, and would allow Izturis to be traded for other further assets.

But, again, I don't mind choosing one over the other, it's just when they are both the answer is when it gets dicey.

2005-08-15 12:00:37
69.   Eric L
It seems like arguing over whether Izturis or Robles should be the starting shortstop is like choosing between food poisoning or the stomach flu.
2005-08-15 12:01:42
70.   Howard Fox
69 - hmmm, tough question, I'll take the stomach flu, I think
2005-08-15 12:03:27
71.   Jim Tracy
70 - Finally... I thought we'd never agree on anything.
2005-08-15 12:03:59
72.   Steve
69 -- right, and the question is which one will have fewer long-term deleterious effects.

Then think about Jimmy Rollins' contract. If you say, "Well, Cesar Izturis is no Jimmy Rollins," then you've gotten the point.

2005-08-15 12:04:11
73.   Howard Fox
by the way, different topic, but what ever happened to Icaros? I never got away with anything here when he was around...
2005-08-15 12:08:52
74.   Howard Fox
72 - you are right, of course, Rollins' hair is longer...and you thought we weren't paying attention
2005-08-15 12:08:54
75.   Colorado Blue
Trade Izturis while his value is high... besides Plaschke, et. al. need to complain more about loss of heart-and-soul, DePo is the devil himself, etc.

Seriously, I agree with 2nd paragraph of 68. I imagine we could get much more in return for Izzy than what he means to the Dodgers batting leadoff. Robles is more than suitable as a replacement; small sample size or not.

2005-08-15 12:08:59
76.   Jon Weisman
66 - Given the recent history of A's second-half surges, I know I was waiting patiently for the second half of the season for them.

68 - My original post up top pre-responds to all of your points.

2005-08-15 12:09:35
77.   Monterey Chris

I disagree...I have young kids. I will take the food poisoning over the flu that spreads itself throughout my family.

2005-08-15 12:16:39
78.   Howard Fox
76 - wow, you answered his questions before he asked them? there is a choi...
2005-08-15 12:30:07
79.   Icaros
I'm here, Howard. I just moved back up to Giant country, so I've been away for awhile.
2005-08-15 12:30:57
80.   Yakface
...Jiminy Cricket...
2005-08-15 12:34:10
81.   Jonny6
The disdain for Izturis that has seeped into this site is really just displaced hatred for Jim Tracy. Izturis is a 25 year old slap hitting shortstop. He is an excellent fielder (although it certainly looks like he's a bit off this season from last year's fielding mastery), has good speed (but bad base-stealing technique), and is a decent hitter with no power. In essence, he is the quintessential 8th spot shortstop. The bottom line is he is a bad leadoff hitter, but not a bad shortstop. Robles' is one of the few sunny stories breaking through the dark clouds of this season, but he is hardly a savior and will it's doubtful he will be better than Izturis. The one thing I would agree with is that Robles would make a better leadoff hitter, but the bigger issue is that neither one of them should be leading off and they certainly shouldn't both be playing on the same day.

I am more upset at Tracy for stubbornly placing Izturis and Robles in the first two batting slots day-in and day-out than I am about his completely ridiculous handling of the 1st base situation. Tracy must have a very selective memory. He seems to only remember the Izturis of the first two months of this season, rather than the Izturis of everything in his career but the first two months.

In the long run, I would still rather see Izturis at SS rather than Robles. His defense is impressive and he is still very young and could improve his batting ability. I wouldn't mind if Izturis was traded this off-season and Robles took over for a short time, but sometimes you should beware of what you wish for. It's entirely possible that Guzman gets moved elsewhere in the infield before he gets to the Majors, and then where do you go?

Finally, for those convinced we should take Robles over Izturis because of the money situation. Why should we care? Sure Robles is cheap, but Izturis makes a whopping 2 million a year. For the Dodgers, who's payroll should easily reach 100 million dollars, it should hardly be a concern if the starting shortstop makes 2 million a year instead of half a million.

2005-08-15 12:36:28
82.   Jonny6
I should have said, "should hardly be a concern FOR THE FANS......"

Of course, the GM and front office need to evaluate those things but unless I'm a Kansas City Royals fan, I don't really care if my shortstop makes 500K or 2 million dollars.

2005-08-15 12:38:25
83.   Steve
Izturis is not a decent hitter. He is a terrible hitter.
2005-08-15 12:40:29
84.   Colorado Blue
81 - I don't think there is any disdain for Izzy here.
1) Quite simply he should not be the leadoff hitter.
2) Robles is adequate as a replacement player batting 1st or 8th.
3) Given the talent pushing up from AA, why not trade Izzy for other needs? 25 or not, he's only going to get more expensive.
4) And yes, there is tangible disdain for JT's decision making process, primarily because we don't understand it.
2005-08-15 12:43:14
85.   Steve
84 - yes, there is
2005-08-15 12:43:15
86.   Howard Fox
82 - if you are this worked up over this, you would have loved the interview with a rep from the KC Royals this morning on ESPN radio, they were ok with losing 15 in a row...

83 - not terrible, just average to slightly below average

79 - Giant country? watch your back...

2005-08-15 12:45:31
87.   Bob Timmermann

That explains the decline in breakins to my apartment.

2005-08-15 12:46:23
88.   Icaros
Giant country? watch your back...

I grew up here, so I learned that lesson long ago.

2005-08-15 12:47:02
89.   Steve
How is 13th in the NL in EQA among even the banjoest of banjoest-hitting shortstops anywhere in the same zip code as average? Why am I the one accused of exaggeration when people use words like "decent" and "average" to describe Izturis's offense (not to mention his defense)
2005-08-15 12:48:07
90.   Icaros
That explains the decline in breakins to my apartment.

I have some associates who will still be popping in from time to time, Bob.

2005-08-15 12:48:33
91.   Bob Timmermann
I think you're exaggerating the number of people accusing you of exaggeration.
2005-08-15 12:51:05
92.   Howard Fox
89 - could it be that it is so easy to get a reaction from you?
2005-08-15 12:51:42
93.   Icaros
Now that I'm about 400 miles closer to him, I'm expecting Steve's rage to keep me warmer during the cold winter months that lay ahead.

(I'm not an English teacher anymore; should that be "lie" ahead?)

2005-08-15 12:52:11
94.   Brendan
Jon, I have to disagree with your post slightly.

Robles sees more pitches than Izzy and is capable of working that into a walk, Izzy swings at everything and rarely walks. That's why Robles is better suited to bat leadoff. It's not that he is a much better hitter but he takes a much different approach to hitting than izzy does. His approach lends itself to getting robles more at bats and to leading off innings. Izzy's approach and lack of power is perfect to hit in front of the pitcher. at least that's how I think.

2005-08-15 12:55:27
95.   Steve
92 - It is. When people like Phillips and Izturis are playing, it should be easy to get a reaction out of anybody.
2005-08-15 12:57:07
96.   Howard Fox
95 - except the manager
2005-08-15 12:57:57
97.   Steve
96 -- precisely
2005-08-15 12:58:52
98.   Brendan
Jon, i reread your post and don't think I do disagree with you I just think I put more emphasis on the "plate discipline" than you or others might. I was arguing if both robles and Izzy were in the same lineup and your post was an either/or at SS. two different arguments. Which is never going to happen with Tracy as manager and Izzy on the roster.
2005-08-15 13:20:44
99.   Jim Hitchcock
Now that I'm about 400 miles closer to him, I'm expecting Steve's rage to keep me warmer during the cold winter months that lay ahead.

Didn't Steve say he was in Ontario now. MAybe he meant Ontario, Canada? Are powdered wigs in his future?

2005-08-15 13:36:59
100.   jasonungar05
from Dodger blues. not sure where they got the quote:

He's [Robles] the prototypical infielder I managed him in the winter of 1993 in Mexico. He's similar to a Juan Castro but he doesn't have the pop.

- Jim Tracy
Obviously impressed with Castro's 25 career home runs

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2005-08-15 13:50:37
101.   Fearing Blue
For posterity, this would be my ideal lineup (vs. LHP / vs. RHP where there's a difference):

1. Oscar Robles (SS)
2. Antonio Perez (3B)
3. Milton Bradley (CF)
4. Jeff Kent (2B)
5. Olmedo Saenz (1B) / Ricky Ledee (RF)
6. Jason Werth (LF) / Hee Seop Choi (1B)
7. Jose Cruz Jr. (RF) / Jose Cruz Jr. (LF)
8. Dioner Navarro (C)

Even though Cruz has looked bad so far (in 8 ABs), I'd start him for at least a couple weeks to see what we've got.

2005-08-15 13:54:00
102.   Bob Timmermann
That lineup doesn't have nearly enough Jasons in it. Just a Jayson.

I'm wondering if Phillips confidence now is completely shot as a catcher. His defense is being judged solely by his throwing arm. Does anyone think that the other parts of his game at catcher are adequate?

2005-08-15 13:56:44
103.   db1022
102 - I'm not sure if any of us are qualified to comment on his non-throwing defensive abilities. These "other" skills are too subjective to be able to speculate on, IMO.

I know that Tom Glavine was very complimentary of his game-calling skills this spring.

2005-08-15 14:01:46
104.   Fearing Blue
#62/81: Chin-lung Hu is currently in AA at 21 years old. He has a .298/.336/.407 batting line. He's a defensively oriented shortstop who doesn't strike out much (36 Ks in 423 ABs) and has a little pop (.109 ISOp). Figure 2008 before he could contribute.
2005-08-15 14:08:23
105.   Fearing Blue
#102: At this point, the defensive issue is probably a wash between Phillips and Navarro. But, Navarro may be a slightly better hitter and he certainly has much more potential.

Thank you for pointing out my incorrect Jason usage :).

2005-08-15 14:10:22
106.   fanerman
104 - He's in AA? Is he backing up Guzman then?
2005-08-15 14:15:58
107.   Howard Fox
105 - after watching Phillips and Navarro, I'll take the latter hands down any day of the week...he takes command of the defense and the pitcher and his throws are right there on attempted steals, despite the pitchers' consistently slow deliveries...its not Navarro's fault that a couple of his recent throws to second were dropped by Izzy
2005-08-15 14:21:24
108.   King of the Hobos
Off topic, but Will Carroll has an update on JD Drew today. As I am not a member of BP, I have no idea what it says. Anything new?
2005-08-15 14:25:20
109.   Yakface
It says that Drews wrist is fine but during a freak cast unwrapping accident he now requires a hip transplant.
2005-08-15 14:30:25
110.   Jon Weisman
108 - Nothing new, just don't get your hopes up for a big impact this year since the earliest he will even swing a bat is next week.
2005-08-15 14:53:01
111.   Bob Timmermann
Tomorrow should be an interesting test to see how far Choi has fallen on the depth chart.

Phillips is 0 for 8 in his career against Smoltz with 3 Ks.

However, Choi is 2 for 3 with a walk. Both hits came last year when Choi was on the Marlins.

2005-08-15 14:56:23
112.   Colorado Blue
111 - Was Smoltz starting last year? I can't remember... if not then JT has a ready-made excuse for not playing Choi because I'm sure Smoltz's arm angles are different when he starts vs. closes.
2005-08-15 14:56:25
113.   werthgagne31
i guess the debate here is which of the 2 of robles or izturis should play shortstop.
but has anyone considered perez at shortstop and a platoon of seanz and robles at 3b, with seanz mainly there, robles only platooning with him because of seanz so called fragile body.
i guess nobody considers this because of defensive purposes, but how much damage can defense do considering the big uprade in offense you get with perez and seanz over izturis and robles, and then obviously choi at 1b everyday.

perez ss
choi 1b
bradley of
kent 2b
ledee of
seanz 3b
werth of
navarro c

perez ss
choi 1b
bradley of
kent 2b
ledee of
werth of
robles or navarro
robles or navarro

then when drew returns
perez ss
choi 1b
drew of
kent 2b
bradley of
ledee/werth platoon of, or seanz here
seanz 3b or ledee/werth here
navarro c

perez ss
choi 1b
drew of
kent 2b
bradley of
ledee/werth platoon of
robles or navarro
robles or navarro

2005-08-15 14:56:38
114.   db1022
111 - Phillips obviously.

Phillips is 0 for 8, which means he's "due".

Choi is not going to hit .667 against a pitcher of Smoltz' caliber, so he'd probably take an 0-fer tonight. He sits.

2005-08-15 14:57:07
115.   fanerman
I somehow think it's more likely Saenz or Kent go to 1st than Choi.
2005-08-15 14:57:59
116.   fanerman
Well, one can hope.
2005-08-15 15:02:22
117.   Yakface
113- How can lack of defense possibly hurt? See 2004 Dodgers > 2005 Dodgers.
2005-08-15 15:04:37
118.   Howard Fox
114 - took the words right out of my mouth
2005-08-15 15:06:11
119.   Howard Fox
Tracy will load up with lefties in the lineup to combat Smoltz, so AP will start at third instead of Robles and Saenz at first.
2005-08-15 15:09:36
120.   werthgagne31
117--but doesn't the huge upgrade in offense with seanz and perez over izturis and robles outdo the small downgrade in defense.
2005-08-15 15:10:14
121.   fanerman
113 - Saenz can't play 3B. Perez will never start at SS while Izturis and Robles are around (the same way Choi will never play 1B while Saenz and Phillips are around).

117 - I don't think you can say the difference between last year and this year is entirely on the defense. If we didn't have the freak injuries and we played the right players, we'd be doing much better, but some years it's just like that.

2005-08-15 15:16:13
122.   Yakface
120- No.

See 2004 Dodgers W-L record and amount of errors.

2005-08-15 15:19:08
123.   werthgagne31
121--yes i allready know about tracy, and that perez will not start and choi will not start as long as tracy and certain so called good defensive players are around.
my idea (lineup) is without considering tracy.
but i don't get what you meant when you said seanz can't play 3b, he's played there plenty of times.
are you just saying seanz isn't a good enough 3b to be playing there.
2005-08-15 15:20:15
124.   Yakface
I wasnt saying it was the only difference I was merely trying to point out that a major defensive downgrade isnt worth a slight offensive upgrade. Play AP the ball bobbler at 2nd tell kent to be team player and handle 1st robles at third and Izzy at short its a pretty nice infield, as long as Kent gets his head out his arse and realizes AP is dowgrade at any other position but 2nd and decides to buckle down and play first.
2005-08-15 15:20:46
125.   Howard Fox
121 - agreed on the injuries hurting us...

but one positive is that if by some chance we got healthy enough to somehow make up 6 games on the Padres, like what we have or not, we would have a bench with a lot of experienced players....and that might be a good thing?

then you have Lowe and Penny who are clutch post season pitchers, and who knows what might happen?

2005-08-15 15:21:55
126.   Yakface
A bench of Saenz(likes to rest), Choi(Hungry) and Valentin(Savvy Mustache) is an ok bench.
2005-08-15 15:24:07
127.   Yakface
We have some nice pieces its just up to Tracy to play them correctly, we have all the players Except Drew that were on fire starting off this season and Drew doesnt matter cause he was in a slump, we actualy have 3 more in Werth Penny and Valentin.
2005-08-15 15:24:20
128.   fanerman
125 - Yeah there's certainly a silver lining. And if nothing else, we picked a good year to be horrendous, since somehow we're still in contention and there's reason to see the season out til the end.

124 - How are you sure the defensive downgrade is major and the offensive upgrade is minor? There has been much talk that Izturis is not as good this year as he was last year on defense. He doesn't even look as good.

2005-08-15 15:26:42
129.   Yakface
Why not go with my suggested infield from post 124 it makes Tracy happy it makes you happy it makes everyone happy kinda like ice cream. Izzy out of the line up is bad news.
2005-08-15 15:28:40
130.   fanerman
129 - It's not me or Howard Fox or werthgagne31 or anybody here you need to convince.
2005-08-15 15:30:01
131.   werthgagne31
this is what i am asking.
is the upgrade of offense in seanz at 3b perez at ss bigger than the downgrade in defense.
seanz and perez vs izturis and robles, does the upgrade in offense outweigh the downgrade in defense?
and remember robles gives seanz some days off for his so called fragile body.
2005-08-15 15:30:46
132.   Yakface
I'm not trying to convince nothing of nobody, Im just providing some of my input. Explain to me flaws in the proposed infield? from 124.
2005-08-15 15:32:35
133.   Steve
Robles and Izturis cannot be in the same lineup and make this a winning team. Kent cannot play first because it allows Tracy to keep playing them both. Nobody is saying that they want Robles and Izturis in the lineup. The debate is which one should be in the lineup.

And there is no "slight" offensive upgrade from Izturis to Perez. That is an avalanche of an offensive upgrade.

2005-08-15 15:32:57
134.   Yakface
Saenz is tired he complains of too many start he has been dropping the ball consistently why force him to start if he'd prefer a bench more often than not? and perez is comfortable at 2nd why have him play SS over our GG SS? Theres ways to imcorporate defense and offense, see post 124.127.
2005-08-15 15:33:32
135.   Howard Fox
so Yakface, what time do you get out of school each day?
2005-08-15 15:35:00
136.   Yakface
Im just trying to be realistic here, because in the real world with Jim Tracy Izturis wont get benched. The infield I propose to me at least seems like it satisfies both parties unless you'd rather have Valentin at third than Robles.
2005-08-15 15:35:40
137.   Yakface
Cool 135, wut time do you get of your moms basement each day?
2005-08-15 15:38:31
138.   fanerman
The optimal line-up is:
1B - Choi/Saenz platoon
2B - Kent
SS - Izturis/Robles
3B - Perez (until he shows he really can't handle it, because he's actually done okay so far)

As Steve said, Izturis and Robles can't be in the same line-up at the same time. Honestly, I don't care which is in the line-up. It's 1st and 3rd I'd rather see change. But that's just me.

2005-08-15 15:39:13
139.   King of the Hobos
2005-08-15 15:39:31
140.   Yakface
Or what time do your grand kids change your diaper each day?
2005-08-15 15:39:33
141.   fanerman
135, 137
We don't have to resort to that.
2005-08-15 15:40:27
142.   werthgagne31
136-- you're right about being realistic, i know my idea will never happen with tracy as the manager.
i'm only trying to find out if my idea is the best for the team, if seanz and perez over izturis and robles gives us enough of an offensive upgrade to outweigh the defensive downgrade.
but again,as long as tracy is manager, my idea will never happen.
2005-08-15 15:40:32
143.   Howard Fox
I come here for fun, I'm not liking some of the new participants.
2005-08-15 15:43:42
144.   Yakface
Sorry for putting a different view out there didnt mean to step on anyones shoes. Didnt realize this wasnt a place for dodger fans to come and discuss Dodger related topics.
2005-08-15 15:43:47
145.   Jon Weisman
139 - Thank you, King of the Hobos.

Howard and Yakface - time to hit the reset button. No personal attacks.

2005-08-15 15:45:30
146.   werthgagne31
138--if its choi/seanz platoon at 1b, kent 2b, perez 3b, and the only question is who plays shortstop, then i say robles.
2005-08-15 15:47:32
147.   Yakface
Im trying to defend a line that includes Antonio Perez while maintaing infield stability and my age gets called into question,
2005-08-15 15:47:59
148.   fanerman
142 - I agree with the notion that Izturis' defense is overrated and Robles' at 3rd isn't anything to write home about either... but frankly, a left side of the infield consisting of Perez and Saenz is frightening.

Saenz can't play everyday anyway. He's best off in a platoon (ie, with Choi).

2005-08-15 15:48:31
149.   werthgagne31
izturis is clearly the worst out of choi,seanz,kent,robles,izturis.
2005-08-15 15:48:53
150.   Yakface
Robles has only been on base 2 more times than Izturis in August, While Izturis has a superior glove I'd go with Izzy but drop him to the 8th spot.
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2005-08-15 15:56:25
151.   werthgagne31
i guess if my idea doesn't work, that is seanz at 3b mainly with robles giving him some days off, perez at ss, kent at 2b, choi at 1b, then the next best thing is perez at 3b, robles at ss, kent at 2b, choi/seanz platoon at 1b.
cause moving kent to 1b apparently kills any chance of both seanz and choi playing and it keeps robles and izturis both in the same lineup, so moving kent to 1b is not the solution.
2005-08-15 15:58:07
152.   Steve
I agree that the problem with playing options 9 and 10 out of eight options at the corners is far bigger, but that is a self-inflicted problem and easily solved. Izturis could turn into the Out Monster That Ate Chavez Ravine, and he is gaining in power and might. He is atrocious offensively, and yet people think he's average now. What will happen if he ever gets to .700 OPS regularly? Superman? At that point, he might possibly make a claim to be average, though the point would be debatable. And it would take the Contract That Ate Chavez Ravine to stick with him that long anyway.
2005-08-15 15:58:33
153.   Jon Weisman
As a reminder for commenters - don't start a fight, and don't exacerbate a fight. In either case, if someone is getting on your nerves, you always have the choice to respond with tact instead of sarcasm, or ignore that person.
2005-08-15 16:06:03
154.   werthgagne31
none of what i'm saying matters cause tracy is the manager.
phillips will continue to play at 1b and both izturis and robles will continue to play at ss and 3b.
aahh the life of a dodger fan while tracy is the manager, gotta love it, the team is crippled right away thanks to tracy, depodesta could get a few players that could make the team great, but tracy will find a way to cripple the team.
2005-08-15 16:12:57
155.   Ryan Jerz
152 I have to agree. As someone pointed out earlier, he is at best, a #8 hitting SS. He drives me crazy with his 2-0 popouts. No leadoff hitter ever should do that. Did I say ever? I meant ever. He doesn't appear to have any of the plate disclipline required of a leadoff hitter.

So we're back to the question: if it's Choi, Kent, Perez at 1b 2b 3b respectively, who should play SS? I think Robles, simply because he employs the Moneyball skill of wearing down pitchers, even at the expense of a little defense. But then that brings us to the fact that it won't happen because the manager doesn't seem to want to play the team in the manner it was built. It's maddening.

2005-08-15 16:14:45
156.   GoBears
I said this before the season (I think). Last year's defense was an anomaly. In terms of errors (which, I know, aren't a great measure), 2004's was the best defense in Dodger history. Even if the same 8 guys had returned for 2005, the defense would have been worse than in 2004. Reversion to the mean. I guess Izzy and Bradley are the only 2 who did return (given Werth's injuries). Of those two, Bradley seems, if anything, even better, but Izturis has fallen back to Earth. Kent seems to be about the same as Cora, if less flashy. And the biggest defensive problems we've had have been with all of the scrubs (Grabowski was consistently bad; Repko - occasionally brilliant, occasionally awful; Edwards - steady but no real range in IF or OF; Robles - good hands, limited range; Phillips - bad at C, worse at first. Valentin made a couple bad throws in April, but he's been so good for his career, that we had every reason to expect him to be fine.

As for the question of which is more important - glovework or hitting - Bill James sure seems to think it's hitting. After all, at least half of defense is pitching. Glovework by the other 8 is of marginal importance, especially when you consider the marginal differences between our best at worst defensive players at each spot. I'd choose based on offense for every spot, unless someone was truly awful at a key position.

2005-08-15 16:17:02
157.   GoBears
oops -typo in 156. Should be:

"the marginal differences between our best AND worst defensive players at each spot."

2005-08-15 16:21:32
158.   Yakface
However we do have a few sinker ball pitchers so you kinda have to think about defense.
2005-08-15 16:24:48
159.   fanerman
The infield I (and others before me) proposed in 138 is not much worse than the infield we're throwing out now. Let Robles start at 3B for Lowe and Weaver or something if you must.

We don't have to sacrifice much defense (if any) to get better hitters into the line-up.

2005-08-15 16:25:39
160.   Steve
That would probably be more relevant if they spent less time giving up 450 foot home runs and screaming line drives to all parts of the field.
2005-08-15 16:26:55
161.   jasonungar05
to fanerman you listen. 138


2005-08-15 16:31:01
162.   fanerman
160 - I was shocked to see that, for all the home runs Lowe's given up, he's still 4th in the majors in G/F ratio.
2005-08-15 16:32:03
163.   Ryan Jerz
158 The problem there is you're assuming the worst. At best, the lesser of the defenders might allow 2-3 more baserunners per game between them. And that's only when they have a rough go of it. Chances are they'll field all the ground balls just like the better defenders would.
2005-08-15 16:32:13
164.   Yakface
The more I think about it the more it makes sense to put Robles at short maybe 15 days maybe a little 15 day DL for Izzy should be in order, honestly cause lately he's been looking a little green in the face.
2005-08-15 16:32:45
165.   Ryan Jerz
When I say best, I mean most.
2005-08-15 16:46:37
166.   ddger
I don't think Kent wants to play 1st because he is close to setting lot of records as a 2nd baseman. I bet Tracy has asked him to play 1st but Kent is resisting it so Tracy is resorted to using Phillips instead. If Kent was to play first, is Kent and Perez better than Kent and Saenz/Phillips/Choi?
2005-08-15 16:56:54
167.   Jon Weisman
I don't know if you all are working on the theoretical or Tracyretical level, but there's no reason for Kent to play first. Saenz and Choi are plenty at that position. To make room for Perez, Robles/Izturis/Valentin should sit, not Saenz/Choi.
2005-08-15 16:57:40
168.   fanerman
All these stats are from Jon's post:

Defensively at 1st, Kent is better at Choi in zone rating, but Choi bests him in Rate2. Both are better than Saenz and Phillips.

Defensively at 2nd, Kent is better than Perez.

Defensively at 3rd, Perez equals Robles in Rate2 and has a HIGHER zone rating in more innings.

Choi has an EQA of .274. Perez is at .297. Saenz is at .298. Phillips has an EQA of .237.

Choi, Saenz, or Perez are better in the line-up than Phillips, offensively and defensively.

Saenz can't play every day.

If it came down to Kent/Choi or Perez/Kent (2B/1B), I'd go with Kent/Choi because there's no defensive downgrade and Choi has been unlikely while Perez has been somewhat lucky, probably balancing out their EQAs a bit. Plus Kent stays happy.

Of course, statistically, Perez warrants at least more time at 3B, and that would make everybody happy. Except Phillips and whoever gets benched out of Izturis and Robles.

2005-08-15 16:57:50
169.   GoBears
167 Yup.
2005-08-15 17:02:06
170.   fanerman
167 - Or you can just say that.

BTW, unlikely = unlucky in 168.

2005-08-15 17:12:42
171.   ddger
It's a shame that Tracy can't find a place for AP since his OPS .388 is 2nd highest after Drew .412.

I'm very surprised that AP has done this well this season. I expected him to hit .270 to .280 but never expected him to hit .330. Tracy is letting his offense go to waste this season.

Is it possible to rotate Izzy/Robles/Perez so that each gets about equal time?

If Valentin can get a start at 3rd, then surely Perez deserves start over Valentin.

2005-08-15 17:15:40
172.   regfairfield
Had to address the more errors = better team concept.

While my first argument did go to dust (looked up 1992 and discovered they lead the league in errors. Curse you Jose Offerman)

However, the seasons that the Dodgers have made the playoffs in the last couple decades or so, the Dodgers rank in the league in errors. (Being first here is bad)

1988: 4th
1995: 1st
1996: 12th
1997: 16th

Errors have little to do with having a successful baseball team. In fact, in some cases more errors can be indicative of a stronger defense.

2005-08-15 17:16:51
173.   Jon Weisman
171 - Perez may in truth be more like a .280 hitter with extended playing time - but even if you drop his batting average 50 points, his combination of walks and some power make him a better pick to click then Robles.

And, it's the fact that Choi's batting average might be likely to go up with repeated use that makes his combination of walks and power potentially even more valuable offensively than Perez.

2005-08-15 17:23:43
174.   ddger
173. Too bad Navarro's increased playing time has relegated Choi to PH since Phillips is now rotating full time with Saenz at 1st.
2005-08-15 17:23:44
175.   regfairfield
172 - Sometimes less is more.
2005-08-15 18:29:07
176.   Fearing Blue
#106: It was a typo. Chin-lung Hu is in Vero Beach (A+).

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