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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.
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.
Izzy at 3rd. Like a car wreck, but I'll watch for the spectacle.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
"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."
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.
Unlike, say... oh, I don't know... another manager that we will probably see on Friday night?
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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