The numbers game has apparently hit the 2009 Dodger outfield hard, as it looks like Joe Torre will be carrying only four outfielders to start the season. Starters Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier will be joined by only one more outfielder, and that will have to be the un-deserving but big-buck contracted Juan Pierre. The more deserving and eventual major league regular Delwyn Young is thus on the way out, as is super-talented but injury-prone Jason Repko.
All this because Torre feels he needs seven infielders. The inf now figures to include the four regulars, Casey Blake, Rafael Furcal, Orlando Hudson, and James Loney, plus free-agent pinch hitter, inf and of sub Mark Loretta, slick-flelding Doug Mientkiewicz, who can also play third and right field as well as first, and the return of middle infielder Juan Casto, who came up with the Dodgers seemingly decades ago. Thus, on the outs are Chin-lung Hu and last season’s rookie sensation at third (and later second), Blake DeWitt.
The starting staff seems still in limbo, though the Dodger stay for Shawn Estes was short and un-sweet. Former Dodger Randy Wolf has solidified his spot in the rotation, and apparently Eric Milton has impressed Torre enough to still be in the running for a spot, though it seems that James McDonald now has the edge over the earlier front-runner Jason Schmidt, for the fifth rotation spot.
The Dodgers unloaded Andruw Jones. but they are sabotaging this year’s roster by keeping big-contract under-producers like Pierre and Schmidt, causing talented players like Young, Repko, and others to find work elsewhere. With Manny’s big contract and this off-season’s acquisitions, the Dodgers look like they can go really far this season, and by signing Manny, Wolf, Hudson, and others, it seems like management was doing all it could for that end. They need to pull the plug on some other contracts if the players involved cannot contribute as much as others could, and put the best 25 in the dugout.