Thursday, April 28, 2005



Due to the current roster makeup, Nakamura is the probable candidate to be sent back back down to AAA when Antonio Perez returns from the DL. Before this happens, I would like to see Nakamura more at 3B. I would then occasionally rotate Valentin to the middle infield to rest Izturis or Kent. So for the time being until Perez returns, I would have Valentin rover around as a super sub, a la Hernandez last year. The side benefit is this:

As I commented over at The Fourth Outfielder the other day...

If Nakamura proves that he's capable of manning 3B everyday, the Dodgers would hold a trading chip in Valentin. For example, the Cubs just lost Garciaparra for a while with a torn left groin tendon, and could be looking for a stopgap replacement. Valentin is a better SS than a 3B, is familiar with Chicago, has a 1 year contract, and is capable with the bat unlike Neifi Perez, Garciaparra's probable replacement. So Valentin would be of greater value to the Cubs than to LA. If Valentin is indeed traded, LA can then bring up Oscar Robles, who looked good during ST and can be put on the ML roster with certain restrictions.

Let's run with the Cubs example for a bit. Their needs are where the Dodgers are strong. The Northsiders need a shortstop, relief pitching, and perhaps an outfielder to replace the production lost when Sosa and Alou departed. (Dodger rejects Hollandsworth and Burnitz now man the outfield.) So the Dodgers have what the Cubs need, but what would the Dodgers want in return?

Assuming no further injuries, the only possible "needs" for the Dodgers are a frontline starter (Doesn't everybody?) and a 1B if Choi stalls. This is obviously wishful thinking, but what would it take to pry either Prior or Zambrano? Weaver and Penny are both in their walk years, and blue chip prospects such as Jackson, Ketchner, and Billingsley are just that at this point - prospects. A package including Valentin, Werth, and Brazoban would be a serious starting offer - three needs filled cheaply, with two of them just starting to blossom. I would be willing to take back a bad contract (Remlinger) or two if it meant getting Prior.

Of course, the Cubbies aren't trading Prior or Zambrano, and can't trade Wood due to his no-trade clause, so it's a moot point. But I wouldn't be surprised if a small trade involving Valentin/ Repko/ Sanchez occured. According to the Cubs Reporter,, their farm is deep in pitching. Maybe a "need" trade isn't in the Dodgers' best interest. A long-term "opportunity" trade would work, too.

This is not meant to be a knock on Valentin, who has so far displayed an erratic glove and a power bat, as expected. He is, however, a mere one year stopgap who was signed prior to Nakamura becoming available. If Nakamura shows that he's capable of holding the 3B job, it would be in the Dodgers' best interest to see what the market offers for Valentin.

5/5/05 EDIT: Now that Valentin's out for at least 2 months with a knee injury, we'll see what Nakamura can do. So far, good glove, no hit...

I know you aren't knocking Valentin, but I don't think you'll see him going anywhere. He's doing more than I think was expected. Depo got him because he has always seen a lot of pitches. He's continuing to do that this year, with the added bonus that he's actually taking walks this year, something he didn't show an interest in doing before. (Actually, it's pretty amazing how low his OBP was the past several years when you look at how he has always been amongst the leaders in P/PA.) His OBP is great, and he's leading the league so far in P/PA, which Depo has valued for many years.

Of course, if the right deal comes along, nobody is offlimits, but I think Valentin's contribution is valued highly.
i agree with you. his walk rate and power are fantastic so far. it's just that IF nak comes through (he hasn't yet) then that creates a quandry. valentin has a greater value as a SS than a 3B, and LA is set at SS. that's trade bait: someone worth more to another team than your own. that's all.
This is nitpicking, but Valentin's glove isn't suspect - his arm, however, is. That might not actually be a legitimate sentence, but you get the idea. He was chosen to play third presumably because his range and glove have always been outstanding, and it's erratic throws that hold him back. Even his famous Opening Day "chalk ball" error was ruled to be of the throwing variety. As he gets more familiar with the new distance and angle, it's possible that his throws will be better.

That said, I'd rather have him make a wide throw on a ball that would have been a double to left field than not get to it in the first place.
So long as the Cubs continue to the the Super! version of Neifi Perez, so long with they not need help at shortstop.
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