Let’s play everybody’s favorite game, Analyze That Trade!
This spring, the Braves traded 3B Wilson Betemit to the Dodgers for utility man Willie Aybar. A week ago, Aybar vanished and his agent has since admitted that Aybar is coping with drug addiction.
So that means the Dodgers got the best of the trade, right? Not exactly. So far this season Betemit has hit .133 with no home runs and six RBI. In other words, the Dodgers wish he would dissapear.
I’d say the trade has been a wash. Betemit has been so bad that the Dodgers are thinking about benching him. The problem is, they don’t have anybody who can play third.
From the L.A. Times:
Betemit’s struggles have the Dodgers considering options at third base — and there aren’t many.
They don’t think prospect Andy LaRoche is ready for the major leagues. LaRoche had a poor spring training offensively and defensively, and is batting .243 at triple A.
They are reluctant to move Nomar Garciaparra from first to third and plug prospect James Loney in at first because of the injury risk to Garciaparra, who has a history of leg and oblique problems. Third base requires more flexibility than first because of the increased throwing demands, and the stakes are high because Garciaparra is so valuable offensively.
An option the Dodgers have discussed is using backup catcher Mike Lieberthal at third base on occasion. Lieberthal, in his 14th season, is a .274 hitter with 150 home runs over his career, yet has only nine at-bats this season.
Playing Lieberthal at third base would be the most desperate move a team has made since Kevin Kennedy let Jose Canseco pitch the eighth inning. Lieberthal hasn’t played third since…well…not recently. He was a shortstop in high school, but that was a long, loooooooong time ago.
And the Dodgers can’t play Nomar at third because he might hurt himself. Moreover, if the Dodgers send Betemit to the minors for more seasoning, they would have to first place him on waivers and risk losing him to another team. Which, frankly, might not be the end of the world. But then they still wouldn’t have a third baseman.