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12.14.2005

The Thin Blue Lineup 

As you might have heard by now, the Dodgers are about to sign Bill Mueller to be their regular third baseman. He'll likely be their #2 hitter, with fellow Blue newbie Rafael Furcal leading off.

Combine that with the departure of Milton "K.I.T. Keep It Together" Bradley, and the Fodgers' lineup will look awfully different in '06. Here's a stab:

ss Furcal
3b Mueller
rf Drew
2b Kent
1b Choi
lf Werth(less)
cf ??
c Navarro

Something like that. There are rumors they've offered Kenny Lofton a contract. 'T would be interesting to see if Li'l Kenny's ego allows him to bat somewhere other than leadoff. He didn't take kindly to being moved around in his brief stay in pinstripes a couple years ago.

The above stab will likely change when Cesar Izturis returns from injury in mid-year. Izturis could move to 2b, with Kent moving to 1b. But Izturis is a truly horrible hitter; if he's not playing his natural position, why bother keeping him around? I'm guessing he'll be traded once he proves healthy. Meanwhile, the Dodgers will look for a 2b with some pop and move Kent to first full-time. That makes Choi trade bait this winter. Just a guess.

The key to their lineup is Drew. Will he continue to be the fragile, overpaid, self-absorbed albatross that leaves a huge offensive chasm whenever he's injured?

We can only hope.

If Drew's healthy, the Dodgers will have a nasty one-through-four. But it's obvious Coletti has a lot of work to do on the second half of the lineup.

Ned's done a pretty good job so far, I must admit. He's filled two gaping holes at 3B and SS with above-average offensive and defensive players. He's dumped a psycho no one wanted around anymore for a top prospect. Their pitching staff is still a big puzzle; Penny, Lowe and Perez are the three remaining starters, all making big bucks, all with physical or mental question marks.

Do the Dodgers scare you? Will Grady Little make more bizarre moves than Felipe Alou? When you're sitting in the bleachers this summer and Jayson Werth turns around and pretends to flick boogers on you, will you mistakenly happen to coincidentally lose grip of your beer, oopsie, just as he's trying to make a running catch against the left-field wall, but not before you've hocked a big loogie into your plastic cup -- out of sheer coincidence, mind you -- not that I would ever condone such behavior especially if the Giants' season ticket police are reading this?

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