OK Dodger fans, something I’ve been meaning to do for the longest time, gather together my all-decade Dodger lineup, with reserves included. Just a disclaimer here that this is MY LINEUP that I put together, and like MLB Netork’s Prime 9, this is up for debate. So without further delay, here goes…..
THE STARTING 9
1. Rafael Furcal SS
One of the more versitale shortstops the Blue has had in a while, Furcal, when fully healthy, is one of those rare SS’s that has a good mix of speed and power combined with a strong arm. Also one of the best “slap bunters” in the game too.
2. Matt Kemp CF
Perhaps maybe the most gifted Dodger this decade. The scary part is that we STILL haven’t seen the best of him yet. At the beginning of last season, I predicted that he would be a 30/30 guy, and he was 4 home runs from making look like Drei the genius. Because of his offensive prowess that keeps improving, Matt may be one of the more UNDERRATED outfielders in the game.
3. Andre Ethier RF
In many ways, when the Dodgers traded outfielder Milton Bradley to the A’s for their young and talented prospect Andre Ethier, the Dodgers essentially got a steal. In his 4 years here in L.A., Andre’s home run totals has gradually increased , including a career high 31 home runs and 106 RBI’s. But what really has caught the eye of Dodger fans, and baseball fans as well, is his ability to come through in the clutch, as witnessed by his 9 walkoff hits in the past 2 seasons, 6 of them in ’09 , 4 of them being some Dodger fans prized souvenier. And if the opposing team isnt Walking ( Off ) In L.A., Andre can still be counted on to come through in the clutch, as Cy Young Award winning pitcher Tim Lincecum would find out. On 8/12/2009, with the Dodgers trailing 2-1 in the top of the 9th and Furcal the tying run at 2nd , after fouling off several pitches, ‘Dre would line a 2-2 Lincecum fastball to right field, plating Furcal and tying the game, much to the dismay of the locals ( Or should I say, to the glee of us blue clad fans who made the trip up north…..) . Though the Blue Crew would lose in the 11th inning on ironically, a walk-off home run by Juan Uribe, preventing the Blue from sweeping their rivals, Andre, whether it be home or in a hostile environment, has shown that with the game on the line, he’s the man you want at the plate. Keep this up ‘Dre, and you may have as many walk-offs as Kobe has buzzer beaters !!!! If there’s just one thing I would like to see ‘Dre do, it would be to stop battling his worst enemy, himself. Yes ‘Dre, even though you’ve admitted as much, and even though most Dodger fans and the media who cover you know this, you gotta stop being hard on yourself. You’re a ballplaya, on your best year, your gonna fail 7 out of 10 times. Relax ‘Dre !!!! But hey, I guess it’s that high expectation he expects of himself thats earned him a reputation as our Mr. Clutch.
HEY ANDRE, TOSS ME A BASEBALL !!!!!
HEY DRE !!!!
4. Jeff Kent 2B
Say what you want about Jeff Kent. Yeah, he may have come off as being surly, and yeah, he may have said some things about the teams youth movement, and YES, he may have even said some not-so-kind things about one of the biggest legends here in L.A., Vin Scully. But you cant ever question Jeff Kent’s work ethic. Kent is the type of player each team needs at least one of, a blue collar, no-nonsense type. Kent would finish his final 4 years of his career in Dodger Blue batting no lower than a .280 average in his final season of 2008. Again, say what you want about him, but he was one of the teams classic workhorses.
5. Gary Sheffield LF
You can say what you want to about Gary Sheffield as well, since he was so demanding of a trade prior to the 2001 season and finally got his wish at seasons end. However, the only player whom we really got any value out of the ill-fated Piazza trade, did give us back to back seasons in ’00 and ’01 of 100 RBI seasons while also belting 36 and 43 home runs. Man, a starting outfield of Sheffield in his prime playing with Kent and Ethier today ?
6. Shawn Green 1B
OK Dodger fans, I know what you’re thinking. How could I put Shawn Green as first base over Eric Karros. Simple, because he did play 1st base in ’04 for a full season, he qualifies as a candidate as my staring 1st baseman for my ’00s All-Decade team. I mean, c’mon people, I already have Andre Ethier out in right field, the only other position Green played was 1st base, a position he had no prior experience at prior to ’04. And besides, why would you want to leave his bat out of the lineup. In 2001 he hit an L.A. Dodger all-time high of 49 home runs, following that up with 41 home runs in ’02. And who could forget his 4 home run game against the Brewers while scoring a major league record of 6 runs in a single game. His power numbers tailed off in ’03 and ’04 but he still drove in 85 plus RBI’s in those seasons. Many Dodger fans ( including this one ) have said that Andre Ethier and Shawn Green bare many resemblences, you know, left handed power hitters with sweet swings who can be really streaky or really cold with sometimes nothing in between. The only differnece between ‘Dre and Shawn, ‘Dre shows his emotions, Green was a cool cat, and at times, set the fans the wrong way. But hey, ‘Dre and Shawn in the same lineup cant be bad. And finally, on a rather personal note, Green had one of the coolest at-bat songs during his days donning Dodger Blue.
Nothing like hearing 50,000 fans yelling WOO-HOO as he comes to the plate
7. Adrian Beltre 3B
Beltre’s best season as a Dodger, and perhaps in his career to this point, came in 2004 when he would belt a NL leading 48 home runs before testing the waters in free agency, landing in Seatlle and playing in another not-so-hitter friendly ballpark. Has had 3 consecutive seasons from ’06-08 with home run totals of 25, 26, and 25.
8. Paul LoDuca C
The heart and soul of the Blue Crew in the early part of this decade, many never forgave DePodesta for trading him away to the Marlins .
AND THE STARTING 5
9. Hideo Nomo, Kevin Brown, Chan Ho Park, Derek Lowe, and Odalis Perez.
This was one I had a little more difficulty putting together and may possibly be the most debated. And I’m sure you’re wondering why I put Odalis Perez in there. Here is my reasoning, I would want at least 1 left handed starter in my rotation. And I’m sure you’re asking why I didnt put Clayton Kershaw in the mix. He hasn’t been in the rotation long enough to really establish himself , YET. Once he’s fully developed, he may make next decades all-decade team as my starting southpaw. Now as for the rest, they were all workhorses my favorites being Park and Nomo ( And not because I’M ASIAN !!!! ) Park would lead the Blue in K’s in ’00 and ’01 and Nomo, in his second go ’round with the Blue minus the fanfare, was a huge workhorse himself. Kevin Brown would show flashes at times, even winning the league ERA title in ’00, and Derek Lowe was more than just an innings eater. To bad he never cared about the fans here, claiming we we’re too laid back. ( Yeah right, ask any Giants fan whose donned their Halloween colors in the LF Pavillion )
As for the Reserves
Russel Martin- A perfect backup to an earlier LoDuca, whom he would eventually succed.
Juan Pierre – Just went out and played the game, and we all remember, an admireable ” fill in ” for Manny
Dave Roberts – Would be another late-game replacement for Manny. Was sorry to see him go to in ’04, but glad he got his ring.
Nomar Garciaparra- Can play anywhere in the infield. Also can come through in the clutch too. Best season was ’06
Eric Karros – Always good to have that veteran presence on the bench, though I doubt he would care for this role
Cesar Izturis – Provided stellar defense from ’02 to ’05 before a major injury set him back, opening the door for Furcal.
And of course, the ‘Penn
Eric Gagne– What else is there to say than….GAME OVER !!!!!!
Takashi Saito – Took over the role nicely from Gagne from’06 to ’08
Johnathan Broxton – Now if only you can get Matt Stairs off you mind buddy !!!!
Hung Chi Kuo – More than just a situational lefty in the ‘pen.
Chad Billingsley – I still feel he has the stuff to be the ace
OK, that is my all decade team consisting of my starting 9 all the way down to the 24 man roster. Let’s hear your’s, and let me hear what you would change with my lineup. This should be fun folks. HOW MANY DAYS ‘TILL OPENING DAY ? GO DODGERS !!!!