The Los Angeles Dodgers have the most expensive MLB payroll heading into the 2013 season, and it’s pretty easy to figure out why it is so high. From top to bottom, the Dodgers have one of the most talented teams in baseball. Their pitching rotation is stacked, they have a solid bullpen, and their lineup is pretty balanced.
However, there is one gaping hole the Dodgers have not addressed yet, unless they truthfully think Luis Cruz can handle the third base position.
While Cruz had a solid 2012 season for the Dodgers, I think they are making a huge mistake using him as their everyday third baseman. The most concerning thing about Cruz is that he is 29 years old, so it’s not like he’s a young prospect that can improve on his game.
There is one positive thing about Cruz, however, and that is his solid defense. Mostly because of that defensive skill-set the fans from FanGraphs project Cruz to be a two-win third baseman, which might be a little too optimistic for my liking. I mean, Cruz is a hitter that will likely have an OBP under .310. If a player can barely eclipse the .300 OBP mark, that player is not a two-win player based on defense alone.
There aren’t a lot of free agent options available at third base, sans Scott Rolen. The veteran third baseman still wants to play even though it was announced that he was likely going to retire after departing from the Cincinnati Reds, making perfect sense for the Dodgers. Rolen can still field with the best of them – and if healthy – should give the Dodgers more offense than Cruz.
All of what I just said could be irrelevant if the Dodgers go with Dee Gordon at shortstop, but that might be a worse decision than going with Cruz. If the Dodgers are truly “all-in” as it seems, they might want to upgrade third base before they break camp.