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Replacements making Russell Martin's disappointing season look pretty good right now

Now, let’s see, all those of you bemoaning Russell Martin’s production and wanting him outta Dodge on the next train … how do you feel now?

It’s been 11 games since Martin went down with his injured hip, and even if his production was seriously disappointing this year (.248, five home runs, 26 RBI), it’s looking pretty decent right now by comparison.

Catchers Brad Ausmus and A.J. Ellis are a combined 4-for-37 (.104) with no home runs and one RBI in Martin’s stead.

Now, no one realistically expected them to offer improved offense from the catching position, but 11 games in and it’s been almost nonexistent.

And the thing is, the Dodgers aren’t really expecting anything much different as they close out the season.

"Our offense from the catcher's spot has been very light," manager Joe Torre said.

"I don't see any way it's going to change. I'm not going to say we're not going to get a hit or knock in a run, but it's not the threat that Russell gave you."

Ausmus is 41 and coming off back surgery, performed in April. Ellis is a 29-year-old rookie.

And there’s really nothing in the system to give a shot. Lucas May, who was a shortstop until 2007, could hit but wasn’t deemed ready to handle a major-league staff and was traded for Scott Podsednik.

Now, the No.1 catcher at triple-A Albuquerque is J.D. Closser, who is also light-hitting and 30 years old.

Russell also had his issues behind the plate, but in the last 11 games, his replacements have yet to throw out one of 10 base stealers.

Almost the entire offense is struggling, but don’t look for any dramatic improvement from the catcher’s position. And, oh yeah, Martin is expected to be out for the rest of the year.

How do you like me now?

-- Steve Dilbeck
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The "quality" literature offers a perspective on the Dodgers' problems. Much has been written about upgrading products through "continuous improvement," what the Japanese call "kaizen." The Yankees exemplify this approach. Enough is never good enough. Torre's inglorious finish in NY made the message clear. Getting to the threshold is inadequate.

The Phillies DEALT LEE,upgrading to Halladay, showing a commitment to continuous improvement.

The Dodgers don't do this, settling instead for occasional improvement, symbolic improvement, and Hail Mary improvements. Obtaining Money Ramirez in '08, was a Hail Mary that actually worked, for that season.

But dealing him early in 2010, would have been the smart move, partly because he quit on February 22, with his Gone-in-2011 announcement to the press.

With Ramirez, the Dodgers missed an opportunity to do their own Lee-4-Halladay type of upgrade. They stood pat, looking to squeak into the post-season with the crew they had at the time.

That's not continuous improvement. That's stagnation and inevitable decline.

Don't let the Yankees' payroll distract from their real focus, which is on winning championships. You can improve without dropping tons of dough. Check out this year's Padres, for example.

At this point the Phillies also seem committed to kaizen.

That hasn't been the Dodgers' philosophy for the past 20+ years, despite the rhetoric. Their aim is simply to achieve the "get-by," an average or slightly better than average product, but not the best.

They are to baseball what the American car industry became to its once loyal fans.
Posted by: Zen | 08/16/2010 at 07:02 AM

I could give catching a try again since I am not doing anythinge else.

Russell! Lissen up! This is for you! So this lame reporter sez the fans wanted you outta Dodge. Go young man. Leave and get your career on a roll! Your too good for this town. And your way too good for this team!

To answer your question--I still don't like you. No one expected these guys to produce and figured that Martin would never be injured. So they plan to play him to death about 140 games per year. Now we are reaping the results of that thinking. Andrew Jones doesn't look better because Garret stunk.

We still love you, Steve. You have nothing to do with the sad state of affairs over in Chavez Ravine. I just wish you'd respond to my questions once in a while. Anyway, it's not that this was unexpected. People who are crying for the Dodgers to get rid of a mediocre catcher when the organization has nobody with whom to replace him, can now see how bad things really are. I don't miss Russell Martin, because there is nobody to miss. He hasn't hit for the past two years. His defense has regressed, as well. We all know that. The rest of the team isn't hitting, so what's the diff? The season is over, anyway. If there are those of you out there who expect a change when Furcal and Ramirez return, then I have some property in California City you'd love.
Speaking of love, those of you who keep pleading in this blog and in the LA Times for Frank to sell the team can get up close and personal with him and Jamie on August 30 when they appear at the courthouse for their love fest. Just a thought.

That is assuming they don't use one dime of Martin's salary to obtain a better option. I don't think anyone is saying that we want Ellis as our fulltime catcher. There are quality catching options on the market every year and the Dodgers should explore getting a real option to either push Martin out or push him to be better.

Martin was'nt having any better luck throwung out runners. He could not even get the ball to second in the air. The ball would bounce right behind the pitchers mound. What about his inability to catch pitches anymore? He misses the ball for no reason and he does it alot on strtike three. He is also tops in the league in pass balls. I am about the biggest Dodger fan you could be. I havent missed a game in years, I get sick to my stomach every loss and bone head play they make. The point is I hope Martinn does not return to the Dodgers next year. It is time to start being a succesfull team. Players who aren't performing for what is 2 years now need to go.

The Ds trade Santana and May and brought back a 41 yr old back up catcher.
Yeah, that was easy!

You continue to drink frank`s cool aid.

I've only seen Ellis get beat once by a base stealer in the last two weeks. They don't run on him, they're running like crazy on Ausmus' 41 year old arm. How many games has A.J. started since Martin went down? 3? Ellis has been working hard for almost a decade to get a shot and Torre still won't give it to him. If he started 5 games a week most of his numbers would be better than Martin's. Except basestealing. And getting picked off or thrown out after too big of turns on the paths.

Because of the hip injury, Martin may never catch again, so the Dodgers had best be in the market for a catcher at, say, the winter meetings. It doesn't matter what Ausmus and Ellis do the rest of this season because the Dodgers' season ends Oct. 3.

note to "Zen".....McCourt no doubt thinks "kaizen" is something uttered by Captain Marvel.

further to "Zen" McCourt does appear to be a Black Belt in Sick Sigma.

There was great promise after the 2009 season. Even promise going out of Spring Training -- with some questions about being 2 starters short. Several players injured.

But what has happened before our eyes this season is a complete melt-down.

Martin fell apart.

Furcal is out when he is needed.

Manny did not show up.

Ethier hurt his pinky and then forgot how to hit, falling 90 points in average.

We found out for sure that Matt Kemp does not believe in hustling while on the field. And he likes to strikeout a lot.

Blake really is showing his age.

It is not Broxton, nor Kuo, nor Dotel trying to close -- there is a curse against closing as a Dodger this season.

This team is just not in sink.

Oh, least we forget, a couple should not purchase a baseball team to try and save their marriage. Sell the club Frank & Jamie.


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