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For these Dodgers, a desperate move with Jerry Sands is risk worth taking

Photo: Dodgers outfielder Jerry Sands makes a catch on a fly ball hit by Seattle's Justin Smoak during the fifth inning of an exhibition baseball game last month at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press

Desperation.

OK, we got that out of the way. Let’s face it, no matter how much you like the move -- and I do -- it’s not a move a team makes if its house is in order.

Jerry Sands was not some jaw-dropping prospect. He was a 25th-round draft pick out of a small NCAA Division II school called Catawba College in North Carolina. He didn’t make it out of the Class A level until his third year. That would be last year.

Sands came out of nowhere, exploding upon the scene with a breakout season in 2010. And as of Monday, he is a Los Angeles Dodger.

But the Dodgers are an offensive mess right now, and despite spending ony half of last season at double A, Sands had continued to rip up pitching at triple-Albuquerque this month. In his 10 games with Albuquerque.

Ideally, Sands starts this year back at double A, maybe moves up to triple A at the break, gets a September call-up. Is allowed to grow through the ranks.

Only these are far from ideal times for a Dodgers team near the bottom of most offensive statistics, suffering horrible public relations, shrinking attendance and playing sub-.500 baseball.

"We’ve struggled offensively," said General Manager Ned Colletti. "It’s a time to give him an opportunity. I told him, I’m not expecting him to carry the club. It might be a temporary assignment, but it’s time to get his feet wet and see what he can do, and help us out in left field, and maybe he can help us out at first base."

That last little aside might be a message for James Loney, that he’d best get himself turned around. Sands can play left, right, first and, during the Arizona Fall League, has dabbled some at third. One way or another, while he’s up Sands will play, Colletti said.

The Dodgers need to find power somewhere, which is not exactly a shocking development. They went into the offseason needing power, and the only acquisition was Juan Uribe, who’s hitting .154 without one home run.

Monday night the Dodgers started Sands in left and put him in the seventh spot in the batting order. Last year Sands hit a combined 35 home runs in the minors. In his 10 games at Albuquerque he had five home runs and 17 RBIs.

So right now he’s an exciting player, and the Dodgers could seriously use a dose of excitement not named Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier. His emergence coincides perfectly with a lackluster Dodgers attack to fast-track his rise to the majors.

"I think it was the right time to give us a little bit of a boost," Colletti said. "I still think the hitters who are hitting .200 or below aren’t going to hit .200 or below all year. Right here, right now, it’s worth a shot."

What do they have to lose?

The worst thing that can happen is Sands is exposed as terribly unprepared, is sent back to the minors with shattered confidence and never truly develops.

Yet even if he does struggle, all indications are he is mature, has it together mentally, will make adjustments, rebound and return to fight the battle another day.

And if he does make it? Then borne of desperation or not, a gamble worth taking.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers outfielder Jerry Sands makes a catch on a fly ball hit by Seattle's Justin Smoak during the fifth inning of an exhibition baseball game last month at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press

 
Comments () | Archives (8)

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it's desperation when you only have three players in the lineup that are performing up to major league standards. kemp, ethier and carroll are the only guys doing anything. you can't win when 2/3rds of your lineup can't even hit .200. uribe and loney have been atrocious. it's embarassing. barajas is at his norm, plus or minus a few hits. gwynn can't get on base and blake just looks old. is thames still dealing with a hammy? he needs to play. wasting his HR power is inexcusable for this offense.

Kid just smacked a double into the corner during his first big league at bat. The crowd loved it. Get ready for a new fan favorite if he has a good couple of games.

we need to call up someone from triple a to replace Coletti.

This is the best move for this team to make right now.

Colletti needs to reminded of all the rookies of the year the Dodgers have had, leading the majors in that department by a wide margin. They each became ROY because they were allowed to play, every day, consistently at one position, not turned into instant utility players who then can't concentrate on their hitting the way Ned and D Baseball truly stupidly envision how Dodger rookies should learn to "fit in". Just about everyone on the team IS a utility player. Versatility ain't cutting it, Ned and Donnie. Who cares if everyone can play 4 positions so they can keep moving around from game to game as if that will in some way as yet undetermined in 150 years of baseball win games??

You do that by leaving people be while they play, daily, in their best position. As evidence, it says so in the 1888 "Guide to Amateur Managing". Luckily the train wreck that is left field has a new permanent occupant in it, to grow in it, if he's allowed to play by the Deodgers' "brain" trust. For more proof, Lou Gehrig wasn't rested to let Wally Pip back in at first.

If D Baseball doesn't have Sands starting in left today, as if he needs rest because he's so fragile or isn't good enough to hit the pitcher the Braves throw at him tonight, as if he's already pegged to not be able to hit him, or like in the whiffle ball Ned and Donnie have successfully turned the Dodgers into, "everybody gets to play, despite their inabilities to hit", then D Baseball should go down with this sinking ship along with Ned and Frank as soon as possible. Let's let Tim Wallach have a whack at it. I vote the Dodgers platoon managers. So far, i'd give D Baseball a failing grade. A few days off would do his mind good. He needs the rest. Maybe he ought to try out a diferent position, just to see if he could handle it if another employee got hurt. Let's try him out as first base coach, and then as a ticket seller. Letting Wallach manage might show he knows how to win with the best horses he's got. Maybe Tim knows when to take out a laboring pitcher, let the rookie grow in left and insist the dumb GM trade for a lefty in the pen, DUHHH, maybe by trading the arsonist Donnie keeps installing in the 9th. Hey, Donnie, check out what Ron Gardenhire has done with Joe Nathan once it became obvious he couldn't get anyone out. He actually changed closers. Gardenhire actually manages! Anyone in the stands could figure that out, and does, every time the 9th rolls around. Except mentally constipated Donnie.

If the Dodgers had a decent GM and an owner that cared about winning and not just pocketing anything he can, this move wouldn't have been necessary. Look how well ex-Dodgers play once they're out of this zoo.

I can't believe what I just read:

"Ideally, Sands starts this year back at double A, maybe moves up to triple A at the break, gets a September call-up. Is allowed to grow through the ranks."

And in the same article:

"But the Dodgers are an offensive mess right now, and despite spending ony half of last season at double A, Sands had continued to rip up pitching at triple-Albuquerque this month."

AND THEN:

"Last year Sands hit a combined 35 home runs in the minors. In his 10 games at Albuquerque he had five home runs and 17 RBIs."

GIVE ME A BREAK. LET THE KID PROVE HE NEEDS TO GO BACK.

Why in the world would anyone want to see him go to double A ??? What could he possibly need to prove there when he is already tearing up triple A?

He might just be good enough to make the jump to the majors now. Let him start 25 games and see what happens. He's 23 years old. Give him a chance to help the team immediately and for many years instead of "allowed to grow through the ranks."

I think what the Dodgers need is a better front office. Ned Colletti reminds me a lot of the guy who used to be GM for the Washington Redskins, Vinnie Cerrato. Vinnie ran a once-proud football franchise into the ground and it appears that given another year or two, Colletti will do the same with the Dodgers.

How in hell do you go into a pivotal season like this with a basket case like Jonathan Broxton as your closer??? That's like asking Roseanne Barr to walk a tightrope holding a glass of water!!! The Dodgers are more than a mess right now. Teams come into Dodger Stadium expecting to score lots of runs, and more often than not, they do! There's no respect for Dodgers pitching because opposing teams know that there will be virtually no run support, especially in Dodgers Stadium, where the Dodgers have historically struggled to score runs.

Hell, at this point, I would call up Mickey Mouse -- he'd be a major improvement over Loney and the other clowns batting below the equator.


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