What Has to be Done?

The Dodgers made a heckuva pickup in getting former big league shortstop Angel Berroa from Kansas City. He was a guy in bad need of a fresh start, but also a player who only a few years ago had as much upside as any shortstop in baseball. Who knows how the injury gods will favor Rafy Furcal, who has become the new Nomar Garciaparra of the team, i.e., a guy who has been unlucky if not brittle.

We once asked Dr. Frank Jobe on the future of Rick Dempsey, a very good, seasoned catcher, and he quickly told me Dempsey had a bad back and that that was the one injury that can flare up overnight just by walking around. And Furcal has a bad back. So capable insurance is really needed here and the Dodgers got one of the best guys available at low cost.

Berroa is like Jorge Cantu, an infielder who was lights out as a rookie second baseman for Tampa Bay but who was hit hard by the sophomore jinx. The Devil Rays somehow soured on him and he went back to the minors for a while before being peddled to the Reds last year.

A free agent this winter, Cantu could have been had for a song, which is all he got from the penny pinching Marlins. Cantu has won a starting job and has a dozen homers already, more than any other Dodgers player. He was a guy the team might have picked up but he wasn't considered. Now Cantu would come higher if he could be gotten at all.

Berroa can spell Jeff Kent at second and even play third, as Black Dewitt, the improbable rookie has had to be replaced on several occasions by catcher Russ Martin when, egads, his back briefly acted up.

The Dodgers still carry rookies Hu and Maza on the 25 man roster. And while Cantu is gone, former Pirates jack of all trades Rob Mackowiak was just turned loose by the Washington Nationals. Mackowiak can play both infield and outfield, has a little pop in his bat, and would be an upgrade to pinch hitter Mark Sweeney who has hit an absolute wall and has been of little if any value for the Dodgers.

If the Dodgers insist on going with a 12 man pitching staff, their bench players absolutely have to be more versatile than ever, which is what makes Mackowiak certainly worthy of consideration. Cheers for Dewlyn Young for grabbing a catchers mitt and trying to help the team by being the emergency third option.

The Dodgers may get little if anything from Jeff Schmidt this entire season or from Nomar Garciaparra for that matter. If Andrew Jones has in fact a meniscus muscle problem in his knee, that ain't no minor problem.

Our spouse woke up with a meniscus muscle problem back in March and here it is June and she is still getting around with a cane and remains months away from regular walking much less anything else. If this is any clue, look for Jones much later than is currently being speculated.

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