Los Angeles Dodgers

Say It Ain't So, Joe: Los Angeles Dodgers Mortgage Their Future...Again

Eugene KimCorrespondent IApril 7, 2008

What in the world is Joe Torre thinking?

When Juan Pierre was apparently relegated to the bench prior to the start of the season, I was duly impressed—for once, a manager displayed some cojones and made the right decision, salaries be damned. For that I gave the Dodgers a pass for sending Clayton Kershaw to the minors (in favor of the more reliable Esteban Loaiza, a guy who will reliably notch a 5.50 ERA).

But tonight, for the third straight game, Juan Pierre started over Matt Kemp in just the latest Dodger display of utter stubbornness.

Granted, the whole problem really stems from Ned Colletti’s penchant for doling out huge contracts to fill holes that aren’t really there. That’s why he signed Pierre in the first place even though he already had a nearly major-league ready center fielder (Kemp) and a leadoff man (Furcal).

But I digress. Just like Joe, we’re all dealt strange hands in life sometimes. It’s up to us in those instances to make the best of it.

I understand that Kemp has been struggling (if you can even draw a reliable sample size from three games). He strikes out too much. Fair point. But how is he supposed to improve while sitting on the bench? It’s one thing to stick with Pierre if he’s hitting the cover off the ball, but as of this moment, he’s currently 1 for 14 with no walks, of course, because Pierre avoids walks like I avoid South Chicago. He’s fast, and that’s pretty much it. He stays on the field because his monster contract virtually guarantees he can’t be traded.

This is not to disparage Pierre as a person; from all accounts he is a nice guy and a hard worker. I believe that.

But the bottom line is that Kemp has the power and speed, and he’s potentially a far superior fielder (if inexperienced at times). You might think it’s “safer” to play a veteran instead of a youngster, which is sometimes true, but the flipside is that you know exactly what you’re going to get from the former while the latter may end up being something really special.

Pierre’s contract was a mistake, but you’ll be out that money whether Pierre is on the bench sulking or on the field getting himself out. Don’t make another mistake by playing him—two wrongs don’t make a right.

Nobody will ever fault you for putting your best team on the field, Joe. Take a risk sometime. 

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices