Los Angeles Dodgers: The Least Valuable Dodgers So Far

Evan BarnesContributor IIIMay 31, 2011

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Least Valuable Dodgers So Far

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    Jon Garland is one of the several Dodgers who's had his share of struggles this year.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    As the Dodgers find new ways to make the 2011 season memorable for all the wrong reasons, it's time to start pointing fingers at guys who have been contributing to most of their on-field struggles.

    The Memorial Day weekend saw them win three out of four at Chavez Ravine and give hope that June will bring some success to distract from the team's off-the-field problems. But if the team is going to turn the corner, it's these players that have to wake up and start earning their money.

    Here are the Dodgers who had the least amount of production over the last two months.

James Loney

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    I hate this one because he’s my favorite player, but Loney has, perhaps, struggled more than any Dodger hitter based on what was expected of him this year.

    Loney’s hitting .249 with only three home runs, 11 runs scored and 18 RBI. Two of those home runs came over the four-day Memorial Day weekend. Loney has been the subject of much trade talk and exasperation from Dodger fans.

    Fortunately, he hit .274 in May to raise his average by nearly 45 points, so there’s hope that Loney is catching fire at the right time. But in the first two months of the season, he ranks high among the season’s biggest disappointments.

Jonathan Broxton

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    At least we now know one reason why Broxton struggled. An injured elbow put him on the disabled list until mid-June, as he racked up the highest earned run average of his career (5.68).

    The biggest sign of his troubles was when manager Don Mattingly chose to stick with a tired Clayton Kershaw in the ninth inning on April 21 instead of turning to his closer. Kershaw would lose his lead, and while the Dodgers won in extra innings, it was proof that Broxton was starting to lose favor barely three weeks into the season.

    Broxton may have seven saves, but he’s given Dodgers fans plenty of anxiety and has been the face of a bullpen that has struggled more often than not this season.

Tony Gwynn Jr.

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Gwynn has plenty to live up to with his Hall of Fame father, but to say he’s struggled as the Dodgers main left fielder is an understatement.

    Gwynn’s batting below the Mendoza line (.193) with zero home runs and only four runs batted in. That’s far below the average numbers for left fielders this season (.248, five home runs), and even in a down year for a usually dominant position, Gwynn’s barely floating above water.

    You can throw all of the Dodgers left-field options in here as Marcus Thames (.176 BA, two home runs, four runs batted in) and four others have caused a power outage that makes it by far the team’s weakest position.

Jon Garland

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Garland’s return to Dodgertown hasn’t gone according to plan as he’s gone 1-4 with a 4.31 earned run average. But with six quality starts in eight appearances, that may be a byproduct of poor run support.

    Garland has gone more than a month without a win, and with the Dodgers’ inconsistent offense, there’s even more burden on him to pitch more effectively. His ERA is a shade higher than Ted Lilly’s despite Lilly having only three more starts.

    But as far as the battle for the least valuable starter goes, the jury is still out.

Ted Lilly

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Lilly’s case for the least valuable starter is equally notable.  

    Lilly (3-4) has fewer quality starts than Garland (five to Garland’s six). He also has the highest ERA of any Dodgers starter (4.41), given up the most home runs (10). But his May ERA (4.35) is lower than Garland’s 4.82

    Either way, both pitchers have been less than stellar and could share the award for least valuable starter.

Juan Uribe

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The Dodgers signed Uribe from rival San Francisco in the summer, but apparently he’s left more than his heart in San Francisco.

    Expected to bring some pop to the Dodgers’ lineup, Uribe has only hit three home runs. He’s third on the team with 20 runs batted in, but he’s batting a paltry .220, 35 points below his career average. To put it in comparison, promising rookie Jerry Sands has almost similar numbers in seven fewer games

    Uribe followed Broxton on the disabled list, so one can hope he improves from his terrible two-month start.