The Dodgers agreed to terms with free agent shortstop Nick Green today. Green, 31, posted an uninspiring .236/.303/.366 line for the Red Sox last year. He's able enough defensively, it seems, but...well, just blah. While getting worked up over a backup middle infielder isn't exactly warranted, the offseason inertia is just starting to get to me. We knew it wasn't going to be pretty, but I think my anxiousness over the 2011-and-beyond future of the club is affecting how I view this 2010 team.
So, like I said, blah. And Mike Scoscia's Tragic Illness nails the analysis, concluding that Chin-Lung Hu offers everything Nick Green does, and with at least a slim chance at some upside.
Maybe the relevant point here is this: if Nick Green or Chin-Lung Hu rack up significant at-bats, the team's probably screwed either way. This offseason hasn't doomed the Dodgers' chances of contention, but it has left the club (thus far) with a negligible margin for error. Jason Repko is slated to be the fourth outfielder. Jamey Carroll and Nick Green will back up the infielders. The back of the rotation will likely be a revolving door of mediocrity, and the Dodgers would be very fortunate to unearth another bullpen surprise.
I guess I'd liken building a playoff-caliber baseball team to a game of Jenga. Can you win despite some tricky, dangerous pulls? Absolutely. But the teams that can remove a few blocks and still have a pretty stable tower are in a much better position. The core of this team can compete for a World Series in 2010. I have no doubt that, given 162 games of health, the Dodgers would be pretty strong favorites to win the division. Problem is, that's just not likely.