05 July 2013

the evolution of the dodger third baseman, part four - where do we go from here?

we left off the evolutionary chain of dodger third basemen last time with tim wallach, who manned the hot corner for the dodgers from 1993-95, and for the last part of the 1996 season as well.  he was re-acquired by the dodgers after their newly acquired third baseman went down with an injury.  still, mike blowers started 90 games at third for the dodgers in 1996, so he gets some attention here.

mike blowers (1996)
blowers is wearing his seattle mariners uniform there on that 1996 upper deck collector's choice card.  he had three different stints in seattle, including 1997 - the year following his time in la.  the dodgers acquired blowers after the 1995 season in which he hit 23 homers and drove in 96 runs.  he was hitting .265 with 6 homers and 38 rbi after 92 games with the dodgers when his season ended thanks to an injury.  the dodgers replaced him with wallach, and blowers walked as a free agent after the season ended.

wallach was a stopgap, and he retired following the 1996 campaign.  so, the dodgers went out and got another third baseman to fill the void.

todd zeile (1997)
zeile's 1997 topps finest card tells the story, as he was a free agent acquisition prior to the 1997 season.  he played a whopping 160 games at third base for the dodgers, and hit 31 home runs with 90 rbi and a .268 batting average.  this was too good to be true, however, as he was traded away with mike piazza early in the 1998 season.

adrian beltre (1998-2004)
beltre was 19 when he took over the third base position for the dodgers.  bobby bonilla, who was acquired as part of the piazza/zeile trade bounty, was originally slotted at the hot corner, but beltre wound up making 74 appearances with 54 starts and 49 complete games compared to bonilla's 59, 57, and 34.  that's his 2000 fleer gamers card, by the way.  beltre provided some long lost stability at the position, playing a total of 957 games for the dodgers at third base from 1998 through 2004.  his tenure culminated with a 48 home run (to lead the league), 121 rbi, .334 batting average season that netted him a silver slugger and second place in the league mvp voting.  then it was off to seattle.

beltre's departure resulted in a rag-tag of players trying their hand at third base.  the dodgers signed a japanese player, norihiro nakamura, and gave him the keys, but he flamed out after just 14 games.  after that, there were many who tried.  i'll pick one.

oscar robles (2005)
mike edwards made 39 appearances at third for the dodgers in 2005, with 33 starts and 31 complete games for a total of 294.2 innings.  robles gets the nod from me here due to his 40 appearances at third, even though he started only 31 games there with 30 complete games and 292.1 innings.  that is partly due to the fact that i had a 2005 upper deck sweet spot card of robles already scanned as well as the idea that robles represents to me the fact that jim tracy lost his marbles in 2005.  maybe i should have used edwards, as robles played more short than third in 2005.  oh well, neither one factored into the equation for very long.

wilson betemit (2006-2007)
the dodgers acquired betemit near the 2006 trade deadline after the guy they intended to be their third baseman, bill mueller, was lost for the season due to injury.  betemit appeared as the dodgers' third baseman in 102 games over the 2006 and 2007 seasons.  he was traded at the 2007 deadline to the yankees for scott proctor, but he still made more appearances at third than any other dodger in '07.  nomar gets a nod here, though - he played third after betemit left.

blake dewitt (2008)
the dodgers gave 22-year old rookie dewitt the third baseman's job in 2008 (his '08 upper deck timeline card is appropriate here, don't you think)?  in all, he made 95 appearances and 77 starts there, but failed to convince the organization that he was the answer.  in fact, he found himself playing second base by the time the postseason rolled around as he started every playoff game at second for the dodgers in place of the injured jeff kent.

casey blake (2009-2010)
the dodgers acquired blake during the 2008 season, and he really took over the position then.  he re-signed with them for the 2009 season and turned in 131 starts at third that year.  in 2010, he started 134 games as the dodger third baseman.  in 2011, however, he was able to make only 45 starts.

juan uribe (2011, 2013)
uribe made 53 starts at third for the dodgers in 2011, so he gets the nod here over blake and aaron miles.  also, he's got the sweet brooklyn baby blues on that 2011 topps update card.  he kinda sorta lost the job to

luis cruz (2012)
but he's got it back in 2013.  until yasiel puig pulls a pedro guerrero and gets moved over to third.  seriously, though, who knows what the future will hold for the dodgers' hot corner.  hopefully something stable.

2 comments:

Jeff Wilk said...

Oh man - how don't I have that update card of Uribe?

beefman said...

Hopefully it's not Ian Stewart... I heard he signed with the Dodgers (rather, Isotopes) today. Though, if he should get called up and plays well, I wish him nothing but the best!

Nick J