18 June 2014

the evolution of the dodger second baseman, part 3

here are the first and second installments, in case you want to catch up on the sometimes annual turnover the dodgers have experienced at second base.

the dodgers were coming off their worst record ever as they headed into the 1993 season.  they lost one of their young second basemen, eric young, in the expansion draft, but they replaced him that same day with another player drafted by the rockies.

jody reed (1993)
the rockies selected reed two rounds after they picked up young.  i would imagine that they had a deal in place with the dodgers to draft and trade reed, which they did in exchange for rudy seanez.  reed (shown on a 1993 fleer final edition card) played in 132 games for the 1993 dodgers, including 129 starts at second.  he hit .276 for the dodgers, helping them climb back to .500.  following the season, he famously declined a contract extension and left as a free agent, ultimately taking less money to sign with the brewers.

the dodgers responded to reed's rejection by trading pedro martinez to the expos for a 24-year old second baseman who was coming off two straight .290+ seasons.  i admit, i was optimistic.

delino deshields (1994-1996)
that's deshields' 1995 pinnacle card, by the way.  as i mentioned, i was hopeful that deshields would be the dodgers' second baseman for a long time based on his play in montreal.  unfortunately, he hit just .250 in the strike shortened 1994 season, and then only .256 the next year.  in 1996, he bottomed out at .224 with a career low .288 on base percentage.  he left as a free agent after that season, and immediately hit .295 for the cardinals in 1997.  meanwhile that same season, pedro won the national league cy young award for the expos, and the dodgers were fielding yet another different second baseman.

wilton guerrero (1997)
guerrero (shown on a 1997 donruss dodgers team set card) started 83 games at second base for the 1997 dodgers.  he hit .291 overall, but had an on base percentage of only .305 - one reason why the dodgers reacquired eric young from the rockies late in the season.

eric young (1998-1999)
young (shown on a 2000 topps card) finally got his shot to be the dodgers' every day second baseman in 1998.  he played in 117 games (112 starts at second) and hit .285 with an obp of .355.  in 1998, he upped that to .371 in 119 games (115 starts at second).  unfortunately, young was traded to the cubs after the 1998 season for terry adams and a couple of minor leaguers.  young was expendable, because the dodgers had plans to move recently acquired mark grudzielanek from short to second in 2000.

mark grudzielanek (2000-2002)
that's grudzielanek's 2001 topps finest card, one of very few cards i have from that release.  the g-man moved from short to second in 2000 and hit .279 while scoring a career high 101 runs. he hit .271 in both 2001 and 2002 as the dodgers' second baseman, but was traded to the cubs prior to the 2003 season.

alex cora (2003-2004)
cora had replaced grudzielanek as the dodgers' shortstop when he moved to second, and now he replaced him at second following the trade with the cubs.  cora (shown on his 2003 upper deck 40 man card) played in a career high 148 games in 2003 (141 appearances and 122 starts at second) and followed that up with 138 games (and appearances at second, with 122 starts there) in 2004.  he hit a career high 10 homers in 2004, including one that was the culmination of an 18-pitch at bat against matt clement and the cubs.  cora left the dodgers as a free agent prior to the 2005 season.

jeff kent (2005-2008)
the dodgers signed socal native kent (that's his 2006 topps heritage card) shortly after the end of the 2004 season.  he started 140 games at second his first season with the club, scoring 100 runs and driving in 105 more.  he represented the blue at the all-star game that season as the national league's starting second baseman, and also won a silver slugger award.  it was the best offensive season the dodgers had seen from a second baseman in quite a while, perhaps since jackie robinson's mvp season of 1949.  in 2006, he helped the team reach the postseason and then went 8 for 13 with a home run in the dodgers' nlds loss to the mets.  kent retired following the 2008 season in which he helped the dodgers reach the nlcs for the first time since 1988, but he was unfortunately held hitless in the series.

one more group to go before we are caught up with this position...

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