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Don Mattingly will fine James Loney for fly outs to left field

May 3, 2011, 12:18 PM EDT

James Loney swinging

James Loney is off to a terrible start and was benched against a left-handed pitcher yesterday, so in an effort to snap the first baseman out of his slump manager Don Mattingly has decided to fine him $1 each time he flies out to left field.

According to the Dodgers manager Loney will “take a dollar back every time he hits a line drive to left.”

Loney is making $4.9 million this season, so obviously a $1 fine is purely symbolic, but the fact that a first baseman is being urged not to hit fly balls to the outfield shows why the Dodgers should probably be looking for another first baseman.

Even at his best Loney’s lack of power made him a mediocre hitter and because of that he starts dragging the lineup down when he’s not hitting at least .280. Last season Loney hit .267 with just 10 homers and a .723 OPS, which ranked 22nd among the 24 first basemen with at least 500 plate appearances. So far this year he’s hitting .202 with a .471 OPS.

Line drives are a good thing and encouraging Loney to avoid fly balls is a reasonable stance given his lack of power, but the Dodgers would be better off finding a first baseman whose fly balls actually travel over the fence more than 10-15 times a season and with slugging prospect Jerry Sands waiting in the wings that switch may be in the near future.

  1. yankeesfanlen - May 3, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    This “curse jar” put a buck in thing sounds so puerile, and so Mattingly. He would be rearranging the deck chairs so he could sweep out under them.
    Great Yankee player, not particularly great manager for a franchise with so many “issues”.

    • lanflfan - May 3, 2011 at 4:59 PM

      I have no idea what your first two sentences are trying to say, but the dollar jar is no different than kangaroo court where you get fined for hitting into DP’s and such. Players need motivation from a variety of ways, perhaps this will help.

      As to your third sentence, yes he was a great Yankee player but he has been a major league manager for ONE MONTH. He doesn’t hit, pitch, or field. You don’t judge a first year manager, let alone a rookie manager, on one month’s work. Let’s have this discussion at the end of the season, which is still too soon but at least we have a few months of games in which to judge.

  2. aceshigh11 - May 3, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    I’m so used to seeing the word “million” whenever a dollar sign appears on HBT, that I honestly thought the article said he would be fined $1 million for every flyout the first time I glanced at it.

    Now THAT’D be some effin’ incentive.

    • JBerardi - May 3, 2011 at 1:28 PM

      Well, he kind of DOES have that incentive. Consider the million Loney would be making if he’d actually delivered on the potential he showed as a young player. Loney’s performance isn’t a triviality to him, it’s his livelihood.

      The one dollar thing… that just seems like something a high school coach would do. Is it really necessary for grown men, supposed professionals, to play this kind of game?

  3. BC - May 3, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    A dollar? That’s stupid. Mattingly as a manager may be heading toward chipwich territory….

  4. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 3, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    Lou Brown: Well, you can run like Hays, but you hit like shit. With your speed, you should be hitting the ball on the ground and be legging them out. Everytime I see you hit one in the air, you owe me 20 push-ups.
    Willie Mays Hayes: Hey, no problem!
    Willie Mays Hayes: How am I supposed to swing a bat when I can’t lift my arm

    • easports82 - May 3, 2011 at 1:36 PM

      While this is more appropriate, Brown and Dorn’s exchange was a hell of a lot funnier.

  5. dodger88 - May 3, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    As he is virtually doen as Dodger by the end of the season, they may as well try any form of motivation. Due to his poor performance he will be non-tendered once the seaosn is done; even if he improves he won;t be worth what he could get through arbitration. As no one in their right mind would trade for him, the Dodgers either cut bait now or in the off season. His road numbers have been largley good over the years so a change of scenery may help. In the meantime, he should not start against any lefties and if Sands starts to hit well he should play full-time at 1B with Gwynn/Thames handling LF or perhaps a ballsy call up of prospect Trayvon Robinson from AAA.

  6. SmackSaw - May 3, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    Maybe Bud will allow them to trade for a real first baseman.

  7. rapmusicmademedoit - May 5, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    The McCourts will steal every dollar, watch them very closely Donnie Baseball.’

    get drunk it’s cinco de mayo

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