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Dodgers liking Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, Luis Cruz at third

Oct 4, 2012, 11:48 PM EDT

Hanley Ramirez Reuters

When the Dodgers decided to put Hanley Ramirez back at shortstop upon acquiring from the Marlins, it had the looks of a temporary move, what with Dee Gordon set up as a long-term option at the position. However, as things stand now, the Dodgers are leaning towards leaving Ramirez at shortstop in 2013 and going with Luis Cruz at third base.

“Did you watch Cruz play,” GM Ned Colletti said.

It’s true that Cruz was a revelation after moving into the starting lineup. The 28-year-old hit .297/.322/.431 with six homers and 40 RBI in 283 at-bats. Prior to 2012, he had a .221/.275/.260 line and no homers in 154 major league at-bats.

The Dodgers will have a crowd of infielders under contract. Besides the likely starters in Ramirez, Cruz and second baseman Mark Ellis, the team also has Jerry Hairston Jr., Nick Punto and Juan Uribe all entering the final year of multiyear deals. Odds are that someone from that group — most likely Uribe — won’t fit on the Opening Day roster.

And it surely means that Gordon, who was handed a starting job and the leadoff spot this spring, will open next year in Triple-A.

Still, there’s one very interesting aspect to all of this, that being that Cruz is almost surely a better defensive shortstop than Ramirez. It was his primary position throughout his minor league career, and he had a reputation as a good-glove, no-hit guy in his younger days.

Given that Gordon still projects as the Dodgers’ long-term shortstop, it’d make a lot of sense to put Cruz back at shortstop to begin next year and let Hanley settle back in at third base. The Dodgers, though, seem content to wait and cross that bridge later.

  1. Jeff M. - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:55 AM

    Defensively, Cruz at SS and Hanley at 3rd does make more sense. But then again, the defense wasn’t the reason the Dodgers tanked in June and July.

  2. kkolchak - Oct 5, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    Awesome. That ought to be good for two or three Bryce Harper stolen bases while Hanley is zoning out in the infield. :)

    • purnellmeagrejr - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:31 AM

      Is your comment the baseballl equivalent of someone who will read a story about Grizzzly Bears in Glacier National Park and use it as a springboard to complain about “Socialism” or “Bowing Tours?”

      • kkolchak - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:32 AM

        LOL WUT?

  3. istallion - Oct 5, 2012 at 7:44 AM

    Glad to see Cruz should start. I agree, it probably should be at SS.

  4. paperlions - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    Well, it is Ned Colletti, so this makes perfect sense. Why not go into next year relying on an all glove no hit 29 yr old with 465 career MLB ABs and with a complete defensive disaster at SS. Sounds perfect.

  5. genericcommenter - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    A 28 year-old guy with a sub .300! OBP over 10! minor league seasons put together one average half-season at the plate. Yeah, let’s pencil him in as a starter in Major League Baseball.

  6. kkolchak - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    Hard to tell from that photo, but it looks like the ball is about to hit him in the head as he’s falling down. :D

    • koufaxmitzvah - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:05 AM

      It’s all about perspective, Kolchuk. Like being a whiny Gints fan trolling Dodger centric threads. You think you’re being so smart with your Dodger bashing, when really you’re just being skewed and stoopid.

      Double-O dumb.

  7. pdowdy83 - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    So a .753 OPS is a revelation at the hot corner now? That just shows how much the Dodgers offense was slumping. Yes Cruz was an above average player but his track record is that of a AAAA guy and thinking that he will be a permanent answer is a bit of a stretch. I guess they do have the depth with Dee Gordon to try it. If Cruz flops they can slide Hanley back over (I’m sure thats always a fun conversation) and put Gordon back at SS.

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