In recent weeks, management has begun to seriously question who would play third base in the upcoming 2013 season.
Incumbent starter and fan favorite Luiz Cruz is coming off a terrific first season for the Dodgers where he hit .297 with six home runs and drove in 40 RBI's in just 78 games. Not to mention Cruz provided a spark for a team that desperately needed one, which played without its MVP Matt Kemp for the majority of the season.
But even with that, the Dodgers have not taken their eyes off other possibilities.
The name that has been tied to the Dodgers is free agent third baseman Scott Rolen, who is currently contemplating retirement or coming back for an 18th season.
Over his 17 year career, Rolen has been one of the top third basemen in the league. He's a seven-time all-star and an eight-time gold glove winner. Offensively he carries a career average of .281 and has driven in 316 home runs which ranks him 21st all-time.
However, inconsistencies is present for both Cruz and Rolen and the Dodgers would be inclined to make a tough decision, especially with the large investments they have made in the free agent market.
Cruz was a big surprise for the Dodgers when he came in an took over the everyday duties at third base, but Cruz only played in 78 games and is a career minor leaguer. Therefore the Dodger's wonder if Cruz's play was a fluke or if he could really carry the same production over 162 games.
Playing 162 games for Rolen, on the other hand, has not been in Rolen's vocabulary since he hasn't come close to the number since 2006 where he still missed 20 games. And in the last six seasons Rolen has only played more than 130 games once.
The 37-year-old Rolen has been the subject to declining numbers over the past couple of years, but when healthy, glimpses of his glory days remain and Dodgers management still sees something in the veteran.
While the question remains if Rolen will even comeback at all or even elect to pursue free agency and leave the Reds, Cruz is still my favorite at third base. The Dodgers have not seen a compatible third baseman since Adrian Beltre left the City of Angels, however I think the Dodgers may have stumbled upon something special with Cruz and he at least deserves the opportunity to show what he's got.
But before everyone calls me crazy for turning down an all-star, I do believe that Rolen does have a place on this team in a limited role off the bench. Rolen can still be a force and the Dodgers can prolong his career if he comes in off the bench to spell Cruz. Not to mention Rolen would be a great backup plan just in case Cruz doesn't make the cut.
It's no secret the Dodgers are out for an NL West and World Series title, so whatever decision is made before the season, the Dodgers need to put every piece together to create a team capable of winning a championship since 1988.
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