Garret Anderson’s Uncertain Future On The Dodgers

With Manny Ramirez activated today from the disabled list, the Dodgers put backup outfielder Reed Johnson on the DL to create roster space.  In the opinion of Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times, Johnson's back injury might've been the "slight reprieve" that Garret Anderson needed to stay on the team.  With George Sherrill put on waivers, Dilbeck thinks the Dodgers would have Anderson in mind should the club be looking to further clear the roster of under-performing veterans.

Anderson signed a minor-league contract with L.A. in March and made the club with the expectation that he would provide veteran leadership, a backup glove in the outfield and left-handed pinch-hitting help off the bench.  While Dilbeck says Anderson is "great in the clubhouse," the outfielder has posted a .470 OPS in 140 plate appearances and his limited time in the field has been shaky (a -8.8 UZR/150).  

Dilbeck thinks L.A. has more to gain by cutting Anderson and keeping rookie Xavier Paul as the left-handed outfield reserve.  Dilbeck notes that Paul himself hasn't performed overly well (a .649 OPS in 94 PAs) but Paul at least has upside, whereas there's little evidence that Anderson will turn things around in the second half.  GM Ned Colletti gave Anderson a vote of confidence in May, but if the problem, as Colletti claimed, was that Anderson hasn't yet adjusted to a backup role, then two more months of struggles would seem to imply that Anderson may never find that comfort zone.  Anderson's career 103 OPS+ is a sign that he may have been a poor choice for the "professional hitter" pinch-hitting job in the first place.

In spite of Anderson's problems this season, he would likely get picked up by another team in the hopes that his experience could aid a playoff contender (and that his numbers would pick up with a change of scenery).  If Dilbeck's prediction of July 24 as the Dodgers' decision day is correct, Anderson would have lots of time to catch on with another team should he actually be released.


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