With the news today that Manny Ramirez is not only going on the disabled list, but also missing at least three weeks, the Dodgers outfield has a hole to fill. With Reed Johnson on the disabled list, too, the outfield depth is nearly nonexistent.â†µ
Rookie outfielder Xavier Paul is currently in his third stint with the Dodgers this season, and figures to get most of the reps in left field while Manny is out. Even if there is a platoon, when Johnson gets back, Paul hits left-handed so he will still receive most of the playing time.â†µ
Paul is hitting .250/.301/.333 in limited time this season, including just eight hits in 39 at-bats during his current stint with the club, but perhaps with regular playing time the 25-year old will shine. After all, there is nothing left for him to do at Triple A, where he hit .348 this year with 12 home runs in 45 games. He is a good defensive outfielder — at least compared to everyone else on the team — and has a very good arm.â†µ
After 191 games and 833 plate appearances in Triple A, it’s now time for Paul to show what he has in the big leagues. It is virtually a given that Manny will not be back next season, and Paul is the leading in-house candidate to fill that void in 2011. This three-week (or longer) audition is Paul’s chance to claim that job going forward. The Dodgers desperately need production out of the left field spot, and if they can get it from Paul instead of making a trade, the organization will be better because of it.