LOS ANGELES -- You’re not alone, Los Angeles Dodgers fans. Don Mattingly feels your pain.
He knows his roster needs an injection or two of offense, but there’s not a whole lot he can do at the moment as he sits in his cramped office next to the Dodgers clubhouse and fills out his lineup every night.
“I know we’re trying to do everything we can, but you can’t just pull guys off trees,” Mattingly said. “People aren’t going to just hand you guys. I think we’re exploring every option honestly.
“Every indication is we’re going to be aggressive and we’re going to do everything we can to help this club win.”
There is no shortage of rumors out there when it comes to players the Dodgers are interested in. Three reportedly on the squad’s radar are in the visiting clubhouse this week; Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino or Cole Hamels could potentially be wearing Dodger blue and have a short walk to a new clubhouse if a deal is reached by Wednesday.
Mattingly simply smiled as he heard the names, saying those are “Ned questions,” referring to Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti.
Colletti and Dodgers president Stan Kasten have assured Mattingly they are being diligent in trying to get the team another bat and another arm, but no guarantees have been made. Although given the Dodgers’ three-game losing streak and two-game deficit in the NL West behind the San Francisco Giants after losing six of seven, it would certainly be in the Dodgers’ best interests to make a move sooner rather than later.
“From conversations I’ve had with Ned and Stan, they continually say we’re searching to make this team better,” Mattingly said.
One person Mattingly has not talked to recently has been Magic Johnson, who hasn’t been seen much at Dodger Stadium this summer. When asked when was the last time Mattingly has seen the Dodgers part owner, he said, “I don’t know. It’s been awhile.”
Johnson had always said baseball decisions would be made by Colletti and Kasten, but seeing his smiling face in the crowd may at least create a temporary distraction from the product on the field.
Two players that have become lightning rods of criticism for Dodgers fans all season have been Juan Uribe and James Loney. Uribe has one hit since June 20 in his last 34 at-bats. Loney recently went through a hitless stretch of 28 at-bats. While Loney went on a six-game hit streak after his slump and has hits in back-to-back games, it’s hard to imagine Uribe ever turning his season around.
Mattingly, however, insisted he would not give up on Uribe.
“Never. He’s here,” Mattingly said. “We got to try to keep working and try to get something out of him. I know it hasn’t been pretty, but to give up on a guy is quitting and that’s not in my DNA. I just don’t think that’s right. As long as he keeps working and keeps trying, I don’t think we can give up. Does that mean he’s going to play a ton? Not necessarily. But that doesn’t mean you give up on him. Obviously I got no further options at third base.”
Well, Mattingly has no options at the moment. But that could all change if the team makes a trade or looks within the organization and calls up third baseman Josh Fields, who is hitting .343 with eight home runs and 50 RBIs for Triple-A Albuquerque.
“We’ve paid attention to Josh Fields,” Mattingly said. “We’ve seen what he’s been doing. Obviously he’s not on the roster so it involves making a move and someone coming off the roster, and that’s where you kind of run into trouble. We’re paying attention to what Josh is doing. We’re talking to Ned about all the different options.”