Only Dodgers’ question left on Garret Anderson is what took so long?
This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.
Finally, if sadly, Garret Anderson is gone.
This was such an obvious and easy decision. The only mystery is why it was made Aug. 8 and not two months ago.
As I said on June 7, I like and admire Anderson, but the Dodgers’ worthwhile gambit on signing him simply did not pan out. A good idea that never reached fruition. It never even threatened to.
And this was obvious by the end of May, again in June, July and into August. Anderson never showed signs of adapting to his new role as a pinch-hitter. Yet the Dodgers stubbornly hung onto to him.
There’s no single answer, but here are a few possibilities: Joe Torre personally loved him and his veteran presence; the Dodgers thought he was a good influence on Matt Kemp, his locker mate; out of general respect to his 16-year career.
There is no evidence he had any particularly positive influence on Kemp. I mean, if he did, it’s kind of hard to imagine where Kemp’s season would be now without him.
And, sure, I get the respect part. Anderson deserves nothing but praise for his impressive career -- as an Angel.
No, the likelihood is that Torre just admired him -- liked him in the clubhouse, around the team, and believed if given enough time he would produce.
Meanwhile, former major leaguer and fellow left-handed hitter Jay Gibbons was producing consistently at triple-A Albuquerque.
‘The name was mentioned a number of times, and I just basically kept putting it off, putting it off,’ Torre said.
‘I’ve been resistant for awhile to making a change. We just felt it was time to try something else.’
Anderson, 38, hit .181 in 155 at-bats as a Dodger. As a pinch-hitter, he hit .240 with one home run and 12 RBI in 50 at-bats.
Those kind of numbers aren’t getting it done, particularly for a team struggling to hang in a divisional race. So finally, the Dodgers faced the music, or at least Torre did.
‘This stuff is never any fun, especially with an accomplished player,’ said General Manager Ned Colletti. ‘Somebody who was revered in the game and in this region as one of the best players to play here in the last 20 years.
‘A good man, though. I’m glad we had a chance to have him here and had a chance to win the Dodger uniform.’
Torre said he found Anderson in the team dining area Sunday morning, eating alone, and after a bit, gave him the news.
‘I just found a spot in the lunchroom when he was the only one in there, and I just went in and sat with him,’ Torre said. ‘It didn’t take very long. I just came out and told him we were going to do something different and he was going to be designated. He said, ‘OK, thank you.’ ‘’
There was no discussion of a veteran like Anderson going to Albuquerque. And Torre said Anderson didn’t say if he would retire.
‘He didn’t mention it,’ Torre said. ‘It didn’t take very long. The only thing I stressed to him was it was tough to do. That I appreciated everything.
‘To his credit -- and it doesn’t surprise me at all -- he never said why, or how dare you or any of those things. He just thanked us for the opportunity and walked away.’
-- Steve Dilbeck