Deep Cut Dodgers: The Ultimate Lineup Card of Forgotten Players
The lack of baseball brings plenty of time for reflection. Sunny summer days, tense playoff matchups, and triumphant home runs — all accompanied by overpriced food and most importantly, $18 tall cans!
As the last 20 years roll by, it’s easy to remember the All-Stars, franchise cornerstones, and aces, but what about the Dodgers who’ve since been forgotten? Let’s dive into the Ultimate Deep Cut Dodger Team!
SP: Luke Prokopec
Years with the Dodgers: 2000-2001
Remembered For: Being Australian
The pride of Blackwood, Australia signed as an amateur free agent in 1994, but didn’t arrive to Los Angeles until 2000. Following a cup of coffee that season where Prokopec pitched 21 innings, he made the starting rotation for 2001.
He joined fellow starters Chan Ho Park, Terry Adams, Kevin Brown, Darren Driefort, and, wait for it, starting pitcher Eric Gagne. The soft-tossing Prokopec posted a lackluster 4.88 ERA and was promptly traded to the Toronto Blue Jays (for Cesar Izturis) that winter. Prokopec was out of the league by age 24. His google photo is him drinking a beer so that’s a win.
C: Rod Barajas
Years with the Dodgers: 2010-2011
Remembered For: The bridge between Russell Martin and AJ Ellis
After All-Star catcher Russell Martin bolted in free agency to the New York Yankees, the 35-year-old Barajas served as the starting catcher in 2011. Barajas smashed 16 home runs that year including a two home run game in a blowout win against the Cardinals.
The two catchers behind Barajas on the roster that year? A.J. Ellis and (slightly skinnier) Dioner Navarro. Barajas left for Pittsburgh before the 2012 season and Ellis took over as the starter.
1B: Hee-Seop Choi
Years with the Dodgers: 2004-2005
Remembered For: Hitting bombs
The Dodgers had had many successes with Asian import players: Hideo Nomo, Chan Ho Park, and Kaz Ishii — Choi simply never panned out. The 6’5” power-hitting Korean came over to the Dodgers after yet another post championship Florida Marlins yard sale along with almost hall-of-famer Brady Penny and someone named Bill Murphy. In exchange, Paul DePodesta sent the Fish Paul Lo Duca, Guillermo Mota, and Juan Encarnacion.
If you vote for someone for the Baseball Hall of Fame that receives fewer than 1%, you should lose your vote because you're clearly not taking it seriously.
My two cents regarding the Putz that voted for Brad Penny.
— Steve Hofstetter (@SteveHofstetter) January 21, 2020
Choi tied for third on the team in homers in 2005 while playing in an infield with Mike Edwards, All-Stars Jeff Kent and Cesar Izturis, and catcher Jason Phillips. After the 2005 season, Choi never played in the majors again.
2B: Jamey Carroll
Years with the Dodgers: 2010-2011
Remembered For: Hitting 0 HR in 924 plate appearances
A contact hitter and former Montreal Expo, Carroll lacked power. Any sort of power. The only chance a ball had of leaving the yard was if it somehow ended up in his pocket as he drove home. Between 2010-2013, Carroll managed to hit one homer in 1,710 plate appearances.
In Carroll’s 12 year career, he hit 13 home runs. Cody Bellinger hit 14 home runs in just 29 games in 2019. Carroll was hired in 2015 by the Pittsburgh Pirates to encourage Pirates players to never hit home runs.
SS: Angel Berroa
Dodgers Career: 2008
Remembered For: Replacing Rafael Furcal
The former AL Rookie of the Year winner was acquired from the Kansas City Royals as a stopgap solution after the prolific, but fragile, Rafael Furcal suffered a back injury. With Nomar Garciaparra sidelined as well, Berroa took full advantage of the Dodgers warm body approach by posting a .230 average in 65 starts.
Manager Joe Torre had so little faith in Berroa that he started Furcal in the 2008 playoffs despite Furcal playing in just four regular season games in his return from back surgery.
3B: Luis Cruz
Dodgers Career: 2012-2013
Remembered For: A hot start and an ice-cold finish
The journeyman Mexican infielder came to the Dodgers after brief stints in the majors with the Pirates and the Brewers. Veteran third baseman Casey Blake had since retired and the Dodgers needed something, anything, in terms of production from the hot corner. Adam Kennedy and Juan Uribe split time to begin the season and combined for a .227 BA.
Cruz got the starting nod in early July and caused all kinds of excitement by hitting over .300 for his first seven games. He finished 2012 with a respectable line of .297/.322/.431 and was thought to be the third baseman of the future. Then reality hit in 2012 – Cruz batted .127 in 45 games before being released.
LF: Jerry Sands
Dodgers Career: 2012-2013
Remembered For: Never reaching his potential
Drafted in the 25th round by the Dodgers in 2008, Sands had promise as an everyday outfielder for the Dodgers after hitting 46 homers in two minor league seasons. Sands was Joc Pederson before Joc Pederson was Joc Pederson. The 2010 Dodgers Minor League Player of the Year projected to be a power bat and impact player for years to come.
Sands best contribution was being a trade chip in the blockbuster Dodgers-Red Sox waiver deadline trade. He’s playing in Korea now and led the KBO in RBI last season.
CF: Juan Pierre
Dodgers Career: 2007-2009
Remembered For: Stealing 64 bases in 2007 and not striking out…ever
The speedster who terrorized the Yankees in the 2003 World Series as a Marlin signed with Los Angeles as a free agent in the winter of 2006. Colette shelled out $44M over four years for the contact hitting Pierre who led the National League in hits twice. In his three years as a Dodger, Pierre struck out only 88 times in 1,560 plate appearances.
The reason you forgot about Juan Pierre? He gave way in center to Matt Kemp and then was replaced in left by the one and only Manny Ramirez.
RF: JD Drew
Dodgers Career: 2005-2006
Remembered For: Being grossly overpaid
He played two seasons in LA. Got hurt in the first one and excelled in his second season before becoming one of the first players to exercise a contract opt-out clause to re-enter free agency.
In the words of Ned Colleti, who signed Drew in the first place:
“He wants out, he can have out. He’s moving on, we’re moving on. We’ll find players who like playing here. If he doesn’t want to be here, he has the right to leave, and he’s exercising that right.”
- 1 Juan Pierre (CF)
- 2 Jamey Carroll (2B)
- 3 Hee-Seop Choi (1B)
- 4 JD Drew (RF)
- 5 Rod Barajas (C)
- 6 Jerry Sands (LF)
- 7 Angel Berroa (SS)
- 8 Luis Cruz (3B)
- 9 Luke Prokopec (P)
Now that’s a lineup!
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw Talks About his Legendary Baseball Glove
I really liked the Jamey Carroll bit: “The only chance a ball had of leaving the yard was if it somehow ended up in his pocket as he drove home.” Reminds me of me.