Left field has been, is, and will in all likelihood continue to be, a vast wasteland for the Dodgers. That is, unless Carl Crawford returns to his Tampa Bay form in 2013 or the Yasiel Puig era — whenever that actually begins — proves to be worth the wait.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s review 2012, which was a comedy of mediocrity flanking Matt Kemp‘s right side.
I start with Shane Victorino, not because he was any good, but because he carries with him name value. Coming off a career year in 2011, he dropped off significantly in 2012. Following a campaign in which he slashed .279/.355/.491/.846 with a .368 wOBA, The Flyin’ Hawaiian hit just .255/.321/.383/.704 with a .310 wOBA this past season. That line fell even further after he was dealt to the Dodgers, as he hit a putrid .245/.316/.351/.667 with a .297 wOBA in Dodger Blue.
Known as an elite baserunner with a great glove in center, some pop, and decent on-base skills, Victorino’s offensive numbers crashed across the board in 2012 from his 2011 and career marks. He set or tied career worsts in ISO (.128), OBP (.321), wOBA (.310), wRC+ (94), and SLG% (.383).
Shane still managed to provide some value through his legs (~5.0 baserunning) and glove (~2.5 fielding), and he ended up posting a ~3.0 WAR in 2012, but only ~1.0 WAR after the trade.
Reports have Shane seeking a long-term deal this year as he hits free agency, and though he’s intimated at returning only as a starter, with the aforementioned Crawford and Puig signed to long-term deals themselves — not to mention the fact that heading into his age-32 season — there’s no place in a crowded Los Angeles outfield for the three-time Dodger.
After being released by the Angels and qualifying to be a Dodger based on his “veteranness”, Bobby Abreu started 42 games in left for the Dodgers in 2012, the second-most of any player on the team behind the previously-discussed Victorino.
After a splashy start to his Dodger stint (.318/.430/.424/.854 in his first 24 games, buoyed by a .438 BABIP, no less), Abreu was right back to the player that he was at the end of his Angels career, the one that got him DFA’d: .209/.325/.302/.627 over his final 68 games as a Dodger, which included a trip to the minors.
He won’t be back. Please listen to that, Ned Colletti.
Juan Rivera started 30 games in left, hitting .282/.313/.376/.689 in the process. As he started more games at first than in left in 2012, he’ll get a more
depressing detailed write-up in that Season Review.
Let’s just say his WAR was ~-0.3 and move on to other, less predictable matters.