But when the Dodgers acquired Shane Victorino from the Phillies, Gwynn's designation was inevitable.
Gwynn still has value to a team. His defense in center field is elite, his speed off the bench is something that's coveted late in games and he's adept at pinch-hitting, as he boasts a career .305/.372/.405 triple slash in the role.
I'm a little surprised he wasn't picked up off waivers by a team in need of a pinch-hitter and defensive stud in center with speed, but he'll play with Albuquerque for the time being.
So, the Dodgers recalled Jerry Sands to take Gwynn's place on the roster. Sands was on fire before being recalled: .476/.500/.952 with six home runs and 21 RBI. Almost everyone thought Sands was being recalled to take the place of James Loney and Juan Rivera at first base -- at least, that's what would have made since.
Instead, Sands started one game and was demoted when Adam Kennedy was activated from the disabled list.
I'm not sure what exactly Sands has done to the Dodgers or the front office, but they aren't giving him a fair shake. He had an eight-game stint earlier this season in which he didn't do much, but he closed last season hitting the ball well. I can accept the fact the roster was too full for him at the start of the season, but what do the Dodgers have to lose in playing Sands in first base everyday?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He's an adequate defender at first (Loney is better in that department), but Sands can be as effective -- if not more effective -- than Rivera.
Sands is still just 24 and the Dodgers are unfairly jerking him around. I know I tend to gravitate toward prospects and young players, but to not give a guy who won the organization's Minor League Player of the Year in 2010 is just dumb.
I'm not saying Sands is sure to be the answer at first base, but how are the Dodgers ever going to know if they don't give him a chance to succeed?
If I'm this frustrated, I can only imagine how Sands feels. He goes from top prospect to afterthought in less than two years.
When the alternatives are Loney and Rivera, something like this just doesn't make sense.
Ned Colletti to Sands:
Abreu to Albuquerque
Bobby Abreu, who was designated for assignment after the Victorino trade, accepted an assignment to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Suddenly, the Isotopes' lineup looks like it could be even more stacked with the additions of Abreu, Gwynn and Sands to go with Alex Castellanos, Tim Federowicz and Scott Van Slyke.
Both Abreu and Gwynn will be eligible for the postseason roster, if they're needed.
Photo credit: LWY, Flickr