Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Dodgers Sidewalk Sale and the Value of their Items

The Dodgers are nowhere near where they were last year in terms of proximity to the division lead. The Dodgers  have a record of 42-52. Last year on this date, the Dodgers were 49-41 and were, in actuality, in a position where they could have been buyers. It's too bad Ned had a stroke when he went shopping because he came away with Scott Podsednik, Ryan Theriot, two months of Ted Lilly and Octavio Dotel. We know how that turned out.

Now, it appears as if the Dodgers should be sellers. As in, sell everything that should not be bolted down. In theory, no player is untradeable. If the Royals were to put together a package for Matt Kemp that included Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers, Mike Montgomery and Jake Odorizzi, it would be bye bye Bison. Obviously, that won't happen but I do have a list of players who are currently in the Majors and should not be dealt. It is as follows:

Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Chad Billingsley, end list.

That leaves 21 players. Judging by the way the Dodgers have done so far this year, I don't think all 21 players will be dealt. Hiroki Kuroda will be in demand by multiple teams. Ted Lilly has been listed as a player "on the block" but I don't see him being moved because of his contract. Yes, Juan Uribe's contract (and lackluster performance thus far) is also prohibitive for making a deal. Jamey Carroll has been floated as well and rightfully so. James Loney should certainly be out there as well and, with the Juan Rivera acquisition, Ned won't have to fret over the prospect of playing a prospect at first. God forbid.

Of the remaining players, the ones who are not under team control and/or have produced as of late are Aaron Miles, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Casey Blake. Unfortunately, Blake Hawksworth, Matt Guerrier and Mike MacDougal do not make the list because they are bums. Casey Blake will probably not be healthy enough to be traded. This leaves Miles and TGJ and they are the main reason that I am writing today.

In the National League, there are 9 teams that should be buyers at the Trade Deadline (SF, ARI, COL, STL, PIT (that's right), CIN, MIL, PHI and ATL) and 9 in the American League (NYY, BOS, TB, DET, CHW, CLE, MIN, TEX and LAA). That is a lot of teams that could be looking to tack on players that have speed, can play multiple positiona or get a pinch hit. If one of these 18 teams do not come knocking for either Miles or TGJ, what does that say about their value. What does that say about TGJ's ability to snag 12 out of 15 bases and hit .256/.316/.326? What about Aaron Miles' empty .316/.336/.380? They both have produced at a clip of +1 WAR this season. If no team wants them what does it say about the Dodgers?

An even more important question is whether or not Ned would even sell. With the McCourt situation destined to end in the Dodgers being owned by another billionaire or buying group, how long does Ned Colletti have? Why should he care about the Dodgers' future? He hasn't really cared before today. Will Ned do the right thing and attempt to maximize the return from tradeable players? I don't think so. I don't see that happening because he has no reason to (other than being a professional) since his job is safe as long as Frank McCourt is running the circus.

It is very fortunate for Ned Colletti to get 3 managers during his tenure as Dodgers GM. Most GM's get two and, if they haven't produced, they are out. This will be the first blatant scenario where the Dodgers should sell and, if Ned does not do what's responsible, professional and optimal, he belongs on the same bus headed towards the Sun along with the McCourts, It's one thing to be an oaf that loves and overpays grindy veterans. It is another to forsake the team's future because it's not in your DNA to admit that your team sucks and that the kids need to play and bums need to go.

It may not even be his call. It may be that Frank is responsible for this irresponsibility and Ned just so happens to be the GM who is encouraged to make bad decisions that mortgage the future for the present and to hand out the big sacks of money. If Ned does any further buying and is not trying to sell every moveable asset, this will be another blow to the Dodgers franchise and its fans. Please, Ned. Be rational and let there be a better future for the Dodgers.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What about the pitching?: 2011 Dodger pitchers so far

The Dodgers' starting rotation is one of the best in the NL but, with little run support, they appear worse than what they actually are. This team isn't the 2010 Seattle Mariners but they have done a good impression of them at times. The bullpen has let a lot of games go by as well and I will touch on the collapse of what looked like an enviable pen before the start of the season. First, however, the starters.

Clayton Kershaw is becoming the ace the scouts believe he has the ability to be. Right now, Kersh has a better xFIP than Felix Hernandez, Jared Weaver and C.C. Sabathia. He currently leads all pitchers in strikeouts with 96. It's appointment television whenever he gets the start. Aside from a few too many home runs, he is in the discussion with the elite starters at age 23.

Chad Billingsley's admirable first two much has been masked by poor run support. He has the usual amount of strikeouts, he has stayed rather consistent and all the peripheral numbers suggest that his numbers aren't real. We're at the point where it can be said that CBillz is a solid starting pitcher. He's probably not going to be a star but he has silenced most of his critics who have questioned his pitching.

Ted Lilly has been reliable as well. The book has been written about him and he hasn't diverted from the pitcher he is. He pitches to contact, gives up some HR's and he doesn't walk people. A fan hopes for more from a pitcher that will be around for another two and a half seasons at the salary he was given but if he can fight back regression, he will have value.

Hiroki Kuroda has been slightly less effective than he has been in the past. He has given up more HR's than he is accustomed to giving up and he has been more hitable than before. Still, he hasn't failed to step up to the mound so far. MSTI suggests he will be traded and, if the Dodgers are out of it when the Yankees or some other team come calling, I will be alright with him going elsewhere. He's about the only player that the Dodgers have coming off of the books next year that has displayed value so far.

Now, let's switch gears and talk about the bullpen. How much time to you have? There's so much to cover. Jonathan Broxton is not the sole target for blame but he has the least amount of value of any Dodger pitcher this season (-0.3 WAR; tied with Lance Cormier). Brox should be out of commission until he is truly healthy. There is no reason to rush him back. As far as Hong-Chih Kuo goes, who knows what should be done with him? He has anxiety issues and when you add that to his lengthy injury history, it's really quite a miracle when Kuo takes the mound.

Vicente Padilla had the closer job at one point. He was out with injury to start the year and is out again but when he was the closer, he was......meh. Not a lot to speak of but, when he gets healthy he may be the best bet to be the closer until Brox returns. Matt Guerrier has been himself which is not much to get excited. The league caught up with Kenley Jansen and he seemed to have readjusted before landing on the DL Mike MacDougal has had too important a role because of the injuries.

What has been exciting is the arrival of prospects Rubby De La Rosa, Javy Guerra and Josh Lindblom. Rubby De La Rosa has looked impressive, Guerra has been better than half of the Opening Day Dodgers bullpen and Lindblom, well, we'll see. De La Rosa gets his first start on Tuesday in Philadelphia. With the other two, at least they are getting a chance. If they avoid giving up leads, they will be well above par for this year's bullpen.


So where does this team go from here. The Dodgers have the Phillies, the Rockies and inter-league opponents in their future, so if they don't get pummeled in the upcoming month, they might be able to compete for the division. The Dodgers are a better team than the Arizona Diamondbacks. I don't see the Dodgers slipping past Colorado or even San Francisco. I don't think the Dodgers are all that good this year. I would rather they improve their future chances to win the World Series. The Dodgers could still go on a tear but in order for the Dodgers to be buyers at the trade deadline, the team is going to have to step it up. By that I mean Juan Uribe and Casey Blake have to get healthy and stay healthy, respectively.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

2011 Dodger hitters: Kemp, Ethier and pray that Aaron Miles doesn't play and bat second

The 2011 Dodgers season may be irreconcilably lost by injuries, part of the perpetual outflow of players is by design. If Ned Colletti wasn't trying to win a mid-2000's World Series, they might be younger (read: healthier) team. There are some bright spots but there is a lot of bad.

In general, with all that has gone on in the Dodger organization with the McCourt drama, the fan beating, players dropping like flies, the stadium is catching fire. Thank Christ we still have Vin Scully!

First, the Infield.

James Loney has just been horrible. If he can have two months of solid production, however, he could end up on the Rays. The scary thing is that Casey Kotchman might be better. We could be looking at a player in Loney who may not be in baseball much longer. Juan Uribe has disappointed some fans but he hasn't been healthy all year. I like the player but the contract is just dumb and he may be aging but if he comes back and stays healthy, Dodgers fans probably won't be disappointed. Casey Blake just got hit with some bad luck, Rafael Furcal might have as well but he is, by definition, prone to injury so fate is not all to blame.

The discussion might be over but the 2011 Dodgers had the need for a whole other infield. Jamey Carroll has been slightly better than he was last year. A 1 WAR player is Carroll and his .358 OBP is third to Kemp and Ethier (though his SLG is only a thousandth higher). Carroll is an excellent utility fielder and probably one of the few players that is a good fit for the #2 spot in the lineup. Then, there's the oaf named Aaron Miles. He is a bumbling second baseman and it only gets worse if he plays 3B or SS. At the plate, he has Scotty Pods syndrome, where, like Scott Podsednik last year, it seemed as if he was being productive but his stats are still horrible and he has little value. For some reason, the team brought Ivan DeJesus up but that reason wasn't that he was going to get playing time. As I have written before, IDJ probably won't pan out and is a future Pirate but we KNOW Miles is bad and IDJ could at least be given the time of day.

Rod Barajas has actually been decent. He can still throw guys out now and he will hit home runs. Dioner Navarro is predictably a stupid mistake. As we've seen with the whole Buster Posey incident. the catcher is a position that is not stable and not worth investing in all that much. Still, the Dodgers could have done better.

Now, the Outfield:

So, does Matt Kemp's season thus far make those old, crusty former Dodger coaches look a bit petty for trashing a potential star player? Yes? OK, just checking.  Andre Ethier had a month-long hitting streak and, at present, he could be pulling out of a slump at the moment. He is actually holding his own in right field as well. Hopefully when Trayvon Robinson gets called up, he moves but he is not a liability. Remember, the Dodgers still could have Juan Pierre. He is a mess in the field this year. Speaking of left field, it was going to be a jumbled mess of flyers and AAAA players. Then, Jerry Sands was called up. Get this, an actual prospect was crushing the minor leagues and he actually got called up and is getting regular starts. I know, this is a big deal. He is as advertised: great power, great makeup and he has some speed to boot.

Tony Gwynn Jr. has not earned Donnie's confidence and that is alright because the Dodgers don't need him to come off of the bench all that much. The Dodgers could really use Marcus Thames, even if it's only for pinch hitting.

Closing Thoughts: Perhaps the Dodgers will have Ethier, Robinson and Kemp in the outfield and Sands playing 1B by July. Why not? If Loney doesn't turn it on soon, he will have no value and must be benched by July unless he produces. The rest of the infield is rather tenuous but Furcal could stand to build his trade value if the Dodgers hadn't rushed him back.

This team is playing slightly worse than they probably should but I have little to no expectation that they will exceed their mediocre projection. I will discuss the bullpen another time but the Dodgers having so many 0 or 1 run games is just as much of a problem of the glaring bullpen collapse.

With all that is going on (so many teams having their secondary ticket markets collapse resulting in empty seats and low concession sales), the team would be wise to have the outfield and 1B I suggested by the trade deadline. James Loney's time is running out. This could be like last season, except with a worse start but hopefully less trash added at the trade deadline. There is still time and this is the NL but it's a long way out of Narnia (I don't know what I mean by that either). Whoever is running the team or paying the bills should lock up Ethier and Kershaw. That may be the most important accomplishment for 2011.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dodgers Pre-Assessment Tidbits

Oh god, I know you've all been waiting for an assessment of this Dodgers team from this idiot blogger. With any luck, this post is frozen on your screen and you might have to read the end of it. Anyways, what better condition for the Dodgers to be in with all their ownership and league happenings. Every game, players are dropping off the field and bums (or grindy veterans for the uninitiated) have been regular starters. The starters have been nearly as good as they were advertised but they have been mostly negated by a horrendous bullpen that was supposed to have it all together.

Is it too late? Probably, when the Dodgers drop two of three in Houston but I am going to wait a while to call it. It's not over but you can see LeBron celebrating from where we are at. Wait, wrong sport.

Very soon, I will throw an assessment of the team on here. This is the last place to get top-notch analysis or scouting. No, this is merely a marginal Dodgers blog that I hope sheds some light on the dark corners of what doesn't get touched. If you want to hear what I have to say about Jerry Sands, Aaron Miles and Donnie Baseball, stop by real soon.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Miles makes me want to convert to the metric system

Hi. It's been a while since I've aired my inane Dodger thoughts. If you're reading this, you're probably being held captive, so I'll keep this short. I warned that having an Aaron Miles on your team means you're in danger of using Aaron Miles far more than you want to if injuries occur. That's what is going on. What is also going on is Ivan DeJesus Jr. is on the team not getting reps. What can Donnie Baseball do when he has two infielders out?

If the team doesn't bring an Aaron Miles on, IDJ might be undergoing the pressure of being the Dodgers' everyday second baseman but at least Ned is giving him a try. In my opinion, I don't think Ivan will be better than Delwyn Young and he might just be a Pirate in the not-so-distant future. The fact is, for myself, I would rather see IDJ out there everyday and give him a try than tired, old, about-to-be-shat-out-of-the-league Aaron Miles.

He is supposedly a three-position player but the one position he can actually play, the Dodgers have a prospect on the roster that they could trot out there. With all this front-office confusion going on, could someone at the controls with a brain at least launch a player that no Dodger fan would miss and at least stop making Dodger fans sick? I do not believe that IDJ has much potential but, if you give him a chance, he might be able to have a better stretch of play than Aaron Miles has had in the last few years.

There are times when veteran players are needed to fill in for a team through a long season. Jamey Carroll is doing just fine. The Dodgers don't need an inferior version of Jamey Carroll in the same infield.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Dodgers' 25 man roster is all but set!

Eric Stephen of True Blue LA and Dodgers beat reporter Ken Gurnick whittled down the remaining spot in the Dodgers' Opening Day roster to Scott Elbert and Lance Cormier. The rest of the roster looks like this:

Starters: Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda
Relievers: Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo, Kenley Jansen, Matt Guerrier, Blake Hawksworth, Mike MacDougal
Catchers: Rod Barajas, Hector Giminez
Infielders: James Loney, Ivan DeJesus, Rafael Furcal, Juan Uribe, Jamey Carroll, Aaron Miles
Outfielders: Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Marcus Thames, Xavier Paul, Jay Gibbons, Tony Gwynn Jr.

Injured: Vicente Padilla, Jon Garland, Dioner Navarro, Casey Blake

Here are some of my comments about the present roster situation:

*I don't know who should win that last spot. I would like Scott Elbert to win it but I would like him to be more developed than he is at this point as well. I am alright with either one at this point. I think the bigger story is Ramon Troncoso given the snub in favor of Mike MacDougal. Troncoso might be shot after having been ridden by Joe Torre early last year because he has done enough in the league to warrant a roster spot. That must be it because Mike MacDougal is not going to be appointment television. Perhaps he will do what some veteran relievers do and start producing out of nowhere but the odds are against him,

*I sit here having been proven wrong and I am stunned. Ivan DeJesus will be getting the majority of starts out of the gate for the Dodgers. I wish him the best of luck and I am thankful the Dodgers' front office is capable of making a decision like this. It did take an injury to Casey Blake but they could have given the job to Aaron Miles. Perhaps it's not so much the front office but a new manager that convinced the organization to go in this direction. This certainly wouldn't have happened on the previous manager's watch.

*Six outfielders?! You could say that the Dodgers have seven with Giminez but I guess this is what the Dodgers are doing. Nothing like four outfielders to play one spot. Yes, Gwynn will play some center but this is a clear indication that the Dodgers need to commit to tossing a player off the roster or, more aptly, they could have done a better job at addressing the position.

*You would think the Dodgers would be reeling with as much press as Padilla and Garland are getting. They still have the big four and the fifth starter is a reliever for the first two weeks anyways. 11 pitchers works for me for many reasons but, if they were to add a 12th, it would probably be Travis Schlichting. Why do I feel that he is better than Hawksworth and MacDougal?

*Hector Giminez is the Dodgers' back-up catcher. He certainly impressed with his ability to play in the outfield as well as catch. I don't think that he is going to get many starts as the team has been vocal about the confidence they have in Rod Barajas. I am just not sure if that is true and I am not all that sure Hector Giminez can field the position at the major league level.

Of course, the success of the Dodgers in 2011 depends far more on players not mentioned in the comments above. This probably means that it's time for Vin to say "It's time for Dodger baseball!" Let's hope this season doesn't have us begging for the McCourts to run out of money, shutting Dodger operations down!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

List of Players I Don't Want On The Dodger Roster

Baseball and Vin Scully game calls are still a little more than two weeks away and there's really not much of import to say about the season. I know who I don't want to be a Dodger, however, and I plan on letting you know who these bums are.

1) Aaron Miles 2B/3B/SS (Plays all positions poorly): Yet another slappy baseball player who was legitimized by the Cubs and their idiot GM, Jim Hendry. He was given stupid money, is bad (actually one of the worst says Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness). He makes a fan want a player who is at least worthy of taking up a roster spot. Ryan Theriot, who I hate nearly as much, would be a better fit for a utility infielder but we don't know if Ned would direct his manager to play him a lot and bat him second.

If Casey Blake is going to be out for a while, Aaron Miles may just make the roster. I thought he had a good shot at making it even if Blake is healthy. It shouldn't matter that much but if Aaron Miles does matter via a sizable amount of playing time, the Dodgers won't be good. Hell, Nick Green at least was trusted by the Red Sox to field the SS position when they needed a stop-gap and I didn't even like him. He's slappy, he's bad and I have no tolerance for the combination of the two.

2) Jay Gibbons,  LF: The guy has a decent stretch of 20 games and he is anointed a spot in the LF platoon. If he were Xavier Paul's age, he would be headed back to the minors. Now, he is a cost-effective former cheating quasi-veteran (at least I think former) who is having a bad spring. I really don't see him having a good anything again.

3) Mike MacDougal, RP: He's circling the bowl right now and could be a fringe bullpen arm for most teams. Not the Dodgers though. The Dodgers have the bullpen resources without MacDougal. It's not a bad move to take one more shot at a guy like this but the Dodgers don't need to and probably won't.

4) Ronald Belisario, RP: Don't even bother to look his ass up. The first time he was late, it was funny. The second time, it was shameful. Now, why bother with him? I'm not usually a "get rid of this guy because he is a slacker" proponent but he has shown enough disrespect for his team and his job by failing to show up for camp. His arm is still good but let some other team deal with him. The Dodgers do not depend on him and they should tell him to stay gone.

5) Dioner Navarro, C: This guy wore out his welcome in Tampa Bay and, instead of waiting until he could sign Navarro as a non-roster invitee, Ned gave him a million dollars. I think the Dodgers are fine with AJ Ellis as backup. Sure, Navarro is insurance but expensive insurance that draws the ire of the rest of the team.

The Dodgers have lost three young catching prospects/products in Russell Martin, Carlos Santana and Lucas May and are left with another old man who played decent in 20 games and is richer now. A.J. Ellis is more of a farm hand who can be a back up. The catching position in the Dodgers has run dry and this is why the Dodgers are are left to waste money on Dioner Navarro.

That does it for the list. One or more of these players will probably play for the Dodgers at some point. It's a fact of baseball that one has to deal with bums. For all of you who don't remember how they felt about Garret Anderson before the start of last season, bums like these can go south in their production real quick.


Ken Gurnick writes about Hiroki Kuroda giving $50,000 to Japan for relief efforts. To me, that figure sounded sma.. Not that I was implicating Kuroda in any way. I was sure that he gave money elsewhere to charitable causes and/or I thought he would have family who were directly affected by the earthquake and tsunami. You look at his $12 million contract and 50 grand only approaches 0.5% of his income. The average person gives around 1-2% of his income and, as an athlete, Kuroda reaches that range by donates to the Think Cure Foundation among other causes yearly.

What I am getting at here is that the story should be about the team's giving efforts because, with the contracts these players have, 50 grand sounds like 50 bucks. Kuroda is doing some good things but, as a team, they will probably donate much more money. The encouragement makes the great deed better and that is what the article should be titled. Can you tell it's Spring Training? This is what I am typing about.

If it sounds like I am picking on Ken Gurnick, I am as I occasionally do. I am probably a bad guy for doing so as he, like most beat writers in the pre-season, is in writer hell. I just thought the headline made him sound cheap. It should make him sound like what Kuroda intends to sound like: concerned and generous.