Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Three Weeks of Dodger Death

Three weeks ago, I declared the Dodgers dead. Today, I believe it was the right move and I am satisfied that I didn't string myself along any longer than I did. At that time, the Dodgers chances looked poor and I didn't see THAT TEAM getting hot and getting back into the playoff race. There are times where a team with the same record would seemingly inspire more confidence because they are more capable of gaining ground.

On July 22, the Dodgers were 51-45 and the Phillies were 49-46. From that day, the Phillies would go onto win 16 of the next 20 games, the sixteenth being the rubber game of the LA series where the Phillies came back from a seven-run deficit in the last two innings. During that streak of games, they lost Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino while being without Chase Utley the entire time. That is the kind of team that I would hitch my wagon to and I would give them a chance of making the playoffs.

The Dodgers on the other hand inspire much less confidence. They had and continue to have their injuries too but trading away Blake DeWitt made the Dodgers worse in half of the positions. I didn't buy the effort to compete by shuffling players around and it ended up being the laughing stock that it seemed it would be. The fan has a write to keep up the hope as long as the team has a chance but a fan also has the right to write off his or her team no matter what the chances that the team will make the playoffs.

The Dodgers have managed to capture my interest despite my declaration and my unfortunate night at the ballpark on August 12th. I lacked belief in the team but I was still watching because I could have been wrong and I am a fan of the team. This last month is going to be harder to watch when there will be other meaningful baseball games. It's easy to get used to going to the playoffs but it's not happening this season.

I will be watching the teams that are vying for and those that are going to make the playoffs. The great part about baseball is being in the playoffs and it's unwise to forget what it's like to be there. Some of the September call-ups should be interesting to watch as well. The Dodgers probably won't have much going on in that department but if they get at least one prospect up to the bigs, that might be worth viewing. The McCourt Divorce might actually be the most crucial contest to follow at this point. There are always reasons to watch but it won't be the same with the Dodgers not playing in the postseason.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Manny is just like Manny

Manny is headed to Cleveland to join his new team, the Pale Hose crew from the South Side of Chicago. The Dodgers are getting some compensation and the Sox get their bat. I am happy with the deal because it gives the Dodgers cash. With the $4 million dollars that Dodgers might get and the $7 million or so that was returned to the Dodgers during Manny's suspension last year makes Manny's two year deal cheaper than Andruw Jones' deal. Manny didn't bring us success and he was a clown at times but he wasn't the clown that Andruw was.

It was the right move to deal Manny away and it was also the right move to put him on the bench. Joe Torre had to lie through his teeth that they were trying to win with Manny on the bench but it would have been nice for him to say something like "we are selling Manny away and we don't want him to get hurt." That is what they were doing and I don't understand the outrage. The hypocrisy I get but, if you have a clue, you know why protecting a player that could return $4 million dollars is a good idea. All the lying with it was a little excessive because teams are going to tell you things that aren't true but you should learn to read between the lines.

Getting back to Manny, I don't think it will work but it is worth it for the White Sox to give it a try. The warning track power Manny was showing this season in LA could lead to many dingers in U.S. Cellular Field.  I think that the Twins are still better but I would like to see the White Sox win the division. It's good for the White Sox who have needed a power bat in the DH slot all year. Ozzie Guillen refused Jim Thome, refused any other power hitter and they got Mark Kotsay, Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre and Mark Teahen sharing the DH duties and disgraceful results ensued.

Manny appears to be in the AL to stay and I wish him well. He disappointed me last year with the substance violation and he disappointed me this year by questionably disappearing due to minor injuries that kept him away longer than normal. I would have liked two good cracks at the World Series but Manny wasn't the only reason that they will undoubtedly fall short. We knew what we were getting, however. Turns out the best we got of Manny was before the contract. After the 2008 season, I wanted him back and I wasn't alone. Manny wasn't a great investment but he didn't blow up on the Dodgers. It was time for him to go and another Dodgers left fielder becomes the White Sox's problem.

That doesn't leave much left for us Dodgers fans but there hasn't much there to be had, with or without him.

Friday, August 27, 2010

So you're telling me there is a chance?

With the Dodgers sweeping the Brewers at Miller park, they stand five games back in the Wild Card race. With 34 games left to go, it is tempting to think that there is a linear path for the Dodgers to take if they get a run going. There seems to exist a camp of people that think the Dodgers still have a chance to close that gap. PECOTA says the Dodgers have a 3.5% chance of making the playoffs but if you don't buy PECOTA, you should know that BP isn't too far out of line.

The White Sox sit 3.5 games back from the Twins. PECOTA only gives them a 13% chance to win the AL Central but the Sox only have one team to beat. You say you still don't buy PECOTA and that's fine. However, if the Sox, currently at 69-58, go 23-12 (nearly winning 2/3 of their games), the Sox finish 92-70. The Twins, at 73-55, can go 20-14 (around .600 ball) to beat them. If the Sox play .600 ball and go 90-72, the Twins only have to go 17-17, .500, to beat them. The Twins, to date, have won 57% of their games, so going .500 would mean that the Twins can slouch and still win the division. That is why such a lead is more insurmountable that it appears.

The Dodgers problems are compounded because they have four teams to beat and they are further behind! If the Dodgers go 23-11 (around .667), the Dodgers finish 89-73. You can't tell me that one of the teams ahead of the Dodgers in the Wild Card race won't win 90 total games, negating the Dodgers hypothetically incredible  run at the last playoff spot. THIS is what makes the Dodgers chances small. The Dodgers can still go on a tear and  it only takes one of the four teams ahead of the Dodgers playing great baseball to beat the Dodgers out.

The Dodgers have shown that they can go on a tear as they went 24-10 from April 30th to June 9th. They were a much better team than they are now. Martin, Furcal and DeWitt are gone and Barajas, Carroll and Theriot are in their place. I don't like saying that the Dodgers don't have much of a chance because I want them in the playoffs but they just aren't that good of a team. I am still watching and still interested but this team is not the same team that went on that streak in the second month of this season.

Manny could be on his way to the South Side today and, while that definitely hurts any chance the Dodgers have of making the playoffs, it's time for him to go. It's no that he isn't interested when he is on the field but it's more that he isn't interested in being on the field. Call me skeptical or ruthless but I don't think that Manny has been committed to doing all that he can to help the Dodgers get to the playoffs. He has the say as to whether or not he takes the field and he has chosen to sit out more times than he probably needed to. Joe Torre isn't exactly pleading to keep Manny. I think he is sick of his act. I just don't get the feeling that the rest of the team and the coaches are that worried about Manny going. The organization is on the hook to pay him years down the road but the team only has him for a month or two at most.

I would rather have Manny than Scotty Pods but I don't think Manny is worth keeping for the rest of the year because I don't think the Dodgers make the playoffs even if Manny is still in house. This series sweep hasn't changed my opinion on the playoff chances of this team. From here on out, the Dodgers are going to have to average a series win. If they end next week having won six or seven games against the Rockies, Phillies and Giants, they will be onto something. If they get there, they will have to continue at that same clip into September to have a chance. That's how far away they are right now.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Today's brews: Milwaukee's Best? and Natural(ly) Light(-hitting) Dodgers?

Manny sits out of the final game against the Brewers as he awaits other teams' offers. The Dodgers have put two wins together but is it anything more than a dead cat bounce? I am going to wait to see how today's game and the weekend series in Colorado goes. I don't think that the Dodgers can catch the Giants, Cards or the healthy Phillies but, if they have any designs to do so, they should get past the Rockies first.

I am thankful I am not a Milwaukee Brewers fan because that franchise hasn't seen much success and they have so few key players that they feel they have to create a CC Sabathia bobblehead night. It would make me furious if there were a Jeff Kent or Nomar bobblehead night this year. It's just tacky to have such an event when it's been nearly 23 months since CC has been in a Brewers uniform. Butt Selig is to blame, of course.

Considering the Dodgers aren't completely eliminated, it is good to see some of those players I mentioned in my previous post find their way on the waiver wire. It's a whole other question as to whether or not those players will be claimed and another as to whether or not Ned pulls the trigger on a deal or two for those players.

I haven't been completely enamored with Ryan Theriot but I will tell you that he can slide. I don't think he is an upgrade on Blake DeWitt but he has the bat to be in a Major League lineup. Occasionally, he can lead off but he shouldn't be batting second. A good team would not be hampered by Theriot batting seventh or eighth.  I hope the Dodgers future plan for Theriot is to be a utility middle infielder.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2 HR's > Slappily Manufacturing Runs

Earl Weaver would have been proud because the Dodgers hit the "f***ing ball out of the f***ing ballpark," getting dingers from Kemp and Barajas. It's true that one of the skills that Barajas possesses that makes him marginally better than Eliis or Ausmus is that he can hit a HR and he did right off the bat. He also had two doubles and while that doesn't mean that he will lead the Dodgers to the playoffs, it makes the catcher situation less embarrassing for the moment.

Another embarrassment would be not waiving Manny Ramirez, especially now that the White Sox have made it known they will claim him. This should have been done yesterday but you do this before he gets "hurt" again. I haven't heard anything about what Boras has to say to this. I would think that going to an AL team as a DH would help Manny's future but it might hurt if he doesn't hit well. I think he gets a deal after this year regardless but he stands to earn more money if he makes a difference. If Manny looks like Thome did last year for the Dodgers, whether it be here or elsewhere, he will get a contract similar to Thome's, was one year at $5 million. I think this deal will get done.

Having lived the majority of my life in Illinois, I am also partial to the White Sox. I am a Dodgers fan first and that is why Juan Pierre burns me less in a White Sox uniform than he does in a Dodgers uniform. While the White Sox could use Manny as a DH, I don't think even he can make up the current distance that the White Sox are behind the Twins. I think he is worth a shot for the Sox.

There is also interest in Hiroki Kuroda and I believe the Dodgers should be in sell mode. If Ned Colletti wants to hold onto Ted Lilly in a desperate attempt to keep the soon to be unafforable lefty around next year, perhaps they should part with Kuroda, who has been worth it. Fangraphs values Kuroda's total worth in dollars for the three years with the Dodgers at $37.4 million, more than the $35.3 million they have paid him. He provided more value than his contract despite missing some time last year. It doesn't sound like the Dodgers are interested in signing him and believing what I do about the Dodgers chances, I can say that putting him on waivers would give the Dodgers roughly $2.5 million if he were claimed and would be worth it.

From there, the Dodgers should do what the Angels did and put every expiring asset on waivers. It's time to sell. So, in addition to EVERY player the Dodgers have acquired in a trade in the past month, the Dodgers should waive Manny, Kuroda, Reed Johnson, Casey Blake (he has another year but why not?), Ronnie Belliard, Jeff Weaver, Jamey Carroll, George Sherrill and Jay Gibbons. Most of these guys will boomerang back but those that are claimed will provide some cash and those that make it through may entice other teams to make a deal. The Angels and many other teams have shown that it isn't out of line to do that and it can only help the ball club.

If anyone still cares about what this team does down the stretch, it's a lost cause. Due to PECOTA, we have an estimate of the Dodgers' chances and a good poker metaphor could be made. Kenny Rogers has already infiltrated my mind after typing this much. The bottom line is that Ned should fold because once September 1st arrives, all of the remaining veterans on this team that isn't going anywhere are going to get in the way of any call-ups and they will look obscene and unnecessary in the Dodgers lineup.

Update 8/25 4pm ET: Per Dylan Hernandez: Manny, Casey Blake, Scotty Pods and Jay Gibbons have been placed on waivers.

Update 2: Hiroki Kuroda is on waivers as well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Out with the old and in with the new manager

With Lou Piniella retiring next year, it ends another failed campaign by an accomplished manager. Bobby Cox is on his farewell tour and might enjoy some success but, beyond him, most of the corps of old great managers haven't had much success lately. Dusty Baker's Reds could be in the mix but he hasn't proven he's done shredding young arms and that he stopped believing in holy water. He is a product of having a great farm system but is still an idiot. Hopefully, Jon Weisman's allusion is incorrect. Joe Torre is proving that he can't handle a team that is completely assembled no matter how much he tries to compensate by trying to manufacture runs. Tony LaRussa has won a Series recently and he will be on the market at the end of the season. After being with the Cards for many years, he may join the ranks of the manager for hire, though you can have him because he's an insufferable asswipe. 

With these managers for hire, they don't get paid to develop talent, they don't get paid to be patient. They get paid to win. As a Dodgers fan, I liked the Torre hire. The Dodgers were in position to make the playoffs and, in turn, win the World Series and Joe Torre is best at managing a team in their window. He knows how to run a clubhouse, he trusts his hunches on players, he handles slumping veteran players well and he doesn't panic. This season has proven that he doesn't function well outside of a championship window. 

The Dodgers' Trade Deadline decisions fall on Ned Colletti regardless of whether Joe or Ned made the grocery list. Without Manny Ramirez and Rafael Furcal, the Dodgers were fading and those trades for Scott Podsednik, Ryan Theriot and Octavio Dotel made them worse. The Dodgers are at a point now where they are basically done but still have an infinitesimal chance to make the playoffs. I declared them dead two weeks ago and they haven't gained any ground since. Now, they are at a point where they could go into improvement mode. They don't need to rebuild necessarily but they need to rest the veterans and ensure the youngsters get more experience. Joe Torre isn't the manager to do something like that. 

Torre will announce his plans when the Dodgers are eliminated from playoff competition. With Torre's age, Ned as GM and the pervasive McCourt divorce, I doubt he comes back. As much as I liked his first two years here, I would be alright with him departing. Torre has gone stale as the old hired gun managers do when the window closes on their team when they are still there. Torre could leave tomorrow but it works out well for him to ride off into the sunset at the end of the season. It's better than Piniella and his Cubs, whose window closed when they lost the NLDS in 2008. There is a time for the hired gun manager but, at present, these managers have expired. 

For the Dodgers, who might hire Tim Wallach or Don Mattingly as manager next year, Cubs, Braves and other teams looking for a manager at the end of this season, it's time to look to a more long-term manager. I like the idea of finding a manager that has the future interests of the team in mind when the team is out of contention. I want a manager that is more interested in Matt Kemp's maturation than Scott Podsednik's perpetuation. I want a manager that is keen to today's game. Torre still thinks it's the late 70's with his foray in manufacturing runs with slappy players. It's time for a manager that is more like Joe Madden and less than Joe Torre. Torre is a Hall of Fame manager but "The Dodger Years" has not been a great sequel to Torre's "Yankees Years." 

My pick for new manager is Tim Wallach but it's only because he would be something different and he has went about becoming a manager the right way. Other than that, I don't have any good reason to think he will be a successful manager. I worry about any manager being influenced by Ned Colletti. The GM position is more consequential at this point. Until then, Joe Torre will sully the end of his career. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Barajas Doesn't Mean Much But Vinny Does

The Dodgers claimed Rod Barajas, the 35 year old catcher, off of waivers on Sunday. The Mets basically wanted him off of their roster and it's easy to see why. By the end of May, Rod Barajas had tallied 11 HR's but has only hit one more from June 1 to present. He has totaled a disappointing .225/.263/.414 for the year and has only thrown out 4 base runners in 27 attempts.

He is an upgrade, however. Brad Ausmus hasn't thrown out a base-stealer in 9 attempts and A.J. Ellis has thrown out 5 of 25. Ausmus is hitting .196/.275/.217 and Ellis is hitting .208/.266/.236. With Barajas entering the fold, Ausmus will stay and Ellis will go down. Barajas isn't a great hitter but he should be better than Ausmus and Ellis who really hit like the starting pitcher hitting after them. Barajas may be a boost but I don't think it is an indication that the Dodgers are still "in competition."

I still think that the Dodgers think they are in it and it will be confirmed by how long Manny Ramirez, Ted Lilly and anyone else of value stick around. The White Sox, Rays, Yankees and the Rangers could each use Manny Ramirez as their DH. Pretty much any team in contention could take a flier on Ted Lilly. If Ned hasn't placed these players on waivers, we have to believe that they believe they are in contention.

I was wrong about Manny when I said he wasn't coming back. I may not have been wrong about his delays in getting back but we saw him in a Dodgers uniform and Saturday's lineup had him hitting third and that was the first time in about a month where the Dodgers lineup didn't make me sick.


Vin Scully announced that he will return next year! That is a relief considering everything else that is going on in the organization. It is without hyperbole that I can say that the Dodgers have the best broadcaster in baseball and perhaps in all of sports. He continues to display humility, charm, wisdom and professionalism every time he broadcasts a Dodgers game.

It's also a relief that his retention will not give the job to Lyons and Collins. There may be the law of broadcast conservation going on because with Vinny being the best baseball broadcaster there is, those two couldn't come up with an original baseball thought all season. Perhaps Charlie Steiner would have stepped in but not having Lyons and Collins calling games is a victory for the Dodger fans.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Carlos Monasterios and a Couple of Grinder Rants

Carlos Monasterios gets the start today against Dusty Baker's Reds because Vicente Padilla has been put on the disabled list. If you are like me, you are wondering why Carlos Monasterios is here. It's true that if the Dodgers don't have any option to  put him in the Minors. If they would take him off the active roster, it would probably be for good and they would join Phillies and Yankees on the list of teams that tried the Monk and gave him away. So why haven't the Dodgers gave him away?

In 2010, Monasterios has been a pet project of the Dodgers. He started as a reliever and got his first start on May 1st. As a reliever, he has gotten plenty of mop-up duty. What makes him unimpressive isn't so much his 34 K's and 21 BB's in 67.7 innings but the fact that he has only went six innings once when he collected his only quality start in 8 games started. The Monk is believed to have potential but I haven't seen too much that impresses me and it will take getting through the sixth inning for a start or two down the stretch.

Taking a look at his pitches, FanGraphs has his fastball valued at -6.3 runs below average, his curveball valued at -0.9, his slider at +0.9 and his best pitch is his change, which is valued at 4.8 runs above average. These numbers provide some reference but just watching him, you'll see that he lacks a pitch that will really bury a hitter. As a fly-ball pitcher (39.2%), he isn't among the company of strikeout pitchers but if he can't find an out pitch, he needs to find a pitch that will induce more outs

The ERA gods have smiled on him and so have the BABIP gods because his ERA (3.72) is lower than his xFIP (5.03) and he has been lucky with a .273 BABIP. That justifies my wishes to have another pitcher start in place of Carlos every time he gets the nod. At this point, it doesn't hurt because the Dodgers don't have much to play for. As far as the Monk's future, I imagine the Dodgers don't plan on him being a long term mop-up reliever/spot starter so I am thinking that they think he can be a back of the rotation starter unless his breaking balls become much better. Perhaps there is a future for him but until Monasterios gets much better, I will wonder why they favor the Monk and gave James McDonald away for an aged reliever rental.

It's not that I thought McDonald was going to be so great but I thought that McDonald was worth more than that. If the Dodgers would have made no trades, presumably Vicente Padilla would have still gotten hurt after making some great starts and the rotation would, at this date, have been Kersh, CBillz, Kuroda, Monk and McDonald. Those who make the argument that Lilly was necessary might have been right to have wanted another starter. But with all the players the Dodgers have gotten and all the players and prospects given away, he is the only one I can find a shred of justification for.


Although I have partitioned this point, it goes along with the last paragraph. To me, Ryan Theriot is an eyesore. Ryan Theriot has hit .299/.368/.328 as a Dodger. That's not too bad but Blake DeWitt as a Cub has hit .300/.364/.433. That's even better and DeWitt's OPS being 100 points better than Theriot's is a lot better. I know this is a small sample size but since I have already shown that Blake DeWitt is a better baseball player than Ryan Theriot, it should leave no doubt that the Dodgers were flat stupid in giving Ryan Theriot away and any success the Riot has in the 2 hole will be short-lived and is ill-advised beyond this year.


Holy praise a diety, Scotty Pods has reached 525 plate appearances, which gives him the right to reject a $2 million team option if the Dodgers would want to exercise that. That, my friends, in baseball speak, is double protection. Even if Ned would be dumb enough want to sign him at a reasonable rate, Pods has the option to go elsewhere if he so chooses. Since he has had some success this season, he should be worth more than $2 million next year despite his age and injury history. For the record, I don't mind him at the leadoff position. I do mind him playing center field and I do mind that he cost the Dodgers one of the few catching prospects in the organization and a promising pitching prospect.

The leadoff position isn't the most crucial spot in the lineup and the Dodgers don't lack for punchy leadoff hitting but they do lack the ability to drive runs in. Pods isn't a bad player but getting a player that can hit it out of the damn ball park, play the field and run the bases with some sense would have been a better investment. If the only trade the Dodgers would have made would have been to get Luke Scott, take the two prospects the Dodgers gave to the Cubs (Kyle Smit and Brett Wallach) and add Elisaul Pimentel OR Andrew Lambo and you have a deal that might have lured Scott to the Dodgers.

Baseball Prospectus' Christina Kahrl suggested that the White Sox trade for Miguel Tejada and Luke Scott and give Lucas Harrell, Jhonny Nunez and Eduardo Escobar in exchange. None of those guys are rated by Fangraphs as being a Top 10 White Sox prospect and only Nunez is ranked by BP, and he is ranked as the 11th prospect in the organization. Let's say you get a little generous and give away four prospects. Wallach, Smit, Pimentel and Lambo go to the O's for Tejada and Scott. You have a power hitting outfielder and a shortstop who could step in, allowing Jamey Carroll to return to his utility. You keep James McDonald, Lucas May and Blake DeWitt while making the team better.

I think that hindsight will show that none of the deals made were worth it but those deals might have given the Dodgers a better chance to score runs in the games that the Dodgers lost these past three weeks. The Dodgers also would have arguably been a better team and they would have a player that would be worth going forward with in Luke Scott. Instead, the Dodgers got worse and Ned admitted that he did so for the edification of his ego and failed miserably. Now, at present, theoretical Dodgers teams are more exciting than anything the Dodgers have going on currently. How far and quickly they have fallen.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Increasingly Horrible and Daft Spiral of Suck

With my declaring the Dodgers dead, I reserve the right as a fan to go elsewhere if a) Kemp is not starting and b) Pods is in center and Gibbons is in his place. Pods, 34, and Gibbons, 33, are not part of a youth movement at all. Perhaps the org thinks they still have a chance. PECOTA gives them a 1.01% chance. You have to wonder when the team believes they are done and they will show it by the players they put out there.

If the Dodgers do go with a youth movement, Theriot would have a justification for starting because, even though he's thirty, he is still under team control. Podsednik would not because he is neither under team control nor is he young. September can't come fast enough and, when it does arrive, I hope to see a lot of Jerry Sands and Trayvon Robinson.

In the meantime, I am alright with Octavio Dotel being thrown out there in high leverage situations. It shows how wrong Ned was in trading for that aged reliever. I am not saying I like to see the Dodgers lose but, since it's of no consequence with the Dodgers now infinitesimal chance of making the playoffs, baseball will be a better game if Dotel's results can delineate what is a wrong move for a GM to make. The case against Ned stacks up even higher as Ned admittedly makes moves for the edification of his own ego and failed at doing that. Ned is in the GM cellar with Jim Hendry, Omar Minaya and Dayton Moore.

On the field, it appears to be more of the same with Joe Torre suddenly acquiring a fetish for small-ball, backing up Larry Bowa on bad decisions and sitting the most talented player on the team. This season will be a tarnish on all of these coaches otherwise illustrious careers. This coaching staff has expired because this team has become a nightly clinic on how to fundamentally manufacture outs and give away games. What an increasingly horrible and daft spiral of suck the Dodgers have become.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guns drawn; "It's Manny, I say!"

This is beyond proverbial. The gun's to my head, the toughs have my cat in a sack, the kid are crying in the corner. This can all go away if I answer the question.

"It's never that simple!" I say. "You can't just blame one guy!"

One of the thugs gives the cat bag a shake.

"Alright! Here it goes. Wait, what was the question again?"

The man in charge asks: "If there is one player or pitcher to blame for the failure of the Dodgers season, who would it be?"

I give it a few seconds of thoughts and exclaim "Manny Ramirez!"


"Manny being Manny"  is thrown around gratuitously whenever you talk about Manny. It's usually accurate. I think I can only come up with a few instances where Manny wasn't being Manny. It seemed like he was interested in fielding this year. Decent fielding isn't Manny but it became so. However, sandbagging and disappearing when Manny isn't interested is Manny being Manny. Despite winning two World Series, Manny wore out his welcome in Boston.

Now he is at the end of his contract with the Dodgers, he is nowhere to be found. He's appeared in 16 games but we haven't seen the likes of him since the Dodgers were 3.5 games out of the West on July 16th. He may be hurt, he may not be as hurt as he makes out to be but he is not around. It is hard to point the finger of blame at a player that isn't on the field but, if a gun is to my head, I will.

I will also admit that I was wrong when I was among those saying that we had to get this guy signed to a contract after the 2008 season. As the Cubs surely think to themselves in hindsight, there were three better options than Manny and Milton Bradley: Adam Dunn, Bobby Abreu and Raul Ibanez. After that playoff run in 2008, however, I thought that only Manny would suffice. Two years of Adam Dunn would have been nice. He didn't want to come to the Dodgers but they could have topped what the Nationals paid for him.

I hear and read how other Dodgers are getting blame. It may be fair to blame some of these Dodgers like Kemp, Broxton and the starting pitcher who gets the quality start but the Dodgers score one run less but, in the same way that Jason Schmidt failed to get onto the field and when he did, he sucked, I fail to see why Manny can't be blamed. It may not be fair to blame a player who is genuinely hurt (and I do doubt that Manny is genuinely hurt) but I think guaranteed money should come with guaranteed responsibility. If Manny breaks a bone or tears a muscle, perhaps you point the gun somewhere else.

Right now, I think that Manny is in a position where if he says he is hurt or says that he isn't right, he could sit out. If Manny comes back and finishes out the season, perhaps I may be out of line. If Manny doesn't come back, this will be Jason Schmidt all over again. If he comes back and goes elsewhere on the waiver wire, we will see. If he does well with the AL team that picks him up, that may be grounds for accusing him of quitting on the Dodgers. It wouldn't be the first time. It would be the second time in three seasons. A fool and his money is parted again and the fans become chumps again.

I don't really think that Manny is the only reason that the Dodgers will miss the playoffs but, if cornered, I will say that he is the biggest reason that they aren't returning. The heat and anger is coming for Manny. Right now, though, it seems absent. Instead, fans seem to be blaming the guys on the field. It's just a matter of time before the fans will turn on the player that should be playing and got paid lavishly to be there but is not getting there. This is Manny being Manny and we all got burnt.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Addendums, Lee and Hope?

1. Rafael Furcal has displayed the ability to stack a large amount of absolute wins in a short period of time. It brings up the question and that is: Is Furcal worth the investment despite his win value if he can't stay healthy? Here is Furcal's his value and his salary in his years as a Dodger:

2006: $14.4mil/$8.7 mil
2007: $7.4/$13.7
2008: $9/$15.7
2009: $13.4/$7.5
2010: $16.7/9.5

His first contract as a Dodger (2006-8), he earned $38.1 million but was worth only $30.8 million. In 2008, he had that short year and probably would have closed that gap. This second contract is back-loaded such that he will get $12 million next year and there is a $12 million team option in 2012.

It seems that he was overpaid in his first contract but in the second, he is underpaid. I think Furcal is a shortstop that you want to have on your team and you deal with him being absent at times. You have a reasonable back-up plan in place and make do when he is gone because he is so valuable when he is around. I haven't touched on his defense but he has played the position better than ever the past two years.

Jamey Carroll is an acceptable back-up. The problem that I have with the current Dodgers team is that Ryan Theriot seems extraneous because Theriot hasn't played shortstop yet, Belliard, DeWitt and Carroll could play second base and the team went to the playoffs using Juan Castro in stints. It seems with the way the trade worked out that Ryan Theriot will be with the Dodgers for the next two years unless he is traded. Jamey Carroll remains the better utility infielder, however. It was just a bad move to add Theriot to the team.

Rafael Furcal isn't the only missing link in the Dodgers "playoff drive" but he would eventually return a la 2008 if the Dodgers were winning like the 2008 team did in the second half. Missing Manny is a big part of that but, as we all know, there is more to it than that.


The Dodgers have signed their first round pick Zach Lee right before the deadline, agreeing to a deal that includes a $5.35 million signing bonus that can be spread out over 5 years. This kid reached the Dodgers at the 28th pick because it was unlikely that he would sign. This is a huge win for the Dodgers and I will say that I am one of the many "Dodgers cynics" that thought it was a throwaway pick but the put the cash on the table and got the deal done. Instead of starting school as a two-sport star at LSU, Zach Lee is now a Dodger. Hopefully, he goes the way of fellow Texan Clayton Kershaw and arrives on the Ravine scene in a couple of years. Good job, Logan White and his team. The farm system currently is not a rich one but as long as this group keeps making sound decisions, the system can be replenished soon enough.


Jon Weisman offers up hope for Dodgers fans  but I defer to today's PECOTA, which has the Dodgers at 1.34%. It's not that I don't believe that a team can't come back from this big of a deficit. It is still possible but I don't believe this team can come back and I don't believe that this team belongs anywhere near the playoffs. Watching the Rays_Rangers game last night gave me the playoff feel. Watching Octavio Dotel give away the game in Turner Field gave me flashbacks of last Thursday and reminded me of why trading for relievers was ill-advised and stupid. This Dodgers team doesn't belong in the playoffs. If Furcal comes back, they are better but Manny coming back is a mirage. He won't be back. It would be best to get some cash back and let him retire in the AL.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rafael Furcal and Stolen Bases

We saw the last of Rafael Furcal to date on August 2nd against the Padres. That was Rafael Furcal's 34th consecutive appearance in a game and he started in 33 of those games. It's understandable why Furcal would be in that string of games. Despite only totaling half the amount of games he appeared in last season, Furcal was already worth 4 wins above replacement on August 2nd and that is one more win WAR than he was worth in all of last season.

Furcal has a large history of back problems but I don't consider him highly injury-prone. He has had three healthy seasons with the Dodgers (2006,7 and 9) and two seasons marred with injuries (2008, where he started the first 32 games of the season, and 2010). In both injury seasons, Furcal went on torrid streaks. The first five weeks of 2008, Furcal went .357/.439/.573 and was worth 2 WAR. This season, in addition to being worth 4 WAR, he has hit .316/.380/.492. Both short stints are subject to some luck as his BABIP in 2008 was .380 and it is .350 this year. However, his penchant to catching fire and disappearing is something worthy of note.

Another facet of Furcal's game worth mentioning is his speed game. Despite his back trouble, Furcal has managed to steal 18 bases this season. It may not seem like it would be a good idea to give Furcal the green light but he has only been caught 4 times, putting his SB% above the 80% Moneyball line (the 2010 Athletics are 100 for 125, 80%). In 2008, he swiped 8 bases in five weeks, putting him on pace for around 40 bags. In Furcal's three healthy years as a Dodger, he stole 37, 25 and 12 in 2006, 2007 and 2009 respectively. He was 28 in 2006 which would have made him 31 last year. It seemed that Furcal was well-managed last year and part of that could be due to the low base-stealing demand that was placed on him.

Now that he is 32 years old, an age when speed is usually gone, he should probably not be allowed to steal bases. Much like Billy Beane demanded that only speedsters that can steal a base 80%+ be allowed the green light, an aging shortstop should be stopped from stealing, despite being at the top of the order. I believe that may have helped him just like giving him more rest during this season would have. One time is an anomaly but two times under the same manager is more than suspect.

It's easy for a meager blogger such as myself to sit back and second guess and a completely healthy Furcal would probably have gotten the Dodgers closer to being in the race but presumably they would still be short. I think most fans and prognosticators would agree, however, that with better management, Furcal might have been able to play a bigger part in this season. The mismanagement of Furcal is part of a larger problem and that is that the Dodgers this season are trying to be something that they are not.

Despite the fact that the Dodgers rank 11th in stolen bases with 75, they are 3rd in getting caught stealing (40 times). The Dodgers are stealing bases 65% of the time. Of the teams that rank above the Dodgers in stolen bases, the Royals and the White Sox are similar and the Angels are worse than the Dodgers in terms of percentage.The rest of the teams are flirting with the 80% mark.

The Dodgers are trying to be something they are not. Perhaps Joe Torre and Ned Colletti don't know that manufacturing runs is a skill that works in the playoffs but, in season, is a thing of the past. Perhaps they just like that game. Ozzie Guillen, the White Sox manager, loves the small-ball game. Mike Scioscia may miss Chone Figgins' speed game (but not his bat) and the Royals are the Royals. The Royals without Podsednik are 40 for 65 in stolen bases. They are worse (`60%) but not by much. Now, the Dodgers are without their best base stealer and have the major piece of the Royals' running game.

This year's Dodgers team is misguided in so many ways and it managed to become worse after the Trade Deadline. There are teams that can steal in baseball this year. The Dodgers aren't one of them nor should they have tried to be.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My night at Citizens Bank Park

It was cloudy all day and rainy in the afternoon but by the time I got to the ballpark, it seemed as if the rain had left. My fiancee and I got near our seats and watched the Dodgers score three runs and bat through the order. Citizens Bank Park is set up pretty well as I could see the infield pretty well despite being so close to the right field foul pole. We were able to watch Clayton Kershaw do his thing, going 6 and 2/3. We saw Joe Blanton struggle, Chad Durbin give up a home run to Matt Kemp. Jose Contreras came in and gave three more runs away.

Going into the bottom of the 8th, the Dodgers were up 9-2. I was still at the game because these aren't the 2009 Dodgers. These Dodgers are more than capable of making this interesting. I told my fiancee that I thought the win probability was pretty high (it was above 99%). Enter junky Belisario. He comes in and gets shelled. Kenley Jansen lets one of Belisario's runs in. When George Sherrill came in I was thinking that this could be the end but despite walking his second batter, he actually took care of business.

Dodgers @ Phillies - Thursday, August 12, 2010

It being 9-6 at the bottom of the 9th, I was glad and miffed at the sight of Broxton taking the mound. With every ball, I was less glad and more miffed. The game had went on long, should have been over and instead of watching Broxton slay his Philly demons, he lets in the tying and winning runs off of a Carlos Ruiz double. We left immediately and I was persecuted like Jesus Christ as I went to the car. I had to wonder, with all the taunting from Phillies fans, what the reaction would have been if the Dodgers had won. Phillies fans, I can confirm, are the worst. I wish the worst for the Phillies. If the Phillies and the Cubs were in the NLCS, I would root for the Cubs and that is saying something.

There has been a lot of vitriol projected on this blog by me but last nights game made it all the more real. I am going to keep watching (at my leisure of course) but there is a team on the South Side of Chicago that I am going to pay more attention to. i am glad that I declared the Dodgers dead before the Phillies series started because it would have been worse if I would have went in to the game thinking that the Dodgers still had a chance, Joe Torre can take his slappy-ass players, finish out the season and ride off into hell. Manny and Furcal are going to stay away and the rest of this season is going to be a shitshow. I defy anyone to say otherwise.

Win Probability Graph courtesy of Fangraphs

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Flood, a Sunrise and I've got two for tonight!

Once a year, the Dodgers will score a couple touchdowns worth in runs. Last night's 2-0 loss was the Dodgers 13th time they have been shutout this year. They have lost many other games while only winning 1 or 2 runs. Anytime Joe Torre wants to realize that the Dodgers need the optimal players on the field in places where they are their best, it would be nice. The Dodgers win on Tuesday was a flood event, something that happens once in a while but the Dodgers failing to score runs on Wednesday is something that has happened consistently this season. Manage accordingly, Joe Torre, as there isn't much time. What do I care though? I've given up.


I am going to tonights Dodgers-Phillies game where Clayton Kershaw will take the mound against Joe Blanton. I don't have cancer or anything to leverage my request but I would like this to be the lineup:

Carroll SS
Belliard 2B
Ethier RF
Kemp CF
Loney 1B
Blake 3B
Gibbons LF
Who cares C

That lineup would work and it would allow me to forget what trash the team has become but I'm going to get:

Pods CF
Theriot 2B
Ethier RF
Loney 1B
Blake 3B
Gibbons LF
Carroll SS
Ausmus C

because the Dodgers want me to vomit on fans at Citizens Bank Park. They could have just asked me as I would do it because I am a loyal Dodgers fan. This lineup just makes me want to set my nuts on fire and this lineup is going to make Vin Scully quit.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dodgers fail to notify Joe Torre that Rafael Furcal was going to the DL?

Here is a blurb from Baseball Prospectus injury expert Will Carroll's Under the Knife column:

Rafael Furcal (strained back, ERD 8/20)The Dodgers started yesterday thinking that Furcal would be in the lineup. Instead of writing his name on the lineup card, they typed his name into the system MLB uses to place players on the DL. Even Joe Torre saidFurcal wouldn't go on the DL just before the game, but it seems that it was around this point where the team made the decision (without consulting Torre, if one source is to be believed). Furcal's back simply wasn't ready to play, though it's unclear if there was actually a setback. The way things were reported—and sources mostly corroborate this—was that Furcal didn't seem confident enough in his back to play more than there was any physical change. With the retro move, Furcal could be back in the lineup as soon as next week, but this chronic problem is very difficult to read. We've already seen his return pushed back once, so not only could this recur, the team context has the potential to change a lot in the next 10 days.

When did the Dodgers turn into the McCain/Palin campaign? 

Spider Webs, Lying and Magic

Of course the Dodgers won last night despite putting a pile of garbage on the field. No offense to Jay Gibbons because he might be alright but he should have been replaced Garret Anderson months ago. Now, it's too little, too late and he won't amount to much.

It was a nice win for the Dodgers but real competition is coming this month and the Dodgers and their slappy lineup will be exposed to such competition. Anyone with a brain knows that THIS team without Furcal for another week isn't going to gain the ground they need to get back into the playoff race. Pods and Theriot are fixed at the top of this lineup until Furcal does return because any time Ned gets players they arrive with baseball magic and will magically save the season and outperform the current players. That's the answer to everything nowadays - magic! Where is V energy when you need it?


Dodgers 2010 1st round pick Zach Lee hasn't been contacted by the team yet. That seems weird since Logan White and the Dodgers have said all the right things.

"I'm optimistic we're going to make our best effort, definitely our best effort, to get out there and get this done. I would say I'm cautiously optimistic. As the summer plays out, you'll see the effort will be made. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that we're going to get him to sign. It's really going to be Zach's decision."

The Dodgers' best effort is no effort at all. That seems about right these days. 

I can only give you my word. I've always been straight up. I've always tried to take the best player.

The Dodgers did take the best player but he dropped this far because EVERYONE knows he wants to go to college. I like the pick if the Dodgers can actually offer him the money. He's young and being drafted by the Dodgers could really change a kid's mind. What I am and fans should be pissed about is if you make the pick and say you are going to make an effort, make the damn effort. 


Here is a good article about the McCourts by T.J. Simers of the LA Times. They have a court hearing on August 30th. 

I think Dodgers fans are being asked to hope for too much. We hope that the drafting and development side of the Dodgers can produce some future talent for the Dodgers because who knows when ownership will be able to bring the payroll to where it was a couple of years ago. We hope that Ned Colletti either gets replaced or gets a clue because placing too much hope on the current Dodgers team makes us sick. We hope that the ownership situation stabilizes by whatever means because it's just a complete disservice to everyone who supports the Dodgers. It's just all too much. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I am calling it: The 2010 Dodgers are done!

Podsednik, CF
Theriot, 2B
Ethier, RF
Loney, 1B'
Blake, 3B
Gibbons, LF
Carroll, SS
Ausmus, C

That's all I need to know. This team isn't winning anything with Matt Kemp not in centerfield. This team isn't winning anything with Podsednik in center, with Theriot batting second and with Carroll batting seventh.

You could argue that the team isn't winning anything without Rafael Furcal or Manny Ramirez and I will join that side. A team can only make do with what they can but this is just a complete misuse of resources. If this is the team that I am supposed to believe can come back and make the playoffs, I don't buy it.

Furcal may come back tomorrow but clearly Torre and Colletti believe that Theriot is more valuable than Carroll and they believe that Scott Podsednik is an option in center field and that is not a winning formula. I'm going to watch but I have let the reins of this season go. This isn't something that I want to do considering I have tickets for Thursday's game. I just think that mixing hope with the horrible mix of players Torre is trotting out there is bad brew.

Maybe by saying this, the Dodgers will inevitably and defiantly multiply the current two-game winning streak but I am doubting it. Watch at your own risk.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ryan Theriot, the utility middle infielder

I have the inkling that Ryan Theriot will be the starting 2B for the rest of the season. He was traded along with Lilly to the Dodgers for Blake DeWitt and prospects. DeWitt will be the second baseman for the Cubs for a while and it would seem that Theriot becomes the rightful second baseman for the Dodgers. I think that The Riot should be on the bench in favor of Carroll and I think the Dodgers lost this trade already.

Before the season began, Ryan Theriot had played 400 games at shortstop for the Cubs. Then Starlin Castro came along a month into the season and Theriot got bumped to second. Jamey Carroll had played in 89 total games at shortstop from 2002-2007 and none before he stepped in for an injured Rafael Furcal this season. If Joe Torre believes that Carroll is the better shortstop, then why get Theriot?

Furcal will be back tomorrow so who should play second? Carroll bats right-handed and Theriot bats left-handed (like DeWitt), so naturally Theriot gets a lot of the at-bats. Let's look at the two players vs. RH pitching (AVG?OBP?SLG?wOBA):

Theriot: .282/.309/.329/.286
Carroll: .282/.383/.319/.321

Where Theriot is supposed to have the advantage, Carroll gets on base more!

How about vs. lefties?

Theriot: .280/.346/.319/.294
Carroll: .280/.367/.333/.318

Of course, Carroll is better. The Dodgers have Theriot for two more years. If Ned's larger plan is to keep Theriot as their utility MI and go out and get a better second baseman, so be it. It doesn't make sense for Ryan Theriot to be starting with any regularity and here is why. Let's take a look at all the second baseman for the Dodgers in 2010 (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS/wOBA/wRC/WAR):

DeWitt: .276/.356/.384/.740/.326/103/1.3
Carroll: .282/.378/.324/..702/324/103/1.1
Theriot: .282/.320/.325/.645/.290/74/-0.1
Belliard: .225/.312/.348/.660/.292/81/0.2

Folks, Gang, Ryan Theriot, to date, is the worst second baseman to play for the Dodgers this season. If Carroll is favored by Joe Torre, feel free to call me a bad, presumptuous guy but I have the feeling that Theriot has been given the second base job and I don't think that should be the case.

Theriot is 30 years old so he is not a project. He should not be starting and, if he does, it is Joe Torre standing behind the bad decision to get him in exchange for DeWitt. If Torre is leaving after this season, why should he care? Shouldn't Torre be too old to care? We know Ned Colletti is baseball stupid but either Torre is baseball stupid or he wants to end his career placating a bad general manager. "The Dodger Years" will not be a great book.

I just don't the Dodgers won on this trade or any of the other trades Ned made. Making moves just to make them is not a plan, especially when it costs you two prospects at a time. I wouldn't trust Ned Colletti with a fantasy team and the sooner the Dodgers are sold, the sooner this idiot leaves the building.

Closing the Gap

When looking at the current Dodgers team, on the brink of PECOTA and mathematical elimination, one has to wonder if this tea,m will ever look like a playoff team. If Furcal and Manny rejoin the team, despite the fact that Russell Martin won't be able to return, the Dodgers may very well have a chance. Furcal comes back on Tuesday and that should really help. Furcal is hitting .316 with a wOBA of .383 and was on a torrid stretch before he was hurt. Furcal has been the Dodgers' most valuable player and getting him back certainly makes this team better.

Getting Manny back would certainly help as well. I don't think he will come back which makes getting to the playoffs a long shot. I may just be cynical because if the Dodgers can bridge the gap until he comes back, they could make a run. The odds are that they won't though. I am withholding declaring the Dodgers dead and it may be because I don't want to be the one that says that they are done and watch them come back. I'm enough of a fan that I would watch either way but it's about the principle of it.

Having the rotation the Dodgers have now and the with the bullpen looking as strong as it was supposed to be the only question is: Can the Dodgers score runs? It's a simple path the Dodgers have laid out for them but the execution will be the most difficult part. The Phillies and the Braves await the Dodgers before the Blue Crew goes home and host the Rockies and Reds. It's real simple from here on out. The Dodgers need to win every series they play.  I suppose they can split with Atlanta but to stick around as the fifth team in the Wild Card and the fourth in the West, they are at a point where such a pace is needed. August will be a trying month. If they make it through, however, the Dodgers may be back as may Manny. I would hope that he would be up to the task.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Dodgers are all but dead

Do the Dodgers deserve to be in the playoffs? Not really. Even with Manny, the team isn't as good as the Braves, Cards, Reds (hard to swallow there), Giants and Padres. I am still leaving baseball magic open but they will have to win this weekend series with the Nats. No playoff team should lose to the Nats in both series' unless Strasburg has pitched twice. I am going to blame the bats on this one. This team reminds me of the 2007 team but even they weren't done by this time three years ago. This team may end up being the 2005 Dodgers. Hey, good thing we traded for Octavio Dotel!


Friday, August 6, 2010

We've seen the last on Manny (so?) and Martin (oh)

We know Manny is done here after this year. Him coming back at the end of this season isn't going to happen either. It's not because of Mannywood leaving. It's just because he won't have a motivation to get on the field for the Dodgers. Maybe the White Sox or the Rays but not the Dodgers.

We may have very well saw the last of Russell Martin. Bill Plaschke has a good angle on this Martin situation. It's just sad because Martin was quite a rock at catcher despite his hitting problems. He got criticism but little from me because you can do a lot worse at catcher. Considering the fact that Martin has already lost his speed, I chalk his decline to natural catcher attrition and the uncomfortable fact that Martin started 143 games in 2007, 138 in 2008 (and he played in 149) and 133 games last year. These amount of starts don't account for why he was injured but I believe it does account for his lost speed and, though he could handle it, it doesn't seem to be the best thing for the batting part of his game.

Martin's usage wouldn't be so striking if Carlos Santana were waiting in the wings. Torre managed and Ned compiled the team as if Martin were this anachronistic catching machine and now the Dodgers are left with Ausmus, Ellis and no healthy catching prospects. That is a whole other problem, though.

I would be really scared going forward with Russell Martin. This injury really throws a wrench in things. Before this injury, Russell Martin would have been worth giving $6 million to next year. Even with the lean years Martin has had last year and this year, he has been worth $9.9 and $8 million respectively. Because catchers hit like pitchers, I just don't want them to be an issue and Russell made the position a non-issue for nearly four years. Now, I don't think he will be the everyday catcher he was because I think he will have injury problems. Perhaps I can be convinced but unless the market is completely bare with veteran backstops, I don't know how wise it would be to go forward with him. I like Russell a lot but it's because the Dodgers have no real alternative if Martin is hobbled next season that the Dodgers would be better off going with a more reliable option.

This organization needs an enema and it should start with new ownership but Ned can be ousted whenever. This is just a disgraceful and unfortunate last third of the season and the further we go with this helter skelter management, the longer it will take this organization to get back to any semblance of winning.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Russell and Blow

I don't want to stop watching Dodgers baseball........yet. My deadlines are more thresholds for when or if I can state that the Dodgers are done. If the Dodgers are declared dead, I would keep watching but in a different way. Thankfully, I have the White Sox but the Dodgers are my prime baseball love.

So Russell Martin is probably out for the rest of the year and I had a feeling that when I saw it, it would be worse. Martin coming back into the game didn't bring me much solace. I haven't declared them dead yet but I would bet money that they are. I still want to see Thursday's game and I would like to see what kind of weekend the Dodgers have. The only thing that I cling to is the fact that this team is so junky (aside from the pitching staff), it just might catch fire. This team is a joke. If there is a comeback, we will have to count on the Dodgers starting staff doing an impression of the 2005 Chicago White Sox's staff.

Why didn't Russell Martin slide? He may have beat the ball there but he wasn't that far ahead of the great throw that he could just run in. It's just another dumb base-running error to go along with the NL leading 36 times the Dodgers have been caught stealing. Base-running hasn't been the most damning facet of the Dodgers' game but it is the most frustrating because I considered this team to be a good base-running team before the season began.

It's natural to wonder where the blame should go when the season seems to be on the outs. You look at the Dodgers and they are 6th in team xFIP but tied for 8th worst with the A's and Angels in team wOBA. The Padres have a worse wOBA than the Dodgers do yet the Padres own the best team xFIP. I would think that it is a mixture of bad bullpen play and lack of run production. The Dodgers bullpen RAR ranks 8th in the league, though the Padres are 1st, the Rox 3rd and the Giants 7th. The Dodgers are 10th worse in wRC but the Padres are 4th worst.

I am going to cobble together a reason why the Dodgers are where they are. The Dodgers Pythagorean record is 55-53, one game worse than their actual record. So, the Dodgers aren't owed or aren't borrowing much luck. There have been injuries to Manny, Furcal, Ethier, Padilla and now Martin. Missing Manny is a big deal but it wouldn't close the current gap. The Dodgers follow the vast park model of the NL West and have anemic hitting and decent pitching but the Padres do everything better than them and the Giants do most everything better than the Dodgers. The NL West is a stronger division than it was last year and the Dodgers are worse.

When the Dodgers did score runs, the bullpen faltered but the prevailing problem has been the lack of runs. The team has been inconsistent in run scoring. If the Padres have score more runs than the Dodgers but are 7 games ahead, the Padres are obviously better at consistently getting the 3 or 4 runs they need to win the game at hand. The Dodgers haven't taken advantage of being in the weaker league. The Dodgers have the best record vs. the teams in their own division (27-14) but are 25-27 vs. the rest of the NL. Don't even ask about interleague.

The Dodgers just aren't very good. My fading optimism throughout the season has been enabled by the weakness of the National League. It's easy to avoid scrutiny when a team makes the playoffs in the NL but, when a team doesn't make the playoffs in the NL, it looks a bit ugly. I would have liked to think the Dodgers were headed in the right direction when they cleaned up down the stretch in 2008 and won the division in 2009 but the team will slide right back to it's old roots when it is filled up with garbage again. Sigh.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fan Deadlines of My Own

The BP PECOTA playoff odds has the Dodgers making the playoffs 4.04% of the time in their simulations. In addition, it should be taken into account that the Dodgers have three teams in front of them and Manny won't appear in the Dodgers lineup again. I am still clinging to the minuscule chance they can make the playoffs. I have a deadline for when I will give up on the Dodgers. They have two games left with San Diego. If they lose both of those games, I am done. If Carlos Monasterios starts on Friday instead of John Ely or anyone better and they lose, it's over. If they don't win the series against the Nationals, it's over.

If it is over at the end of this weekend or before, I will still watch but I will demand that the focus turn to next year. September better be all about getting players work on the 40-man roster. I don't want to see anymore of Garret Anderson now or then. Before I keep going, I will wait until that happens. With every knee tweak (Martin), MRI (Furcal) or extended DL stay (Manny), the day gets closer and closer.

It really didn't make sense to do the trades the Dodgers did with the Cubs and the Pirates. If you wanted to bring in Scott Podsednik for two months as Manny replacement, fine. I know an organization doesn't plan to lose five in a row but the team went from a buyer to a "why didn't you sell" team over the weekend! The biggest question is "Why Octavio Dotel?" This constant cheap overhaul garbage year after year leads to the Dodgers giving up good prospects and all the Dodgers have left is what always drags them down: declining veterans.

I have one last deadline for when the McCourts should sell the team to a rightful and capable buyer: YESTERDAY!

Correction: CM wouldn't start it will be Kershaw. I got confused, which is nothing new

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Dodger World Has Changed

I made a visit back home and when I came back, things had changed. When I heard about the Lilly trade, my reaction was that it was an alright trade. I didn't hear about Octavio Dotel until Sunday night as I had been avoiding a computer and only caught snippets of sports news. McDonald and Lambo for Dotel and cash is a terrible trade. I felt like analyzing the trades but when I heard we got Dotel, I am just up in arms.

New Dodgers: Ted Lilly, SP; Ryan Theriot 2B/SS; Octavio Dotel RP; Scott Podsednik LF

Ex-Dodgers: Blake DeWitt, 2B, James McDonald SP?RP; Lambo, Wallach, Pimentel, May, Smit

Money: +$3 million

I don't like Blake DeWitt but swapping for switch-hitting Theriot didn't exactly make too much sense. Ryan Theriot can play short but he isn't an everyday anything. Blake DeWitt has a higher OPS by over .06. The Dodgers only stand to get two more years of him. The Cubs get four years of DeWitt. I wasn't exactly attached to DeWitt and didn't think he was a part of the Dodgers' future but I would think the goal would be to get better at the positions they were in a position to change. Now, we have Scotty Pods, who was out of baseball before he made a return and has been subsisting on baseball magic, and they got worse at second base instead of getting better. All this was done to get Ted Lilly. I liked the idea of getting Lilly but why get worse?

I see this as a gamble for Ned Colletti. The problem is that the Dodgers aren't likely (at this point) to get to the playoffs, let alone win the World Series. It seems as if Ned feels that making a move, which seems lateral but   ends with the Dodgers getting veteran players, is better than no move. Dotel is nothing but a gamble. Theriot is a gamble. Podsednik is gambling on a lucky horse. Lilly is an upgrade for the starting staff but yet the Dodgers struggle to score runs.

The Dodgers only got better on the starting staff. Perhaps the pen as well but that is never certain. I don't believe they are a better hitting team. They can still find a way to score runs but it won't be because they made moves. It will be because the existing players will get out of their funks. I'm not saying all of these moves could have been better. Luke Scott, Cody Ross and BJ Upton didn't move. Dan Uggla and other second baseman didn't move. I am saying that these moves didn't need to be made.

The Dodger world has changed and the McCourt divorce has brought about a new atmosphere regarding budget and the way Dodgers do business in general. It's time for a new general manager. Since the landscape has changed so much, it's time for a new GM to come in that is better equipped to make the moves the Dodgers need to make with less money and ones that benefit and build the farm system.

I haven't given up yet but the Dodgers are running out of time and got worse in the field and at the plate while only getting marginally better (at best) on the mound.