Monday, December 27, 2010

Half Of The Greinke Effort Would Get Dodgers a Viable LF

As we all know, Ned Colletti was tenacious in his attempt to trade for the present Brewer Zach Greinke. How he was going to accomplish that, we don't know but we do know we have a platoon of Jay Gibbons, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Xavier Paul playing LF at this point. There really wasn't much in the way of available left fielders in the free agent market and now, even less of the FA's remain. Forget the question of why Ned was going after Greinke when the Dodgers have 6 quality starting pitchers in house. The Dodgers would be a better team with him, obviously but would not be filling a need.

The question I have is "what if Ned focused half of that energy towards finding a viable left (or right, i.e. move Ethier) fielder via trade?" The evidence that Ned doesn't manage farm system assets is well-documented but, if he were to make a trade for Luke Scott, for instance, wouldn't that pay dividends unless gives way too much in exchange for Scott? I will take Scott even though he is a birther.

It is striking that a GM running a team with great pitching wants even more despite the still-present lack of hitting the Dodgers have. Accumulating an embarrassment of riches in pitching is the San Francisco Giants model for success but the Giants didn't get anywhere until they had some bats. Forget the disappointments that James Loney and Casey Blake will probably be, the LF position at present is not part of a winning strategy.

A better left fielder can still be had but it will require some dealing (my vote is for Lastings Milledge & his baggage). Not as much dealing as it took to get Zach Greinke. Talking to Orioles GM Andy McPhail takes time but a reasonable GM could work a deal with assets the Dodgers possess.

Thus reveals our problem.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Juan Uribe Got Paid

21 million dollars for three years of Juan Uribe! In a league where $5 million probably would have snatched Uribe, Ned Colletti decides he doesn't want the Dodgers to go another day without Uribe wearing Dodger blue. I would imagine that 2 years/$12 million would have snagged Uribe if it would have came from the right team. Ned slightly overpaid in amount per year but the third year was rather gratuitous for a soon-to-be 32 year old player with weight issues and a career .300 OBP. 

Thankfully, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak made Ned look relatively less dumber by actually trading for Ryan Theriot. Though his real value is low, he still has some value in the market. I think that a better deal could have been made had the Dodgers tendered him an offer and then turned him over to a team needing a second baseman. That was one of the few times where Ned comes out looking like the better GM but the way the Dodgers acquired him doesn't make Ned much of a genius at all. 

The silver lining to Juan Uribe becoming a Dodger is that his style of hitting is a refreshing change. Uribe is not slappy, he won't try to steal bases, he plays better defense and he can hit the ball out of the ball park. Even though he doesn't get on base as much as Theriot (.348 career OBP), he will be a better baseball player. He may not be all that great in his third year and he might be bad enough to be on the bench but he has some redeemable traits. 

My only fear is that Scott Podsednik gets a multi-year deal. It could happen but I would rather go with Chad Moriyama's idea of getting Luke Scott and Lance Berkman. I think it might take more to get Scott than James Loney and Jon Link, say one more prospect like Allen Webster or Nate Eovaldi. On Berkman, I would rather have Dunn but spending $7 million on Uribe probably throws a Dunn deal out the window. Berkman is worth another shot at the price of a few million dollars. 

So, the Uribe deal shouldn't be Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones or Jason Schmidt stupid but it may have the same diminishing returns as the Blake deal will have or the Nomar deal had. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Dodgers Offseason Plan

This is the time of the year when it’s fun to do the “this is what I would do” exercise and, this year, I will make the attempt. I don’t consider myself to be an expert of any kind but I am a fan with a few ideas. A lot of my suggestions are tempered to fit reality (i.e. Andre Ethier will remain in right for some ungodly reason) but, if I seem too far off-base, I will try to explain my rationale.

There are a lot of holes in the field while the pitching staff is nearly set. Keeping Ted Lilly and Hiroki Kuroda around while having Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley on hand, developing themselves, should give any fan of the Dodgers hope for the coming year, As it went with the Giants: if they can find a way to score runs, they could do some damage. Without further adieu, here is..the plan!

Don’t spend a thing on the bullpen: Forget the Chan-Ho Parks and the Jason Frasor’s of the world because the Dodgers aren’t missing a closer. The Dodgers have enough talent in house for them to have a full bullpen. If they find themselves lacking a Ronald Belisario (for the third time), try Josh Lindblom for Chrissakes! Jonathan Broxton will be the closer because he has to be. Hong-Chih Kuo and Kenley Jansen are some high-leverage guys and there are many more familiar names and role-players that can comprise a major-league bullpen.

Money spent on a bullpen is wasted money. See the Octavio Dotel acquisition. That was subtraction by addition.

Do everything to get Adam Dunn: He will probably prove to be expensive but he could be a valuable left-fielder and an even better first baseman. Dave Cameron of Fangraphs crowdsourced Dunn’s value at $12 to 12.4 million/year and a 3 year contract is the probable amount of years. Utlimately, I would want Dunn to be a first baseman but, with James Loney around, Dunn would have to play left until the middle of the season, where a desperate team could take a chance at him and the Dodgers could get more out of him then than they would now. Get him, get him, get him and try to work it out.

Now, I can go two different directions. Let’s assume for now that the Dodgers didn’t get him because I don’t think anymore talk about the 1st base and left field positions will be fruitful. Either way, the Dodgers have what they do. I would bet that the Dodgers don’t get him and that is the assumption we will make. Ok, I will continue.

Get Jose Lopez if he becomes available: He had a bad year but he is great at 2B and 3B on defense. I would think that putting him back at second while giving him at least 40 starts at third is the way to go. In a pinch, he can even play first. That Seattle clubhouse wasn’t good for anyone last year and a change of sce while remaining on the West Coast could be what Lopez needs to get back to hitting 40 doubles and 20 home runs. I wouldn’t expect magic but he is 27 and he isn’t far removed from success.

If Lopez is aboard, you also have Carroll and Blake on hand, which may make for a good and supplementary blend for the infield. If Lopez is not available, Orlando Hudson might be an option again. I am also thinking Nick Punto would be a last-ditch option. That would make Jamey Carroll more of a factor. That isn’t ideal but he wasn’t the problem last year, was he? 

Out Of Left Field: If Dunn is not a Dodger, left field may not be the strongest position but a mix of Blake, Gibbons and Paul might be what you have. The only alternatives I have to Dunn are players the Dodgers can’t trade for. I want Luke Scott to be a Dodger and I think they should try to get him but I don’t see it happening. If Blake is playing left too much, the Dodgers could try to get Wilson Betemit, who could platoon with Blake or Lopez. I had poo-pooed the notion of getting him again but it wasn't as long ago as you think when he was let go by the Dodgers and he did well last year with the Royals. I wouldn't play him every day but he also provides some positional flexinility and, hey, it's not like the Dodgers didn't just do the Royals a favor by trading for Podsednik. 

Bail on Russell Martin: Man, I really liked him as a Dodger but his time has come. He is expensive and in decline despite his value in the field. I don’t have a great alternative but A.J Ellis combined with Rod Barajas or Catcher X might just be the way a team has to go. It was a real luxury to not have to punt the catcher’s spot in the lineup as an NL team but retreads are all the Dodgers have. I would try for AJ Pierzynski, Yorvit Torrealba then Matt Treanor. As a concurrent White Sox fan, I know what I am getting into with AJ and I would be alright with him being a Dodger.

Back To The Rotation: I think every MLB team needs to have seven starters at their disposal at the start of the season. With the Dodgers, they have the big 4 as well as John Ely and Carlos Monasterios. Ely could be the Dodgers 5th starter but they could find a veteran arm with about the same potential for cheap to fill in.

The 5th starter has way too much importance placed on the position. The 5th starter is a slot, not an actual pitcher. It can change several times throughout the season. There will be some arms waiting in the wings in the late part of the winter in 2011 and the Dodgers can find one or invite a couple to training camp. The free agent list isn’t encouraging but I think Rodrigo Lopez or Jeremy Bonderman may do well in Dodger Stadium. In addition, the Dodgers can dredge up a washed-up pitcher (not named Ortiz) and make him well again and the rotation should be covered. 

The resulting moves materialize as such:

Best-case scenario:

Furcal, ss; Kemp, cf; Dunn, lf; Ethier, rf; Lopez, 2b; Blake, 3b; Loney, 1b; AJ Piers, c

What I project:

Psych! I don’t know what Ned will do.

Plausible lineup:

Furcal,ss; Kemp cf; Burrell lf; Ethier, rf; Blake 3b; Loney 1b; Theriot, 2b; Barajas/Ellis c

Doom and gloom:

Podsednik, lf; Theriot, 2b; Furcal ss; Ethier rf; Blake 3b; Kemp cf; Loney, 1b; Ellis/Barajas c


Bottom line, the Dodgers have pitching but they are going to have to score runs. The Dodgers will have to rely on making a few free agent gambles and they will have a low margin for error but the team isn’t hopeless. They are getting the change of pace they need in the manager role and hopefully that induces success and confidence for Matt Kemp and provides a better clubhouse atmosphere than last year.

The team has some holes to patch but as long as they are properly corrected and the team is managed properly, the team will have a chance to be back in the NL West race.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ausmus not a coach, not a Dodger

In all the shuffle of coaches and personnel in the Dodgers organization, we know of one retired player that won't be a coach for the Dodgers - Brad Ausmus. He is now a part of the Padres' baseball operations. Good for him and good for the Dodgers too. Sure, he may amount to something as a manager or in the front office and I hope he does. He isn't going to be a veteran catcher that will teach the youngsters on the Dodgers and he won't waste the Dodgers' (or another teams') time as a back-up catcher.

Buster Posey came up from the Minors to take the catching job from Bengie Molina and they traded Molina, a veteran catcher, You know what the Giants did? They won the damn World Series. The Dodgers and every other organization has enough coaches. The Dodgers need players that can do their job and fill in when necessary. The Dodgers don't need talking points, cliches and grindy players with competitive attitudes. They need talent and  they need players with real abilities.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This Makes Me Sick

The Los Angeles Dodgers have exercised their part of Scott Podsednik's option. He can still save us all by choosing to dive into free agency. Please, Pods - just go!

He isn't versatile (he can only realistically play left and isn't even good at that - UZR in LF in 2008-10 :-0.9, -0.2, -8.4), he is fast but he's a bad baserunner (he was 35 for 50 in SB% this year) and he's old.

Andre Ethier belongs in left and the Dodgers need to acquire a player with more power. Pods is easier to stomach than Theriot but Ned will keep Theriot and, if Furcal is hurt again, we get the Pods-Riot 1-2. Back to the old grind(ers), I guess.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Proxy rooting interests and the World Series

So far, I am enjoying watching the World Series. The games are long but my interest is there. It's still a bummer that my teams (Dodgers WSox) aren't in the WS but I am enjoying watching how the teams in the Series are playing the game. The Giants have done a better job (as their series lead shows) at doing what they do best: pitching. They are finding ways to make runs and quieting a Rangers club with a strong offense.

The Giants are the classic case of a team that gets into the playoffs and happen to get hot. Their pitching performs as expected and they are riding hot bats. On one hand, the Giants are not the team that I am rooting for because I would rather they lose. However, if the Giants win, I won't be distraught because the Phillies didn't win.

Though I tend to be on the liberal side of the vast majority of issues, I am not taking part in the proxy rooting war of the liberal side, the free-and-easy, kind-smoking, sustainable San Francisco Giants versus the Bush-represented, Lone Star, publicly-funded ballparked (lazy wordage, I know) Texas Rangers. I am going for the Rangers and I don't care who benefits from them winning. I want San Francisco to lose because I don't like them.

I have many external reasons to hate sports teams. I am impressed with the Phillies as a club but I hate their fan base and I hope that the 2008 WS is their last. I hate the Cubs because they are losers and their fan base perpetuates their losing ways (they did historically but not so much recently, though; I still hate the Cubs). And that is just external reasons in baseball. I am way more factious in my NFL viewing. Being factious, judgemental and holding grudges is a lot of the fun in watching sports.

The reasons why I am not getting in on the proxy rooting war are that a) I don't like to let politics infiltrate my sports consumption, b) Texas winning or losing doesn't affect the lives of the people who would be afflicted with joy/disappointment all that much and c) my dislike for the Giants is higher than my desire to root for that infliction of disappointment.

Yes, that means that in my baseball world a viewing of a well-played series>Giants WS loss>Bush family & conservative Texas fans' disappointment

One of the reasons why I like sports so much is that it is a system that lends itself to be analyzed and one that I have been familiar with for most of my life and the outcome of the events are entertaining at best and disappointing at worst. Politics have about the same ceiling but the floor of disappointing can be on the level of devastating (nuclear war, etc.) and the outcome political decisions have a real outcome on our lives. The injected political aspect of this World Series has little to no advantage except to reinforce our political opinions and the dislike for the oppositions' opinions.

I am entertained that the proxy war is a something, as insignificant as it is. Like most contests, the peripherals of the event will fade with time. This Series, I am watching because of what the game has to offer.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The World Series I Wanted

Rangers and Giants! No Phillies - the Philly fans went home crying like they did from the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 when they lost a Game 6 to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals. Stick that up your giggy, you fuckin jerks. The Yankees are out as well - maybe Joe Buck and Tim McCarver can still create a Jeter altar and worship him and ARod between innings.

Two teams that have World Series droughts that stretch back to the 50's won't be as popular as the Yankees-Phillies but, the way these playoff games are scheduled and ran, the MLB doesn't seem to care about ratings. For baseball purists, it doesn't get better than Lee-Lincecum in Game 1. It will have to wait until Wednesday because the MLB wants to give the teams a lot of time betweens series' but not enough time for the aforementioned starting pitchers to pitch Games 4 and 7.

Baseball purists will like that the weather should be nice. It may snow in the NE but Dallas and San Fran should remain temperate enough for passable baseball weather. It should be a good series and one that the Rangers should be favored in but the Giants have the home-field advantage. I will end by saying that I have enjoyed watching Brian Wilson pitch and his beard but him picking up a bat shows that the NL needs to adopt the DH rule. It is painfully obvious.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sacks of Cash With Dollar Signs and Dodger Logos

Alright, so contrary to what I thought wouldn't happen, Ned just handed Lilly large bags of money. It may be the case that Ned isn't finished. Judging by what Ned said, the payroll will be higher than $93 million before the new season will start.

I like Lilly but I would have liked to have received the compensatory picks from him because, as MSTI says, he is a good bet for 2011 but not so much after that. Lilly is a pitcher that could be successful in his later years in a pitcher's park given his pitching style. However, if he can't take the mound, the Dodgers don't get the returns and  that isn't a risk the Dodgers should have taken. Yes, the Dodgers needed a pitcher but while they may not have been able to do "better" if they let him go, Ned is risking adding another veteran to his list of bad and expensive signings.

I like Lilly but not the risk. The fact remains that Hiroki Kuroda may even be worth more and Ned wants to pursue either him or Vicente Padilla. If the Dodgers had a farm system left, I would suggest they try to trade for an extraneous pitcher from the Rays, the Jays or some other team.

From Ned's mouth, we can expect at least one more starter, a reliever and a position player or two. Any guesses? I think the Dodgers will re-sign Hiroki Kuroda but after that, I will have to wait to make any guesses.

When I heard that the Dodgers were going to spend money, I felt relieved but also felt some empty joy. Yes, spending money brings talent onto the team but that talent has to perform and stay healthy. I don't think that the usual dynamic of Ned paying veterans to decline is a winning strategy but without a farm system or a capable GM, this is what the team is left with.

On Cody Ross

Cody Ross is making a decent case for himself as NLCS MVP if the Giants end up winning the series. While his 3 HR's, 4 RBI's and slash line of .444/.545/1.444 will go a long way, I am not about to write a mandate on why he should have been a Dodger again. I won't even touch on why he shouldn't have been traded away in the first place. It's all irrelevant now. What I do want to discuss is the simple disparity between decent hitters with decent power and adequate hitters with little to no power.

List of the former available (or loosely available) at the trade deadline: Luke Scott, Cody Ross, Bengie Molina, Derrek Lee, Lance Berkman, Ryan Ludwick, Jose Guillen and Manny (though he was already a Dodger)

List of the latter available: Scott Podsednik, Ryan Theriot, Miguel Tejada (at this point in his career)...

I am not going to go any further. I hate Pods and Theriot as players and I didn't want them on the Dodgers. I am still miffed that the Dodgers obvious need for more runners on base and more power was not met and more grindy, slappy hitters were acquired instead.

In the end what would it have mattered if one of the players with more power were acquired. Not all that much considering the way the existing Dodgers played. What angers me and most Dodgers fans I read is that the utter myopia of Ned Colletti to value outdated and useless skills over ones that would improve this baseball team is glaring.

The Dodgers have a lot of problems that can be overcame with talent. This is a point in time where a shrewd GM that can evaluate league talent would come in handy. All Ned does is give large bags of money to the wrong players. That is outdated.

The Giants have overcame the poor management of Brian Sabean, the Rangers have overcame issues with Ron Washington. The Phillies endured major injuries to key players, the Yankees poor pitching and hitting from their expensive free-agents but are still standing (for now). For the Dodgers, they were in this situation last year. Still in the playoffs, still in their championship window and they did so in spite of Ned Colletti.

It seems that the Dodgers stand to lose Logan White at some point. Who knows whether or not he will do well as a GM but the amount of interest he is attracting shows that he has more to offer the league than Ned Colletti. I don't think Ned would be hired by another team if he were let go by the Dodgers. He can't be fired soon enough.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

On to the League Championship Series'

With the Rays, Braves, Reds and Twins gone, that eliminates two teams I wanted to lose almost as bad as the Phillies, my strongest rooting interest and the Braves. The great part about the playoffs is that sometimes a team winning makes for a better series and when it isn't the Dodgers playing, better baseball should win out. The Phillies deserved to win their DS and so did the Giants. The Braves don't have what it takes to beat a team like the Phillies, so the Giants should get a crack at it.

I don't find myself cringing at the prospect of the Giants making the World Series. The Phillies would be worse. I would like for the Phillies' championship window to be closed on their proverbial dick. It will be difficult with the three-headed H20 monster but the Giants can hold their own. I find the Giants to be likable, mainly because a lot of the players they have on the roster have been recently acquired. They aren't the rival Giants but the Team that plays by the Bay that was bolstered to be a winner. I really only feel resentment against Tim Lincecum but I will still root for him over Halladay in Game 1.

On the AL side, I still find it hard to believe that the Rays were taken out and their championship window is certainly closed. The Rays will be alright because of their amazing farm system but alright in the AL East could land a team in 4th place. I think I will be rooting for the Rangers to win it all now. Cliff Lee has dazzled viewers all season and Tuesday night was no different. I regret not seeing one of his starts when he and I were in Seattle.

Rays-Yankees, in retrospect, wasn't a given and that is alright because the Rangers are capable of taking the Yankees on. The Rangers seem to have an affinity for playing on the road, which should come in handy. The Rangers seem capable of out-pitching the Yankees and may literally run away with a win or two like they did against the Rays. The running game is more fun to watch in the playoffs but a team has to be good at it if they are going to partially rely on it to get to the playoffs.

Right now, I would say that the Yankees and Phillies are going to be reunited in the World Series because that is how it works. I wouldn't bet money on it but since I find that series to be the least favorable match-up, then it will probably occur. A Giants-Rangers series would ensure that one team ends a 50+ year drought. It may not do well in the ratings but I will watch it. A Rangers-Phillies series might be regrettable for Ruben Amaro, who was content to let Cliff Lee walk.

Pitching should continue to dominate and that suits all of the remaining teams. As a Dodgers fan, it gives me a glimmer of hope that, even though the team is in dire straits, Kershaw should be a Dodger for a long time and I see him getting some playoff spots later if not sooner. To say one more thing in conjunction regarding the condition of the Dodgers, the most important move the Dodgers can make is to offer Lilly arbitration (Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness is spot on with the rest of his pitching advice but I am in full aggreance on this particular move). He probably won't accept and in the 2011 draft, 2 compensatory picks are going to be worth a lot more than any given draft year.

On to the League Championship Series'

With the Rays, Braves, Reds and Twins gone, that eliminates two teams I wanted to lose almost as bad as the Phillies, my strongest rooting interest and the Braves. The great part about the playoffs is that sometimes a team winning makes for a better series and when it isn't the Dodgers playing, better baseball should win out. The Phillies deserved to win their DS and so did the Giants. The Braves don't have what it takes to beat a team like the Phillies, so the Giants should get a crack at it.

I don't find myself cringing at the prospect of the Giants making the World Series. The Phillies would be worse. I would like for the Phillies' championship window to be closed on their proverbial dick. It will be difficult with the three-headed H20 monster but the Giants can hold their own. I find the Giants to be likable, mainly because a lot of the players they have on the roster have been recently acquired. They aren't the rival Giants but the Team that plays by the Bay that was bolstered to be a winner. I really only feel resentment against Tim Lincecum but I will still root for him over Halladay in Game 1.

On the AL side, I still find it hard to believe that the Rays were taken out and their championship window is certainly closed. The Rays will be alright because of their amazing farm system but alright in the AL East could land a team in 4th place. I think I will be rooting for the Rangers to win it all now. Cliff Lee has dazzled viewers all season and Tuesday night was no different. I regret not seeing one of his starts when he and I were in Seattle.

Rays-Yankees, in retrospect, wasn't a given and that is alright because the Rangers are capable of taking the Yankees on. The Rangers seem to have an affinity for playing on the road, which should come in handy. The Rangers seem capable of out-pitching the Yankees and may literally run away with a win or two like they did against the Rays. The running game is more fun to watch in the playoffs but a team has to be good at it if they are going to partially rely on it to get to the playoffs.

Right now, I would say that the Yankees and Phillies are going to be reunited in the World Series because that is how it works. I wouldn't bet money on it but since I find that series to be the least favorable match-up, then it will probably occur. A Giants-Rangers series would ensure that one team ends a 50+ year drought. It may not do well in the ratings but I will watch it. A Rangers-Phillies series might be regrettable for Ruben Amaro, who was content to let Cliff Lee walk.

Pitching should continue to dominate and that suits all of the remaining teams. As a Dodgers fan, it gives me a glimmer of hope that, even though the team is in dire straits, Kershaw should be a Dodger for a long time and I see him getting some playoff spots later if not sooner. To say one more thing in conjunction regarding the condition of the Dodgers, the most important move the Dodgers can make is to offer Lilly arbitration (Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness is spot on with the rest of his pitching advice but I am in full aggreance on this particular move). He probably won't accept and in the 2011 draft, 2 compensatory picks are going to be worth a lot more than any given draft year.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Meaningful Baseball Starts Today

As I have stated before, I would rather the Giants and Padres advance than the Red and the Phillies so I am hoping for the Padres and the Giants to win. I could accept the Braves making it but that would mean that the Phillies play the Reds and I would rather that the Phillies and Reds be eliminated in the Divisional Series.

Baseball Prospectus gives a good breakdown on the odds of all the possible outcomes in today's games. As much as I would like to see playoff games (and I could really use some entertainment to fill the gap between now and Wednesday), my hatred of the Phillies and Reds goes so far that I want the Giants and the Padres to have the best chance to beat the teams they will face. That means I want the Braves to lose and the Padres to win. That being said, I will enjoy any outcome that results in a playoff game (or two) but I would rather that the NL West teams be properly prepared for beating the villains in the NL.

In the AL, the Rays and the Yankees are all tied up. The Rays play at Kansas City and the Yanks at Fenway. Since I am pulling for the Rays, they have the best chance of winning the division, which is best because the division winner plays the Rangers.

I would still want to see a Rays-Padres World Series but the Padres seem the least likely team to advance. No matter what, if the Rays are in the Series, I will be rooting for them but, if not, I may have to make some tough choices.

Here is an absolute list of teams that I want to win the World Series from top to bottom:


Former Dodgers to watch:

Jon Garland, P, SD
Orlando Hudson, 2B, MIN

Not too interesting. There should be some good baseball to watch this October. It will be lonely without the Blue Crew.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I won!!!

I won my head-to- head 14 team fantasy baseball league. It was my first year playing in this league and my fourth year playing fantasy baseball. 

My roster is as follows:

LEE, Cliff(SP)[2sv]TEX
RAMIREZ, Hanley(SS)[1rd]FLA
JOYCE, Matthew(OF)TB
POSEY, Buster(C/1B)- TPSF


I would credit my winning to drafting well in pitching, Hanley Ramirez playing well, Paul Konerko having a career year.    

If I still have your attention, I thank you for reading!                                                                                                                                                                                    

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stacking Up Compensatory Picks

This IS like Randy Wolf all over again. Teams will be going after Ted Lilly and he is going to get paid. It was wise to pass on Orlando Hudson last year but Wolf was obviously in demand. The Dodgers need to find a way to get compensatory picks for Lilly. In this upcoming draft, a team would be stupid not to get in on it. I will recommend the same thing for Hiroki Kuroda but I fear offering one of these pitchers arbitration is best-case scenario.

Also, Jim Callis of Baseball America tweeted that Logan White wants to stay with the Dodgers. If I were him, I would be looking elsewhere but I hope he stays around.

Update: By no means is this blog a news source but a forum of pointless ambient ranting and rambling but it appears that the Dodgers want to get rid of Logan White. I think we all know who should go. Butt Selig, give this team to a competent owner! McCourts are adjourned....for good.

Easy Answers To Easy Questions - 1

There is a lot of noise emanating from the Twitterverse (via @kevingoldstein) about Logan White, Dodgers assistant general manager & amateur/int'l scout, being in demand from another team. The Dodgers dodged a bullet after he not chosen as GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks (Kevin Towers got that job). He is clearly in demand by teams wanting an upgrade in their management and/or scouting.

So I ask: would a sensibly ran organization have already canned Ned Colletti and have locked Logan White down already since White has found all of the Dodgers young stars and Ned Colletti has yet to find his way out of a wet paper bag?


Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Trade Chad Billingsley? How about trading Devaris Gordon?

Last week in a Fangraphs Chat, Dave Cameron gave even-money odds that Chad Billingsley would be traded in the offseason. Before I read that, I hadn't given much thought to trading CBillz. I still don't know if that would be a good idea but it is worth looking into.

Right now, it seems as if Chad Billingsley is pitching almost as well as he did in 2008. He won't reach 200 strikeouts but he also won't walk 80 batters either. He currently ranks 21st in WAR for 2010, tied with the likes of Gavin Floyd and C.J. Wilson at 4.3 WAR. We know how good he is and at age 26, the Dodgers can keep him around for two more arbitration years.

So the question remains: why trade him? He is valuable but he is still cheap. The Dodgers may be short pitching with Ted Lilly and Hiroki Kuroda eligible for free agency. The Dodgers may be able to trade CBillz for a more inexperienced but promising pitching prospect and get an additional prospect from a team. A team like Toronto is stacked with pitching talent and they are serious about unloading Shawn Marcum and possibly another extraneous starter. That is one situation among some others I am sure but, as we know, the market is not cut-and-dry.

I doubt that the Dodgers would be able to get two bona-fide starting pitchers for Billingsley alone. The trading of James McDonald complicates things because, if McDonald is there, they could give him a spot in the rotation that is his to lose (like the Pirates did) and Billingsley could be more readily traded. With the McDivorce Court Show going on, Ned isn't going to be able to do the one thing he does best (handing out big bags of money) this offseason.

A Torre-led team would not have Billingsley as the #2 pitcher but everyone that doubts Billingsley should quit the silliness because it appears that he is coming together as a top-flight starter. I think that the Dodgers will be able to bring either Lilly or Kuroda back but they probably won't be able to afford both. If Billingsley leaves, pitching will be a problem, but the reality is that the Dodgers are lacking some hitting that trading CBillz may provide. That is why trading away McDonald (and Andrew Lambo) for Octavio Dotel was a bad move. Any reliever at that time was a wasted investment.

I say that if the deal seems lopsided in the Dodgers' favor, they need to trade Billingsley. Otherwise, they should hold onto him. That is, unless the Dodgers are going to go into full rebuilding mode. I doubt that will happen.


Now, let's talk about a completely different playerr. Top Dodger prospect Devaris Gordon is wowing scouts with his speed and athleticism as a shortstop for AA Chattanooga but he supposedly hits like Juan Pierre. That kind of hitting is easier to absorb at shortstop than left field but there is more to be desired.

Maybe it is being spoiled with Furcal's hitting ability or higher expectations but I think the Dodgers should have unloaded Gordon at the beginning of the year but I still think that they should consider swapping him for a prospect similar to Gordon in level of maturation and/or raw ability. I guess I just don't value speed but I would like a shortstop to get on base more than 30 to 35% of the time, especially if he leads off.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Establishing My Rooting Interests for October

It is difficult to see the Dodgers out of the division and wild-card race but I am not ready to give up on baseball just yet. The Dodgers have been out of it for quite a while and I don't have any other teams that I am a fan of in a playoff race.

The closest team to a rooting interest is the Tampa Bay Rays. They are neck-and-neck with the Yankees but they run their organization almost inversely to the fashion that the Yankees run their team. I don't like the Rays because of the David and Goliath dynamic; I like them because they have vast supplies of prospects and the players that are on their roster are versatile. The Rays are a model to every small-market team out there. I will be rooting for them in October.

The rest of the AL will provide some quality baseball. The Rangers have cooled off a bit but Cliff Lee. after a brief sputter, has regained his dominance on the mound, the Twins are a well-designed team that should give one of the AL East teams more trouble and the Yankees, despite their starting pitching problems, will hit the competition out of the park. The superior league will entertain and, without the Dodgers distracting me this year, I will be watching some AL baseball.

While the National League doesn't provide the same quality of baseball, I have stronger anti-rooting interests in baseball. First, the Phillies may have the best chance of taking the NL because they have demonstrated that they can do that and they are atop the NL now despite all the troubles they encountered this season. I hate the Phillies with a passion and I would like to see them eliminated before the playoffs because that would be a nice closing of their championship window.

I don't want the Reds to close it however because I hate the Reds as well. It's not the players fault, however, but it's Dusty Baker who I despise. The way he ruins pitching arms, haphazardly manages a clubhouse and hides behind his children and his laminated hate-mail is sickening and I don't want to see him enjoy as little success as possible.

That leaves the Braves, Giants and the Padres. I don't hate the Giants as much as most Dodgers fans do but they are the team out of the remaining bunch that I like the least. I would be alright with the Braves winning the  NL but I am leaning towards rooting for the Padres. As many did, I laughed at the idea of the Padres enjoying any amount of success in 2010 and, as the months went by, they still remained and do to the present day. While the Reds are the only lock at this point for the playoffs, PECOTA gives the Pads the lowest chance of the five teams to make it, however, so I may be rooting for the Braves by default.

Also, the Rockies may have a small shot at making the playoffs but I would only root for them in October if they are playing the Reds or the Phillies.

I love the exclusivity of the MLB playoffs because it makes entering the playoffs special. The Red Sox may be better than any team in the NL but that is baseball.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mattingly Anointed Successor & PECOTA Eliminates Dodgers

Don Mattingly will be the Dodgers manager in 2011. This is disappointing since many reputable prognosticators believed that Tim Wallach would be given the job. While I would rather have Wallach as manager, if Torre takes the Mets job, perhaps all of Torre's cronies (Bowa, Schaefer) will go with him. There is a possibility that Tim Wallach will take a spot on the staff as hitting coach or bench coach if mandated but, if it is up to Mattingly, that probably won't happen. 

Bucking Torre from the manager's spot is good. While we don't know how Mattingly will fare, he will be motivated to succeed and may choose the correct path to do so rather than dashing into forays of small-ball and veteran crushes while managing on reputation. Joe Torre was hired to win while in a championship window but when it closed, the circus rolled into town nearly overnight. 

As we know, the manager isn't the Dodgers most glaring problem. With every passing month that the McCourts keep Ned Colletti at the wheel, Logan White, Kim Ng, DeJon Watson and Tim Wallach become more desired and opportunities to construct a World Series team are stagnate or are thwarted by Colletti's stupidity. 

All I can say right now about the Don Mattingly hire is that he and whoever his accompanying coaches should handle and nurture the talent of Matt Kemp, Jonathan Broxton, Russell Martin, Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley better than Torre did. Torre is not , by any means, Dusty Baker but he certainly mishandled the aforementioned players, especially Kemp. The next manager should know that Matt Kemp has far more value and worth than Scott Podsednik ever has had (yes, even in 2005) or will have. 

Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness post on this situation is worth reading. At these crossroads, I hope that Don Mattingly is as good of a manager as Mike Scioscia has been because Tim Wallach might very well be the next ex-Dodgers "managing prospect" to enjoy years of success elsewhere. When an organization such as the Dodgers has made as many mistakes as it has recently, it's hard to trust their judgment on this one. I will support Mattingly but I don't know if this is much of a "changing of the guard" as it is a continuation of the Torre managing system where players are not developed but bought and expected to win. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Bright Spot On The Mound

Forgive me for thinking ahead but it seems that, barring a major free agent signing, the Dodgers have their opening day starter. Not that the Opening Day starter matters but at least we have an idea about who the top pitcher of the Dodgers is. Congratulations to Clayton Kershaw for recording his first shutout and complete game against the Giants last night. He threw 111 pitches and struck out four batters in a 1-0 game. There isn't much left to watch this season but every five days, you can count on a young phenom dealing on the mound.

Hopefully Kersh's name will be penciled in by new manager Tim Wallach.

Monday, September 13, 2010

John Lindsey and other thoughts

I think that there is some good that has come out of the John Lindsey call-up - for John Lindsey. For him, he is playing with a major-league team after a decade and a half of minor league seasons. He has to be loving it. I have to wonder what the fan gets out of it. Sure it is nice to see a dream fulfilled but would this be happening if, say, the Dodgers had a minor league farm system that was grooming a prospect at first base? It seems Lindsey's call-up is more opportunistic because the club could use a distraction since they are out of playoff competition. While a team still has to sell tickets and drum up interest, we are talking about the Los Angeles Dodgers and no amount of gimmicks and feel-good stories would outshine a bona-fide prospect debut.

I could probably change this blog's title to "Why is this idiot batting second?" but it still baffles me to see Theriot in that slot as much as he has since he arrived. Perhaps with Torre departing soon, a new manager might value that spot in the lineup. It just exemplifies how much the Dodgers need the season to end now because this September is about as useless as it gets for the Dodgers. Maybe Matt Kemp needs the rest of the season off but I don't think that is the case. This lineup has the feel of a split-squad game in so many ways.  Other than Russ Mitchell taking some cuts, what is the point? 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

We Lost but We Won

*Fantasy Warning*

When Jonathan Sanchez allowed three hits, struck out 9 batters in 7 innings and picked up the win, he did what I thought he would do and that is he took advantage of a weak-hitting Dodgers lineup that would surely be resting one of it's starters. That start was the difference in my FB team's 2 week playoff series and I am in the finals. Thank you very much!

The situation is like the one in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia where the gang challenges the fraternity to a flippy-cup match and they poison Dee's and the frat boys' drinks. They knew Dee would choke and they gained revenge out of it. Yes, they lost the match but they had multiple irons in the fire. I feel the same way. My real baseball team lost and the season will end in disappointment. To keep the fantasy talk as brief as possible, it's a little victory to move on to the finals.


To speak of other victories, I will start to watch more of the teams that will be in the playoffs but I am excited to watch the September call-ups. I would also be alright if Jonathan Broxton were shut down for the year. If there is a question as to whether or not he is hurt, pack him up. I just don't get the hate for him, though. He is one of the best closers in the game and he is still rather young. Some people can't help but hate on those who have the ability to produce and should have done better but did not. Those same people will be cheering loudly for him in Octobers in the future. That's the problem with stupid fans - every team has them.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

(It's Not Fucking) Funny (Anymore) Farm

I think the collective Dodgers "feeling" is the worst it's been in five years. There is no shortage of people who can tell you about why this Dodgers thing is off the tracks for this year and perhaps beyond. The Dodgers won't be in bad shape forever but as long as a McCourt owns the team, the Dodgers won't be put into a favorable position to compete again.

The McCourt divorce is out there for all Dodgers fans to follow but I haven't taken an active interest in it. At some point in the past I might have but I can't bring myself to care. There will be a verdict and subsequent action. I don't envision quick action that will result in the Dodgers placed in better hands. If that does happen, it will be a glacial process.

When management is incompetent, the fans can look to the farm system. Right now, the Dodgers farm system isn't much but, with the acquisition of Zach Lee, the Dodgers have already improved their farm system. It has been said that the 2011 draft will be a truly deep draft. In my opinion, it is more important for the Dodgers to place themselves in a position to acquire as much talent as they can from that draft. If the Dodgers have compensatory picks coming their way from Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda and Octavio Dotel, they had better make the franchise eligible to receive those picks. Last year, the failure to offer compensation to Randy Wolf was more disappointing than any other move or non-move the Dodgers made last offseason.

The farm system had more to do than any free-agent or any veteran the Dodgers signed on. Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley, James Loney, Russell Martin, Hong Chih-Kuo couldn't have done it without Manny but they probably would have had a better shot doing it on their own than doing it in spite of all the bad moves Ned Colletti has made this year and year's past and doing it with grindy veterans who "try harder" and "give 100%."

This team has become my nightmare with the addition of the grinders and the obligatory credos that come with them. I would rather that the Dodgers model themselves after the teams that have a vision, find their own talent and that talent constantly flows into the Major Leagues. It seems that a lot of Dodgers fans demand that the team sign every big name free agent that they can but if the Dodgers system can produce waves of talent that come close to the one that debuted four years ago, they won't need those players.

If the Dodgers want to be a stay a big-market team I would be alright with them using that big-market money to secure the players that they have seasoned and developed. The Dodgers, at present, have a dry farm system and their current young talent are creeping closer to pay day. It may be time to focus on creating wave and getting a new wavemaker (Logan White can stay). Like Dr. Martin Luther King and Glenn Beck, I dream.

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.