Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dodgers Acquire Scotty Podsednik

The Dodgers now have the white Juan Pierre. He is fast, he is 34, he's an out machine, he can't field, he is injury-prone, he is a bad base-runner (outside of his base stealing) and he is lucky. He currently has a BABIP of .345 and had a .341 BABIP last year for the White Sox. Yes he is hitting .309/.352/.400 but he got there ever so softly.

I have to be honest - I just don't like Scotty Pods. I stopped liking Juan Pierre about 10 minutes after the Dodgers acquired him. He has the appearance of offering value but it is illusory. I don't believe in the speed game and unless a player can steal a base 80% of the times he attempts to do so, it is just not worth it. A stolen base is valuable but not as valuable as once believed says The Book and Moneyball. By those numbers, only Rafael Furcal should be stealing bases, not Pods and certainly not Matt Kemp. Maybe next year, Bison.

Let me interject a few bits of optimism. When Scotty Pods is playing, he will play left (no added fielding advantage so Dre remains in right) and he should leadoff. Furcal is leading the NL in hitting, so moving him to the #2 spot is a good move. Pods isn't ideal at the lead-off unless he continues this magic.

Gone are Lucas May and Elisaul Pimentel. May, a 25 year old catching prospect, drafted in the 8th round of the 2003 draft, was invited to the Arizona Fall League last year. Pimentel, a 22-year-old pitching prospect from the Dominican. These are the prospects that we gave up for 2-3 months of Pods' services. If recent history is our guide, one should take note of these names because at least one of them may be on the Royals soon. Not that it will help that organization much.

I don't like the deal and I won't like to see what I believe will be a regressing Pods but perhaps he can keep this baseball magic going as long as the Dodgers are playing baseball in October. Maybe he can refrain from generating so many outs. Maybe this will dissolve Garret Anderson's career as a Dodger.

Could the Dodgers acquire Kelly Johnson at the Arizona Fire Sale?

In light of the Dan Haren trade, could the Dodgers be in position to acquire Kelly Johnson, who would be a cheap and decent fix for what ails the Dodgers. I am not a Blake DeWitt hater but I don't see a future for him as the Dodgers starting second baseman. Kelly Johnson could come in and Blake DeWitt could move to being a utility player or he may be a part of the trade, though I would expect the Dodgers to get something out of the deal since, although cheap, they are only paying for two months of Kelly Johnson. 

Johnson (.276/.366/.499) has 16 HR's, 26 doubles and has added 2 wins above replacement for the D-bags. He's a lefty that can hit second, fifth or sixth for the Dodgers and he can produce. Granted, the outfield is a more of a priority but that Haren deal wasn't a great future move - it was a salary dump. I think the D-bags would be willing to part with Johnson for the right price and with the shortness of his contract, he won't be as big of a risk for the D-bags as far as him staying in the NL West. 

It's worth exploring for Ned and the Dodgers. 

Why Carlos Zambrano Shouldn't Be Considered a Dodger Option

Carlos Zambrano is 29, has 28.7 career WAR and has been the ace of the Cubs for a good part of this decade. He is also an undisciplined, petulant nutcase who has one career quality start in the playoffs. If the Dodgers were to get Zambrano, the Cubs would have to pick up a good part of the remaining contract that dictates Big Z be paid $17.85 million this and next year and $18 million in 2012.

The great part about baseball is that it is a sport of individual performances which lends the game and its players to statistical analysis. Most players lend themselves to discussions where if a player went from Team A where he put up a set of numbers to Team B, he would reasonably put up similar numbers and provide x value to this team. There are a few players that are exceptions and what makes them exceptions are the things they do that are extraneous to baseball. Milton Bradley is the first example that comes to mind. Carlos Zambrano is not far behind.

In Carlos Zambrano's career FanGraphs has his career dollar value at $104.1 million dollars. Since he signed the contract he is currently under, he has been worth $28.9 million dollars before this season and he has been paid $32.75 million. This year, he has been in the bullpen and on the restricted list, so we will ignore the lower output that was imposed by the team. Carlos Zambrano has shown that he is worth close to what his contract states. Why doubt what he can do?

As somebody who grew up and went to college in Illinois, I have followed the Cubs nearly as closely as I have followed the Dodgers. It's hard not to as a fan of baseball in Illinois. I have heard countless times these complaints about Carlos Zambrano:

1) Lack of discipline and responsibility: He has made a lot of trips to the DL and has had a lot of minor injury problems which is excusable but he has consistently failed to do the things like self-rehab and self-maintenance to minimize those injuries and minimize the time away from the game. It takes a club and/or a manager to ride his ass about doing these responsible things that baseball players are supposed to do. Otherwise, he will do things like take batting practice on rehab starts.

2) Blow-ups: Every year, there is at least one blow-up on the mound. He has a temper, he will blame teammates, he will get in fights with players and he will keep himself in a mood that is counterproductive to winning the game at hand. With every blow-up, there is a press conference afterwards where he apologizes and says that he will change. It never does.

3) Poor big-game pitcher: He has only one quality start in his playoff career and he is prone to, as said previously, getting in a funk on the mound and a pitcher of his caliber should be able to take the ball in the midst of trouble and overcome mistakes.

4) Hydration: This should go under discipline but it is worth isolating. He has a reputation for drinking energy drinks and coffee while failing to drink water. He has been held from starts or pulled early from cramps due to poor hydration.

5) Bad teammate: I don't like making exceptions because of the nature of the game. I think most guys can join a team, do his job and make a run at the playoffs and the World Series. It's just not true with everyone. Whether it's, yelling at Derrek Lee, punching Michael Barrett, breaking bats over his knee and arguing with umpires.

The Cubs signed Zambrano to this contract and it may pay off for them by dollar value but what they are not getting is a pitcher that has the ability to be a true ace. He has been the Cubs "ace" but true ace pitchers do not exist on every team and there hasn't been one on the Cubs for a while. Leave this mess in Chicago and let them worry about it. He may make the Dodgers better but he won't make the Dodgers a winner. Big Z is a constant issue and a high-maintenance liability. He is a loser. Ned: look elsewhere for a player that can help the Dodgers win the World Series.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ted Lilly and Further Oswalt and Outfielder discussion

I would be alright with the Dodgers getting Ted Lilly if the price isn't right for Roy Oswalt. Lilly would come much cheaper and the team would not be committed to Lilly after the season. I will stand by my hope that the Dodgers only acquire a pitcher that can start in Game 1 or 2 of a playoff series. I think Ted Lilly still has that ability and, if the price is right, he should be acquired.

I am usually wary of guys of Roy Oswalt's age but I think he significantly strengthens the Dodgers ability to win playoff games and the ability to get to those playoff games. The Dodgers starting pitching staff, although not as good as last year's pitching staff, has been carrying the Dodgers of late. While the staff is a strength, the Dodgers have, after Kershaw, three righties that are around the same caliber of pitcher. The Dodgers can get by with what they have but can they win without two solid pitchers in the playoffs? Any one of the righties could prove it to Joe Torre that he can take the ball in Game 2 but I would rather have an ace-like starter in place so the rest of the staff is vying to start Game 3, not Game 2. 

The Dodgers' greater need is for another bat. As I said previously, Manny may be healthy but the Dodgers aren't at a point where they can rely on him and it's in their best interest to have insurance for him and maybe even address the Andre Ethier fielding issue. Luke Scott or Cody Ross gives the Dodgers another option besides Reed Johnson or Xavier Paul. Having Reed Johnson on a playoff roster isn't a bad thing but he isn't the answer if Manny has to take days off down the stretch. The Dodgers should want more than that. While I like Xavier Paul, he remains in less favor than Garret Anderson because veterans are able to deflect minor league demotions, etc. 

Despite the Dodgers seemingly needing an outfielder more than they need a starting pitcher, getting Roy Oswalt does the team the most good. Pitching of Oswalt's and Lilly's caliber goes pretty far but a team can only do so much. Trading deadlines are convoluted webs of rumors and hypotheticals but what you can take away from this is that the Dodgers need an OF bat but I think that Roy Oswalt or Ted Lilly makes the Dodgers a better team as well. I am especially in Roy Oswalt's camp. That kind of deal would not be like getting Casey Blake or George Sherrill. It's like getting Manny Ramirez but in a more expensive fashion with a longer commitment. It does give the Dodgers near what Cliff Lee gave the Phillies last year. 

No offense to Cliff Lee by that but the Dodgers are better off starting Oswalt and Kershaw than they were starting Wolf and Kershaw or Kershaw and Padilla in Games 1 & 2 or would be in starting Kershaw and whoever. Fangraphs shows that Oswalt's fastball is still at an average velocity of 93mph which is virtually where it was in 2005. It's not as effective as it is at 7 RAA at the 2/3rds mark but his curveball is better than it's been since 2004 and his slider is better (aside from 2008) than it's been since 2006. He is missing more bats than he has since 2004 with a contact % of 79.3%. He isn't the pitcher he was in 2004 but he is a reasonable, aged version of the pitcher he was in 2004 and, if the price is right, I wouldn't shudder at the prospect of getting him. 

I would be happy if BJ Upton, Luke Scott or Cody Ross became a Dodger but Roy Oswalt, even if he would only add 2 wins would make this team a better playoff team...if they get there, At some level, I would be alright if the Dodgers did nothing but I would hate to see the Phillies arm themselves and make a good run with another ace-level pitcher and storm past the Dodgers to get to the World Series if the Dodgers were able to do the same. Trading deadline activity is best watched from afar, Even writing about it makes idiots of us all. August 1st can't come soon enough.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Trade Deadline Considerations

Trading deadline talk can be complicated because almost everyone is theoretically on the table but only a fraction of the players rumored to be in trade discussions actually get moved. Speculation abounds before the deadline but few deals actually make a difference for a team. The Dodgers have plenty of needs but they don't have a large farm system but have some talent on the big-league roster yet moving any of these young big league players would be unpopular and even if one of these players were to be moved, there really isn't any replacements in line for the Dodgers. The closest the Dodgers come to having big league trade bait with replacements are Jamey Carroll and John Ely. They could be traded but it won't be for a difference-maker.

So if the Dodgers do get a player, they will be giving up a player in the starting lineup or what little is left of their farm system. Instead of speculating about everyone that is rumored to be out there, I will give my opinion of what the Dodgers need and how they should get it. Before I do that, however, I will say that the Dodgers do not need to trade anyone other than Jamey Carroll for a relief pitcher. Do not play the relief game as relief pitching is damn near unpredictable. It's just a crapshoot and from what I have seen from deals in the past and what I hear the going rate is for a lot of the bums being pedaled now, don't go after it. The Dodgers have Broxton, Kuo and Kenley Jansen might be added to the list of reliable relievers. As I have said before, solve the problem in-house.

The Dodgers could use a top starting pitcher. What team couldn't? Not just any starting pitcher but one with the potential to start Game 1 of a playoff series. They don't need one but there is no reason to trade for a SP if he is going to be #4 in the rotation. Roy Oswalt is available but it may come at a price. The Dodgers should only do the deal if the Astros pick up some of the money for next year and the possible option. The Dodgers may not have enough prospects to make it happen but if they cobble together the best deal and only have to pay half of the $40 million remaining on the deal, that could be a good investment. He's remained healthy, he still strikes guys out and he would stand to do even better than what he has done this year in Dodger Stadium. I don't think they have enough to get him but he would make the Dodgers a contender.

I've heard Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Fausto Carmona, Paul Maholm, Kevin Millwood, Jake Westbrook in discussions and you can keep them all. Forget them because they won't do the Dodgers any good. Maybe one of these guys gets hot and has a good couple of months but, if you will remember last year, the Dodgers got Vicente Padilla and he did well in one game against St. Louis. What happened after that? That doesn't negate the possibility that one of these guys can win more than one playoff game but the pitchers who are traded and do make a difference are guys like Cliff Lee, Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt can be added to that list. If a guy can warrant a start over Clayton Kershaw, we have a discussion but just "an arm" is not the answer.

The Dodgers have Manny Ramirez coming back but he seems to have been in shaky condition all year. He doesn't have the legs to play the baseball the Dodgers need him to down the stretch. The Dodgers could use a player that can play right field and hit at an average Major League level. The player doesn't have to be able to play right field but it would be ideal. I like the idea of B.J. Upton, Luke Scott or Cody Ross - a player of that caliber. I like Xavier Paul but I like having him on the bench. I like Reed Johnson on the bench too and Garret Anderson has no place on a playoff bench. If Manny stays healthy, the outfielder traded for can PH and be a defensive replacement but I believe we are at the point where we need Manny insurance and we need to have another bat of that quality in order to win 11 games in the playoffs.

With the Dodgers having the day off, what else is there to talk about but the deadline? I have only three demands: don't go for a reliever, get a starting pitcher that is a true playoff starter and get a starting outfielder for Manny insurance. If the Dodgers don't get anyone and they don't give anyone up, that wouldn't be a bad move. If they do go and get someone, it had better count. The most glaring area of the Dodgers right now is the depleted farm system. A healthy farm system allows for talent injection and the ability to acquire tools that a team hasn't been able to develop themselves. The Dodgers had that for a little while but everyone has arrived and there is no one else left to entice another team to give up a player that the Dodgers can win with.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mattingly still might be a good manager

The 1985 AL MVP disappointed some fans on Tuesday night by doing a double-take that caused Jonathan Broxton to exit the game. Don Mattingly may well be the next Dodgers manager if Joe Torre decides he wants to retire at the end of the season. While I think most of this is November material, the situation reminded me of something.

Before Jonathan Broxton became closer, he got chances to close games when Takashi Saito was day-to-day. I remember he blew a lot of those opportunities and scrutiny abounded. One of the best set-up men in the game at that time but there were still doubts as to whether or not he had the mettle to be a closer. We know now what he can do.

It's almost fair to say that Don Mattingly got a chance to manage. Not only was Torre gone but so was Bob Schaefer and that night's starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw. The dugout was more vacant than usual and things were in disarray. Mattingly just wanted what everyone wanted: an end to that night's game.

The worst action Mattingly made that night was putting in George Sherrill. Anyone but him probably would have sufficed. The advocates for Sherrill, who could have their meetings in a Chevy Nova, would say that he was rushed too but I am only going to go so far. I think you have to look at Mattingly and see that he has spent time in the Yankees and Dodgers clubhouse as hitting coach. He has undoubtedly observed how Joe Torre has managed the teams throughout the years.

I think that if Mattingly was given the job, he will do well. He won't be Joe Torre. I do think he may be somebody that will be able to manage a team to a World Series. I am not saying locking him in but I am saying do not judge him by a mistake he won't make again. Even the umpiring staff wasn't completely familiar with the procedures after a double visit is committed.


Kenley Jansen has arrived at the expense of Justin Miller, who is designated for assignment. Will Torre put Jansen in a high-leverage situation with Kuo having warmed-up or pitched the last three days? We will find out tonight. Difficult it may be, perhaps the bats will come alive as Vicente Padilla and the Dodgers face the Johan.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

CBillz Shutout: Just What The Dodgers Needed

After Tuesday's blunders, I had asked that the Dodgers reexamine what they are doing and have a plan. Even though I know Chad Billingsley probably doesn't read blogs, I wanted to ask him or any other Dodger for relief. He came to the Dodgers' aid.

After being flummoxed by the Jack Taschner call-up and the six-game skid, I was already nervous. Now that O am on the East Coast, I don't watch too many Dodgers games live anymore. I tuned in until CBillz walked Torres, the second batter he walked in the inning. He would walk no more batters in the game. Throwing 85 strikes out of 125 pitches, Chad Billingsley recorded his third complete game and second shutout of his career. Though he only struck out 3 batters, he gave the entire bullpen a rest and picked up a Manny-less offense that struggles against left-handed hitters.

I want to be careful not to be too high or too low on CBillz. He had a great start but the game before he gave up the most earned runs he had given up in his short career (7). He can still give you a lot of bad along with some dominant stuff. Though he hasn't thrown as many strikeouts this year (7.62 K/9, half a K/9 below career average), his walk rate is the lowest this season that it has been in his career at 3.15. He can be frustrating at times but I believe he will be worth the investment of patience and opportunity.

Russell Martin is slow. Juan Uribe hopped in the air, prepared to get the second out of a DP, didn't throw, came down, collected himself and threw Martin out by a couple of steps. I know he's a catcher and whatever speed they have goes after a couple years in the bigs but it is GONE!

Four-spot with the Mets coming up. The Dodgers will have to take care of Takahashi because Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey and R.A. Dickey are pitching after him. The Dodgers are going to have to find a way to score some runs because the Mets' pitching, though it seems all they have, may be enough to make it a rough weekend for the Dodgers.

Kuroda goes today, then Padilla, and from there we do not know yet. If I understand correctly, Kershaw has appealed his suspension and could go on Sunday. James McDonald should get another start. He wasn't great but I still favor him over Carlos Monasterios. Getting 3 or more from a Mets team that just got swept by the D-bags and are coming off of a 14-inning game would be nice. I am pessimistic but I still expect 3 wins this long weekend.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bullpen Purges - Correcting Previous Post Statements

Per Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times: Clayton Kershaw suspended 5 games, Joe Torre and Bob Schaefer suspended one game. Kershaw is appealing, Torre serves tonight, BS tomorrow.

Nothing for Tim "Bitch Witch" Lincecum who threw at Kemp three times and Russell Martin once. Whoever throws the fifth stone, I guess. Whatever, it's Butt Selig's league. Anyways,

TrueBlueLA brings up some good points about roster moves. If I am making moves, I am getting pitchers that I feel I can rely on to pitch. I've made some changes, though.

First, Justin Miller gets the nod as righty set-up guy. With no options, he stays.

Travis Schlichting can go down instead. He is fine but with Carlos Monasterios on the roster, I choose CM over TS. Since one man has left, I promote Kenley Jansen or Josh Lindblom, depending on whether or not I am protecting one or the other from a trade. Lindblom gets the call before Jansen.

George Sherrill is gone. He gets waived again. Brent Leach is my guy since Elbert is AWOL.

With 3 catchers on the roster, Ellis is gone. Bring in Jamie Hoffmann. I think Trent Oeitjen might be the better hitter but, since Reed Johnson is out, Jamie Hoffmann is the better option. Garrett Anderson doesn't have too much more time to prove he can still play in my book. I would be tempted to bring up another pitcher but unfortunately, 13 pitchers is too excessive, even for a week or so.

So that makes a team with five outfielders, ample infielders and a bullpen that consists of these pitchers:

CL: Broxton
Setup LH: Kuo
Setup RH: Miller
Short RH: Lindblom/Jansen
Short LH: Leach
Long RH: Weaver
Long RH: Monasterios

There should be order and every one in the pen should convey enough confidence that they can come into a game. George Sherrill would never be in my bullpen again. In my mind, gone are the days where relief pitchers and bullpens are as fixed as I once believed that they were.

It's just one game - right?

It sure is adding up to be more than just one fuck-up, however.

The umpires got it wrong: They gave a warning after Tim “Bitch Witch” Lincecum threw at Matt Kemp’s head and then hit him in the back as well In that at-bat, Lincecum threw three pitches and they all came closer to Kemp than they did to going over the plate. The umpires should have enforced the warning when Tim Lincecum nearly hit Russell Martin. 

They could have let Don Mattingley’s “double visit” slide but I understand why they didn’t. They failed, however, to let Broxton stay in and continue to face the batter he was pitching too before he exits the game.. Chad, you got it right. The Dodgers are at fault for losing this game but, in point of fact, the umpires messed up. 

The Dodgers were wrong: This was not the game to play these macho games when you have had great results against divisional opponents (23-6 before the start of this series)!  You don’t piss away a lead that comes from a poor Tim Lincecum start. Matt Kemp needs to stop committing baserunning errors. You don’t force the umpire’s hand when you don’t have a bullpen! You don’t go against your organizational plan of not using Broxton when you said that you wouldn’t use him! You don’t use George Sherrill in any meaningful situation!

Two things need to happen: 

1.)    The Dodgers organization need to enact a policy that states that the team will not engage in beanball games despite incitement from an opponent and every coach needs to be on the same page regarding protocol for arguing calls and non-calls and protocol regarding bullpen use. That way, starting pitchers do not get kicked out of games, bench coaches do not tip the favor scales of the umpires and bullpen mismanagement does not occur when the manager is gone.

All of these mishaps are egregious and uncalled for. Joe Torre is a great manager  but some of the mistakes that have been made recently are uncharacteristic of him and the beanball nonsense that went on mars this organization and Joe Torre’s reputation in my opinion.

2.)    The bullpen needs to be reworked and it must be done from within. You can keep Kerry Wood, Kevin Gregg and anyone else that might be available by trade. The Dodgers produced a lot of relievers that performed well but have faltered as of late. A good organization continues to replace those that falter. Ramon Troncoso goes down and gets work and Ronald Belisario gets help but let’s install the expectations that the relievers who replace Troncoso and Belisario can get the job done.

Broxton is still our closer. Let’s get that straight. He is one of the best in the game and, instead of blaming him, let us demand that he be used correctly. Kuo is our lefty setup guy.  I don’t care how unseemly it is, install Travis Schlichting as our righty setup guy. If he can’t do it, try Carlos Monasterios. If he can’t do it, try Justin Miller. If he can’t do it, try Kenley Jansen or Javy Guerra. If he can’t do it, try someone else.

As for George Sherrill, bury him and get Scott Elbert or Brent Leach up here. Both of them can do a better job than George Sherrill can do as of now.

I don’t usually make definitive and radical statements regarding baseball personnel and I don't usually advocate the use of marginal relievers. I know that it is baseball and it is a long season. I know that things just turn around. I would just like to think that the Dodgers have a bullpen filled with Broxton, Kuo and FIVE other pitchers who can go into a game and get the guy out that they are facing. I know how fragile and weak bullpens inherently are. Established veterans can fold despite not having a record of doing so.

I would just like to think that a team would be able to have different answers than riding their closer and lefty setup man farther than they should and be able to call upon a reliever that isn’t George Sherrill in an important situation.


If I can say one more thing as I have stepped away from the mound already and turned around. Please, Dodgers. Win this next game so that we forget about this past game, which was only one game, one loss. Please, as an organization, carry yourselves as an organization that has enough confidence that they can win games that they should win, no matter what circumstances are. Just act like you have a clue.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

HB to Joe Torre and we all know GA gotsta GO!

Happy 70th Birthday to Joe Torre! I don’t usually give out HB’s but considering he is the oldest Dodgers manager, I figure that needs recognition.

Now, we go to Garret Anderson and how awful he has been this season. As the player who Steve Garvey's career numbers were most similar to, we are not bashing his career. I have ran into trouble when talking about Jeff Kent, Ken Griffey Jr., Nomar Garciaparra and other characters whose current level of play is not representative of their career but criticism directed towards them is considered a slight on their reputation. THIS Garret Anderson THIS year blows.

GA will remain at the expense of Xavier Paul. Ned and Joe just think there is something about Garret. He is this year’s left-handed Mark Sweeney. That is an insult to GA because he is not THAT bad (Sweeney hit .130/.250/.163) but I am okay doing that. GA doesn’t walk anymore (2.1 BB% when he’s never previously been below 3.5% in a season), he strikes out too much (23.4 K% when he’s never been above 17.5%), his power is gone (.095 ISO when he’s never been below .106) and he doesn’t create runs (25 wRC+). He’s toast and we know it now. Anytime Ned wants to get over his newest veteran man-crush, it would be great.

The problem may be that the Dodgers really don’t have, by definition, a replacement-level outfielder. The problem currently is that they have a -1 WAR outfielder in Garret Anderson. How many of the Albuquerque outfielders could take his place at this moment? Probably any one of them but it remains doubtful that GA will get canned, even for 27 year old left-handed former D-back farmhand Trent Oeitjen, until after Reed Johnson comes back. Once he does, a decision might be made but I don’t see him getting moved until the end of the month at least. The monstrosity known as GA will probably remain, doing just enough to appear like he is contributing.

***Bullpen implosion intentionally ignored***

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs

Saturday, July 17, 2010

This Tangle With The Cardinals Seems Familiar

In 2008, the Dodgers and Phillies played 4-game series at both teams' locations. The home team won every game in those series' that year. So far, that seems to be happening with the Dodgers and the Cardinals. This is nothing to read that much into but it's a way of saying that the series is even after today's 2-0 loss and that the Dodgers did well against the Redbirds earlier in the year not to mention last year's NLDS.

The only troublesome game was Friday's game and that is because the Dodgers weren't facing Carpenter or Wainwright. Conversely, the Cardinals got to face Billingsley yesterday. We wait and wait for CBillz to realize that he is allowed to strike guys out.

I think the Dodgers have a good chance to win the weekend series and the season series as they send Padilla to the mound against Jeff Suppan, even without Martin and Manny.

In Defense of Ned Colletti Regarding Lost Youth

After the 2008 season, I was calling for Ned to be fired. Once Jason Schmidt, Juan Pierre, Nomar and other atrocities left, it was easier to stomach him as GM. Now that this whole McCourt divorce business has manifested itself, it seems Ned doesn't have much to do really. The team can scout all they want but we all know we couldn't get Cliff Lee, we aren't getting Roy Oswalt and were all afraid what little movable and marketable talent the Dodgers have will be used for the next marginal veteran that won't work.

The Dodgers got Casey Blake after the team needed a third baseman with Nomar being perpetually injured and Blake DeWitt too young to be relied upon for the remainder of the season. So off goes Jonathan Meloan and Carlos Santana. We saw Meloan but we weren't aware we had a guitarist of his caliber in the organization. He goes to the Indians and, what do you know, he can play catcher! He was their top prospect immediately and seems to be a building block of the Tribe's future. Last season, Ned desired some bullpen help and lefty Orioles closer George Sherrill came on to provide a late-inning shut-down set-up guy. So off goes Josh Bell and Steve Johnson. 

Casey Blake has been a solid third baseman and decent mid-to-late order batter, good for 20 homers and solid defensive play. George Sherrill did well to end last season but wasn't great in the playoffs and has been horrendous this season. Two veterans who we still have (unless GS gets picked up off of waivers) and no World Series title. In exchange, we gave up two guys who would be #1 and #2 prospects in the system now. 

So what am I defending Ned against? I would say that these guys weren't exactly top prospects at the time. They were high potential but low in the system at the time and high risk. They were also the kind of deals that were made to win a World Series and then you forget what it took to get there. It always looks bad when you use up the entire wooden body of a wood-fired plane and don't make it but if you did make it, you would walk off the plane cold but a winner. 

It's funny how Russell Martin probably was blocking any attempt Carlos Santana would have made to make the team and the next year Casey Blake was blocking Josh Bell. This year, the system is dry enough that anymore emigration and Ned would be going for broke. An ace pitcher, shutdown reliever or a second baseman with an expiring contract might just make the Dodgers an October contender. I am an idealist and would like the Dodgers to win the WS and keep our shallow stock of youth.  There will be some choices to be made and help may cost a hefty price. With the future ownership of the team in jeopardy, Joe Torre on his way out and the youthful core about to get expensive, time is running out. At whatever cost, if the Dodgers win it, though, no one would care.