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.