Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dodgers sign Jamey Carroll to two-year deal, Ayala to minor-league deal

This is the move that will put the Dodgers over the top.

Career utility man Jamey Carroll signed a two-year, $4 million deal with the Dodgers on Wednesday.

Carroll hit a respectable .276 last season for the Indians in a part-time role. That's the role he'll play for the Dodgers -- for now.

However, it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend $2M on a bench player of Carroll's "caliber" when there are perfectly good non-roster invites and/or prospects/young players who could do what Carroll will do -- Blake DeWitt, Chin-Lung Hu, Ivan De Jesus, etc.

The Dodgers just spent $2M on a part-time player when they just saved some money by trading Juan Pierre yesterday. With limited financial resources this off-season, $2M on a 36-year-old utility guy doesn't seem like the smartest move.

It makes you wonder where the Dodgers' priorities are this off-season. There hasn't been much noise about a potential starting pitcher coming to Los Angeles. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

But it doesn't look promising. Here's hoping the Dodgers are somehow able to prove me wrong.

Also, the Dodgers signed right-hander Luis Ayala to a minor-league contract. Again, another move that'll ensure a trip to the Series.

Still waiting on the big move. Here's hoping the big move hasn't happened already.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Juan Pierre, former Dodger

I never thought I'd see the day.

Juan Pierre has been traded to the Chicago White Sox for right-handed pitchers John Ely and Jon Link.

The Dodgers are paying roughly $10.5 million of the $18.5 million he is owed through next season.

Pierre came to the Dodgers in 2007 when Ned Colletti signed him to a 5-year, $44M deal. It was a mistake, as it forced the Dodgers to platoon young players who didn't need to platoon. It also tied up a lot of resources in an eventual fourth outfielder.

Pierre deserves a chance to start, so I'm happy to see him go to a team who plans on playing him everyday. However, he was quite effective last season in a part-time role, putting up a .365 on-base percentage and posting his highest adjusted OPS number since 2004 (105). On the flip side, he filled in admirably for Manny Ramirez when he was dinged for 50 games by MLB.

The White Sox' farm system was hit hard after the Jake Peavy acquisition, but they still found a way to acquire Pierre.

Ely, the Sox' No. 8 prospect heading into the 2009 season, posted a 14-2 record with a 2.82 ERA at Double-A Birmingham. He will be 24 years old in May. He was also rated to have the best changeup in Sox' system. Link is a reliever who had a 3.99 ERA at Triple-A Charlotte before putting up a 2.95 in the Arizona Fall League. He was rated as having the best slider in the Chicago system.

Not a bad return for a guy many Dodger fans wanted gone a long time ago.

Good luck, Juan.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Top 10 Dodgers of the decade

With the decade coming to an end, this is my list of the top 10 Los Angeles Dodger players of the 2000s.

1. Eric Gagne, RP (2000-06)
Averages: 3-3 W-L, 74 IP, 58 H, 8 HR, 24 BB, 86 K, 3.34 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 10.5 K/9IP, 121 ERA+, 27 saves
Highs: 7 W, 7 L, 151.2 IP, 144 H, 24 HR, 60 BB, 137 K, 1.20 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 15.0 K/9IP, 335 ERA+, 55 saves
The 2003 Cy Young Award winner had the greatest run of any closer in MLB history. His 84-consecutive saves are not soon to be eclipsed. His Dodger career ended with injury and with 161 saves.

2. Shawn Green, RF (2000-04)

Averages: 160 games, 602 at-bats, 101 runs, 168 hits, 37 2B, 32 HR, 101 RBI, 13 SB, 79:113 BB:K ratio, .280/.366/.510/.876, 130 OPS+
Highs: 162 games, 619 AB, 121 R, 184 H, 49 2B, 49 HR (Dodger record), 125 RBI, 24 SB, 93 BB, 121 K, .297/.385/.598/.970, 154 OPS+
Green came to L.A. in 2000 November 1999 with Jorge Nunez for Raul Mondesi and Pedro Borbon. It was a steal of a deal for the Dodgers. His first season in Blue left a lot to be desired. However, his next two seasons were two of the best by a Dodger hitter ever. He was traded away in the winter January 2005.

3. Gary Sheffield, LF (2000-01)
Averages: 142 G, 508 AB, 102 R, 162 H, 26 2B, 40 HR, 104 RBI, 7 SB, 98:69 BB:K, .318/.428/.612/1.040, 170 OPS+
Highs: 143 G, 515 AB, 105 R, 163 H, 28 2B, 43 HR, 109 RBI, 10 SB, 101 BB, 71 K, .325/.438/.643/1.081, 176 OPS+
Sheffield only played two seasons in the decade for the Dodgers, but they were quite productive. It is also the only reason he doesn't rank ahead of Green. Sheffield was one fo the most feared hitters in the game, despite his tumultuous time in Los Angeles.

4. Takashi Saito, RP (2006-08)
Averages: 4-2 W-L, 63 IP, 40 H, 3 HR, 17 BB, 82 K, 1.95 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 11.6 K/9IP, 226 ERA+, 27 saves
Highs: 6 W, 4 L, 78.1 IP, 48 H, 5 HR, 23 BB, 107 K, 1.40 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 12.3 K/9IP, 317 ERA+, 39 saves
Saito was signed out of Japan as a minor-league free agent -- and what a signing he was. He continued the dominance Gagne left behind. Like many Dodgers, his time in L.A. ended after injury.

5. Derek Lowe, SP (2005-08)
Averages: 14-12 W-L, 213 IP, 208 H, 19 HR, 54 BB, 141 K, 3.59 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 6.0 K/9IP, 120 ERA+
Highs: 16 W, 15 L, 222 IP, 223 H, 28 HR, 59 BB, 147 K, 3.24 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 6.6 K/9IP, 129 ERA+
Lowe was coming off a bad 2004 season when Paul DePodesta signed him to a 4-year, $36M deal. However, Lowe had great postseason success, as he won all three clinching games for the Red Sox that year. Lowe was nothing but consistent for the Dodgers.

6. Andre Ethier, RF/LF (2006-present)
Averages: 145 G, 491 AB, 70 R, 143 H, 33 2B, 19 HR, 76 RBI, 4 SB, 53:87 BB:K, .291/.363/.490/.853, 122 OPS+
Highs: 160 G, 596 AB, 92 R, 162 H, 42 2B, 31 HR, 106 RBI, 6 SB, 72 BB, 116 K, .308/.375/.510/.885, 132 OPS+
Ethier came to the Dodgers in the Milton Bradley deal, and he has been quite good. He was hampered early on by being forced to platoon with old, overpaid veterans and another young guy, Matt Kemp. However, he had a breakout performance in 2009, clubbing a Dodger-high 31 home runs. He should be a fixture in the middle of the Dodger order for the forseeable future.

7. Adrian Beltre, 3B (2000-04)
Averages: 147 G, 546 AB, 71 R, 152 H, 28 2B, 25 HR, 84 RBI, 8 SB, 42:90 BB:K, .278/.331/.476/.808, 112 OPS+
Highs: 159 G, 587 AB, 104 R, 200 H, 32 2B, 48 HR, 121 RBI, 13 SB, 56 BB, 103 K, .334/.388/.629/1.017, 163 OPS+

Beltre's numbers were somewhat consistent until 2004, when he exploded for 48 HR, 121 RBI and nearly an NL MVP award. He was allowed to walk after the season and had numbers that were more in line with his career averages during his five-year stay in Seattle. The 2004 season was obviously a fluke.

8. Kevin Brown, SP (2000-03)
Averages: 10-6 W-L, 155 IP, 132 H, 12 HR, 41 BB, 141 K, 2.76 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 8.2 K/9IP, 149 ERA+
Highs: 14 W, 9 L, 230 IP, 184 H, 21 HR, 56 BB, 216 K, 2.39 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 8.5 K/9IP, 169 ERA+
Brown signed the huge 7-year, $105M contract in December 1998, becoming baseball's first $100-million man. While his time in L.A. was tainted by injury, he had some of the best peripherals of any Dodger starting pitcher in the decade. He was traded away after the 2003 season.

9. Jeff Kent, 2B (2005-08)
Averages: 130 G, 474 AB, 70 R, 138 H, 30 2B, 19 HR, 78 RBI, 2 SB, 52:67 BB:K, .291/.367/.479/.847, 119 OPS+
Highs: 149 G, 553 AB, 100 R, 160 H, 36 2B, 29 HR, 105 RBI, 6 SB, 72 BB, 85 K, .302/.375/.512/.889, 133 OPS+

Kent, the former Giant, came to the Dodgers prior to the 2005 season. His best season as a Dodger came at that time, when he hit 29 home runs and drove in 105 runs. His defense was always below-average, but his offensive production was something that was lacking at the position for quite some time.

10. Chad Billingsley, SP (2006-present)
Averages: 12-8 W-L, 158 IP, 146 H, 13 HR, 72 BB, 145 K, 3.55 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 8.2 K/9IP, 119 ERA+
Highs: 16 W, 11 L, 200.2 IP, 188 H, 17 HR, 86 BB, 201 K, 3.14 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 9.0 K/9IP, 134 ERA+

Billingsley was cruising through the first half. He made the NL All-Star team and was the Dodgers' ace. Then he just kind of fell apart. Because of that, people were calling for him to be traded in a big off-season deal. That would have been foolish. He still has put up respectable numbers after in his four years as a Dodger. He will move up on this list in due time.

Next five: Jonathan Broxton, Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, Odalis Perez, Chan Ho Park

Top Dodgers by position for the decade

Russell Martin
Paul Lo Duca
Todd Hundley

First Base
James Loney - Best defensive 1B since Wes Parker
Nomar Garciaparra - A magical 2006 (first half) lands him here
Hee-Seop Choi - Three HR in one game, never got a chance to play everyday

Second Base
Jeff Kent
Orlando Hudson - Gold glove, all-star, hit for cycle -- all in just one season
Alex Cora - Mainly for his 2004 performance at 2B, always solid with the glove

Third Base
Adrian Beltre
Casey Blake - Teh Beard
Blake DeWitt - By default, as 3B has been a black hole since 2004

Rafael Furcal - He performs well every-other year, so he should have a great 2010
Cesar Izturis - Gold glover and all-star
Kevin Elster - Just for his 3-HR game at the Phone Dome

Shawn Green
Gary Sheffield
Andre Ethier
Matt Kemp - Will be in the top 10 next decade... maybe even No. 1
J.D. Drew - His 2005 was cut short by injury, put up good numbers

Starting Pitcher
Derek Lowe
Kevin Brown
Chad Billingsley
Odalis Perez - Was great in his first season in L.A.
Chan Ho Park - Made his money from his last two seasons in L.A., came back as reliever in 2008
Hideo Nomo - A warrior, his 2002-03 were great season, should hampered him in 2004

Relief Pitcher
Eric Gagne
Takashi Saito
Jonathan Broxton - Not as good as his predecssors, but still a very good closer
Paul Quantrill - A great two seasons in L.A., left for the Yankees and retired a couple years later
Guillermo Mota - Traded away at the right time, but was dominant... came back in 2009 for second stint

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The McCourts strike again

No arbitration for any Dodgers

The deadline to offer free agents arbitration came and went on Tuesday with the Dodgers offering nobody arbitration. That means whatever team signs the likes of Randy Wolf and Orlando Hudson, the Dodgers will not receive any draft pick compensation in return.

This is an utter joke. The McCourts and their legal crap are hindering the Dodgers' abilities to improve the team. I mean, if you can't even offer arbitration to two guys who would have likely turned it down, how should the fans expect any type of acquisition that adds even a few million bucks to the payroll?

The Dodgers are collateral damage in the McCourts' legal war. Because Frank and Jamie can't possibly be civil or adult about the situation, the baseball team has to suffer. Thanks a lot you greedy scumbags!

I guess we should have known things were bad when McCourt had to borrow money to actually buy the team in the first place. The last time the team's ownership was in flux, the Dodgers lost a chance to sign Vladimir Guerrero, who signed with the Angels prior to the 2o04 season. Guerrero won the American League Most Valuable Player award that year and averaged .319/.381/.546/.927, 29 HR, 103 RBI and a 141 OPS+ (100 being league-average) in his six years as an Angel.

Oh, what could have been...

There is no Vlad available this time around, but guys like Roy Halladay and the afore mentioned Lackey aren't coming to Chavez Ravine with the current ownership still in charge. It's too bad we didn't see the signs earlier. You know, the whole trading Carlos Santana (the best catching prospect in the minors) so the Dodgers wouldn't have to pickup $2 million of Casey Blake's remaining salary in 2008 or the reluctance to go over-slot in the draft.

It's just flat-out ridiculous. I can somewhat understand not offering Hudson arbitration, but not offering Wolf is inexcusable. There is no amount of spin that can make it right. He is going to get a multi-year deal on the open market, as he's the best free agent starting pitcher available this side of John Lackey.

It's frustrating and frightening sign of things to come. For now, it seems the Dodgers are going to get the young arbitration-eligible players signed for this upcoming season and fill in the "blanks" with cheap options. That's what not offering arbitration to Wolf and Hudson screams.

Just sell the team already. If Bud Selig wasn't such a moron, Mark Cuban would already own the Cubs. Maybe that mistake by Selig will work out in the Dodgers' favor. Right now, however, it seems more like a pipedream than reality.

The McCourts just need to sell the team and continue the legal proceedings when it cannot hurt the storied franchise.

This is so infuriating.

Go Dodgers, I suppose. The McCourts need to GTFO! (Google it)