Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dodger prospects in Baseball America's top 100 since 1990

I found an interesting post on Minor League Ball where someone compiled a list of all the Baseball America Top 100 prospects every season since 1990. I'm going to take a look at the Dodgers on the list and break it down a little.

This seems appropriate as it's prospecting season and my Dodgers' Top 30 will be out in the next 2-3 weeks.
  • No. times a Dodger was ranked: 89
  • Highest ranking: 2, Paul Konerko (1998)
  • Most in a year: 9 (2006)
  • No. of times in top 10: 12
  • Players ranked the most: Roger Cedeno, 1993-96 (ranks 85, 38, 26, 57); Paul Konerko 1995-98 (ranks 45, 42, 11, 2); James Loney, 2003-05, 2007 (ranks 34, 42, 62, 44)
The Dodgers have experienced some highs and lows with their farm system over the years. In the early '90s, it was chock full of potential stars and future Hall-of-Famers. Players like Mike Piazza and Pedro Martinez led the list.

Then came the run of four consecutive Rookies of the Year -- a time in which the Dodgers had one of the strongest farm systems in baseball.

From 1998 to about 2003, the Dodgers' system was stripped by trades and busted prospects. Hell, the only guy to make the BA Top 100 in 1999 (catcher Angel Pena) and 2001 (outfielder Chin-Feng Chen). This was due to extremely poor top draft choices from 1995-2001, where the names David Yocum, Damian Rolls, Glenn Davis, Bubba Crosby, Jason Repko, Ben Diggins and Brian Pilkington all were present.

The system began to re-emerge under former General Manager Dan Evans and Scouting Director Logan White. The 2002 draft produced players like James Loney, Greg Miller, Jonathan Broxton and Russell Martin. The 2003 draft was also a solid effort, netting Chad Billingsley and Matt Kemp.

Once those guys graduated to the majors or dropped off the list due to poor performance and/or injuries, the Dodger system went back into a lull. Since Clayton Kershaw graduated in 2008, the Dodgers' system hasn't been well-regarded by prospect experts. It seems like the system is ticketed for another uptake in the not-to-distant-near-future.

Here's a year-by-year breakdown of the Dodgers on the BA Top 100 since 1990 (ranks in parenthesis)

Kiki Jones, RHP (6)
Jose Offerman, SS (10)
Tom Goodwin, OF (30)
Braulio Castillo, OF (34)
Eric Karros, 1B (84)
Jose Vizciano, 2B/SS (99)
: Offerman, Goodwin and Vizciano saw time in the bigs. Karros was the 1992 Rookie of the Year and the L.A. Dodger all-time home run leader


Offerman (4)
Raul Mondesi, OF (14)
Henry Rodriguez, OF (29)
Jamie McAndrew, RHP (41)
Jones (41)
Dan Opperman, RHP (71)
Goodwin (74)
Karros (94)
Comments: Boy, they had high hopes for Offerman. Rodriguez made his name in Montreal.

Pedro Martinez, RHP (10)
Mondesi (21)
: A future Hall-of-Famer and one of the better five-tool players of the 1990s who also won the 1994 ROY.

Mike Piazza, C (38)
Martinez (62)
Mondesi (82)
Roger Cedeno, OF (85)
Comments: Another HOF'er and my favorite player of all-time in Piazza. Martinez dropped and was later traded for 2B Delino DeShields.

Darren Dreifort, RHP (11)
Chan Ho Park, RHP (14)
Todd Hollandsworth, OF (27)
Cedeno (38)
Mondesi (51)
Rick Gorecki, RHP (75)
Comments: Dreifort was the No. 2 pick in the 1993 MLB Draft behind Alex Rodriguez. Oh what might have been. All these guys saw time in the bigs, and all but Gorecki saw significant time.

Hollandsworth (13)
Antonio Osuna, RHP (15)
Cedeno (26)
Paul Konerko, C/1B (45)
Park (41)
Karim Garcia, OF (98)
Comments: The first Garcia sighting and like the previous year, these guys all made the big leagues.

Garcia (7)
Park (18)
Konerko (42)
Hollandsworth (44)
Cedeno (57)
Wilton Guerrero, SS (61)
Comments: Garcia looked bound for superstardom and the Dodgers signed the wrong Guerrero, as Wilton is Vladimir's brother. Hollandsworth won the 1995 ROY.

Konerko (11)
Garcia (20)
Adrian Beltre, 3B (30)
Guerrero (49)
Onan Masaoka, LHP (95)
Comments: Believe it or not, I remember Masaoka (No. 40). Beltre makes his first appearance.

Konerko (2)
Beltre (3)
Mike Judd, RHP (59)
Dennis Reyes, LHP (91)
Comments: Talk about top-heavy. The Dodgers haven't had two guys in the top five since and didn't prior to 1998.

Angel Pena, C (41)
Comments: Pretty sad when you think about it.

2000 (23)
Chin-Feng Chen, OF (17)
Eric Gagne, RHP (49)
Comments: The Dodgers made a splash in the international market to bring in Chen and Gagne had potential.

2001 (28)
Chen (86)
Comments: Back to being sad.

2002 (25)
Kazuhisa Ishii, LHP (35)
Chen (64)
Ricardo Rodriguez, RHP (2002)
Comments: Ishii was a free agent from Japan and Rodriguez was later traded for RHP Paul Shuey.

2003 (14)
James Loney, 1B (34)
Jonathan Figueroa, LHP (35)
Edwin Jackson, RHP (99)
Comments: The turnaround begins. Unfortunately, Figueroa never made it (R.I.P.)

2004 (2)
Jackson (4)
Greg Miller, LHP (8)
Franklin Gutierrez, OF (31)
Loney (42)
Comments: Jackson came up in 2003 on his birthday and out-dueled Randy Johnson to earn this ranking. Gutierrez is now one of the best defensive outfielders in the majors and was traded for Milton Bradley prior to the '04 season. Miller had some of the greatest potential of any Dodger prospect.

2005 (2)
Joel Guzman, SS (5)
Chad Billingsley, RHP (19)
Jackson (30)
Loney (62)
Andy LaRoche, 3B (74)
Russell Martin, C (89)
Miller (100)
Comments: Another international signing in Guzman, which has been missing from the Dodgers' farm system in recent years. Billingsley makes his first appearance.

2006 (2)
Billingsley (7)
LaRoche (19)
Guzman (26)
Martin (42)
Scott Elbert, LHP (55)
Jonathan Broxton, RHP (63)
Blake DeWitt, 3B (82)
Andre Ethier, OF (89)
Matt Kemp, OF (96)
Comments: This was the year that had everyone talking. Despite having nine guys in the top 100, BA still ranked the Diamondbacks' overrated farm system ahead of the Dodgers'. Ethier was acquired in the Milton Bradley deal while the others were homegrown.

2007 (6)
LaRoche (19)
Clayton Kershaw, LHP (24)
Elbert (31)
Loney (44)
Comments: Graduations hurt the Dodgers' minor league depth. Grabbing Kershaw at No. 7 overall helped a lot.

2008 (6)
Kershaw (7)
LaRoche (31)
Chin-lung Hu, SS (55)
Elbert (88)
Comments: Kershaw established himself as one of the best pitching prospects in baseball and was on the fast track to stardom. Hu forced himself onto the list with a breakout 2007.

2009 (23)
Andrew Lambo, OF/1B (49)
James McDonald, RHP (56)
Comments: Again, graduations and poor decisions (like trading Carlos Santana for Casey Blake) hurt the depth. Ironically, these two were traded for Dotel in July 2010.

2010 (24)
Dee Gordon, SS (46)
Chris Withrow, RHP (48)
Comments: Withrow had a horrible 2010, which will likely keep him out of the 2011 Top 100, but Gordon should be firmly entrenched on the list.

The Dodgers' farm system has the ability to turn it around with high-potential prospects like Gordon, Rubby De La Rosa and Zach Lee. It'll be interesting to see how they develop of the next couple years and how the Dodgers plan to replenish the system. Getting back into the international market would be a great start.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dodgers ship Chin-Lung Hu to New York

The Dodgers traded Chin-Lung Hu to the New York Mets for minor league left-handed pitcher Mike Antonini.

This borders on not newsworthy, but since so little has happened with the Dodgers in the last couple of weeks, why the hell not make a post?

Like the Dodgers did with Ryan Theriot, they were lucky to get anything for a guy who would soon have been claimed off waivers by another team as Hu was out of options. It would have taken some sort of miracle for him to start the season on the Dodgers' bench.

Hu, 26, was once the Dodgers' No. 3 prospect after his breakout 2007 season. Since then, he has failed to come close to those numbers, even while playing in the rarefied air of the Pacific Coast League. His glove is still top-notch, which is why he'll bounce around from team-to-team for the rest of his career. Slick-fielding shortstops aren't as easy to find as they once were -- but they aren't exactly a commodity, either.

He could start the season on the Mets' bench as Jose Reyes' primary backup at shortstop.

Antonini, 24, is nothing but organizational depth. He's spent four seasons in the minors and made it as far as Triple-A. He should begin at Albuquerque. He's left-handed, so there's always the chance he could make the majors in the future.

His numbers are less-than impressive, posting a 4.04 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 7.0 K/9. On the surface, those aren't terrible numbers, but he did most of the good stuff while in the lower levels of the minors.

The best part is, Antonini and I share a birthday, so he's got that going for him.

Here's hoping there are a couple more moves in the Dodgers' future.

My Hall of Fame ballot

Again, since there's so little going on in Dodger land, I thought I'd do my own Hall of Fame ballot, as many baseball writers are doing around this time.

Last year's close calls

Bert Blyleven, who has been on the ballot for 14 years, just missed the required 75 percent vote, coming in at 74.2 percent.

Roberto Alomar garnered 73.7 percent after his first year on the ballot.

The next closest player was Jack Morris, who had 52.3 percent, followed by Barry Larkin at 51.6 percent.

Without further adieu, here is my ballot... if I had one.

RHP Bert Blyleven
- The guy should have been in many years ago. He has the 43rd-best Wins Above Replacement total of all-time at 87.6, which ranks him No. 13 amongst pitchers. To put it in perspective, every player in the top 50 is a Hall-of-Famer or future Hall-of-Famer (Alex Rodriguez 101.9; Randy Johnson, 89.6; Albert Pujols, 83.8). He also ranks No. 14 all-time in innings pitched (4970).
Most impressive season: 1973, Minnesota: 20-17, 2.52 ERA, 325 IP, 1.12 WHIP, 3.85 K/BB (led AL), 25 CG, 9 SHO, 158 ERA+ (led league)

2B Roberto Alomar
- I grew up with baseball in the 1990s, so Alomar was a prominent player. He might be the best second baseman I ever saw. He would have been a first-ballot guy for me. Despite playing a defense-first position, Alomar ranks No. 64 all-time in offensive WAR and No. 87 overall. He made 12 consecutive All-Star appearances and won 10 Gold Gloves in that time. He also had a career .814 OPS.
Most impressive season: 2001, Cleveland: .336/.415/.541/.956, 20 home runs, 100 RBI, 150 OPS+

OF Tim Raines
- Aside from Rickey Henderson, Raines is the best leadoff hitter of the last 50 years. Batting first, he had a slash line of .294/.385/.427. Surprisingly, he spent a lot of time batting second and third in his career (2841 plate appearances), but he will always been known as a leadoff guy. He had a four-year stretch from 1981-84 in which he led the National League in stolen bases -- 71, 78, 90, 75 respectively. In '81, a strike-shortened season, he stole those 71 bases in 88 games.
Most impressive season: 1987, Montreal: .330/.429/.526/.955, 18 home runs, 68 RBI, 50-for-55 in SB, 123 runs scored, 149 OPS+

SS Barry Larkin
- Much like Alomar, when you thought of shortstops in the '90s, Larkin was one of the first guys you thought of. Not only was he a solid defender, he was pretty good with the bat -- so much so that he took home the 1995 NL MVP. He was a consistent hitter, putting up a career line of .295/.371/.444 and was the face of the Cincinnati Reds franchise for the better part of 13 years.
Most impressive season: 1996, Cincinnati: .298/.410/.567/.977, 33 home runs, 89 RBI, 36-for-46 in SB, 117 runs scored, 154 OPS+

SS Alan Trammel
- Trammell is a lot like Barry Larkin. When you think of the Tigers in the '80s, Trammell is the first guy you think of. He, along with Cal Ripken, were the first two guys to redefine the shortstop position, as they were offensive (the good offensive) players. However, they didn't sacrifice defense for offense. From 1983-90, Trammel had an .813 OPS as a shortstop. In a time when shortstops were "glove-only" guys, it was almost unheard of. He also has the 72nd-best WAR of all-time (66.9), 0.2 points in front of Dodgers' Hall-of-Famer Pee Wee Reese. He's also 0.2 points ahead of former Dodger Eddie Murray.
Most impressive season: 1987, Detroit: .343/.402/.551/.953, 28 home runs, 105 RBI, 21-for-23 in SB, 155 OPS+

Then you have a few cases of standards. How does one sort out the so-called "Steroid Era"? How does one determine the value of a designated hitter and closer?

I'm talking about Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez and Lee Smith.

McGwire and Palmeiro have been busted for performance-enhancing drug use and some people believe Bagwell used, despite lack of evidence. I like Bagwell, but he wouldn't be a first-ballot guy for me anyway. Bagwell was one of the most dominant players of the '90s and I'm sure he'll get in eventually.

Is it fair to hold PED allegations against Bagwell even though he's never been busted or admitted to using? Of course not. Unfortunately, that is the way it is today. People are going to suspect and convict certain players in their own courts (their minds).

Martinez came up as a third baseman, but injuries relegated him to DH duties. He made it count, as he put up a .314/.428/.532/.959 line as a DH in his career. And he wasn't just a good hitter, he was a great hitter. From 1992-2003, he had a .319/.431/.548 line in the middle of that potent Seattle Mariner lineup. In many ways, he, not Ken Griffey, Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson, was the Seattle Mariners. He wasn't the most charismatic or flashy guy, but he did his job and did it well.

That being said, I'm an NL guy and I think the DH is a joke. Still, it's hard to argue with results. He got 36.2 percent of the vote last year. This is Martinez's second year on the ballot and if my vote counted, I probably wouldn't vote Martinez in on the first- or second ballot, but he'd get a vote from me eventually.

Smith was once the all-time saves leader -- a statistic that has lost value over the years. He had similar and sometimes better numbers than Hall-of-Famer Rollie Fingers, but I'm not sure he deserves to make it. It's his ninth year on the ballot and his percentage has been increasing. I'm not sure he'll get enough to make the Hall before he is off the ballot.

So, there's my ballot. Feel free to chime in with your own ballot or if you think I'm off my rocker.


The Dodger blog world

You may have noticed Jack Morris did not make my ballot. Well, Mike Petriello of Mike Scoscia's Tragic Illness can be thanked for that. His post about Morris and Orel Hershiser pretty much sums it up.

DodgerBobble posted a bobblehead of one of my favorite Dodgers of all-time, Shawn Green. His 2001 and 2002 ranks among the best Dodger offensive seasons of all-time.

Chad Moriyama of Memories of Kevin Malone posted a nice recap of the Dodgers in the Arizona Fall League.

Dingers' Blog posted two great reads about subtle racism in baseball from 2010. Read them here and here.


Former Dodger closer Takashi Saito signed a 1-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, Ken Rosenthal reported.

Saito had a bounce-back 2010 with the Braves after a somewhat rough 2009 season with the Red Sox. He had a 2.43 ERA for the Red Sox, but he also had the highest WHIP of his career (1.35), H/9 (8.1), HR/9 (1.0) and BB/9 (4.0). He also had the lowest K/9 (8.4) and worst K/BB (2.08) ratio of his career while in Beantown.

In Atlanta, he had a 2.83 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 6.8 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 2.8 BB/9, 11.5 K/9 and 4.06 K/BB ratio.

This is a fantastic signing by the Brewers. He could definitely step in at closer if rookie standout John Axford falters.

If only Colletti would have brought back Saito on a 1-year deal instead of signing Matt Guerrier for three years.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Around the Dodgers' blog world

Not much happening in Dodger land right now. The Brewers acquired Zack Greinke for four prospects on Sunday and Ken Gurnick says the Dodgers have contacted Marcus Thames and Scott and Jerry Hairston about the left field vacancy.

I said in my last post I'd take a flier on Thames. At the time, I didn't realize his defense was so God-awful. But could it really be any worse than Manny Ramirez loafing around left field every day?

One spot of good news: Ken Rosenthal reports that the Anaheim Angels are interested in Scott Podsednik. This is possibly the best Christmas present Dodger fans could ask for -- Podsednik and his scrappiness ending up in Anaheim instead of Los Angeles. Here's hoping it happens.

The news also prompted a few of nice tweets:
@truebluela: "Go Tony Reagins! #Pods"
@MikeScosciasTI: "YES! Pods! Go Angels!"
@jay_jaffe: "Dear Baby Jesus and/or Santa Claus, please give Scott Podsednik to the Angels for Christmas instead of the Dodgers."
News and notes from other Dodger blogs:

Mike Petriello of Mike Scoscia's Tragic Illness throws out an intriguing option for the Dodgers' left field opening. It's so intriguing that General Manager Ned Colletti would never even think to make such a move.

Roberto Baly of Vin Scully is my Homeboy, which is the best name for a Dodger blog out there, writes he would have brought in Orlando Hudson or Japanese import Tsuyoshi Nishioka -- both of whom signed for less money than the great Juan Uribe.

Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts lays out the Dodgers' payroll as of now, including predictions for the arbitration-eligible players. The paryoll is approaching $110 million, including all the deferred money -- $17.35 million.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dodgers lose out on Hall, what's next?

Bill Hall signed with the Houston Astros on Friday for $3.25 million. Hall had been linked to the Dodgers for a couple weeks now.

The Dodgers wanted him to be their primary left fielder. Houston grabbed him to be their full-time second baseman.

I'm not sure what it came down to, but Hall's preference for infield duty probably helped in his decision. Also, that short porch in left field is probably quite attractive to Hall.

So, where do the Dodgers go from here? With left-field options dwindling, the name Scott Podsednik is being brought up.

This would be terrible.

Not only is Podsednik not a right-handed hitter with pop, he can't play defense. While I said earlier in the off-season the Dodgers should have offered him arbitration and that he'd be a nice fourth outfielder, many are fearing he'll be the starter Opening Day.

A few right-handed options remain: Jermaine Dye, Austin Kearns, Lastings Milledge and Marcus Thames.

Dye did not play last season, but owns a career .826 OPS. However, his defense in 2009 was the worst of any Major League right fielder. He could be the most intriguing part-time LF option. But how would the year off affect him?

Kearns hit righties a little better than lefties last year, but he hits lefties a little better than righties for his career. Go figure.

Milledge is young but also comes with baggage. The former first-round pick hits lefties much better than righties (.798 vs. .690 OPS).

Thames is a guy who hits lefties better than righties and provides the most power-potential of this quartet.

My preference for the four is as follows:
  1. Thames
  2. Milledge
  3. Dye
  4. Kearns
Having said that, Kearns is probably the most likely, as his name is the only one mentioned in connection with the Dodgers at all this off-season.

The best option, a.k.a. the most unrealistic option, is to sign Adrian Beltre to play third base and platoon Casey Blake in left field with Gibbons. But Beltre apparently has a $70 million offer from Anaheim, so there goes that idea.


Articles from other Dodger blogs

Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts said as of right now, he'd start Tony Gwynn, Jr., as the Dodgers' third outfielder. And he'd start him in center field, moving Matt Kemp to right field and Andre Ethier to left field.

That would certainly give the Dodgers the best defensive outfield possible, as both Kemp and Ethier regressed defensively last season.

It's hard to argue the point, especially if the Dodgers are going with the "pitching and defense" angle.

We'll see what happens.

Mike Petriello of Mike Scoscia's Tragic Illness says Dodger fans should not get too excited about Zack Greinke demanding a trade from Kansas City. He also wonders what's next for the Dodgers' left-field vacancy.

Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. says the Dodgers need to stay away from Podsednik, while making a nice A Christmas Story reference. He also had a great article on how and why the Dodgers need to lock up Clayton Kershaw right now.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dodgers sign Matt Guerrier to 3-year deal

Updated 1:28 p.m.

And the hits keep on comin'.

The Dodgers inexplicably signed former Minnesota Twins' reliever Matt Guerrier to a 3-year deal, $12 million deal today, as reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

On the surface, Guerrier looks like a decent pickup. Then you factor in his age (32), the number of games pitched (most in baseball after Pedro Feliciano) and his low K/9 rate (5.9 for his career) and it isn't a great deal.

New stuff: And most of all, the contract. Why on God's green earth is Guerrier getting a 3-year deal? It's not like right-handed middle relievers are rare. This just makes no sense.

Ned Colletti strikes again. There is absolutely no need to dump $4 million a year (though I'm sure some will be deferred) on a middle reliever. Guerrier has a nice ERA for his career (3.38), but his peripherals are not great.

The only good thing is Guerrier has been better the past two seasons than he has his entire career. He has a 2.75 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 7.0 H/9, 2.3 BB/9 and 2.34 BB/9 in his last two seasons. However, his K/9 is less-than ideal (5.4).

And if you're a fan of sabermetics, FanGraphs says his numbers are likely to be worse in L.A.

Then again, he has averaged 76 innings pitched per season since 2005, so it wouldn't shock me one bit to see him end up on the disabled list during his tenure as a Dodger.

If Guerrier was brought in on a 1-year deal, this would be easier to take. But he's here for three years and probably will not live up to the $4 million a season he'll average annually.

As of now, the bullpen looks like this:
  • Vicente Padilla
  • Blake Hawksworth
  • Matt Guerrier
  • Kenley Jansen
  • Hong-Chih Kuo
  • Jonathan Broxton
That leaves probably one spot; preferably for a lefty. With the way Scott Elbert pitched in the Arizona Fall League, he should have a great look at the last spot in the bullpen. That would leave 2009 standout Ronald Belisario out of a job. And what to do with Ramon Troncoso? I think he still has options, so it isn't out of the realm of possibility that he starts the season in Triple-A.

Guerrier joins the list of terrible signings by Colletti:

Juan Uribe - $5 million
Rod Barajas - $3.25 million
Dioner Navarro - $1 million

You're telling me with $13.25 million, the Dodgers could not have signed or traded for an impact player? Because none of the guys above are impact players.

Colletti gets money to try to improve the team and he goes and makes it potentially worse than 2010. OK, maybe not worse, but the team isn't significantly better right now than it was in 2010.

Granted, there would be other holes to fill, but finding patchwork pieces is a lot easier than landing an impact player. It just isn't a good allocation of the team's limited resources.

The signings of Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Garland and Vicente Padilla were nice signings. Ted Lilly's deal is looking a little worse than it did at first, but it's acceptable. Every other signing was a joke and there were cheaper alternatives available.

I never knew someone could be so incompetent -- and this is the same guy who signed Juan Pierre for five years and an injured Jason Schmidt for three years.

Ownership cannot change fast enough. I don't care who ends up owning the Dodgers (for the most part) as long as he or she gives Colletti his walking papers.

Until then, we're stuck with these medial moves by one Mr. Colletti.


Former Dodger catcher Russell Martin passed his physical and finalized his 1-year, $4 million contract with the New York Yankees today.

He signed for $200,000 less than the Dodgers offered in guaranteed money.

Looks like he underestimated the market and the interest in him.

Oh well. I still wish Martin well. He was once my favorite Dodger, as I'm partial to catchers. Perhaps I'll have to do another installment of "What could have been," featuring Martin.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Feelin' Kinda Blue news

Hey folks, I just got done securing a domain name for this blog. You can still use get here. You can also use to view this blog.

Also, Feelin' Kinda Blue just became the sponsor of the Kenley Jansen Baseball-Reference page. I'm pretty happy about that.

Enjoy reading and thank you for your patronage.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dodger doings: Hall, Greinke, Castro, Velez

The Dodgers are discussing whether or not to bring in utility player Bill Hall to be their primary left fielder, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes.

While I have an inexplicable fondness of Hall, to bring him in as the "primary" left fielder would be a mistake. Unless something changes with the Dodgers' money situation in the near future, the Dodgers won't have a "primary" left fielder. It's going to be a season-long platoon comprised of Jay Gibbons, Tony Gwynn, Jr., Casey Blake and maybe (but probably not) Xavier Paul.

An uninspiring bunch for sure. Adding Hall to the mix would be nice, as he has the versatility to play the corner outfield spots, third base, second base and even shortstop and center field in a pinch.

His bat leaves much to be desired, which is why he'd be a much better part-time player than "primary" left fielder. He has pop (18 home runs in 344 at-bats last season) and, surprisingly, doesn't exactly rake against left-handed pitchers.


Jon Heyman continues to report the Dodgers are still in on Kansas City Royals' RHP Zack Greinke.

"With the Rangers, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Nationals and Brewers believed to be in the mix pretty seriously, and the possibility of one or two more teams that fail to land Lee ready to dive in, Moore is said to be shooting for a 'haul'"

"The Phillies are yet another team that's been connected to Greinke -- though the Rangers, Nats, Brewers, Blue Jays and
Dodgers are seen as the early favorites."

Jerry Crasnick of has since said the Phillies are all but out on Greinke.

The Dodgers have six starting pitchers. As I said in my previous post, acquiring Greinke could lead to a trade of Chad Billingsley. While it makes sense to have as much pitching as possible, Ned Colletti might be taking that message too literally.

If the Dodgers traded for Greinke and kept Billingsley, they'd have one hell of a rotation.
  1. Clayton Kershaw
  2. Zack Greinke
  3. Chad Billingsley
  4. Ted Lilly
  5. Hiroki Kuroda
Which would relegate newly-signed Jon Garland to bullpen duty, along with Vicente Padilla.

That rotation could get head-to-head with the best of 'em, but the offense would still be an issue. I don't see the Royals taking a package of prospects from the Dodgers (Dee Gordon, Trayvon Robinson and a pitcher to start) for Greinke, but you never know.


The Dodgers signed some minor-league depth, including a former Giant (I know, you're as shocked as I am). They signed catcher J.D. Closser, infielder Juan Castro and utility man Eugenio Velez.

Funny aside: I once got Castro to autograph a baseball for me during my second visit to Dodger Stadium in 1996.

Mike Petriello of Mike Scocia's Tragic Illness had a nice post on Castro and the Dodgers' refusal to sever ties with the fourth-worst hitter in Major League Baseball history.

Velez is not a good baseball player. He's a below-average hitter and fielder. His best attribute is his baserunning, which is merely average.

Still, he's just minor league depth. Having said that, I'd be shocked if he doesn't get some playing time in Los Angeles this season. He is a former Giant after all and we all know Colletti's obsession for guys who have "been there" and "knows what it takes to win." I mean, he is a World Series champion.

Excuse me while I go clean up because that last sentence made me sick.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dodgers to make move with recent SP acquisitions?

Dodgers about to bring back Dioner Navarro

Editor's note: This is my own speculation. There is no factual basis behind this post.

With the Los Angeles Dodgers signing four starting pitchers this off-season -- Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Garland and Vicente Padilla -- could the Dodgers be getting ready to make a big, unexpected trade?

I realize Padilla was signed to be a "utility" pitcher, but it still begs the question.

Two of the names the Dodgers have been linked to in some way, shape or form are Prince Fielder and Zack Greinke.

I posted yesterday about the Fielder rumor and didn't give it much life. For the Brewers to trade the slugging first baseman, they'd have to certainly get a good, young starting pitcher in return. While I wouldn't trade two cost-controlled years of Chad Billingsley for one year of Fielder, a deal of some sort would make sense for both teams.

To Milwaukee: RHP Chad Billingsley, 1B James Loney
To Los Angeles: 1B Prince Fielder

The Brewers just traded their top prospect -- 2B Brett Lawrie -- to Toronto for RHP Shaun Marcum, so they are committed to signing current 2B Rickie Weeks to a long-term extension. If the Brewers could get a pitcher like Billingsley for Fielder, they'd have to seriously consider it.

If they acquired Billingsley, their rotation shapes up like this:
  1. Yovani Gallardo
  2. Chad Billingsley
  3. Randy Wolf
  4. Shaun Marcum
  5. Manny Parra/Chris Narveson
That is not the worst 1-5 out there. The offense suffers with Loney replacing fielder, but the starting pitching is much better. The original rumor (which was shot down by many sources) was Jonathan Broxton and Loney for Fielder. Billingsley has a much higher trade value than Broxton.

Also, Fielder is a free agent after the season. I'm sure the Dodgers would try to lock him up long-term, but it's going to take a lot of money to do so.

Greinke is being "seriously" pursued by five teams, Ken Rosenthal writes in his latest article.

While most would rather build a Greinke package around prospects, the Dodgers might not have enough to get it done. I suggested a prospect-only package last month, but it probably isn't the best deal Kansas City could get for the 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner.

If the Royals want to get Billingsley in a package for Greinke, something like this could work:

To Kansas City: RHP Chad Billingsley, SS Dee Gordon
To Los Angeles: RHP Zack Greinke

Let me just say, I would not do the above deal. However, the Royals are asking for a lot for Greinke. It might take something like this (if not more) to get something done.

Now, if you're getting 2009-esque Greinke, this is a solid trade. If you're getting any other other year of Zack Greinke, it's a lateral move.

Like I said, this is my own speculation from the reports out there right now. The vast majority of what is reported at the Winter Meetings is rumor or flat-out false, so I wouldn't get too worked up about this.


Updating a piece from yesterday, OF Matt Diaz signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates last night -- 2 years, $4.25 million. Jayson Stark, renowned Philly homer, said the Dodgers were prepared to make a larger offer but Diaz wanted to stay on the east coast and train in Florida. Pittsburgh also offers him more playing time.

Well, Mr. Diaz, enjoy your time in Pittsburgh. It isn't going to be the best experience of your career (win-wise) and you're likely to be traded before your contract expires.

Oh well. The Dodgers move onto other options, including Bill Hall and Austin Kearns. I'd gladly take Hall, as his versatility is a plus. We'll see what happens.

Update (2:38 p.m.): Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times tweets the Dodgers are looking at Hall for the LF vacancy. He'd presumably be platooned with Jay Gibbons and/or newly-acquired Tony Gwynn, Jr.


This just came down: The Dodgers are close to signing former Dodger catcher Dioner Navarro to a 1-year deal.

Navarro was an all-star with Tampa Bay in 2008 (.295/.349/.407) but had a miserable couple of seasons in 2009 and 2010 (.212/.263/.306). This will ensure two things: Russell Martin will not return and A.J. Ellis -- who could put up comparable numbers to Navarro for likely a cheaper price -- will again start in Triple-A.

The Dodgers traded Navarro, RHP Jae Weong Seo and minor-league OF Justin Ruggiano to Tamap for LHP Mark Hendrickson and C Toby Hall in June 2006.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dodger happenings: McCourts, Fielder, Padilla, Diaz, Gwynn

It's been a busy couple of days at the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla. The Dodgers have been involved in a few things. Here's a quick recap.

The potentially big news is the judge in the McCourt v. McCourt case ruled in favor of Jamie, meaning Frank does not own the Dodgers completely.

Josh Fisher of Dodger Divorce has everything you need to know regarding the case, including the court document.

This is good news if you want Frank to sell the team. However, it virtually ensures it will be a long, drawn-out battle.

Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times says the ruling is reason enough for Major League Baseball to force the McCourts to sell the team. That would be splendid.


On Monday, Tony Jackson of ESPN LA first reported (later updated) the Dodgers and Brewers were talking about a James Loney and Jonathan Broxton for Prince Fielder trade. It was shot down by a lot of other sources.

The Dodger blog, Dodger Rumors, made an interesting argument to try to find validity in the initial report. I'm sure there was some validity originally, but reporters are told false information by sources all the time. I'm not buying the rumor, mostly because it's too good to be true.

The Brewers would more than likely acquire a quality young starting pitcher in a deal for Fielder, which is why the rumor doesn't exactly pass the smell test. One can hope, though.


The Dodgers have indeed re-signed RHP Vicente Padilla to a 1-year, $2 million contract with performance incentives.

The Dodgers have been rumored for nearly a week to be interested in Padilla's services. He's likely to serve as a swingman and potentially a late-inning reliever.

I'm not sure how I feel about the latter part of the above statement. Padilla has some nasty stuff but I'm not sure he's cut out for late-inning duties. This could be a precursor to a Broxton trade, as he is available, said CBS Sportsline's Scott Miller.

Having Padilla back as insurance for the rotation is great -- and at a great price.


Finally, the ESPN's Molly Knight tweeted yesterday that former Tampa Bay Devil Ray (they were still the Devil Rays then), Kansas City Royal and Atlanta Brave Matt Diaz was the Dodgers' No. 1 priority for left field. Jackson followed it up with a story saying it was down to Diaz, Scott Podsednik and a "mystery" third outfielder.

Today Knight tweets that Diaz-to-LA could happen "sooner rather than later."

This would be a great get. Diaz absolute kills left-handed pitching, boasting a career .907 OPS against southpaws. He would be the ideal platoon partner for Jay Gibbons and/or Xavier Paul. Word is if Diaz is signed, Paul would be available via trade as he is out of Minor League options.

Update (2:51 p.m.): This just came across the wire: The Dodgers signed Tony Gwynn, Jr., to a 1-year deal, Major League contract, tweeted Tom Krasovic of Fanhouse. Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times confirmed the report. This is probably nothing more than filler (fifth outfielder) and shouldn't take the Dodgers out of the Diaz running.


Finally, many thanks to the Dodger blog, Dodgerbobble, for a mention in his most recent post. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fare the well, Russell Martin, Dodgers cut ties with catcher

Russell Martin was one of the most promising young catchers in baseball, mentioned in the same breath as Joe Mauer and Brian McCann. Now, he's an afterthought -- and a free agent.

The Dodgers effectively ended their relationship with Russell Martin on Thursday night when the declined to tender him a contract.

They could try to re-sign him, but it's highly unlikely.

Martin will catch on (my apologies) somewhere else. Rumors has it the Red Sox could be interested in his services. They lost Victor Martinez and just re-signed Jason Varitek, who is no longer a starting-caliber catcher in the Major Leagues. Theo Epstein loves guys who can get on base, and Martin still has a good walk rate.

However, his health must be a major concern. With a weak catching market, one would think the Dodgers would have been more inclined to bring Martin back. If his hip isn't kosher, there's no sense in the Dodgers spending as little as $4.04 million or up to $6- or $7 million for a guy who's hurt and would give below-average production.

So what will the Dodgers do? They've been rumored to be interested in Varitek, A.J. Pierzynski and Yorvit Torrealba -- all of whom have signed this off-season. That pretty much leaves Rod Barajas and Miguel Olivo.

A.J. Ellis is a lock to make the roster. He had a solid September/October, so there's hope for him as a backup. A platoon of Ellis and a guy like Barajas/Olivo could work, but only if the Dodgers acquire a big-time bat. With Adam Dunn signing with the White Sox today, their options are dwindling.

Barring a trade to bring in a catcher, the Dodgers are going to be light offensively at the catcher position.

Update (9:17 p.m.): Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times tweeted, saying the Dodgers are close to re-signing Rod Barajas.

Update (9:24 p.m.): From Hernandez, Martin's last proposal to the Dodgers: $5 million plus $1 million in incentives. He also said the Dodgers remain interested in re-signing Martin and if he comes back, it could be as a part-time catcher. Whether that means he'd play 100 games at catcher or get some time at 3B, we don't know.

Update (9:46 p.m.): Hernandez tweets, saying Barajas' deal is for one year.

Martin was on the fast track to stardom before regressing greatly the past two seasons. I've ripped him enough. Despite that, I'm still going to miss him. I've always had a soft spot for catchers, as that was my primary position playing baseball growing up.

I wish Martin luck with whatever team he ends up with. The hip injury won't be easy to bounce back from -- especially for a catcher.

The Dodgers also non-tendered George Sherrill and Trent Oeltjen. Good riddance to Sherrill, unless he wants to come back for $1 million to be the LOOGY (left-handed-one-out-only-guy).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ryan Theriot a Dodger no more, traded to Cardinals

The Dodgers traded infielder Ryan Theriot to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-handed pitcher Blake Hawksworth.

Unlike yesterday's horrific news, this is actually good news. Theriot was not going to return after the signing of Juan Uribe, but many thought he'd be non-tendered.

The Dodgers acquired Hawksworth, 27, who had a really good rookie year for the Cardinals in 2009 (40 innings, 2.03 ERA, 1.10 WHIP). However, his 2010 was not nearly as good. He is a long reliever-type, as he appeared in 45 games last season (eight starts), totaling 90 1/3 innings. A positive sign in Hawksworth's 2010 numbers is he increased his K/9 rate to 6.1 (up from 4.5 in 2009). He was a starter for all but four games in the minors, so he has the stamina to be the Dodgers' long reliever.

Another encouraging sign is Hawksworth had a 3.25 ERA and 1.32 WHIP (a tad high) as a reliever, so he fared much better in that respect.

Hawksworth is making the near the Major League minimum, so the Dodgers (assuming no money is changing hands) will not take on much in terms of payroll. Hawksworth is also out of options, per Eric Stephen of True Blue LA.

Theriot's less-than-spectacular run as a Dodger is thankfully over. He hit .242/.323.283 in his 228 Los Angeles Dodger plate appearances. While he had a nice walk rate, he provided virtually nothing else offensively (42 singles out of 48 hits). Theriot's defense is solid, but not for what he would have made in arbitration -- as much as $4-5 million.

This is not a blockbuster trade by any means, but the Dodgers did well to at least get a potentially serviceable piece for a guy who was going to be off the team come Thursday anyway.

What does this mean for Carlos Monasterios? Potentially nothing. Monasterios was slotted in the long reliever/swingman role for the Dodgers. Then again, it couldn't hurt to have two guys who could start on short notice or throw extended innings if a member of the Dodgers' rotation has a bad outing.

I still wish Juan Uribe wasn't a Dodger, though.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dodgers sign Juan Uribe, Baby Jesus weeps

In a not-so-surprising move, after yesterday's rumor, the Dodgers have indeed signed the free-swinging Juan Uribe to a 3-year, $21 million contract.

That's right, three years and $7 million a year for a guy with a career .300 on-base percentage.

Just when you think Ned Colletti couldn't out do himself, he drops this gem on everyone.

There goes $7 million the Dodgers could have used to acquire a real hitter -- someone who would make an impact on the lineup -- not a utility infielder with a career .731 OPS.

This is just laughable.

Any optimism Dodger fans had after Colletti was able to shore up the rotation with the re-signings of Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda and the addition of Jon Garland are gone. This could very well go down as Colletti's worst free agent signing. And yes, I am taking into account the Juan Pierre debacle.

The Giants picked this guy up two years ago after a bad season with the White Sox (.247/.296/.386) and put together a nice 2009 season (.289/.329/.495). His 2010 was not so great, despite a career-high in home runs (24) and RBI (85).

Uribe, 31, has a solid glove, but not solid enough to justify $7 million a year and giving a supplemental first-round pick to the Giants.

Side note: You see, Ned, this is what happens when you offer arbitration to Type-B free agents. The signing team doesn't have to give up a draft pick, but the player's former employer gets a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds. It's too bad you're too incompetent to offer arbitration to the likes of Scott Podsednik (who would have certainly declined) and Rod Barajas, the latter of whom you tried to sign during the exclusive negotiating period.

But I digress.

I hope you, the reader and Dodger fan, weren't hoping for a big-name bat because Colletti likely blew a lot of his remaining budget on Uribe.

The only good news to come from this is Ryan Theriot is quite likely to get non-tendered.

This reeks of the Casey Blake deal two-plus years ago -- except for the fact that Casey Blake is actually a solid baseball player. Uribe is not, and this deal will not work out well for the Dodgers.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dodgers 'eyeing' Juan Uribe... for some reason

Ken Gurnick of said the Dodgers are interested in Juan Uribe.

Oh boy.

All that damn clutchiness Uribe displayed in the playoffs really piqued Ned Colletti's interest. Earlier in the off-season, a tweet by Enrique Rojas of ESPN said the Dodgers were looking at Edgar Renteria for their second base opening.

I said in my last post I wanted to see the Dodgers involved in rumors for a bat, but I was thinking more along the lines of Adam Dunn, Adrian Beltre or a player via trade -- not some washed-up, free-swinging middle infielders.

I also have to take exception with this comment from the article:

"The addition of Uribe not only would weaken San Francisco but provide the Dodgers with a needed veteran power bat for the middle of the lineup."

OK, the first part of the statement is true. Uribe is a versatile player and would hurt the Giants' depth. However, the second part couldn't be more off-base. Middle of the lineup? Are you kidding me? Uribe would bat sixth at very best with the current Dodgers' lineup.

In his off-season plan post on Mike Scocia's Tragic Illness, Mike said he would sign Uribe for one year, $5 million and a club option for 2012.

"Uribe's not perfect. But for $4-5m, would you rather a low-OBP guy with zero power and decent defense, or a low-OBP guy with good power and plus defense? Now, it's possible I'm short-changing the contract Uribe would get here, but he was horrendous in 2007 and '08, to the point where he had to take a minor-league deal before 2009."

The "low-OBP guy with zero power and decent defense" is Ryan Theriot. These are valid points. At the time this was written (Oct. 11), Uribe had yet to "clutch up" in the playoffs. Now, Uribe's market value has increased and no longer makes sense for the Dodgers -- especially a multiyear deal.

I know the Dodgers aren't going to land a Carl Crawford or Adrian Gonzalez, but they have to be able to do better than Uribe. The money it would take to sign Uribe could be used to acquire Dunn, Beltre or someone else while letting Ivan De Jesus have a shot at second base.

Uribe's versatility is enticing, but his .300 OBP and free-swinging ways are not. The Dodgers need to invest their resources better this off-season. The rotation is shored up and Colletti did a good job there. He still thinks the Dodgers need a reliever, even though the Dodgers' current contingent could do just fine. However, other than these washed-up players, the Dodgers have not been involved in any rumors for a big bat. I know big bats don't grow on trees, but it'd be nice to hear the Dodgers connected to an impact power hitter.

Just say no to Uribe and Retneria.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dodgers reach agreement with Jon Garland

Dylan Hernandez tweeted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have reached an agreement with Jon Garland.

The length and terms of the deal are not known at this time.

Update: Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the deal is for one year with a vesting option, and the option is contingent on Garland reaching a high number of innings pitched.

Update (1:04 p.m.): Hernandez said Garland's option vests with 190 innings pitched.

Update (1:07 p.m.): Jon Heyman said Garland's base salary for 2011 is $5 million plus high performance bonuses. Update (1:16 p.m.): Garland's 2012 option is for $8 million.

Garland pitched with the San Diego Padres in 2010 and had a solid season. He went 14-12 with a 3.47 ERA and 1.31 WHIP -- both career-bests. He benefited from playing in Petco Park, as he posted a 3.00 ERA at home (4.01 on the road).

Garland last pitched with the Dodgers in late 2009, when L.A. picked him up from Arizona in a post-non-waiver trade deadline deal.

Garland was solid with the Dodgers, posting a 2.72 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 36 1/3 innings.

He will obviously slot in as the No. 5 starter behind Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly and Hiroki Kuroda.

Whether or not this is a good deal depends on the length and money involved. Garland reportedly was looking for a multi-year deal. Garland was a Type-B free agent, so the Dodgers will not have to surrender their second-round pick. However, the Padres will be awarded a supplemental first-round pick.

If this is a reasonable deal (length/money), it's probably going to be a solid deal. Garland isn't going to blow anyone away, but the Dodgers -- and a lot of teams -- could do a lot worse for a No. 5 starter.

I'll update this when the length and terms are announced.

Update: This deal appears to be good for the Dodgers. To get Garland for one year plus a vesting option is almost a steal. The terms are still unknown.

The signing allows the Dodgers to focus on the offense. The rotation is set and I still think the Dodgers don't need much help in the bullpen (though, Ned Colletti seems to think otherwise).

This signing also isn't going to push the Dodgers' budget to its brink, so an upgrade in left field, at second base or third base is still in play.

It'd be nice to hear the Dodgers have rumored interest in a hitter, as that is the weakest part of the team right now. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dodgers decline to offer arbitration to free agents

The Dodgers declined to offer arbitration to OF Scott Podsednik, C Rod Barajas and RHP Vicente Padilla tonight.


While Padilla was unlikely to get an offer, Podsednik and Barajas should have been offered arbitration without hesitation.

There is absolutely no reason for the Dodgers to not have done this. It just blows my mind and is a microcosm of the horrible McCourt/Colletti reign over the Dodgers.

Podsednik made about $1.75 million this past season. Moreover, the Dodgers picked their half of his option earlier this season. They would have been willing to give him $2 million. He could have made slightly more in arbitration, but not enough to scare the Dodgers.

Barajas made $500,000. He wasn't going to break the bank in arbitration, yet the Dodgers were -- for some reason -- scared of him accepting arbitration.

This is just frustrating.

It just doesn't make sense. I could at least somewhat understand last year when they didn't offer arbitration to Randy Wolf or Orlando Hudson (even though it was the wrong move). Those guys were coming off multi-million-dollar deals. Podsednik and Barajas made a little more than $2 million... combined.

The Dodgers talk of raising payroll, yet they won't offer arbitration to guys making minimal money for a chance to bolster the farm system? This must be some kind of joke.

Jesus Christ. I can't wait to hear the "official" explanation on this one.

The Dodgers also signed LHP Dana Eveland and RHP Oscar Villareal to minor league deals and invited them to spring training.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Former Dodger prospect turned stud QB in Big 12

First off, I know I'm late to the party on this one, but I just wanted to do a quick blurb about this topic.

I turned on the TV this morning and saw a quarterback by the name of Brandon Weeden playing for Oklahoma State University. I wondered, "Is that the former baseball player? No, it couldn't be. He'd be in his late 20s by now."

I thought I had heard his name a week or two ago but thought it was just coincidence.

After searching Google, it is indeed the same Brandon Weeden.

You'll recall Weeden was one of the prospects the Dodgers acquired from the New York Yankees in the Kevin Brown-for-Jeff Weaver trade. He wasn't exactly an A+ prospect, but some had hopes for him.

Obviously, his baseball career did not go according to plan.

Weeden was drafted in the second round of the 2002 MLB Draft by the Yankees out of Edmon Santa Fe High School in Oklahoma. His first two seasons were successful, as he posted a 2.70 ERA and 1.24 WHIP as an 18- and 19-year-old in the low minors.

In his two-year Dodger career, he did not fare as well. He had a 5.52 ERA and 1.67 WHIP at Columbus of the South Atlantic League. He caught on with the Royals in 2006, posting a 6.03 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in High-A.

That was the end of his baseball career.

He enrolled at Oklahoma State and saw his first game action in 2008, completing one pass for eight yards. He got a little more action last year, going 15-for-24, 248 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.

His junior year, 2010, has been different.

He is leading the nation in passing with more than 3,700 yards and has 30 touchdowns. His No. 10 Cowboys are 6-1 in conference, which leads the Big 12 South Division, and 10-1 overall.

From my short observation, he looks like he has all the tools. He obviously has the arm strength and has a big body -- 6-feet-4, 224 pounds. He has poise in the pocket and has made some really good throws in my short time watching him today.

It's nice to see a kid who didn't succeed at baseball go back to school and take up a completely different sport -- and do so well.

Weeden isn't going to be the first quarterback draft if he declares for the draft this year or next, but he could be a capable backup. He obviously draws comparisons to former Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke, who was 29 years old in his rookie season. Weinke was a third-round pick, but he was also the 2000 Heisman Trophy winner.

So hope is not all lost for Weeden's NFL Draft potential. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What could have been: Cory Wade

When the Dodgers drafted Cory Wade in the 10th round of the 2004 draft, it didn't exactly make headlines.

But six years later, it looked like the Dodgers had struck gold. Unfortunately, that was short-lived.

Wade signed a Minor League deal on Wednesday, thus ending his short -- but memorable (for good and bad reasons) -- tenure with the Dodgers.

The Dodgers first tried Wade out of the bullpen after being drafted. He put up a 3.66 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in his debut. The next two seasons, the Dodgers used him primarily as a starter (started 33 of 58 games), but despite having a starter's arsenal, the experiment did not go well.

His fastball was always fringe-average -- sitting in the upper 80s and touching 90-91 occasionally. His curveball and changeup where his money pitches. His curveball was one of the best I've seen from a Dodger right-hander in a long time. When he was on with his changeup, it was unhittable.

In 2007, he struck out 100 batters in 99 innings between High-A and Double-A, which gave the Dodgers a reason top hope for a decent bullpen arm.

Come 2008, the Dodgers needed an arm in the pen and Wade got the call. He pitched in a lot of crucial games out of Joe Torre's bullpen, posting a 2.27 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in 55 games. But there in lies the problem: It was Torre's bullpen, the manager who had built a reputation on working one or two guys in the 'pen to the brink of breakdown (see Proctor, Scott).

By the time the postseason rolled around, the 25-year-old Wade had the third-most innings pitched (71 1/3) of any Dodger reliever, behind Chan Ho Park (95 1/3) and Hong-Chih Kuo (80).

Wade was fine in the National League Divisional Series against the Cubs, as he pitched in all three games (three hits, one run, three strikeouts). Then came the National League Championship Series against the Phillies.

Wade was cruising in the series, as he threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings through the first three games. When Game 4 rolled around and he was called upon to face Pat Burrell after Kuo gave up a single to Ryan Howard (retired Rollins-Utley-Werth in the seventh inning). Burrell popped out to second for the first out. Then Shane Victorino hit a curveball that almost hit the ground into the Phillies' bullpen to tie the game. Wade retired Pedro Feliz and gave up a single to Ruiz.

That was the end of his night and effectively his Dodger career.

Wade never recovered from that blow. It could have been mental, it could have been physical -- we'll never know. But ever since Victorino hit that home run, Wade hasn't been the same.

He threw 27 2/3 innings in 2009 before suffering an injury and being demoted. He just wasn't the same pitcher.

It's a shame to see what happened to Wade. A once promising bullpen arm is now nothing more than an afterthought in the world of Minor League free agents.

The Rays have a solid reputation of pitchers who were thought to be done resurrecting their careers in Tampa. I the trend continues with Wade.

He was one of my favorite pitchers in his brief time as a Los Angeles Dodger. If not for the injuries and breakdown, Wade could still be in the Dodger 'pen as we speak.

Then again, maybe his 2008 performance was a fluke. I'm inclined to believe he wasn't that good, but he was a solid pitcher.

When I hear the Dodgers are looking for a reliever and see some of the trades Ned Colletti has made over the past couple of years to "strengthen" the bullpen, I just think to myself, "What could have been..."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Recent Dodger updates: Kuroda, Loney, Renteria, Dotel trade

The Dodgers officially re-signed Hiroki Kuroda on Monday to a 1-year, $12 million deal. The deal includes a base salary of $8 million in 2011 and $2 million deferred in both 2012 and 2013.

As previously stated, this is a fantastic move. The Dodgers' No. 1 through No. 4 is good enough to hang with any 1 through 4 in baseball.

Deferring $4 million allows the Dodgers to have some payroll flexibility this off-season.

Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts wrote a nice piece on the Dodgers and deferred payments.


Some folks are saying James Loney is the player the Dodgers are most likely to part with on the trade market.

I'm a Loney fan. Despite his poor ending to the 2010 season, I think he still has real value on this team. His glove is great and has saved the Dodger infield many errors in his time at first base.

Instead of jettisoning him, the Dodgers should look to upgrade power at another position such as left field, third base or second base.

Dan Uggla is beginning to make a lot more sense. Ken Rosenthal tweeted the Braves were talking to the Marlins about a deal involving Uggla and inexplicably 2010 all-star Omar Infante and left-handed pitcher Mike Dunn.

If that's all it could take to get Uggla, the Dodgers need to be on the phone to Miami STAT. The Dodgers would have no problem topping that package, as I outlined in my trade targets post a 11 days ago.

In retrospect, that might even be too much to give up for the offensive-minded second baseman.

It might not matter, as the Braves appear primed to acquire Uggla, says Braves' beat writer for

It'll be interesting to see what the actually deal is. Short of the Braves trading Freddie Freeman or Julio Teheran, the Dodgers could likely top any deal the Braves propose.

Update: Well, apparently the deal was just finalized and it is Infante and Dunn for Uggla. What an absolute steal for the Braves. Sigh.


ESPN's Enrique Rojas tweeted saying the Dodgers would be interested in Edgar Renteria for their second base opening.

My initial response: "Jesus no."

Seriously. What good is a washed-up veteran who has played exactly zero games at the position. His postseason clutchiness might be too much for Ned Colletti to pass up, which is sad and maddening for Dodger fans.


The Dodgers chose 26-year-old Double-A outfielder Anthony Jackson as the player to be named later in the Octavio Dotel trade.

Now, I wasn't expecting much in return for Dotel. But Ned Colletti, by trading Dotel to Colorado in September, must have said to himself, "How can I make this deal even worse?"

Well Ned, you found a way. And a 26-year-old Double-A outfielder isn't going to make up for the loss of James McDonald and Andrew Lambo.

As I said in my post about it in September, I don't mind trading guys like McDonald or Lambo, but the return needs to be at least somewhat good.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dodgers, Kuroda close to 1-year, $12 million deal

In a surprise development, the Dodgers are close to re-signing RHP Hiroki Kuroda to a 1-year, $12 million deal.

The news first came down last night when there were reports it was $8 million for one year. That would have been too good to be true. Apparently it was.

Still, to nab Kuroda, who had a 2.87 second-half ERA and his best season in the majors in 2010, this is still a damn good deal for the Dodgers.

It was widely believed Kuroda would either pitch in Los Angeles (slight chance for another West Coast team) or return to Japan. I'm glad to (almost) have him back in Blue.

The Dodgers' rotation is shaping up quite nicely, with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly locked in as the No. 1-3.

Despite this throwing a monkey wrench into my off-season prediction, this is a good move for the Dodgers. Now they won't be hard-pressed to find another starting pitcher who could cost them resources they need to upgrade the offense (I'm looking at you left field).

This is an encouraging and positive step for the Dodgers. Here's hoping it keeps up.

Friday, November 12, 2010

My 2010-11 Los Angeles Dodgers off-season plan

I tried to stay within the realm of possibility, so despite my earlier posts wanting guys like Beltre and Werth, you won't find any big-name free agents or trade acquisitions here. Let me know what you think!

Russell Martin
George Sherrill
Ryan Theriot

Scott Podsednik (with the hope he declines)

Free Agents
J.J. Hardy - 2 years, $6M (3rd year club option at $4 million with $0.5M buyout)
Ted Lilly - 3 years, $33M
- 2011: $7 million ($0.5M signing bonus); 2012: $11.5M ($1.5M signing bonus); 2013: $12M ($1.5M signing bonus)
Vicente Padilla - 1 year, $4M ($2M in incentives)
- Incentives: performance bonuses: $0.25M each for 150, 160 IP; $0.3M for 170 IP; $0.35M for 180 IP; $0.5M for 190 IP; $0.6M for 200 IP

Analysis: No big splash here, as expected. Hopefully there will be in 2011.

To TB: 1B/OF Jerry Sands, RHP Chris Withrow, OF Kyle Russell
To LA: RHP Matt Garza, OF B.J. Upton

To KC: OF Brian Cavazos-Galvez,
OF Xavier Paul, RHP Nathan Eovaldi
To LA: 3B/OF Alex Gordon

Analysis: I'm sure many would disagree with dealing Sands, Dodgers' best power prospect. My hope is by next off-season, the Dodgers will have new ownership and the ability to sign either Albert Pujols or Adrian Gonzalez to fill the void at first base. Of course, James Loney could just have a career season and put all that worry to rest, but I'm not holding my breath. This trade might be a little out of the realm of possibility, but not completely impossible.

Gordon, who has seemingly fallen out of favor in Kansas City, gives the Dodgers an option other than Casey Blake at 3B.


Lineup (8)
Furcal SS
Upton CF
Ethier LF
Kemp RF
Loney 1B
Hardy 2B
Gordon 3B
Ellis C

Analysis: This lineup isn't going to scare anyone, but the outfield defense should be much improved. A few "ifs" in the lineup (Upton, Hardy, Gordon), but the talent is there for success.

Rotation (5)

Analysis: The only thing that would make this rotation better (aside from Zack Greinke) is if Kuroda was back instead of Padilla.

Bullpen (7)

Analysis: If Broxton bounces back, a Jansen-Kuo-Broxton back end of the bullpen will be the best in baseball. Elbert needs to sink or swim as a left-handed reliever in this 'pen.

Bench (5)
Barajas C
Gibbons OF/1B
Hoffmann OF
Carroll IF
Blake 3B/1B/OF

Analysis: Solid bench, especially with Gibbons and Blake as part-time/platoon players.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

2010-2011 Free agent predictions

While I'm putting together my Los Angeles Dodgers' off-season plan (which should be up tomorrow), I thought I'd chime in and predict where some of the top free agents will land.

While Brandon Webb won't make the following list, Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post tweeted that the Dodgers could be interested in Webb. While Webb is nowhere near the pitcher he once was, it'd be a nice risk. The Dodgers wouldn't have to offer a lot in base salary and could attract Webb with incentives. Plus, he'd stay in the pitcher-friendly National League West. Low risk, high reward.

I'm using Keith Law's top 10 free agents.

1. Cliff Lee, SEA-TEX
Prediction: Texas - 6 years, $120 million
- While I will now forever hate Lee for choking against the Giants, the Rangers cannot afford to lose him. He is the main reason they made it to the World Series.
2. Carl Crawford, TB
Prediction: Anaheim - 6 years, $108 million
- The Angels need offense and Crawford is one of the best all-around outfielders in baseball. He had a career-high in nearly every offensive category (runs, HR, RBI, SLG, OPS, OPS+) and is primed to continue it as he's in the middle of his prime.
3. Jayson Werth, PHI
Prediction: Boston - 4 years, $68 million
- While it'd be nice to see Werth in Dodger Blue, they won't be able to afford him. The Red Sox are in desperate need of a right-handed-hitting outfielder, and Werth fits the bill.
4. Adrian Beltre, BOS
Prediction: Boston - 4 years, $50 million
- Another guy who'd look good in Blue, Beltre looked rejuvenated in 2010. He has the pop and great defense to be worth the contract he's going to receive. The Red Sox would be foolish to let him get away.
5. Victor Martinez, BOS
Prediction: Seattle - 4 years, $42 million
- Martinez is one of the best hitting catchers in baseball. But the question is, how long will he remain behind the dish? It's unknown, but the ability to play first base helps Martinez's cause a bit. The Red Sox will go with a cheaper option behind the plate, which benefits the Mariners.
6. Adam Dunn, WAS
Prediction: Chicago White Sox - 3 years, $30 million
- Dunn is one of the most powerful hitters in baseball. There are many teams that could use his power -- including the Dodgers. However, a team that was after Dunn at the deadline -- the White Sox -- will finally land their man.
7. Carl Pavano, MIN
Prediction: Minnesota - 3 years, $27 million
- Pavano had a bounce-back season in 2010 and is primed to cash in on it. If he's smart, he'd take a little less to stay in Minnesota, where he had great success.
8. Jorge De La Rosa, COL
Prediction: Colorado - 1 year, $8 million
- De La Rosa had a slightly better 2009 than 2010, but he's still a talented lefty who throws hard and strikes hitters out. Guys who fit that profile aren't exactly growing on trees. His Type-A free agent status could play a roll in his landing spot -- teams might not be willing to give up a first-round pick for a guy with durability issues. He'll end up back in Colorado.
9. Andy Pettitte, NYY
Prediction: New York Yankees - 1 year, $8 million
- I'm not really sure why Pettitte is on this list, as he's either going back to New York or retiring, which has been the case the last two years.
10. Jake Westbrook, CLE-STL
Prediction: St. Louis - 3 years, $24 million
- Westbrook seems like the perfect fit in St. Louis and I'd be shocked if he isn't in Cardinal Red for the next couple of seasons.

I'm adding two more players who were inexplicably excluded from the list.

11. Paul Konerko, CWS
Prediction: Anaheim - 3 years, $39 million
- It's easy to say Konerko would return to Chicago, but if a team offers him enough money, I'm sure he'd consider leaving -- especially if that team played in Southern California (not the Dodgers, unfortunately). The Angels are going balls-out to improve their offense.
12. Rafael Soriano, TB
Prediction: Arizona - 3 years, $33 million
- Soriano is one of the best relief pitchers in baseball. It's unfortunate the Rays will not be able to afford him, but he is going to cash in on his fantastic 2010 season. Many have mocked him to Anaheim, but in my predictions, the Angels are already spending $31 million on two players, so they might not be able to give Soriano what he's looking for. The D-Backs had one of the worst bullpens in recent memory and are willing to throw lots of money at the situation.