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).