Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year and thank you

First off, Happy New Year to everyone out there. Everyone please be smart and safe while celebrating tonight.

It's been a good year for the blog, even if it hasn't been the best year for the Dodgers. Things look bleak for the Blue in 2012, but things will get better... eventually.

And thank you to all the readers of my blog. Since I started this blog in July 2009, I've not had more pageviews and written more posts than I have this year. Without the readers, this blog would just be a self-serving medium. I enjoy getting comments from people here or on Twitter and writing my opinion about the Dodgers. Here's hoping the blog can reach more people and can build a bigger following in 2012. With that comes the responsibility of writing better, more thought-provoking posts, which I fully intend to do.

This year also saw the blog partner with the Yardbarker Network. This helped increase the traffic exponentially. But also posting more, posting more quality and using social media also helped drive traffic to the blog. It's always nice to reach new readers, and I hope to reach many more in 2012.

Most-read posts for 2011 (according to Blogger analytics):
The Dodgers inexplicably trade away Trayvon Robinson - July 31, 2,312 pageviews
2012 Los Angeles Dodgers Top 50 prospects - Nov. 21, 1,345 pageviews
Gorman 'Griff' Erickson, the Dodgers' best catching prospect - Aug. 3, 1,321 pagviews
Prince Fielder is ripe for the Dodgers' taking - Dec. 29, 981 pageviews
The Dodgers need to trade Andre Ethier - June 20, 883 pageviews

So, here's hoping for a great 2012 on the blog and hopefully a surprising one on the field. Maybe Prince Fielder can deliver us from the certain evil of the 2012 season; but don't hold your breath.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Prince Fielder is ripe for the Dodgers' taking

Here we are on Dec. 29 and one of the biggest (no pun intended) free agents of this off-season is still available.

Prince Fielder has yet to sign, even following Albert Pujols' record contract (I know it isn't the largest contract of all-time, but I'm sure it's record-setting in some way). Recent reports said he might be willing to settle for a 3-year deal, but those were quickly shot down by his agent, Scott Boras.

But why is Fielder really still available? I'm not 100 percent sure, but I'm going to give it my best shot.

Well, teams are obviously concerned with giving a man of his carriage a long-term, big-money deal. But the numbers do not lie. Fielder is one of the game's best power-hitters and is not incapable of hitting left-handed pitching.

Since his first full season in 2008, Fielder, 27, has 228 home runs and a .541 slugging percentage. He also has a .391 on-base percentage in that time. The man is a productive hitter.

His splits against lefties for his career are solid -- .257/.340/.458 -- but he's been much better against them in recent years, including a .943 OPS in 2009 and .822 OPS last season.

Fielder doesn't just mash at Miller Park, either. His career home/road splits are as follows:

Home: .286/.399/.566, 123 HR in 504 games
Road: .279/.381/.515, 107 HR in 494 games

And for all the concerns about his weight, he's yet to play fewer than 157 games in a full season (save his 2005 debut season). That's in the NL, without the designated hitter at first base -- Not many players in the Majors can make that claim, let alone a beefy first baseman.

It appears Fielder is a perfect fit in Los Angeles for a number of reasons:
  1. The Dodgers need a power hitter
  2. He is good friends with Matt Kemp and Tony Gwynn
  3. His home/road splits are not drastic
If the Dodgers have any chance of signing him, it'd be because of No. 2. Having familiar faces in a place where the ownership situation is far from settled could be comforting to Fielder. If he sees Kemp just signed a long-term extension, he might feel better about committing five, six or seven years to the organization.

The Dodgers would obviously have to backload any Fielder contract. As pointed out by Twitter follower senor_penguino, it might not be as difficult as some would expect:
"Backload a 5 yr deal. 13 yr 1 24 yr 2-5. Lets him be a FA @ 32."
2012: $13 million
2013 through 2016: $24 million per season

Editor's note (Dec. 29, 1 p.m.): For a deal to even have a chance, the Dodgers would likely have to add an extra guaranteed year at $24 million, making it a 6-year, $133 million deal. I'd also include a couple option years.

It makes a lot of sense (too much sense to happen, unfortunately). But where do the Dodgers find an extra $13 million in the 2012 payroll? The Dodgers would obviously have to find a taker for James Loney and his estimated $6-to-$7-million contract. Finding a team to take all that money could be a a problem, but the Dodgers could at least shed half of that contract in a trade.

Juan Uribe's $8 million contract for 2012 is an albatross the Dodgers won't be able to rid themselves of, unless Brian Sabean comes calling with nostalgic memories of 2010. Juan Rivera's $4 million deal is looking absolutely horrible right now, especially since none of it is deferred.

Matt Guerrier will make $3.75 million as a mediocre middle reliever -- a role that could have been filled with a non-roster invitee on the veteran's minimum or a young guy making the Major League minimum.

Chad Billingsley's $9 million salary could be moved, but that would just create a hole in the starting rotation.

Ted Lilly's $10.5 million cannot be moved without his permission (full no-trade clause -- thanks Ned!) and the Dodgers don't appear interested in trading Andre Ethier and his estimated $11-to-$13-million deal (arbitration). A 3-4-5 of Kemp-Fielder-Ethier would be the best Dodger trio in a few years.

Despite the ownership issues and the Dodgers having no money to spend on big-name free agents this off-season, it seems past moves have hindered the Dodgers even more. Billingsley's deal was good (still is), but the money from the other deals (save Ethier's) mentioned above could have helped the Dodgers land Fielder with few questions. And the Dodgers likely wouldn't have been any better or worse as a team without Rivera, Uribe, Guerrier and Lilly.

But here we are. It's Dec. 29, one of the best free agents is still available who fills the Dodgers' needs almost perfectly and they are merely an afterthought in the Fielder sweepstakes.

Unless something drastic happens before March, it looks like it could be a long 2012 season.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Blake Smith wins Panamanian Winter League MVP

Dodgers' minor-league outfielder Blake Smith was named Most Valuable Player of the Panamanian Winter League.

Smith, 24, crushed pitching in the league, posting a .352/.475/.602 triple slash with five home runs, 26 RBI, 10 doubles and 20 walks.

Smith spent the majority of his 2011 season in Rancho Cucamonga with the Quakes. He played six games with the Arizona League Dodgers after rehabbing from midseason hernia surgery.

He should begin the 2012 season with the Lookouts in Chattanooga. I rated him as having the best power and best outfield arm in the Dodgers' system. He checked in at No. 9 in my Top 50 Dodger prospects.

He has a lot of competition ahead of him, including Alex Castellanos, Kyle Russell, Alfredo Silverio and Scott Van Slyke -- all of whom should start the season in Triple-A. Castellanos and Van Slyke have been tried at first base while Russell's prospect star is diminishing.

I'd like to see him cut down his K-rate some more, but he improved on his 2010 season in that department. If he continues to improve against advanced pitching, he could see his prospect stock rise.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ronald Belisario is back, Casey Blake is not

Well, Ronald Belisario is finally going to be back in the country after acquiring his visa, allowing him to pitch for the Dodgers once again.

However, he will first have to serve a 25-game suspension from Major League Baseball. From the L.A. Times' blog post:
"The suspension falls under the "drug of abuse" standard rather than a "stimulant" standard, according to a person familiar with the matter."
It's anyone's guess as to what drug Belisario allegedly abused and it would be irresponsible to speculate.

With the Dodgers' already full bullpen, it doesn't seem there's much room for Belisario.

Scott Elbert
Javy Guerra
Matt Guerrier
Blake Hawksworth
Kenley Jansen

These five are assured of opening the season with the Dodgers (barring an unlikely trade or unfortunate injury). The Dodgers also have a few other options to fill the two remaining spots:

Nathan Eovaldi
John Grabow
Josh Lindblom

Lindblom had a nice debut season and should have a spot in the bullpen, but he has minor-league options remaining, so it isn't a certainty he has a spot. Eovaldi is in the same boat. And if the Dodgers want to see if Eovaldi can start, he might very well start the season in Chattanooga. I predicted in my last post Grabow would be the team's second left-handed reliever in the bullpen.

Oh, and General Manager Ned Colletti keeps talking about acquiring a "veteran reliever," which could be Mike MacDougal. I doubt Grabow was that vet the mustachioed one was looking for.
The Dodgers also have a few prospect-options, including Shawn Tolleson and Steve Ames, both of whom are nearly MLB-ready.

Belisario, who hasn't pitched in the Majors since the 2010 season, has no minor-league options remaining, giving him the edge over the trio of Eovaldi, Grabow and Linblom. Then again, he might not even be in game shape right now, so we'll see what happens there.

If he's anywhere close to 2009 Belisario, he could be an asset in the 'pen. If he's the 2010 version, the Dodgers should just cut their losses. He's likely somewhere in the middle, which makes for a serviceable reliever.


Casey Blake signed a 1-year deal with the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday. It's worth $2 million and includes $1 million in incentives.

Blake, who was acquired from the Cleveland Indians before the 2008 trade deadline for Carlos Santana and Jon Meloan, had a decent stint as the Dodgers' third baseman: .260/.338/.431, but certainly wasn't worth Santana.

However, this is a really nice signing for the Rockies. Blake can play the hot corner, first base and each outfield corner. He still mashes left-handed pitching and could be a valuable asset off the Rockies' bench.

The Dodgers will replace him with one of the most inept players in baseball, Juan Uribe.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dodgers sign John Grabow to minor-league deal

The Dodgers signed veteran left-handed reliever and local product John Grabow today to a minor-league deal. Well, the announcement was today, but this news was broken on Saturday by John Scanlan, a Dodger fan, on Twitter.
"#Dodgers sign LHP John Grabow. Terms not known."
Scanlan coached Grabow in high school, which is how he heard about this news before any media reported it.

Grabow, 33, has been in the Majors since 2003, when he debuted with the Pirates. It took him a few years to get acclimated, but he had his most successful season in 2008, posting a 2.84 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 7.1 H/9, 7.3 K/9. His other peripherals weren't so great -- 1.1 HR/9, 4.4 BB/9, 1.68 K/BB, but he actually did better against right-handed hitters than lefties, despite giving up eight of his nine home runs to righties.

He has a three-pitch arsenal: a fastball that ranges from 87-90 MPH, a low-80s slider and a low-80s changeup. His fastball velocity has been on the decline since 2006, but he's left handed and can throw strikes, which is about all you need to ink a minor-league deal these days.

Grabow does equally well against both sides for his career, though.

He isn't anything special, but I'm going to make a prediction right now: he'll make the Dodgers out of Spring Training as the team's LOOGY.

This allows the Dodgers to let Scott Elbert pitch against right-handers and could spell the end of Hong-Chih Kuo's time in Los Angeles, if there was still any doubt.

Other than that, there's not much else going on in Dodger land right now. There were faint mentions of the Dodgers having interest in guys like Jason Kubel, who signed today with the Diamondbacks, and Prince Fielder, but we all know that isn't going to happen.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dodgers' news - Loney stays, Coco Crisp, non-roster invitees

The Dodgers tendered James Loney a contract on Monday, to no surprise. The light-hitting first baseman is scheduled to make somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 to $7 million.

I had a thought the team might consider non-tendering him, allowing Juan Rivera and Jerry Sands to take over first base duties. The Dodgers signed Tony Gwynn on Monday, so the possibility was there. However, the team would likely have needed another outfielder, despite a bevy of youngsters in the minors. Alas, it didn't happen, but it wouldn't have been the worst move ever made.

It will be nice to see Loney digging throws out of the dirt, though. He's one of the best in the league at doing so.

This leads us to the Dodgers' apparent interest in Coco Crisp.


Why is this team interested in another light-hitting outfielder? He's basically a more expensive version of Gwynn who's had some past success. Crisp did lead the American League in stolen bases last season with 49 (caught nine times). That's impressive. But coming off a $5.75 million contract, he appears to be out of the Dodgers' price range.

A team could pony up $4 to $5 million for his services.

The Dodgers also invited 15 players to Spring Training as non-roster players:

Jose Ascanio, Jeff Baisley, Josh Bard, Alberto Castillo, Matt Chico, Luis Cruz, Angel Guzman, Wil Ledezma, Shane Lindsay, Fernando Nieve, Scott Rice, Will Savage, Cory Sullivan, Ryan Tucker and Lance Zawadzki.

Some of these names might sound familiar. Rice and Savage both pitched for Double-A Chattanooga last season.

Bard was reported to have a $750,000 contract with the Dodgers during the Winter Meetings, only to find out it was a minor-league deal. Still, it hadn't been confirmed until now.

Guzman, 30, was a former top prospect in the Cubs' organization. He's thrown 157 Major-League innings, compiling a 4.82 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 4.2 BB/9, 8.6 K/9 and 1.96 K/BB. Not impressive, but there is potential with the nice K/9 rate. But he hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2009.

Ledezma signed earlier this off-season.

Nieve, 29, was a spot-starter/long reliever in his rookie season, but never got on track with the Astros. He last pitched in the Majors in 2010 with the Mets, and it wasn't pretty: 6.00 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 2.1 HR/9, 4.7 BB/9.

Tucker is a local kid who was a former Marlins' top prospect. He threw five bullpen innings for the American League Champion Texas Rangers last season and didn't do well. At just 25, though, there's still time to see if he can figure things out. I wouldn't hold my breath, though.

This leads me to my favorite signing: Sullivan.

Some of you might remember Sullivan for his days as a Rockie, or Dodger killer.

Literally. His slash numbers against the Dodgers in his career are as follows:


The .357 average is one of the highest against the Dodgers among active players. And if you think those numbers are inflated because of Coors Field, guess again:

.306/.370/.486 -- in 28 career games in Dodger Stadium.

He's also hit three of his 10 career home runs against the Blue -- all in the confines of Chavez Ravine.

Sullivan is the classic scrub who always seems to get his rocks (no pun intended) off against the Dodgers (Brad Hawpe, anyone on the Padres, etc.). It's nice the Dodgers don't have to worry about this guy hurting them -- well, at least from the opposing dugout...

Just kidding. He probably won't see Los Angeles anytime this season. If he does, something terrible has happened in Dodgerland.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dodgers retain Tony Gwynn with 2-year deal

The seemingly never-ending string of Dodger 2-year deals continued today when the team inked Tony Gwynn to a contract worth $2 million.

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports Gwynn will earn $850,000 in 2012 and $1.15 million in 2013.

I wrote about Gwynn's chances of staying with the Dodgers late last night. I thought the team would be foolish to let him go. Thankfully, they didn't. He's the team's best defensive outfielder and no worse than third-best baserunner/stealer. Oh, and he's Matt Kemp's primary backup in center field.

The contract is quite affordable and tradeable, if the Dodgers absolutely need to move him sometime in the next two years.

One negative to this signing could be Jerry Sands beginning the season in Triple-A. Sands being a part-time player in the Majors isn't going to do him any good, so he'll get regular at-bats with Albuquerque.

I was in favor of the Juan Rivera signing when it happened -- well, I wasn't as outraged as the rest of the Internet -- but now it looks absolutely foolish.

The only ways Sands could break camp with the team is if there are injuries, a trade (Andre Ethier) or the Dodgers decide to non-tender James Loney. Sands would have the inside track to the first base job if that were to happen. That decision is less than four hours away, so stay tuned.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dodgers have interest in Daniel Murphy, plus arbitration news

The Dodgers are apparently enamored with the Mets' Daniel Murphy, as the club tried to acquire him during the Winter Meetings, reported by Ken Gurnick of

Gurnick also wrote the Dodgers still might make a run at him.

Murphy, 26, put up a nice triple slash line last season -- .320/.362/.448 -- before suffering a season-ending left MCL tear in August. Murphy's short career has produced some solid numbers so far and at 26 (27 in April), he could be looking to bust out -- if he's recovered from his knee injury.

Fortunately for Murphy, the MCL is less vital than the ACL, so, in theory, he should recover from it. The proof lies with him tearing the MCL in his right knee, causing him to miss the entire 2010 season. He made it back from that just fine, so there's no reason to think he won't make it back from this tear.

There's no inkling as to what it'd take to acquire Murphy's services, but the Dodgers' plethora of right-handed pitchers could be in play. I'm not saying guys like Zach Lee or Allen Webster, but maybe guys like Chris Withrow, Shawn Tolleson and Steve Ames could interest the Mets.

Versatility seems to be the name of the game for the Dodgers, an Murphy is no exception. While he isn't known for his glove, he can play three different infield position and a little bit of left field. Third base appears to be his weakest position (where the Dodgers could use him most) and he could be passable at second base (where his bat would play best).

However, he's played mostly first base in his career and if the Dodgers were to acquire him, that's probably where he'd play.

Of course, that depends on whether the Dodgers offer incumbent first baseman James Loney a contract. In July, it seemed like a no-brainer that Loney would be gone. In October, it seemed all but certain he'd be tendered a contract. Now in December, question surround his November arrest and the fact he'll be due somewhere in the area of $6 to 7 million in arbitration.

All indications are the Dodgers will tender Loney a contract. The deadline is 9 p.m. Monday night.

Other players who need to be tendered before tomorrow night are Tony Gwynn and Hong-Chih Kuo.

Kuo is nearly certain to not be tendered a contract. He's undergone his fifth elbow operation and has contemplated retirement. It's so sad because in 2010, he was one of baseball's best relievers (not just lefties). In 2011, he was one of baseball's worst.

Gwynn is another story. The defensive specialist base-stealer could be looking for another team in less than 24 hours. However, it'd be a mistake for the Dodgers to not retain Gwynn's services.

Other than Matt Kemp, there isn't another outfielder who has a shot of breaking camp with the Dodgers who can legitimately play center field:

Andre Ethier
Juan Rivera
Jerry Sands

None of these guys could play even a passable center field. Newly signed Jerry Hairston could, but is that enough?

I wrote in March that Gwynn had a chance to fill a couple voids on the Dodgers'. While he failed to do that, there is still value in his glove and speed. He also shouldn't make too terribly much in the arbitration process (around $1 million or so at best), so it makes sense to try and retain his services.

If the Dodgers have their eyes on Murphy, Chase Headley or Hideki Matsui, Gwynn can start submitting his résumé to other teams.

It'd also mean Sands would likely begin the season in Triple-A, as not getting every day at-bats isn't going to help him any. I was for the Juan Rivera signing, but that was when I thought the Dodgers might trade Ethier. Now, the signing looks like a colossal waste of $4.5 million (I realize $4.5 million isn't a lot of money in baseball, but it is when a team is pinching its pennies as hard as the Dodgers are).

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dodgers, Hideki Matsui a match?

Jon Weisman brings us news today, via ESPN LA's Tony Jackson, the Dodgers are interested former Athletic, Angel and Yankee Hideki Matsui.

Weisman said Jackson told him in an email there are three players on the Dodgers' list to fill the "left-handed pinch-hitter" role, and Matsui is one of them.

Matsui, 37, had career lows across the board for the A's last season: .251/.321/.375/.696, 92 OPS+. The 2009 World Series MVP is mainly a designated hitter, but he can play left field in a pinch (232 1/3 innings in LF last season).

Weisman also notes his strange reverse splits:

vs. RHP: .242/.318/.336, 4 HR
vs. LHP: .273/.327/.468, 8 HR

In 2009, he posted a .975 OPS vs. lefties (.835 vs. righties), so it isn't that uncommon for Godzilla. For his career, Matsui has an OPS of .840 vs. RHP and .808 vs. LHP.

Without knowing the other two names, it's hard to comment on whether this would be a good pickup for the Dodgers. However, I wouldn't be opposed to seeing him in Dodger Blue on a cheap 1-year deal. He seemingly still has some pop left in his bat, which is something the Dodgers lacked off the bench last season (and recent years).

Maybe he could also give Andre Ethier some pointers on how to hit left-handed pitching a little better.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Peter Gammons smack-talks me on Twitter, life nearly complete

As a small-time blogger (for now), it doesn't get much better than this.

Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated (soon to be CBS Sports), tweeted the following:
"the are likely to nontender ryan theriot. Versatile player with good stick. May interest mets atl cin hou tor kc etc"
To which I tweeted:
"If you needed more proof the won that trade... RT @: the are likely to nontender ryan theriot..."
To which Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons replied:
"@ Cardinals did the world series, which Dodgers last did in the Reagsn Administration"
Holy. Balls.

I had to do a double-check to make sure it was Gammons (the typo kind of confirmed it). But I was tickled. And quite frankly, I'm not even sure how he found the tweet. But hey, he did, and now I'm famous*.

*- Not really

Dodgers send Eveland to Baltimore for young players, plus lots of other news

No, really. That's what really happened. Ned Colletti actually an older player for younger players.

Dana Eveland, last season's September "sensation" was sent to the Baltimore Orioles today for left-handed pitcher Jarret Martin and outfielder Tyler Henson.

Eveland threw 29 2/3 innings of solid ball for the Dodgers, and Colletti somehow turned that into two players 23 years old and younger.

Now, just because they're young doesn't mean they're good. Looking at the numbers and scouting reports, I don't think I'd rank either of those guys in my Top 50 prospect list.

Martin, a 2009 18th-round pick, has a low-90s sinking fastball that is his best offering. He also has a curveball and changeup. Martin has struggled with control in his brief career, averaging 5.9 walks per nine innings. His K/BB ratio is none too pleasing, too (1.49).

He does rack up a few strikeouts, though. Unsurprisingly, he had more success in the Appalachian League (10.3 K/9) than he did in the South Atlantic League (7.9). He profiles as a bullpen arm despite starting 31 of his 44 career appearances. If I had to guess, I'd say he starts the season at High-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Henson, 23, was a fifth-round pick in 2006. He's played more third base than any single outfield position in the minors, but his subpar fielding led to a position change this past season. He played mostly right field in Triple-A.

As well as having experience at third base, he's also played shortstop (92 games) and second base (24 games) in his minor-league career. I don't have an idea what the Dodgers want to do with him, but it seems he's best suited in the outfield.

Henson doesn't have a lot of power, but his prospects were looking better after a decent 2010 season (.278/.329/.440, 37 doubles, 12 home runs) for Double-A Bowie of the Eastern League. However, that success didn't translate to Triple-A Norfolk (.247/.313/.321, 18 doubles, three home runs). A positive from his 2011 season: he reduced his strikeout rate from 32.1 percent in 2010 to 21.8 percent in 2011. It's still not great, but it shows at least some improvement.

Neither of these guys are likely to be impact players for the Dodgers. Martin has the best shot, mostly because he's left-handed and throws in the 90s. Henson is closer and should begin the season in the crowded Albuquerque outfield (Alex Castellanos, Kyle Russell, Alfredo Silverio, Scott Van Slyke).


The Dodgers also officially signed Aaron Harang to a 2-year, $12 million contract today. The details breakdown like this, from Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:
"The projected No. 4 starter will earn $3 million next season and $7 million in 2013. The contract includes a vesting option for 2014 that could be worth $7 million to $8 million, depending on how much he pitches over the next two seasons. If the option doesn't vest, the Dodgers can buy it out for $2 million.

If Harang pitches 400 innings over the next two seasons, the vesting option would be worth $8 million. If he pitches 380 innings over the next two seasons, including 180 in 2013, the option would be worth $7.5 million. If he pitches 360 innings over the next two seasons, including 175 in 2013, the option would be worth $7 million."
This is much more backloaded than expected. Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. gives us a disturbing look at the 2013 payroll:
"The Dodgers also have a projected payroll of roughly $106 million for 2013 and that's without a right fielder or first baseman. That number includes a staggering $47.25 million for just Harang, Capuano, Lilly, Matt Guerrier, Juan Uribe, Jerry Hairston Jr., and Mark Ellis."
Well, that certainly sucks. I expressed my thoughts on the Harang signing on Monday.


Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times has some news on the McCourt/FOX/MLB situation. It doesn't seem like there will be a "Dodger" network anytime soon. FOX will simply not allow it, even after the contract expires.

"However, under a previously undisclosed provision, the contract also hampers the Dodgers' ability to form a regional sports network after the contract expires so long as Time Warner , Comcast or ESPN is an equity partner, according to the people familiar with the agreement."

It'd be cool to have a Dodger TV network. Of course, you'd probably have to live in the greater Los Angeles area to receive it, which I don't.

The amount of potential money from an exclusive TV network would allow the Dodgers to sign free agents like Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, who both signed with the Angels this morning. Just another slap in the face to the Dodger fans. Thanks, Frank.


Hernandez also has a bit about James Loney's apparent arrest last month.
"According to Tang, Loney was driving his 2009 Maserati westbound on the 101 when he sideswiped three vehicles for unknown reasons. Immediately afterwards, his sports car came to an abrupt stop in the fast lane, Tang said."
That sounds really weird and potentially bad. And then there's always the confirmed and unconfirmed:
"But a person close to the player said tests for drugs and alcohol returned negative and that Loney has apologized for the incident.

The CHP's Tang, however, said no results were available yet from a blood sample taken from Loney by officers"
So, we don't know if he was on something or if it was just a mere accident. Either way, this isn't what Loney or the Dodgers need right now.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dodgers showing interest in Chase Headley?

Molly Knight of ESPN the Magazine dropped this interesting tidbit last night:
"Source: Dodgers looking into Chase Headley."
Headley had the best season of his career in a few categories in 2011, but he doesn't bring much pop to the party. His slash line in 2011 was .289/.374/.399. The average and on-base numbers are solid, but the slugging isn't.


The White Sox are about to go into full rebuilding mode, especially after sending Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

One name that intrigues me is Gordon Beckham. The 25-year-old can handle either second- or third base and is coming off two consecutive down years. He was a first-round pick in 2008 and the White Sox seem to have soured on him.

Beckham had a fine debut season, posting a .270/.347/.460 line with 14 home runs and 63 RBI in 103 games. Since then, he's only hitting .241/.306/.356 with 19 home runs and 93 RBI in 281 games.

Beckham could benefit from a change of scenery, and I'd have little worry about sending a guy like Chris Withrow to the White Sox for Beckham.


The Dodgers don't exactly need anymore infielders, but the infielders they've signed this off-season aren't as good as Headley and Beckham. Headley has experience in left field and Beckham could probably handle it, if need be.

But the combo is a hell of a lot better than Juan Uribe manning third base every day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Slow Day 2 at Winter Meetings for Dodgers

Compared with Day 1, the Dodgers' second day at the Winter Meetings was slow.

News (a term I use loosely here) just broke the Dodgers are close to signing catcher Josh Bard. Jon Heyman first reported it as a 1-year, $750,000 deal.

Bard is a catcher and the Dodgers had seemingly filled the need by signing Matt Treanor last month.

But here comes Dylan Hernandez to save us all from throwing objects at the wall:
"#Dodgers nearing minor-league deal with Josh Bard."
It's just a minor-league deal, which is just fine in this case. I assume the $750,000 would be if Bard makes the club out of Spring Training.

Bard hit .210/.256/.333 with 2 home runs in 26 games for the Mariners in 2011. He's probably a better option as the backup catcher, but Treanor has that locked up.

This still means A.J. Ellis is the teams' starter -- and rightfully so.

General Manager Ned Colletti also said today he's working on trying to improve the offense via the trade market.
"...(Colletti) is pursuing a trade that would potentially improve the team's offense, specifically against left-handed pitching, adding that after talking to four or five clubs he has zeroed in on a particular player who would fit the club's needs."
It seems the Dodgers already have that guy in Juan Rivera. It also seems like they have a youngster capable of filling that role -- Jerry Sands.

We'll see what happens. It seems like it'd be a minor move, but a move that will be scrutinized (rightfully so) by Dodger bloggers everywhere.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dodgers sign Jerry Hairston 2-year deal

The Dodgers' busy, but not especially successful, off-season continued today as they agreed to terms with utility man Jerry Hairston on a two-year deal.

He'll make $6 million in those two years.

The former Brewer, National, Padre, Yankee, Red, Ranger, Cub and Oriole hit .270/.344/.383 last season. He'll be a fine utility player, but did the Dodgers really need him?

Probably not. But it was probably one of the best signings of the off-season, which is saying something for a team in desperate need of offense.

I'm sure Hairston won't make $3 million this season, but it seems like money better spent in other areas.

Update (Dec. 5, 4:13 p.m.): Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times has the details.
"Jerry Hairston Jr. has signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the . He will earn $2.25 million in 2012 and $3.75 million in 2013."
So, not as backloaded as I thought -- not that a $6 million contract could be that backloaded.

Hairston can play second base, third base, shortstop and all the outfield spots effectively. He'll be this season's "supersub."


And then there's this from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal:
"#Dodgers still working on Harang. Deal expected to be north of Capuano. Two years, $12M range. #MLB"
I said I wasn't opposed to the Chris Capuano/Harang duo replacing Hiroki Kuroda and bumping Nathan Eovaldi to a bullpen role, but to see the amount of money being doled to mediocre veterans, it makes me wonder why that money wasn't spent on Hiroki?

It just doesn't make sense. I could drone on about this in every post for the rest of the off-season, but I'm going to leave it at that.

Aaron Harang close to signing with Dodgers

Jim Bowden of ESPN L.A. tweeted today the Dodgers and Aaron Harang are close to a deal. Jon Paul Morosi tweeted the deal is expected to be for two years.

Adding Harang would be a nice way to cope with the loss of Hiroki Kuroda, whose salary demands were too much for the Dodgers to handle.

Harang would step in as the Dodgers' No. 4 or No. 5 starter, setting the 2012 rotation. I'm sure the contract is backloaded and not for a lot of money, so this is probably a good deal.

The biggest concern for Harang is the number of home runs he gives up. For his career, his 1.2 HR/9 is not great. Teamed with Ted Lilly and Chris Capuano, the Dodgers have the potential to give up a lot of home runs. Luckily, Dodger Stadium gives up the 11th-fewest home runs of any ballpark in the Majors.

Also, his K/9 rate has dipped considerably from even two years ago (7.9 in 2009 to 6.6 in 2010 to 6.5 in 2011). His walk rate has also increased a bit in that time (2.4 to 3.1 the last two seasons). Still, as a No. 5 starter, the Dodgers could do a lot worse.

With this signing, here's hoping Ned Colletti doesn't go after his precious "veteran" middle reliever. With Nathan Eovaldi shifting to the bullpen, the Dodgers don't need another reliever.

Dodgers' bullpen
Scott Elbert
Javy Guerra
Matt Guerrier
Blake Hawksworth
Kenley Jansen
Josh Lindblom

The only need in the bullpen the Dodgers could have is for another left-handed pitcher, but that could always come in the form of a non-roster invitee. Hell, there's even a chance Ronald Belisario comes back (but don't count on it). The Dodgers also have prospects Shawn Tolleson and Steve Ames nearly ready to step up from the minors.

An interesting perspective about this signing comes in the form of a tweet from Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness:
"So with the entire front 5 presumably also locked up for 2013, you can look forward to Allen Webster & RDLR being dealt for Placido Polanco"
Now, I don't think they'll get traded for Polanco, but the moves do block the youngster from taking rotation spots come 2013. Webster will have had a full year in Double-A (presumably) and De La Rosa should be fully recovered from Tommy John Surgery.

The Dodgers could trade Ted Lilly, Capuano or Harang next year, which might be the best course of action.

It's always best to have too much pitching (if there's such a thing) than not enough.

The Dodgers could conceivably trade Chad Billingsley, too, if it got to that point. I don't see it happening, but it's a possibility.


The Dodgers signed free agent reliever Alberto Castillo today to a minor-league deal. The Dodgers also lost outfielder Jamie Hoffmann to the Colorado Rockies today on waivers.