Saturday, October 29, 2011

2011 Los Angeles Dodgers off-season preview: Free agent position players

This is the third in my off-season preview series. This time, I look at the free agent market for position players. There are a few huge names available, but the rest of the market is pretty barren.


Dodger catchers under contract: A.J. Ellis, Tim Federowicz

Available free agents
Ryan Doumit, PIT
Ramon Hernandez, CIN

Yeah, the free agent market for catchers is that thin.

Doumit: He has a a $7.25 million option for 2012 with the Pirates, but it's no sure thing it'll be exercised. He's pretty brutal behind the plate, but he's also the best offensive option of the three listed. If he hits the open market, he'd be worth a look, but I don't think the Dodgers would give more than a 1-year deal at $3- or $4 million.

Hernandez: I only included Hernandez as a formality. He's a Type-A free agent, which would cost the Dodgers' their first-round draft pick. Safe to say, that isn't going to happen.

What to do?
I'd take a flier on Doumit at the right price, but an Ellis-Federowicz platoon might be best for the Dodgers in 2012. Rod Barajas is always an option.

Corner Infield

Dodger corner infielders under contract: Russell Mitchell, Jerry Sands, Juan Uribe

Available free agents
3B Wilson Betemit, DET
1B/3B Michael Cuddyer, MIN
1B Casey Kotchman, TB
1B Prince Fielder, MIL
1B Carlos Pena, CHC
1B Albert Pujols, STL
3B Aramis Ramirez, CHC

Betemit: The former Dodger could be a cheap source of quality at-bats from the hot corner. He wouldn't cost much in terms of salary.

Cuddyer: He might be the most underrated free agent on the market, which usually leads to a team overpaying for him. He's versatile (can play all the corners and even a little second base in an absolute pinch). Cuddyer followed up a mediocre 2010 with a solid 2011 season. He'll be 33 by the time the season starts, so the Dodgers might not want to invest in him.

Kotchman: He (somehow) managed an .800 OPS this season after not achieving that mark since 2007. He's a solid defender with a light bat. Sound like someone you know (James Loney)?

Fielder: He's going to be a nice consolation price to the team that loses out on Pujols. Depending on the contracts, he could end up being a better long-term investment than Pujols, despite his weight. He'd slot in right behind Matt Kemp, if the Dodgers could actually afford him. Fielder is on of the best left-handed power hitters in the game and the Dodgers have a glaring hole at the position. It makes sense, in theory. However, I wouldn't get my hopes up.

Pena: His defense has slipped, which makes his putrid batting average an even bigger glaring weakness. He's the definition of "boom or bust."

Pujols: The prize in this year's market, Pujols is still one of the most dangerous hitters in the game. Many think he'll stay in St. Louis (as I do), but he's going to command a contract in excess of $200 million. The Cubs could be hot on his trail, too. It's fortunate the Yankees and Red Sox have absolutely no room for him, or he'd be going to one of those teams. Of course, the Dodgers are the team that needs him the most, but there's that whole "money thing" again. He's the greatest hitter of the last decade-plus. He's good for another three or four years at the elite level he's playing at right now.

Ramirez: He, like Doumit, has a team option for the 2012 season. However, he can determine whether he returns to the team. Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago gives Ramirez about a 10 percent chance of returning. Ramirez is 34 but is still one of the best offensive third basemen in the game. He could get a 4-year deal on the open market. He'd be a cheaper alternative to Fielder and Pujols, but again, I wouldn't hold my breath for a big-time signing.

What to do?
Pujols and Fielder are 1 and 1a. Either would be a great signing. However, the Dodgers probably aren't in the market for either. Ramirez would be a nice consolation price, but he won't be cheap, either. The other options aren't any better the James Loney, whom the Dodgers could bring back via arbitration.

Middle Infield

Dodger middle infielders under contract: Ivan DeJesus, Dee Gordon, Justin Sellers, Uribe

Available free agents
Aaron Hill, ARI
Kelly Johnson, TOR
Jose Reyes, NYM
Jimmy Rollins, PHI

Hill: This guy is a wild card. He had a breakout 2009 season, hitting 36 home runs while scoring and driving more than 100 runs. His 2010 was good in the power department (26 HR, 22 2B), but he hit a measly .205 with a .271 on-base percentage. He was doing poorly in Toronto until getting traded to Arizona in August. He hit .315/.286/.492 with the D-Backs. He had an option declined by Arizona, but I'm not 100 percent sure he's an unrestricted free agent. If he is, he'd be a nice risk at $4 or $5 million.

Johnson: The guy traded for Hill, Johnson is also somewhat of a wild card. He's hit 21-plus home runs in back-to-back seasons and knows how to take a walk. Unfortunately, he doesn't do much else at the plate. Like Hill, he could also be a nice risk at $4 or $5 million.

Reyes and Rollins: I only mention these guys because they're big names. The Dodgers have no need for either with Gordon in fold at shortstop. The Giants, however, could be in the market for both, as they're in desperate need of a shorstop. Just something to keep an eye on.

What to do?
It could be my irrational fondness of Hill, but I'd absolutely love to see the Dodgers bring him in. They have to do something, as I don't think Ned Colletti would stand for Sellers starting Opening Day at second base. DeJesus doesn't seem to be in the Dodgers' future plans after not getting a call-up. Guys like Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles could also be retained.


Dodger outfielders under contract: Alex Castellanos, Andre Ethier, Jamie Hoffmann, Matt Kemp, Kyle Russell, Sands, Alfredo Silverio, Scott Van Slyke

I included Ethier and Kemp, even though they aren't under contract because there's no way the Dodgers non-tender them. The rookies are all internal options, with Hoffmann the only one to have made his debut.

Free agents available
Carlos Beltran, SF
Jonny Gomes, WAS
Josh Willingham, OAK

Beltran: Beltran could be a nice signing for some team, as he still has the potential to be a solid middle-of-the-order bat. He's a Type-A free agent, but there's a stipulation in his contract that he can't be offered arbitration. He might be better off heading back to the American League so he can be a designated hitter at times.

Gomes: He'd be a solid platoon partner for Ethier, even though the Dodgers wouldn't dare platooning him.

Willingham: The only way I bring in Willingham or Beltran is if the Dodgers are going to play Sands at first base. However, he's an intriguing option after hitting 29 home runs with the A's in 2011.

What to do?
The Dodgers are actually rather deep at the outfield positions. There are a lot of minor-league options, too. However, if the Dodgers trade Ethier, that could open them up to bringing in a guy to replace him (Beltran or Willingham). If not, they should just bring in a platoon guy (River or Gomes). I'd go with Rivera because of his ability to play first base and familiarity with the team.

The Dodgers would love to make a big splash with a guy like Fielder or Pujols, but I just don't see that happening. Taking a flier on a guy like Hill and grabbing a platoon outfielder could be the most realistic option for the Dodgers. If they want to land an impact bat, it'll likely have to come via trade (part V of my off-season preview series).

Next up: Free agent pitchers

Friday, October 28, 2011

2011 Los Angeles Dodgers off-season preview: Arbitration-eligible Dodgers

The Dodgers are entering expensive territory with some of their arbitration eligible players. Before, guys like Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw and James Loney were making peanuts. Now, they're going to break the bank -- well, at least Kemp and Kershaw will.

The Dodgers have seven arbitration eligible players. Their 2011 base salaries are included.

Andre Ethier, $9.25M
Matt Kemp, $7.1M*

James Loney, $4.875M
Hong-Chih Kuo, $2.725M

Dana Eveland, $500,000 (estimated)
Tony Gwynn, $675,000
Clayton Kershaw, $500,000


*-Included here despite avoiding arbitration last year.

Ethier: The Dodgers certainly aren't going to non-tender Ethier, but the salary he earns in 2012 will be a substantial amount. If he had continued to perform at his career clip, he could be looking at a $12 or $13 million payday. Instead, he struggled mightily -- especially in the power department -- and that might actually help the Dodgers in terms of salary (but not much). He's looking at about a $10-11 million payday.

Kemp: If the Dodgers are smart, they'll offer Kemp a long-term contract this winter -- provided they have the money, of course. A 7-year, $140 million contract might get it done. MLB Trade Rumors is predicting Kemp to get a $16.3 million payday if he goes to arbitration, which would be a record, and I'm sure he'd be worth every penny. If the Dodgers can get him for $12-15 million in 2012, that'd be a nice get.

Loney: With a hot August and September, Loney might have convinced the Dodgers to tender him a contract. Prior to August, he was a surefire candidate to get non-tendered. I wouldn't be opposed to bringing him back. His glove is among the best in the game and there's still the potential to be a good Major League hitter. For $6 million, the Dodgers could do a lot worse.

Kuo: Before a few days ago, the Dodgers were going to have a tough time deciding whether to bring Kuo back or non-tender him. With his most recent surgery, it should be a no-brainer -- Kuo has thrown his last pitch with the Dodgers. It's a sad fall from just one year ago when Kuo was considered among the best relievers in the game. He has all the talent, but he just underwent his fifth elbow operation and the Dodgers can't afford to spend $3-4 million on a guy who might not pitch (or be effective) in 2012.

Eveland: Eveland pitched in September and did a solid job. However, there's a reason the Dodgers ended up with the "crafty" (i.e. junkballer) lefty -- he's not that good. Still, the Dodgers could offer him arbitration because he could start. With Rubby De La Rosa down for the majority of the 2012 season and Nathan Eovaldi's role still undefined, Eveland could be an innings-eater (not necessarily effective, though).

Gwynn: Tony, Jr. was a solid reserve outfielder for the Dodgers. He wasn't expected to do much with the bat, but he did play great defense and stole some bases. He should absolutely be offered arbitration. He could make upward of $1.5 million in the process.

Kershaw: Ahh, we're finally here. The potential National League Cy Young Award winner, Kershaw made $500,000 in 2011. He pitched like a $20-million pitcher. He won't make that much, but he could make as much as $8 million if he goes to arbitration.

Chad Billingsley would be on this list, but he signed a contract extension just before the 2011 season.

The Dodgers are going to have to pay handsomely to keep their two best players, which is just fine. They'd be smart to explore long-term deals, but it might not be feasible money-wise. They're going to have to pay a little more to keep Loney and Ethier than their worth, but they probably can't do much better at either position. Gwynn, if retained, will be worth his salary. Eveland could be a decent source of cheap innings. Kuo might just retire than try to come back from a fifth surgery on his elbow.

Next up: Free agent position players

Monday, October 24, 2011

2011 Los Angeles Dodgers off-season preview: Dodger free agents

This is the first of a five-part series in previewing the off-season for the Los Angeles Dodgers. It breaks down as follows:
  • Dodgers' free agents
  • Arbitration-eligible Dodgers
  • Free agent position players
  • Free agent pitchers
  • Trade targets
Ned Colletti is famous for not offering arbitration to players, so I wouldn't expect Barajas or Kuroda to get an offer. That doesn't mean they won't be back in the fold for 2012.

Dodger free agents

C Rod Barajas (Type B)
3B Casey Blake
RHP Jonathan Broxton
INF Jamey Carroll
RHP Jon Garland
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (Type B)
RHP Mike MacDougal
INF Aaron Miles
RHP Vicente Padilla
OF/1B Juan Rivera

Barajas: He was inexplicably signed to a $3.25 million contract last off-season. He is in a similar position this winter -- a Type-B free agent looking for another contract. Will Ned Colletti be foolish enough to give him anything more than a couple million? At that price, he's worth it to come back. He has pop, but not much else. His defense is average. Abritration: Yes

Blake: His option was not exercised by the Dodgers, so there's almost zero chance he'll be back.

Broxton: This one is tough. On a really cheap deal, he'd be a nice risk-reward option. However, he might be done with the Dodgers and the Dodgers might very well be done with him.

Carroll: When Carroll signed two years ago, it seemed like a throw-away deal. However, Carroll was nothing but solid for the Dodgers. He was a trade candidate in July, but the Dodgers kept him. He'd be a solid re-signing, but the Dodgers probably can fill his spot with someone making the league minimum.

Garland: Like Blake, Garland was not retained and will likely not return to the Dodgers.

Kuroda: He was a hot target at the trade deadline, but he ultimately wanted to stay in Los Angeles. I applaud his loyalty. It seems he's either going to pitch for the Dodgers or not pitch in the Majors at all. My gut tells me he'll be back, but we'll see what happens. Arbitration: Yes, without a doubt

MacDougal: He was brought in as a non-roster invitee and gave the Dodgers more than their money's worth. He's in line for a slight pay raise. I think the Dodgers have enough low-salary relievers to rely on without having to use resources on bringing him back.

Miles: Like MacDougal, Miles was a non-roster invitee and exceeded expectations. Like Carroll, the Dodgers have cheaper options to do what Miles does, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him back.

Padilla: He was supposed to be the bullpen utility guy, but that plan failed. Padilla got hurt and threw just 8 2/3 innings for the Dodgers this season. The Dodgers could bring him back, as he'd be a nice insurance policy for Nathan Eovaldi, the projected No. 5 starter (in October, so take that with a grain of salt).

Rivera: He was a surprise acquisition and did a solid job playing left field, right field and first base. I'd have no problem bringing him back as the fourth outfielder, meaning Jerry Sands would (and should) start.


The Dodgers have a couple of decent free agents and Kuroda. I could easily see three or four guys from this list returning. The Dodgers aren't exactly in a position to break the bank, so retaining much of the talent (a word that I use loosely) from the 2011 team could be a realistic option.

Next up: Arbitration-eligible Dodgers

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Former Dodgers in the World Series

As I watching Game 4 of the World Series between the Cardinals and Rangers, I can't help but notice the number of key players on each team who used to be Dodgers.

Octavio Dotel (does he really count?)
Rafael Furcal
Edwin Jackson
Ryan Theriot (same as Dotel)

Adrian Beltre

OK, so Dotel and Theriot were barely Dodgers and aren't doing much in the Series. However, Furcal, Jackson and Beltre are all key components for each team.

Furcal is the Cardinals' leadoff man and, much like he was with the Dodgers -- or was supposed to be -- he's the catalyst of the squad. But with a 3-4-5 of Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, Furcal doesn't have to be on base all the time for the Cardinals to be successful.

Jackson is the key guy the Cardinals acquired in the Colby Rasmus trade. He was solid after the trade, despite a 10.5 H/9 rate. It's probably my Dodger bias, but I'd like to see him back in L.A., as he's a free agent after the season (only if Hiroki Kuroda decides to retire or go back to Japan). Jackson's postseason hasn't been stellar and he doesn't get the most out of his stuff, but he's still a solid middle-of-the-rotation pitcher.

Beltre is quite possibly the best third baseman in the game -- defensively. Like he was with the Dodgers, he's a vacuum at the hot corner and has one of the best arms in the game at the position. He also followed up last season's impressive offensive output -- .321/.365/.553, 28 HR, 102 RBI, 49 2B, 5.5 bWAR, 7.0 fWAR -- with another impressive season: .296/.331/.561, 32 HR, 105 RBI, 3.9 bWAR, 5.7 fWAR. He's hitting .467 in the World Series.

I honestly don't care which team wins this series. Beltre was always one of my favorite Dodgers and Jackson was traded when his value was virtually nothing. Furcal had a nice career with the Dodgers, despite the injuries. It'd just be nice to write a World Series post involving current Dodgers. Unfortunately, that is more of a pipe dream at this juncture.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2011 Los Angeles Dodgers Season Review: Outfield

In the fifth part of my season review series, I look at the Dodgers' outfield. This was by far the best part of the offense, despite the glaring hole in left field.


LF Tony Gwynn
.256/.308/.353, 2 HR, 22 RBI, 22 SB, 23 BB, 61 K, 84 OPS+
- I didn't know who to put here, but Gwynn gets the nod because he had the most appearances in left field. His performance wasn't great, but the Dodgers pretty much knew what to expect from him. He played excellent defense and caused a little havoc on the basepaths. I'd like to see him re-signed as the 4th/5th outfielder.

CF Matt Kemp
.324/.399/.586, 39 HR, 126 RBI, 40 SB, 74 BB, 159 K, 171 OPS+
- Kemp put up MVP-type numbers and is in close contention with Ryan Braun for the award. He was the best all-around player in the National League this season and was the heart of the Dodgers' offense. Even with little protection, Kemp challenged for the Triple Crown. He is a special talent.

RF Andre Ethier
.292/.368/.421, 11 HR, 62 RBI, 30 2B, 58 BB, 103 K, 120 OPS+
- Ethier, despite the above-average OPS+, had a down season. His batting average and on-base percentage were actually better than his career numbers coming into the season (.291/.363), but his power all but disappeared. He ended up having knee surgery and could be back to his old self in 2012. The Dodgers should have traded him in June and they could look to deal him now, but they'd be selling low.


Jay Gibbons
.255/.323/.345, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 2B, 5 BB, 14 K, 87 OPS+
- Gibbons didn't spend much time with the Dodgers this season and didn't blow anyone away with his performance, but he was adequate.

Jamie Hoffmann
0-for-4, 1 K
- Hoffmann spent a few days with the Dodgers, but did all his damage in Albuquerque.

Trent Oeltjen
.197/.322/.324, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 10 R, 13 BB, 30 K, 81 OPS+
- Oeltjen got hot for a few games, but was pretty much ineffective the rest of the season.

Xavier Paul
3-for-11, 5 K
- Paul didn't ever get it going -- nor did he get a chance to -- before being acquired by Pittsburgh. He his .254/.293/.349 with the Bucs.

Jerry Sands
.253/.338/.389, 4 HR, 26 RBI, 15 2B, 25 BB, 51 K, 102 OPS+
- Sands spent the majority of his time in the Majors in the outfield. He had an up-and-down first go-round with the Dodgers before finishing the season on fire. He's a lock to be a starter next season -- either in left field, right field or first base.

Juan Rivera
.274/.333/.406, 5 HR, 46 RBI, 12 2B, 21 BB, 35 K, 105 OPS+
- Rivera was acquired in July and most didn't think much of it. He provided a decent spark for the Dodgers and finished with the fourth-most RBI on the team. He could be in the team's 2012 plans.

Marcus Thames
.197/.243/.333, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1 3B, 4 BB, 16 K, 59 OPS+
- I really liked this signing, despite Thames' lack of defense. However, he was just never able to get it going for the Dodgers. He signed with the Yankees after being designated for assignment, but never played a game for them. His career could be coming to a close.

Outfield MVP: Kemp
- Need I say more?

Outfield LVP: Thames
- His time with the Dodgers was flat-out disappointing.

That'll do it for my season wrap-ups. Going to think long about my plan for the Dodgers. I'll have it posted after the World Series wraps up.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

2011 Los Angeles Dodgers Season Review: Catcher

In the fourth of my season review, I look at the catchers for the Dodgers. Like the rest of the infield, the catcher's position wasn't going to provide a lot of offensive production. It was a little better than expected, but still below-average.

Dodger catchers

50 R
20 2B
2 3B
23 HR
76 RBI
0 SB
58 BB
127 K

Rod Barajas
.230/.287/.430, 16 HR, 47 RBI, 13 2B, 22 BB, 71 K, 97 OPS+
- Barajas was basically the player he had been for his entire career -- low average, low on-base skills and some pop. His defense was passable. His catcher ERA (if you subscribe to such a theory) was 3.56 (team 3.54) and caught 25 percent of attempted base-stealers (up from 15 percent in his month-plus with the Dodgers in 2010). He could be back, but hopefully not at a price north of $3 million, as he was in 2011.

Dioner Navarro
.193/.276/.324, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 6 2B, 20 BB, 35 K, 67 OPS+
- Navarro was a curious signing, as the Dodgers gave him a million bucks. He was coming off a poor season for the Rays and didn't do much to improve on those numbers, save for a few more home runs. Navarro was jettisoned in August. His defense wasn't much to write home about, but he did have a 3.41 cERA and threw out 25 percent of potential base-stealers.

A.J. Ellis
.271/.392/.376, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 8 R, 14 BB, 16 K, 116 OPS+
- Numbers-wise, Ellis was the Dodgers' best catcher this season. Granted, he only had 103 plate-appearances, but he did well in those appearances. He obviously can take a walk, which is good. However, he doesn't do much else offensively. Still, he can't be any worse than the other Dodger catchers. And for the price (peanuts, basically), he should be retained.

Tim Federowicz
.154/.313/.154, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 36 OPS+
- He was acquired in the Trayvon Robinson trade and didn't do much for the Dodgers in his few September plate appearances. He looked a little overmatched in his debut, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him start back in Triple-A. But if he plays well enough, he could find himself in L.A. before too long.

Hector Gimenez
1-for-4, 1 K
- Gimenez was everyone's darling in Spring Training. People wanted to see him make the team and do well (myself included). Instead, he started one game at catcher and made three pinch-hit appearances before getting injured. He spent the rest of the season at Double-A and likely will be on another roster come 2012.

- It's kind of hard to do an MVP/LVP for catcher, but Barajas got the most playing time of the five and did the most damage on offense. Ellis was solid in limited playing time. The other three were forgettable.

Just to rub a little salt in the wound, here are Carlos Santana's numbers this season:

.239/.351/.457, 27 HR, 79 RBI, 35 2B, 97 BB, 133 K, 124 OPS+

Thanks, Neddy.

Next up: Outfield

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2011 Los Angeles Dodgers Season Review: Infield

This is the third in my series of season review posts. The infield is next up. It didn't look like the strongest bunch coming into the season and those criticisms were confirmed.


1B James Loney
.288/.339/.416, 12 HR, 65 RBI, 30 2B, 42 BB, 67 K, 110 OPS+
- Loney had a miserable season up until August 6. At that time, his triple slash line was .251/.294/.318, which is barely acceptable from an all-glove, no-bat shortstop -- not a first baseman. Loney must have heard everyone saying he was going to be designated for assignment. He turned it up and finished with a better stat line than last season. He's gone from a sure DFA to a potential $6 million man.

2B Jamey Carroll
.290/.359/.347, 0 HR, 17 RBI, 10 SB, 47 BB, 58 K, 98 OPS+
- Carroll played nearly as many games at shortstop (63) as he did at second base (71), but he was a valuable commodity for the team and it's really surprising he finished the season as a Dodger. In fact, he should probably be playing in the NLCS for the Brewers, but he isn't. His numbers are hardly overwhelming, but he was, if nothing else, consistent. He's a free agent and could be back, but I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up elsewhere.

3B Juan Uribe
.204/.264/.293, 4 HR, 28 RBI, 12 2B, 17 BB, 60 K, 56 OPS+
- Juan Uribe is quite possibly the worst player in baseball. That is all I'm going to say about him.

SS Dee Gordon
.304/.325/.362, 0 HR, 11 RBI, 24 SB, 7 BB, 27 K, 92 OPS+
- Finally, a bright spot in the infield. Gordon was somewhat of a surprise call-up and looked over-matched in his first go-round with the Dodgers. After recovering from an injury and a few games in Triple-A, Gordon hit well enough to take home National League Rookie of the Month honors for September. He needs to eat a couple (hundred) more steaks, but he looks ready for prime time.


3B Casey Blake
.252/.342/.371, 4 HR, 26 RBI, 10 2B, 26 BB, 50 K, 99 OPS+
- Blake had an injury-riddled season that helped contribute to his poor season. He batting in the No. 2 spot for 189 of his 239 plate-appearances, which led to an usually high number of runs scored (32) compared to the number of games he played (63). Blake's option was decline and is unlikely to return to L.A.

SS/2B/3B Juan Castro
.286/.333/.286, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 75 OPS+
- He played seven games before he did everyone a favor and retired.

2B Ivan DeJesus
.188/.235/.188, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 6 H, 2 BB, 11 K, 20 OPS+
- DeJesus actually made the Opening Day roster, but he had a rough go at it in his first taste of the Majors. He was eligible to come up in September, but was curiously left off the Dodgers' roster. It appears his future lies elsewhere.

SS Rafael Furcal
.197/.272/.248, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 5 SB, 11 BB, 21 K, 47 OPS+
- Furcal was supposed to be the catalyst for the offense. Instead, he dealt with injuries and hit below the Mendoza Line. He was traded to the Cardinals on July 31, with the Dodgers receiving minor-league OF Alex Castellanos in return. He was much better with St. Louis, but not so much that it would have made a difference in the Dodgers' season. Besides, it opened up the every day shortstop role to Gordon.

2B/3B Aaron Miles
.275/.314/.346, 3 HR, 45 RBI, 17 2B, 25 BB, 49 K, 84 OPS+
- Miles was basically the Mike MacDougal of the Dodgers' offensive player: a non-roster invitee who put up decent numbers but wasn't as good as said numbers. However, he gave them a lot more than anyone could have hoped/expected, so it's hard to be too tough on him. He could be back in 2012, but I'm hoping the Dodgers just move on from him.

3B/1B Russ Mitchell
.157/.259/.294, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R, 7 BB, 10 K, 54 OPS+
- Mitchell fared a little better this season in the Majors than he did last season, getting eight hits, two home runs and seven walks (three intentional). He's nothing more than a 25th man -- at best.

2B/SS/3B Justin Sellers
.203/.283/.301, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 9 2B, 12 BB, 21 K, 63 OPS+
- Sellers came up in September and showed some flashes of ability. He still profiles as a utility man in the role of Carroll, but his on-base skills are encouraging. Coming from the Athletics' minor-league system, that shouldn't be too surprising.

2B Eugenio Velez
.000/.075/.000, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 5 R, 2 BB, 11 K, -77 OPS+
- 0-for-37. And you're reading that correctly: a negative-77 OPS+. That's pretty hard to do, but Velez somehow accomplished that feat.

Infield MVP: Carroll
- He was a stabilizing factor and there really were only two other candidates (Gordon and Miles). He was a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen bases.

Infield LVP: Uribe
- It's hard not to give it to a guy who went 0-for-37, but Uribe was an even bigger joke, mainly because of the contract-to-production ratio.

Next up: Catcher

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

2011 Los Angeles Dodgers Season Review: Rotation

In the second of this series, I review the Dodgers' starting rotation. It was projected to be one of the best in the National League pre-season and thanks to Clayton Kershaw, it was. However, Chad Billingsley's short-comings are worrisome and disappointing.


LHP Clayton Kershaw
21-5, 2.28 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 6.7 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 2.1 BB/9, 9.6 K/9, 4.59 K/BB, 163 ERA+
- Kershaw was flat-out dominant this season. He led the Majors in ERA and the NL in strikeouts, WHIP and H/9. He also tied for the league lead in wins and became the first Dodger pitcher to win 20 games since Ramon Martinez did in 1990. He finally reached Ace status this season and is considered by many the front-runner for the NL Cy Young Award.

RHP Chad Billingsley
11-11, 4.21 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 9.0 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 4.0 BB/9, 7.3 K/9, 1.81 K/BB, 88 ERA+
- Billingsley was supposed to be back on track after finishing 2010 strong. He was supposed to be the unquestioned No. 2 behind Kershaw. Unfortunately, he regressed in every major pitching category this season. His numbers were the worst since his rookie season. Billingsley was a lot more hittable this season, which isn't the worst thing in the world. However, he missed fewer bats and didn't throw as many strikes -- a recipe for a mediocre season. The Dodgers need him to bounce back in 2012.

RHP Hiroki Kuroda
13-16, 3.07 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 8.7 H/9, 1.1 HR/9, 2.2 BB/9, 7.2 K/9, 3.29 K/BB, 121 ERA+
- Kuroa posted career-bests in a few of categories in his age-36 season: ERA, innings pitched (202), wins (13), games started (32) and strikeouts (161). While it might not have been his best season overall, he proved he still has plenty left in his tank. The only question is, will he return? Speculation is he'll return to Japan, but if he does stay in the Majors, he'll be a Dodger.

LHP Ted Lilly
12-14, 3.97 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 8.0 H/9, 1.3 HR/9, 2.4 BB/9, 7.4 K/9, 3.10 K/BB, 94 ERA+
- Lilly didn't pitch well for a majority of the season, but a strong second half saved his season. Lilly is a strike-thrower, which is good. The bad thing is he allows too many home runs (28) and stolen bases (35, two caught stealing). His average velocity was up slightly on his fastball, slider and changeup (down slightly on his curve). Could that explain his solid second half? Perhaps. However, entering his age-36 season, I wouldn't be surprised if this was the last time he was this effective.

RHP Jon Garland
1-5, 4.33 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 9.2 H/9, 1.0 HR/9, 3.3 BB/9, 4.7 K/9, 1.40 K/BB, 86 ERA+
- Garland was supposed to be the best No. 5 starter in baseball. Coming off a solid season in San Diego, the Dodgers nabbed him on a low-risk contract. He had been a sure bet for 190-plus innings since 2002. However, time caught up with him this season, as he pitched only 54 subpar innings. Garland's option was declined and will need to prove he's healthy if he wants another shot in the Majors.

Pitchers who made starts
(Numbers as a starter)

RHP Rubby De La Rosa (9 starts)
3-5, 3.88 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 8.2 H/9, 1.0 HR/9, 4.8 BB/9, 8.9 K/9, 1.83 K/BB
- De La Rosa was thrown into the proverbial fire and did an admirable job as a 22-year-old jumping from Double-A. He started a little shaky but seemed to be hitting his stride before his July 31 start against the Rockies. He ended up tearing his ulnar collateral ligament, resulting in Tommy John Surgery. He could be back in late 2012, but I might even keep him out until 2013. He's the best young pitcher the Dodgers have not named Kershaw.

RHP Nathan Eovaldi (6 starts)
1-2, 3.09 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 7.0 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 4.8 BB/9, 6.5 K/9
- Eovaldi, like De La Rosa, was a surprise call-up this season. He pitched better as a starter than a reliever (small sample size) and his future might still lie in the 'pen, but for now, the Dodgers need to keep him in the rotation. He has a heavy low-to-mid-90s fastball, which is his best weapon. He needs to develop his off-speed pitches to remain a starter, though.

LHP Dana Eveland (5 starts)
3-2, 3.03 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 8.5 H/9, 0.3 HR/9, 1.8 BB/9, 4.8 K/9, 2.67 K/BB, 124 ERA+
- Eveland spent most of the season at Albuquerque and posted solid numbers in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He made five starts for the Dodgers and did moderately well, but he's not really a viable option for the 2012 rotation.

RHP John Ely (1 start)
0-1, 5 2/3 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 HR, 3 BB, 5 K
- In his only start, Ely last 5 2/3 innings and gave up four runs to the Padres. Like Eveland, he spent the majority of the season at Triple-A. He's fallen a lot since Elymania, but he could still have a somewhat productive Major League career, but it all depends on his ability to locate his fastball with pinpoint accuracy.

Rotation MVP: Kerhsaw. As if there were any other choice.

Rotation LVP: Billingsley. It's unfortunate, but he was the Dodgers' worst starter this season.

Next up: Infield

Sunday, October 9, 2011

2011 Los Angeles Dodgers Season Review: Bullpen

Just like my season preview series, I'll be reviewing each section of the Dodgers' team, starting with the bullpen.

Dodger bullpen by the numbers
17-18 W-L
3.92 ERA
1.32 WHIP
8.0 H/9
0.7 HR/9
3.9 BB/9
8.6 K/9
2.18 K/BB
40 saves

Individual performers

RHP Jonathan Broxton
1-2, 5.68 ERA, 1.89 WHIP, 10.7 H/9, 1.4 HR/9, 6.4 BB/9, 7.1 K/9, 1.11 K/BB, 67 ERA+, 7 saves
- Broxton was supposed to have a bounce-back season, but his injuries finally caught up to him. His average velocity has decreased the last two seasons. In 2009, he averaged 97.8 MPH on his fastball. In 2010, it was down to 95.3 MPH. In 2011, it was 94.1 MPH. There was clearly something wrong with him -- it wasn't that he forgot how to pitch. He is an unrestricted free agent this season and I'd be surprised if he came back to L.A.

RHP Lance Cormier
0-1, 9.88 ERA, 1.98 WHIP, 14.5 H/9, 2.6 HR/9, 3.3 BB/9, 4.6/ K/9, 1.4 K/BB, 39 ERA+
- This was a disaster from the start, but Cormier somehow got into nine games. In those nine games, he was (predictably) horrible.

LHP Scott Elbert
0-1, 2.43 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 7.3 H/9, 0.3 HR/9, 3.8 BB/9, 9.2 K/9, 2.43 K/BB, 154 ERA+, 2 saves
- Elbert finally found his niche in the majors. While he was really effective against left-handed hitters (.191 BAA, .250 SLG, 2.57 K/BB), he was able to get right-handed hitters out, too (.254 BAA, .305 SLG, 2.29 K/BB). He should be a fixture in the Dodgers' bullpen for at least the next five years.

RHP Javy Guerra
2-2, 2.31 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 7.1 H/9, 0.4 HR/9, 3.5 BB/9, 7.3 K/9, 2.11 K/BB, 162 ERA+, 21 saves
- Guerra had never pitched at a level above Double-A prior to 2010. He always had ability, but he could never throw enough strikes. However, he got it under control this season. He started off great with the Lookouts and got the call in May and never left the Majors. Guerra stepped in and a did an admirable job as the Dodger closer. His peripherals aren't great (BB/9, K/9, K/BB), but unless he reverts to his previous form, he should be a serviceable reliever for the foreseeable future. Developing a true strikeout pitch would go a long way in helping him have more long-term success in the Majors.

RHP Matt Guerrier
4-3, 4.07 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 8.0 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 3.4 BB/9, 6.8 K/9, 2.00 K/BB, 92 ERA+, 1 save
- Guerrier is likely not going to live up to his contract -- which was a colossal mistake. He posted his worst numbers since 2008, when he had a 5.19 ERA, 1.58 WHIP and a number of other poor peripherals. The poor season could be attributed to switching leagues, but switching from the AL to the NL should have --in theory -- helped his numbers. Guess not.

RHP Blake Hawksworth
2-5, 4.08 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 7.6 H/9, 1.0 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 7.3 K/9, 2.53 K/BB, 92 ERA+
- When the Dodgers traded Ryan Theriot to the Cardinals for Hawksworth, the move was praised by many because Theriot was on the way to being non-tendered. To get something even remotely useful for him was a nice coup. Hawksworth pitched well in the first half before suffering a second-half letdown. Still, Hawksworth was useful this season and I could see him back in 2012.

RHP Kenley Jansen
2-1, 2.85 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 5.0 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 4.4 BB/9, 16.1 K/9, 3.69 K/BB, 131 ERA+, 5 saves
- Jansen had a quite the season. He set the Major League record for strikeouts per nine innings (16.1), a record that the Cubs' Carlos Marmol set last season (15.99). On April 21, he gave up five runs to the Braves in 1 2/3 innings. Since from that date on, Jansen was downright dominant, posting a 1.20 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, .113 BAA and 83 strikeouts in 45 innings, good for a 16.6 K/9 rate. Jansen probably won't get any recognition for NL Rookie of the Year, but he should.

LHP Hong-Chih Kuo
1-2, 9.00 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 8.0 H/9, 1.3 HR/9, 7.7 BB/9, 12.0 K/9, 1.57 K/BB, 42 ERA+
- Kuo was historically good last season and was quite awful this season. Kuo, who made the All-Star team in 2010, just never got on track this season. While he still struck out hitters with ease, he didn't do much else. He's up for arbitration and said recently he could retire instead of returning to the Dodgers. When he's healthy, he's nearly unhittable. Unfortunately, he wasn't this season, which was disappointing. Like Broxton, Kuo's average velocity dropped considerably from '10 to '11 -- from 94.3 MPH on his fastball to 92.5. His slider velocity also dropped (86.8 to 83.7).

RHP Josh Lindblom
1-0, 2.73 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 6.4 H/9, 0.0 HR/9, 3.0 BB.9, 8.5 K/9, 2.80 K/BB, 138 ERA+
- There was talk in 2009 of Lindblom making the Dodgers' bullpen out of Spring Training. When that didn't happen, he was sent back to the minors to give the rotation another shot. When that failed, the Dodgers finally moved him back to the 'pen, which is where he belonged the whole time. He put up solid numbers in limited action and should be a source of cheap, quality innings for the next few years.

RHP Mike MacDougal
3-1, 2.05 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 8.5 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 4.6 BB/9, 6.5 K/9, 1.41 K/BB, 182 ERA+, 1 save
- MacDougal was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training and pitched well enough to make the squad. But don't let his shiny ERA and ERA+ fool you -- he wasn't nearly that good. MacDougal provided some quality innings, but they were not without concern. A high WHIP and BB/9 coupled with a low K/9 and K/BB ratio is one way to get lit up. Somehow, MacDougal only gave up more than one run in a game twice on the season (both times just two runs). It wouldn't surprise me to see him back, but I wouldn't be in favor of it.

RHP Vicente Padilla
0-0, 4.15 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 7.3 H/9, 0.0 HR/9, 5.2 BB/9, 9.3 K/9, 1.80 K/BB, 93 ERA+, 3 saves
- Padilla was signed to be the "swingman" in the 'pen -- a spot starter, long reliever or even closer. Things were going OK until he injured his forearm in May. If not for his injury, Guerra might not have gotten his shot to close games. Padilla could still be a quality performer out the bullpen in 2012, if the Dodgers decide to bring him back.

RHP Ramon Troncoso
0-0, 6.75 ERA, 1.85 WHIP, 15.1 H/9, 2.0 HR/9, 1.6 BB/9, 5.6 K/9, 3.50 K/BB, 56 ERA+
- A once quality bullpen arm is now a mop-up man. Troncoso pitched in 18 games this season -- 13 of which he finished, a stat that tied him for third with the Dodgers. However, he didn't pitch any meaningful games -- and for good reason. He was simply not effective, evidenced by his WHIP and grotesque H/9 rate.

Starters who made relief appearances
(Numbers as relievers)

Rubby De La Rosa (3 games)
1-0, 1.80 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 1 BB, 5 K
- Got his first Major League win out of the bullpen.

Nathan Eovaldi (4 games)
0-0, 10.13 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 HR, 3 BB, 0 K
- Pitched rather poorly out of the bullpen, but might ultimately end up there if he doesn't improve his off-speed offerings.

John Ely (4 games)
0-0, 2.57 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 HR, 4 BB, 8 K
- The shine of Elymania is long gone. He'll bounce between Triple-A and the Majors as a spot-starter for the duration of his career.

Bullpen MVP: Jansen
- While many would choose Guerra because he stepped in as the closer, Jansen was the most dominant reliever in the Dodger pen -- and all of baseball. Despite a "slow" start this season, Jansen turned it up and was Mr. Dependable for the Dodgers.

Bullpen LVP: Cormier
- This one is tough. It could go to Kuo for his utter inability to get anyone out without giving up runs or it could go to Troncoso for his wretched numbers (especailly the 15.1 H/9), but Cormier takes the cake. At least Kuo and Troncoso had past success with the Dodgers. Cormier had no business being on a Major League roster.

Next up: Rotation

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Five Dodgers make BA's Southern League Top 20

Baseball America published its Top 20 Southern League prospect list today, and five Dodgers made the cut.
10. Allen Webster
12. Alfredo Silverio
13. Nathan Eovaldi
18. Chris Withrow
20. Shawn Tolleson
I predicted yesterday Eovaldi would make the list for sure, with Silverio, Tolleson, Van Slyke and Rubby De La Rosa as potentials. I mistakenly omitted Webster and just didn't think Withrow was going to make it.

I was surprised to see Silverio ranked so high -- ahead of Eovaldi, even. If these lists are any indicator to what the Dodgers' Top 30 could be like -- and that's not guaranteed -- maybe Silverio will be a Top 10 prospect. It'd be quite the jump for the toolsy outfielder.

BA's lovefest with former first-round picks continues with Withrow. His 2011 season wasn't horrible -- certainly not any worse than his 2010 season, but he still needs to improve his command. He might be the 18th-best prospect in the Southern League, but he looks like he might be destined for relief work.

Speaking of relievers, they don't usually rank highly, so Tolleson checking in at No. 20 is surprising and unsurprising at the same time. A 30th-round steal in last year's draft, he could conceivably challenge for a bullpen spot in 2012.

One omission -- not especially glaring -- is Scott Van Slyke. He led the league in batting average and doubles and was in the top five in a lot of other statistical categories. The reasoning, revealed in the chat, is his apparent lack of bat speed and minimal defensive value.


Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness poses the question: would you trade Andre Ethier and Chad Billingsley for young talent? This is a question that stems from Jim Bowden's post on While pretty unrealistic on Bowden's part, it's the kind of direction general manager Ned Colletti should be looking in to fix the club.

He also has a great review of James Loney's 2011 season.

Brandon Lennox of True Blue L.A. has a nice review of the Dominican Dodgers' season.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dodgers cut ties with Casey Blake, Jon Garland

The Dodgers today declined options on third baseman Casey Blake and right-handed pitcher Jon Garland, writes Ken Gurnick of

Blake is coming off an injury-riddled season, batting just .252/.342/.371 with 4 home runs and 26 RBI. This likely spells the end of his Dodger career, as the 38-year-old will probably head back to the American League.

He received a $1.25 million buyout, per the terms of his 3-year deal signed prior to the 2009 season.

In 406 games for the Dodgers, Blake posted a solid line: .262/.338/.431, 49 home runs, 192 RBI and a 107 OPS+.

Blake, while solid for L.A., will forever be brought up among the worst trades in Dodger history, as general manager Ned Colletti foolishly traded Carlos Santana (and Jon Meloan) for Blake in the summer of 2008 -- just before the Dodgers acquired Manny Ramirez.

Since the trade, Santana has posted a .244/.362/.459 line with the Indians.

Great trade, Ned.

The Dodgers also parted ways with Garland, who was viewed as a bargain signing last offseason.
"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."
It was later reported Garland had signed for $5 million and $3 million in performance-based incentives.

It was also later reported some teams were leery of Garland's shoulder. He injured his oblique in Spring Training, causing him to start the season on the disabled list. After the injury, he was only able to muster 54 innings with poor peripherals (1.39 WHIP, 9.2 H/9, 4.7 K/9, 1.40 K/BB) due to -- you guess it -- a shoulder injury.

It was still a worthwhile signing and a relatively low-risk, high-reward proposition.

Unlike Blake, the Dodgers don't owe anything more to Garland, as his option was simply not exercised by the club.


The worst player to ever don the Blue is gone -- mostly.

Eugenio Velez was outrighted to Triple-A Albuquerque after his historic 0-for-37 2011 (0-for-46 dating back to 2010).

He's not completely off the roster -- yet -- so there's a chance he's back in New Mexico to start 2012. If he is, it's a horrible, horrific mistake.

Good riddance, I hope.


Zach Lee and Garrett Gould made the Midwest League Top 20 Prospect List from Baseball America. Lee finished No. 7, while Gould finished No. 17. I'm a little more bullish on Gould than most, so I think his rating might be a little low. Lee is slotted just about right.

Allen Webster made the California League Top 20, checking in at No. 8. He had a great run with Rancho Cucamonga and started off well for Chattanooga before struggling mightily down the stretch.

The Southern League Top 20 goes up tomorrow. I'm not sure how Baseball America does it all the time, but one guy who will certainly make the cut is Nathan Eovaldi. Rubby De La Rosa, Alfredo Silverio, Shawn Tolleson and Scott Van Slyke could all be in contention for a spot, but I wouldn't hold my breath on the position players. De La Rosa might not have pitched enough in the league, so the best bet is Tolleson, who was left off the Midwest and Cal League Top 20 lists above.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My 2011 MLB Awards ballot

The 2011 Major League Baseball season has come to a close and the Dodgers are not playoff-bound for the second consecutive year. Unlike previous years, though, they'll be a player in the award season.

Here is my awards ballot, beginning with the American League.

American League

1. Jose Bautista, TOR
2. Curtis Granderson, NYY
3. Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS
4. Justin Verlander, DET
5. Adrian Beltre, TEX
6. Miguel Cabrera, DET
7. Adrian Gonzalez, BOS
8. Dustin Pedroia, BOS
9. Alex Avila, DET
10. Alex Gordon, KC

Bautista: .302/.447/.608/1.056, 43 HR, 103 RBI, 132 BB, 181 OPS+, 8.5 bWAR, 8.3 fWAR
- Bautista proved his breakout 2010 season was not a fluke. He leads the Majors home runs, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, on-base+slugging percentage and OPS+. Despite the Blue Jays' status as a .500 ball club, Bautista has clearly been the league's best player, and possibly the best hitter in the game. If his team was headed to the playoffs, he'd be the slam-dunk choice.

Cy Young
1. Justin Verlander, DET
2. CC Sabathia, NYY
3. James Shields, TB
4. Dan Haren, ANA
5. Jered Weaver, ANA

Verlander: 24-5, 2.40 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 6.2 H/9, 9.0 K/9, 2.99 FIP, 3.12 xFIP, 170 ERA+, 8.6 bWAR, 7.0 fWAR
- This choice wasn't clear a couple months ago, but Verlander clearly separated himself from the pack. This is actually the easiest choice of any award on this ballot. His no-hitter not withstanding, he led the Majors in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, WHIP, H/9 and ERA+. He was clearly the league's best pitcher. He's going to garner serious MVP consideration, too.

Rookie of the Year
1. Eric Hosmer, KC
2. Michael Pineda, SEA
3. Jeremy Hellickson, TB
4. Mark Trumbo, ANA
5. Ivan Nova, NYY

Hosmer: .295/.337/.470/.807, 19 HR, 78 RBI, 11 SB, 121 OPS+, 1.5 bWAR, 1.6 fWAR
- Hosmer was the league's most consistent rookie. I nearly picked Pineda over him, but Hosmer batted either third or fourth in 95 of his 126 games, which counts for something. He's going to be a staple in the Royals' lineup for years to come.

Manager of the Year
1. Joe Maddon, TB
2. Manny Acta, CLE
3. Ron Washington, TEX

- Acta would have clearly won this award had the Indians stayed in contention in the second half. Instead, Maddon takes the cake. He's done an amazing job with a team that lost Carl Crawford, Matt Garza (via trade), Carlos Pena and Rafael Soriano from last year's division-winning squad. The Rays are tied with the Red Sox for the AL Wild Card and appear to have momentum in their favor.

National League

1. Matt Kemp, LA
2. Ryan Braun, MIL
3. Justin Upton, ARI
4. Albert Pujols, STL
5. Prince Fielder, MIL
6. Joey Votto, CIN
7. Troy Tulowitzki, COL
8. Clayton Kershaw, LA
9. Roy Halladay, PHI
10. Andrew McCutchen, PIT

Kemp: .324/.399/.586/.986, 39 HR, 126 RBI, 115 R, 353 TB, 171 OPS+, 10.0 bWAR, 8.7 fWAR
- He was the most dominant player in the National League this season. He lead the league in home runs, RBI (also the Majors), total bases, runs and OPS+. He was second in batting average and tied for second in stolen bases while making the most serious run at the Triple Crown the National League has seen in quite some time. There hasn't been a 10-WAR player in baseball since Barry Bonds in 2004, but Kemp was able to reach that mark this season. Factor in that he plays an important defensive position -- admittedly not that well -- and he's the choice for me. Braun is a close second.

Cy Young
1. Clayton Kershaw, LA
2. Roy Halladay, PHI
3. Cliff Lee, PHI
4. Ian Kennedy, ARI
5. Cole Hamels, PHI

Kershaw: 21-5, 2.28 ERA, 6.7 H/9, 9.6 K/9, 2.47 FIP, 2.84 xFIP, 163 ERA+, 6.9 bWAR, 6.8 fWAR
- While I'm sure you're surprised to see me pick both Dodgers for the NL awards (/sarcasm), Kershaw's second half was flat-out dominant. He went 12-1, with a 1.31 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 5.32 K/BB. He led the Majors in ERA and the NL in strikeouts, WHIP and H/9. He also improved on his K/9 and K/BB from 2010. His K/BB ratio is the most impressive. Halladay is a close second with Lee right behind him.

Rookie of the Year
1. Freddie Freeman, ATL
2. Craig Kimbrel, ATL
3. Brandon Beachy, ATL
4. Kenley Jansen, LA
5. Josh Collmenter, ARI

Freeman: .282/.346/.448/.795, 21 HR, 76 RBI, 32 2B, 256 TB, 53 BB, 118 OPS+, 1.1 bWAR, 1.0 fWAR
- This one could go either way. Kimbrel is deserving, but I'm going with the every day player in Freeman. He was a consistent force in the Braves' lineup on the season. He was in the Top 3 of Atlanta Braves in batting average (led team), runs, doubles, home runs, RBI, total bases, walks, on-base percentage and OPS. Before Dan Uggla's late-season surge, Freeman was the best Braves hitter who didn't miss any significant playing time. For these reasons, he's my choice instead of Kimbrel.

Manager of the Year
1. Kirk Gibson, ARI
2. Ron Roenicke, MIL
3. Davey Johnson, WAS

- Gibson took a rag-tag bunch of players and turned them into a 94-win, division champion. While Kennedy came out of nowhere to pitch like an ace, the rest of the rotation is less-than intimidating. J.J. Putz and David Hernandez at the end of the bullpen are a nice combo, but the rest of the bunch isn't much to worry about. And the lineup is basically Upton, Miguel Montero and whoever decides to have a good game. It would have been amazing for this team to finish .500, but Gibson got the most out of his guys to win the NL West and dethrone the Giants.

Chime in with your thoughts in the comments section or on Twitter.