Results tagged ‘ Andre Ethier ’
First off let me go ahead and say that Baseball is back you guys and it feels great to see the regular season in full swing. Being back in Dodger Stadium to see the Dodgers in action was great to see. How I missed waiting for 7:10 to roll around and hear Vin Scully start off the broadcast with “It’s Time For Dodger Baseball!”. The Dodgers opened up with the hated San Fransisco Giants. This was bound to be an interesting series either way. The Dodgers were eliminated from playoff contention by the hands of the Giants last season. Since then the Dodgers have spent money to improve pitching in order to contend. Spring Training we saw good individual performances from players like Luis Cruz, Hyun Jin Ryu, and Josh Beckett. Opening Day was a historic one for the books. From Sandy Koufax throwing out the first pitch to Magic Johnson being there to see his team take on the Giants. Clayton Kershaw and Matt Cain had a pitchers duel up until the bottom of the 8th inning when Clayton Kershaw nailed his first career Home Run to give the Dodgers the lead. After that it was all Dodgers from there as they scored 3 more runs in that same inning. Dodgers got a 4-0n victory on Opening Day over the Giants giving Kershaw a complete game shut out. Kershaw was also the first player since 1953 to throw a shut out and hit a Home Run in a opener (Bob Lemon, Cleveland Indians). After that it seemed like the magic was all gone and the Giants showed why they’re the defending World Series Champions defeating the Dodgers the next two games. Yeah the opening series wasn’t something we expected at all especially losing to the Giants.
Looking back at this series I saw a few things that caught my eye. Starting off with the good Carl Crawford had a great series. Opening Day and last night Crawford was getting on base weather it was via hit or drawing a walk, He got on base. Clayton Kershaw obviously had a great game on Opening Day with his historic game. Mark Ellis also started off good as well which shows that him and Crawford can put this team in good position to score some runs. The defense from the Infield on Opening Day also showed tons of potential and had a good outing last night as well.
As for the bad there was a good amount to point out. Matt Kemp has struggled batting this whole series going 0 of his last 10 at bats. Even though it’s early that is not good. Especially when you have runners in scoring position that can break open a game. Hyun Jin Ryu made his major league debut Tuesday night but gave up 8 hits in a 3-0 loss. You can say it was pitching and a number of errors that night but with Ryu he is still transitioning into the MLB. Last night was also very bad with the Dodgers being 1-13 with RISP dispite Lincecum giving up a career high of 8 walks. The Dodgers look to be swinging for the fences instead of getting the base hits that are needed to get runs in. Josh Beckett also was up and down last night giving up two Home runs.
Theres alot the Dodgers can take from the first series of the season. It’s only the begining 3 games so theres no need to panic at all. If anything the Dodgers are trying to get it all together right now and they will In my opinion. Beckett and Ryu will have everything settled down, Kemp, Ethier, and Gonzalez will find there grove, Injured players such as Ted Lilly and Chad Billingsley are on the way back, and Don Mattingly will have a set line up. Yes it always sucks to lose to San Fransisco but it’s the begining. Let the Media and everyone else overhype issues. The Dodgers will be fine folks.
Throughout Spring Training there’s been a lot of stories and players that has impressed but as of right now nobody is lighting it up like Yasiel Puig. Many scouts who have followed Puig made note that he has power and speed but was raw and needed more coaching. While playing for the Arizona Rookie League and Class A Rancho Cucamonga Puig batted .354 in 82 At Bats hitting 5 Home Runs and 15 RBI’s. This spring many Dodger fans didn’t really know what to expect from the 22 Year Old Outfielder. Yasiel have impressed many players, fans, and coaches with his play. I was even impressed how the way he played. Don Mattingly compared him to Bo Jackson with his speed and power and for a player built like that who can blame him. During Spring Training Puig is batting .547 with 3 Home Runs, 11 RBI’s, and an On Base Percentage (OBP) of .527. Right now he have a lot of people talking about a spot on the 25 man roster. Now should he have a spot on the 25 man roster? That is a great question and something that should be looked at.
The Dodgers already have 3 outfielders that will play every day. Carl Crawford at Left, Matt Kemp in Center, and Andre Ethier in Right but it’s a fourth outfielder that the Dodgers could use. I’ve always stressed that a bat off the bench could help. Los Angeles have two utility players in Schumaker and Harriston Jr. I don’t think anyone trust Uribe and with Hanley out for 8 weeks that opens up a spot. Likely Ellian Herrera will get called up come opening day but why not look into bringing Yasiel Puig? With him playing the way he is Puig is doing everything he can to get on the roster and having him come in as the 4th outfielder off the bench would be ideal but there will be a time that he will become day to day. Right now some see Puig challenging Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier for one of their spots and that can’t be any further from the truth. As good as Puig is Crawford and Ethier have their positions locked unless otherwise.
It’s up in the air right now weather if Puig will make the Opening Day Roster or not. With Hanley out for 8 weeks that brings the possibility of him being called up come April 1st and I can see it happening. If not then the likely place will be Double A Chattanooga to have more At Bats and coaching. What do I think of Puig? I honestly think he’s ready for the MLB. Based off what I have seen this kid can flat out play but the issue has been room on the roster. The Dodgers have proven players on the initial roster and they can’t have too many outfielders on the team. Puig will be called up this season and pending on others things will start for the Dodgers but this year isn’t that year in my opinion. In the end Puig should have a spot on the 25 man roster but if there’s no room then it won’t hurt for him to be in Double A.
And we’re here. The final part to our 2013 Dodgers spring preview will not focus on positions or players but the whole look at the Franchise. Hopefully the guide has given you an outlook on each position and answered some questions that you asked. Or maybe brought new questions to you regarding the 2013 Dodgers. This Off-Season the Dodgers took time fill the needs in order to not only make playoffs but win the NL West and contend for a World Series. They loaded up on pitching with the signings of Zack Grenkie, Hyun Jin Ryu, and J.P. Howell as well as re-signing Brandon League. They also hired Mark McGuire as batting coach to help improve the batting, An issue that the Dodgers had last season. Los Angeles done a lot in the off-season and it shows that they want to win the whole thing. Will they do it though? That’s something we all want to know. Before we drive right into the final take a few question and answers that should help. Now about a few weeks ago I asked some fans on twitter and Facebook what questions they had about this Dodgers team.
From @LAno1sportsfan via Twitter- Will Luis Cruz will play 3rd base for the rest of the season or do the Dodgers eventually make a move for a 3rd Baseman at some point?- Well to be honest it really depends on Cruz really. You have to look at it like this…If Cruz can repeat what he did last season and what he’s doing during Spring Training then yes he’s going to be there but once he struggles OR has an injury that keeps him out or something then most likely. I don’t think they’ll trade for one if Cruz struggles because look at who they have on the bench that can play that position but that’s what I see.
From Victoria Nunez who asks If Crawford isn’t ready by Opening Day, who will take up left field- That has been a question we’ve been asking since the end of the season really. My mind keeps shifting because a part of me think Crawford will be ready and another don’t see him ready till mid April maybe first week of May. Anyways if Carl Crawford isn’t ready then I believe Skip Schumaker will take his place. It’s a tough toss-up because you have Jerry Hariston there as well as Alex Castellanos but I really see Schumaker there come opening day but don’t be surprised if Mattingly platoons at Left till Crawford comes back.
@KingBilly via Twitter- Besides Kershaw and Greinke, what other starter do you see having a good/great season ?- I really believe Josh Beckett will have a good season. Many don’t think about Beckett as much but he did have a solid season when he was traded to Los Angeles. I think that along with him being in the NL (A Pitchers League), Pitching at Dodgers Stadium (Pitchers park), as well as a change of scenery will really help him out. Beckett won’t put up Cy Young numbers like that but he will be a solid Number 3 and that’ll be enough to help the Dodgers win.
@Dodgersrules1 via Twitter- are the dodgers going to trade harang or chris capuano- Right now with all the injuries It’s probably not wise to trade either at this point but I do see them getting traded. Eventually I do see both getting traded but at the right price. Depends on who needs Starting Pitching and everything.
Now that all the questions are out the way lets hit the home stretch. With everything the Dodgers did in the off-season and last summer, Is it enough for the Dodgers to win the NL West? If you look at the NL West it’s really bound to be interesting. The hated San Fransisco Giants brings back everyone (Pretty much) and Arizona spending on pitching nothing will come easy for the Dodgers. Los Angeles has some questions with the health of players and positioning especially at Left Field. I believe it comes down to if this team can be consistent and healthy enough to win the division. On paper they’re contenders but can this team keep it together to win the NL West and more? I think they will based on what I’ve seen during spring training and the World Baseball Classic. ultimately it will come down to pitching and that’s what will carry this Dodger team to a NL West title.
Not only is there questions with the team but there’s questions with the Manager as well. Many people question if Don Mattingly is the right guy for the job. Don Mattingly have been the Dodgers manager since 2011, When the Dodgers were going through its worst times with the franchise. Mattingly has gotten his team through the worst of things and the next year came close to leading this team to the Playoffs. I believe the Dodgers front office will wait and see what he’ll do with this team before deciding if they should sign him back to manage this team. I do believe he can be the right guy but he will have to gel all this talent together. He has the staff and players so there’s no more excuses for Mattingly not to succeed with this team.
So there you have it. We made it through the Spring preview. We broke down the positions, answered the questions, and took a look at a few things with the team. With all of that out the way we can now let the team go out on the field for their 2013 campaign and answer everything for us. On to Opening Day We Go!!!
And It Begins. That’s right folks Baseball is finally here. The Dodgers full squad are at Camelback Ranch in Glendale Arizona and preparing for their upcoming 2013 campaign. This year there’s a lot of high hopes for the Dodgers after the ending of last season and the off-season moves that were made. Regardless of the signings there’s still questions that loom around this team but it seems like for the most part are working towards answering those. Theres a lot of headlines going into Spring Training this year…You can say more than last season at that and yes it is Interesting.
One of the biggest things that’s being talked about with the Dodgers is chemistry. Many fans and media seem to mention this a lot and wonder how the Dodgers will mesh on the field. Other players seem to be talking too, Most noticeably Giants First Baseman Brandon Belt who said “All I can say is you can’t buy chemistry.” That quote has had many Dodger fans talking but the players aren’t fazed by it at all. Matt Kemp however had something to say about Belts comments with a few words of his own. The Dodgers for the most part look like they’re getting the whole chemistry thing down but once they get on the field that’ll be a whole different thing. I honestly don’t believe the Dodgers will have an issue with chemistry. Hanley, Adrian, Kemp, Ethier, Cruz and so on have played in the second half of the 2012 season and only a few pieces will have to mesh which they’ll have all spring to get it together.
Clayton Kershaw named Opening Day Starter
Clayton Kershaw was named the Dodgers Opening Day Starter by Don Mattingly (Insert your pretend surprised face here). This was something that we ALL knew for months unless there was something we didn’t know. Baring any injury Kershaw is the Dodgers guy and there shouldn’t be any shock or anything like that.
Hyun Jin Ryu Impresses
Many Dodger fans have been waiting to see what Hyun Jin Ryu brings to the Dodgers and when he was given the chance in a Bullpen session he didn’t disappoint. Ryu placed the ball where he wanted very well, had good command with his fast ball but the curveball needed more work. Mattingly, AJ Ellis, and Rick Honeycutt were all very impressed with his bullpen session but the knock on Ryu was his conditioning which has gotten better. In Korea training and conditioning is a much slower paced conditioning schedule so it’s all apart of the adjustment that Hyun Jin Ryu will have to make. Feb 25th is when we’ll see Ryu pitch in a live game.
Non Roster Players
Usually in Spring teams have players who get signed to minor league deals and give them a shot to make the 40 man roster. This year the Dodgers are hoping to find a gem that will make the Opening Day Roster like years before. This year the Dodgers are looking for a vet in a young Bullpen and there’s a few arms that stick out to the Dodgers. One of them being Peter Moylan who was with the Braves last season but only played in 8 games. Moylan also has an issue with staying healthy which is something he’s working towards doing. Another is a player the Dodgers just signed to a Minor League deal in Mark Lowe. Lowe played 38 games with the Rangers last season until getting injured. Lowe has an escape clause in his contract if he does not make the Dodgers come Opening Day where Moylan is willing to pitch in Triple A if he doesn’t make it. Both of them will have to battle with Josh Wall and Stephen Fife. Outside of pitching you have players like Tony Gwynn Jr who was on the team last season fighting for a spot on the 40 man roster. Alex Castellanos, Ellian Herrara, and Yasiel Puig are currently on there right now so a spot for Tony Gwynn jr will be pretty difficult at this moment.
Saving the best for last. Sandy Koufax back with the Dodgers as an Advisor and was it a sight to see him back in a Dodger uniform. It was a treat having a Dodger great back in Uniform talking with players and helping pitchers like Hyun Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke prepare for the upcoming season. I think this is overall a great thing for the Dodgers to do. Koufax is one of the best Dodgers and to have him involved with franchise is great for not only the Dodgers and it’s players but for the Fans as well.
We are 30 Days Away from Pitchers and Catchers reporting, Almost a month before the first Spring Training Game against the White Soxs, and 78 Days until Opening Day. A lot can happen between that time and that has been proven before. This off-season the Dodgers managed to go on a spending spree to try to improve the team. Stan Kasten and Ned Colleti got together and signed the likes of Zack Greinke and Hyun Jin Ryu as well as trade for guys to help on the bench such as Skip Shoemaker. Off the field the Dodgers have been busy getting Dodger Stadium redone to not only improve fan experance but improve the Stadium for the players and modernize the 51 year old stadium as well. As we aproach the 2013 Season there are still questions that loom over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Regardless of the amount of talent and spending the Dodgers did there’s still some things that many are uncertain with. Let’s see what questions suround the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Will Zack Greinke live up to expectations in L.A?
I think this is the key question many were asking once the Dodgers signed Greinke. Yes the Dodgers did pay a lot for Greinke and we understand that but in this case Dodgers had Greinke on their list and was willing to pay whatever for him so lets clear that up. Theres going to be a lot of things expected from Grenike and with him being the #1 Pitching Free Agent there’s going to be pressure on him for a fact. To be honest I for one am not worried about Greinke at Dodger Stadium but when the Dodgers go out on the road is something that I will keep a good eye on. I think if he can stay consistent and healthy then watch out MLB.
How will Hyun Jin Ryu adjust to the Major Leagues?
Lets be real here we know International players have to adjust to the style of Major league pitching and play and Ryu is no different. After a dominant career in the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization) Hyun Jin Ryu signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and if you look at his highlights you along with myself would be very excited to see him pitch. The one good thing about this is that no one in the Majors has seen Ryu pitch but MLB runs longer for pitchers which is something Ryu does know and is preparing for. I do believe Ryu will be a treat to watch but also is very unknown to many fans in the U.S. I think as the season progresses we will know more about him on the field.
Will Chad Billingsley, Matt Kemp, and Carl Crawford be the same coming off Injuries?
A concern with the Dodgers last season and something that hampered the team was Injuries. Chad Billingsley came off a stent on the DL when the second half of the 2012 season hit and was really pitching well until he suffered a partially torn right elbow ligament which sidelined him for the rest of the season. Matt Kemp was also bothered with injuries throughout the season and that affected his play through the season. Suffering from Hamstring injuries that sidelined him until the All-Star break and then tearing his right labrum and a frayed shoulder-blade which really affected him through the season. While Carl Crawford didn’t suit up with the Dodgers last season he also was injured and had to have Tommy John surgery which sidelined him for the season as a Red Sox. The health of those three have been closely watched since the end of the season and from the sounds of it progress is being made with Kemp and Billingsley. Kemp is swinging the bat again and working with McGwire in Arizona, Experiencing no pain while Billingsley has went fourth with is throwing program and from what is being said he’s sound confident which is also good to hear. While nothing is out on Crawford they expect him to be the Opening Day Starter at Left Field. My main concern at the moment for these guys is game speed. Yes they’ll have Spring Training to get it together but will they be at game speed and game condition once the season hits? Last thing everyone wants is for Kemp, Billingsley, and Crawford to struggle because that’s never a good thing to see. The key for their success as players is going to be Good health and confidence and If they can do that then watch out.
If Carl Crawford Isn’t Ready Who Starts at Left Field?
This was the talk at the end of last season and the answers was all over the place. In the event of Crawford not being able to play come the start of the season then who will start at his position? There were tons of players thrown into the discussion and some weren’t bad ideas while others were ehhh I don’t know. One Idea was to sign back Shane Victorino but there were two problems with that. 1) Shane wanted to be a starter and was not going to sign with the Dodgers to be a bench player once Crawford returned plus I questioned if he even wanted to be a Dodger and 2) he signed with the Red Soxs for a ridiculous amount of money so he’s officially out the picture. A few players also thrown out there was Juan Rivera which isn’t a bad idea but wasn’t the same player he was when he was traded to the Dodgers and Tony Gwynn Jr who was with the Dodgers until L.A. designated him for Assignment to Albuquerque. Yasiel Puig is a name plenty of Dodger fans put out there and while he is on the 40 man roster and has been Killing it in the Minors I question if he is indeed ready for MLB ball. He hit a major slump in winter ball but seems to be picking it back up. We have to see how he does at Spring Training to really judge if he is truly ready.
Will Luis Cruz repeat his 2012 Season
Luis Cruz was fantastic and was quite the surprise in the 2012 season. Cruz really became a popular player in Los Angeles and a key player as well earning the everyday 3rd Base spot. This season Mattingley said that the plan will be for Cruz to be starting 3rd baseman come Opening Day and why not? How the way he played Last season he should but whether he will make the same impact is a good question. Cruz will be playing with Team Mexico in the World baseball Classic so he will miss part of Spring training with the Dodgers for that. We’ve seen Juan Rivera who had a good impact on the team some what struggle the next season along with Dee Gordon and that is one thing that is in the back of some minds but with Cruz he has the work ethic to be better and help this team so it’s something to keep an eye out.
Is Andre Ethier on his way out of Los Angeles?
Andre Either has had his name in many trade rumors in the off-season and while the word is that the Dodgers are listening to offers they have not indicated that they will trade Ethier. Andre Ethier signed a 5 year $85 Million Contract extention during the season which raises eyebrows on why the Dodgers would trade him. Yes the knock has been that he can’t hit off left-handed pitchers and we all understand that but wouldn’t it be fair to wait and see how he does with Crawford AND Kemp in the outfield with him? There has been the rumor of him being traded to Seattle then signing Michael Bourn but that remains to be seen at the moment. I honestly think if Ethier struggles come the trade deadline then the Dodgers will likely look into Trading Ethier away but with his contract there isn’t many teams who will be willing to take him. I see the Dodgers holding on to Andre because as of right now it’s the right and smart thing to do.
Will The Dodger Stadium Renovations Be Done In Time?
I think this is another major question but it takes place with the stadium. If you have seen pictures of Dodger Stadium being redone or have been to the stadium then you can’t help but to worry about the Stadium being done in time for Opening Day. Stan Kasten made note that it will be ready by March 29th when the Dodgers take the field for their exhibition game against the Angels. Dodger Stadium was in need of renovations and that wasn’t a mystery at all if you visited there. After the 2012 Season the renovations start to modernize the 51 Year old Stadium but the worry is if it will be done and ready in time. It’s currently January right now and Dodger Stadium has to be ready by March for the season but in the event of it NOT being ready then there has been plans in place for the Dodgers to play at the L.A. Coliseum or Angel Stadium. I don’t believe that the Dodgers will have to play else where for their games and that the stadium will indeed be ready by March. They’ve already moved the Dodgertown Classic where USC and UCLA play at Dodger Stadium due to renovations so that’s already one event down. Yes A lot has to be done and it is a concern about getting it done in time but workers are working hard to get the upgrades done and it will be worth it.
Will Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez Have A Better Season L.A.?
Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez had up and down season in L.A. after they were aquired. With Adrian playing in the World baseball classic and Hanley in Winter Leagues I expect those two to improve. Another advantage is that Mark McGwire is the hitting coach and based on what he did for the Cardnials I can see him really doing what he can to help Hanley and Adrian improve. Weather it will work or or not is something we will have to wait and see. If Adrian Gonzalez can hit lights out and if Hanley can hit like his 2009 Batting Champion self then the Dodgers will really be a dangerous team hitting wise.
This week’s post is going to be something very very special. Baseball headlines shifted to the L.A./OC Area thanks to the Dodgers and Angels making big moves in the off-season. Kristen, who runs a great blog http://blithescribe.mlblogs.com/ as well as a very good friend to this blog and I have decided to come together to bring you the I-5 Bias “Hot Stove Edition”. Between the A’s winning the AL West, Giants winning the WS (Yuck!) as well as the Angels and Dodgers making huge splashes in the off season California Baseball has been something else. Kristen and I have set a side 6 questions that you may have been asking as of late and wanted answered. Well we got them right here for you so without further or due. I-5 Bias!!
1- Which of your team’s offseason moves do you think was the strongest?
Matt says: As important Pitching was this off-season I’m not going to say it was Zach Greinke or Ryu. I think the strongest was Mark McGwire as the Dodgers hitting coach. The Dodgers had issues with getting hits and runs in games and that hurt the Dodgers playoff chances. Look at what Mark did as hitting coach with the Cardinals. They were pretty much in the top ten in Runs, Batting Avg, and OPB. For a Dodger Team with Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford that’s going to be huge help for them.
Kristen says: I imagine everyone is expecting me to say Josh Hamilton here. Hamilton was a huge signing and should be a boon to the team, combining with Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo to make the Angels offense a formidable one indeed (at least on paper – I am very careful about how excited I allow myself to get before the teams actually take the field when, as any longtime baseball fan can tell you, anything can happen). However, I actually think the Angels strongest move was the most recent – the trade for Jason Vargas. As a player, Hamilton is definitely on another level than Vargas and will probably contribute more to the team directly. But trading for Vargas set the rest of the Angels roster in ways that will benefit the entire team and make Hamilton’s talents that much more effective. In addition to providing another reliable, workhorse arm to a starting rotation that needed exactly that, the Kendrys Morales for Vargas trade ensured that the Angels do not have to make less advantageous trades to get said arm. They no longer have to worry about trading the more versatile slugger Mark Trumbo, whose bat has the potential to be more explosive in the lineup with Hamilton. They no longer have to worry about trading Peter Bourjos, who can instead be the gold glove caliber centerfield anchor between Hamilton and Trout in what should be a truly scary Angels outfield — oh, and having Bourjos and Trout tear up the base paths together won’t hurt either.
2- What, If anything, do you think your team still needs to do?
Matt says: I still think the Dodgers need to address the Bullpen and bench. Dodgers lack a LHP out the pen. Scott Elbert is still out, Paco Rodriguez isn’t really ready for a full stent like that, and missed the chance at resigning Randy Choate. The only thing the Dodgers did for the bullpen was resign Brandon League. They have Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang out there on the trade block so maybe they trade them for Bullpen help. Bench wise I believe the Dodgers have to address getting a 4th Outfielder because lets be honest Yasnel Puig isn’t really ready quite yet. They traded for Skip Shoemaker which help but a 1st/3rd Baseman off the bench along with a 4th Outfield will really help.
Kristen says: Well, if we were asking these questions earlier in the week, I would have said that the Angels need another starting pitcher in bold, italicized, all caps, 24 point font. But, thank you Santas Jerry Dipoto and Arte Moreno, that seems to be taken care of – see previous response. Instead I’m going to enter complete fairy tale land here (Well, it is Christmas after all — might as well wish big!) and say that I think the Angels need to move Vernon Wells, even if it means eating almost all of that huge contract. Nothing against Wells himself — he has been a smiling example of good attitude, trying hard to improve at the plate and gracefully moving wherever the team asked him to, including the bench. But this acquisition just hasn’t work out, and that’s putting it mildly. I would love it if any of the, quite frankly, trade porn rumors surrounding one team or another showing interest in Wells worked out…even if the deal is for practically nothing! The Angels would seriously benefit from having the room on the 25-man roster and I think Wells himself would benefit from the chances offered by that supposed panacea, the change of scenery.
3- Now that we know what you want your team to do, what do you think they will do? Any trade/move/signing predictions?
Matt says: I think the Dodgers will end up Trading Aaron Harang or Chris Capuano along with Dee Gordon for a Left Hand Arm out the bullpen. Theres been rumors about Andre Ethier being traded but I don’t see that happening at all. As far as signings go I believe the Dodgers will look into the Market for a Outfielder or Corner position player off the bench but at the same time I think they’re done.
Kristen says: I think that, with the Vargas trade, the Angels are pretty much done. I suppose that you might hear about a smaller move here or there – one lesser known bullpen pitcher or non-top minor league prospect for another, but other than that they’re done making deals for the offseason. Although, if Jerry Dipoto chooses to see this as a challenge — because of course the Angels read my blog – and moves Vernon Wells just to spite my prediction, I certainly wouldn’t mind being wrong.
4- There has been A LOT of money being spent in LA/OC these days. A LOT OF IT! Does the Payroll of the teams or amount being spent worry you at all?
Matt says: To be honest yest it does. With the amount of money being put into the Dodgers I would hope winning comes with it. You can’t buy wins or world series and playing Yankee ball can only work when done right. I fear of the Dodgers being like the Red Soxs. All the money being spent and no playoff apperance or anything. Not only that but the fear of Contracts back loading up to where the Dodgers can’t do anything in the future but the Dodgers said they have deep pockets and a new 2 Billion dollar TV deal is coming in soon so we shall see what happens but I can’t say it doesn’t worry me or isn’t in the back of my mind. Everyone tries to play Yankee Ball but the only way that works is if you get the players that fit and generate wins.
Kristen says: Absolutely. Spending this much money should scare anyone. Every player, no matter how talented, is a risk. No one wants to see it happen but any player has the potential to age, slump, lose their swing/pitching location/etc., fail to mesh with a given team and (God forbid) get injured. And when you’ve spent outrageous sums of money acquiring that player, the end result of any such occurrence is devastating because suddenly you’re priced out of just eating that paycheck one way or another to move the player off your roster. And if this happens on several such deals? Yeah, say hello to a nice block of ever-so-much-fun-for-the-whole-team-family “rebuilding” seasons. No. Thank. You!
Here’s the thing though – I think that more and more teams are going to need to come to terms with this level of spending as we go on. Teams are wisely locking up their talent before they hit free agency with greater frequency, leaving smaller free agency pools for teams in a buying mode to fight over. Nothing against Zack Greinke — he’s one hell of a pitcher and I wish the Angels had been able to keep him – but do you really think he would have garnered this impressive a contact if the Giants, Phillies and Angels had allowed Matt Cain, Cole Hammels and Jered Weaver to hit the free agency market in 2013 as scheduled? And Greinke is just the latest example of this phenomenon. And, of course, when quality players are making those kinds of dollars you know that marquee players will command even more from their current team or on the FA market (Holy Staggering Albert Pujols Contract, Batman!!). The end result is that, while the Dodgers and Angels may seem to be leading the charge at the moment, more and more teams will be joining in that charge out of necessity over the next several seasons – as a trend this is both kind of exciting and very scary
5- The MLBN analysts seem to think that the Dodgers and Angels offseason moves are all about one upping each other. Do you think there is any truth to this? How do you feel about that?
Matt says: You know that’s an interesting question. I honestly don’t think it’s one upping at all and theres two reasons for that. 1- The Dodgers and Angels are filling needs that prevented them from making the playoffs. Thing was it just so happen the Angels signed Hamilton in the heat of the Dodgers making serious moves. 2- The Angels turned out to be the mystery team that was after Hamilton and got him just like last year with Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson So they’ve done this before. People predicted the Dodgers having money to throw at Free Agents before Off-Season. I don’t believe it’s one upping at all but It has caught the attention of the National Media so I like the westcoast attention the Baseball Media is giving.
Kristen says: To quote Annie Savoy, “Baseball may be a religion full of magic, cosmic truth, and the fundamental ontological riddles of our time, but it’s also a job.” Or, from the owners’ perspectives it’s also a business. I’m sure Arte Moreno and Magic Johnson and partners do consider things like Los Angeles/Orange County market share when they’re making decisions about advertising, overall ballpark experience and the price of parking, beer, etc. But I highly doubt that this thinking extends to personnel decisions. Competitive teams that win games and reach the Postseason make fans happy and draw them to the ballpark. In order to do that, it’s far more important to be competitive within one’s own division than with an interleague rival as I’m sure all owners and GMs involved are well aware. I can see why the timing of some of the Angels and Dodgers free agency signings lead to the comments in question on MLBN, but I think that both the signings and their timing had little to do with Freeway Series rivalry. Yes, the Angels wanted Zack Greinke and so did the Dodgers. But at least half a dozen other teams also seriously wanted Greinke. He was the best free agent starting pitcher on the market this season. Once the Dodgers signed Greinke, I’m not surprised that the Hamilton signing followed so quickly on its heels. Suddenly the Angels had a lot less pokers in the big money free agents fire and could just concentrate their efforts on Hamilton.
6- Now on to something really important – the annual LA/OC billboard war. Which team do you think will have the most/best billboards plastered all over town?
Matt says: Hahaha It was a year ago when the Angels had billboards all over LA/OC until the Dodgers got new owners. I believe it’ll be fairly even. In the OC you have Albert Pujols, Jarred Weaver, Josh Hamilton, and Mike Trout where in LA you have Matt Kemp, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, and Adrian Gonzalez. I believe the Dodgers will have them posted all over L.A. knowing Magic and his promoting of the Dodger brand and the Angels will do a lot of marking themselves as well. It’ll be interesting to see.
Kristen says: *snerk* The “billboard wars” always make me smile and laugh. I take the 605 freeway to work. Most seasons that freeway is littered with Dodgers billboards heading south and Angels billboards heading north as if both teams were making a concerted effort to convert their rival fan base. Honestly, the arrival of the billboards is one of my favorite So Cal signs of spring. Last season at the height of all of the Frank McCourt ick in L.A., the Angels rather dominated the local billboard space and, as much as I like seeing red everywhere I look, it just wasn’t nearly as much fun as when it’s a “battle.” (Yes, mine is a long and boring commute and I take my simple pleasures where I can. Why do you ask?) However, between Arte Moreno (who made his fortune in advertising and billboards, don’cha know) and Magic Johnson (who also seems to have an admirable grasp of the importance of good marketing) I am sure both that teams will being trying to convert us all once again this season – looking forward to it, in fact!
At the start of Off-Season the news came that the Dodgers were exploring at Trading Andre Ethier. All of that was shot down when the Front Office said that wouldn’t happen and Ethier would stay. Fast forward to this week and the rumor is out there once again that the Dodgers are seeking to trade Andre Ethier. As I sit here I wonder what are the plans if that was to happen? Sign Nick Swisher or Micheal Borne? Bring up Yasiel Puig? Maybe trade for another Right Fielder. Well seeing some of the Dodger fans are in panic or doing trade ideas let me go ahead and say this. The Dodgers Won’t Trade Andre Ethier and even if they wanted to they really kind of can’t. Others can say how it’ll make sense or it’ll be a good idea I don’t see how it can A- Be a “Good Idea” at this moment and B- Why they will do that.
I’m going to drop everyone from fantasy land on saying this. Andre Ethier isn’t THAT valuable to other teams so that mean no Gincarlo Stanton to L.A. deal because I don’t see why the Marlins would do that. Nor anyone is giving up their big name Right Fielder so let’s go ahead and clear that out of our heads. Ok ready now? Now getting back on subject. The Dodgers have some limited options if they do indeed Trade Ethier. One route people thought of was signing an Outfielder through Free-Agencey. The targets were Nick Swisher and Micheal Borne. Lets be real Andre Ethier is a world better than Swisher so trading him just to sign Nick would not be a good idea at all. Micheal Borne on the other hand would be another option. He may not have the pop or anything but he is indeed a playmaker and when on base watch out. The other option was bringing up Yasiel Puig who has been absolutely killing in the Minors and in Winter Ball in Puerto Rico. Brining him up to play would be something to do but you have to ask is he really ready for the Majors yet? That’s something we have to wait and see come Spring Training. You want to bring him up but at the sametime you don’t want to rush him up as well and have it implode in your face. It’s very risky if the Dodgers do trade Ethier because of the options. Sink or Swim you can say.
Now even IF the Dodgers wanted to Trade him it still wouldn’t make sense. During the Season the Dodgers signed Ethier to an extension meaning he’s in the plans for the long term future. Why would the Dodgers Trade Ethier if they just signed him to that good extension? Exactly don’t make sense at all, At least in my mind. Then comes another thing you have to think about IF they wanted to Trade Andre Ethier what teams would take his contract? Just because the Dodgers have deep pockets doesn’t mean others do. Would would be interested in Mr Ethier to take his contract? Do they really want to trade for a Right Fielder who struggles against left handed pitchers? Those who want to Trade him have to play all of those things out.
Yes while I can understand and see why it would be a good idea to Trade Ethier I can’t see that happening. At least right now I can’t The risks to do it are flashing in the Dodgers face and the challenges to do so. I’m All for Anything that’ll make the Dodgers better because the goal is a World Series but there’s times we have to be real about this. Will the Dodgers trade Andre Ethier? I honestly don’t know but as of now I don’t see it. If he struggles come the deadline then Yeah you have to shop him but as of right now I can’t see that happening at all right now.
Yesterday morning the Dodgers made the official announcement that they have hired Mark McGwire as the hitting coach. Something that has been rumored since last Friday has now come to light yesterday. Ok he may not be on the field anymore but this is a big thing to have Mark McGwire come in and help a Dodger team who struggled to bring in runs let alone score runs or get on base. The Cardinals, Where he formaly played, had good success under him batting .269 (1st in NL), Had a OBP of .337 (1st in NL) and scored 2,263 runs (2nd in NL) so there is success right there. The Dodgers who struggled in all those things will finally have a hitting coach that can get the bats going and make them a big threat offensively. A lot of people are happy for this being done and we assume things will go right but Is this really going to help? I for one say yes he can and will help the Dodgers.
Last season many people wanted to know what the issue was with the offense. We got that Kemp was hurt along with Mark Ellis and had a team filled with the Isatopes but once they got healthy they still struggled with batting thats adding Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez. Having a guy who was barley batting .22o as pinch hitter in his playing career will not do it’s justice in my eyes and apperently I wasn’t the only one. Many felt Hansen was a problem so he has another position in the franchise leaving Mark Mcgwire to get the job. As I stated the Cardinals had some very good numbers in the NL with McGwire as their hitting coach so you can only imagine what this team will do come next season with the line up of Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Luis Cruz, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and so on. Yeah we know his history as a player and what not but him as a coach is just what the doctor ordered.
I believe there will be good results from this hiring and the Dodgers can be the dangerous team with the bat that they’re expected to be so be ready to see a lot of McGwire jerseys at Dodger Stadium. Will he make an Impact? Yes he will but that’s just my thinking and based off stats that the previous team he coached. Once Spring Training and the Season starts we’ll have our answer.
It’s back to work for the Boys in Blue now that the All-Star Break is over it’s time to resume where the Dodgers left off. The 1st half of the season started great with the Dodgers having the best record in MLB and a good lead in the NL West only to take a turn for the worse when the Injuries began to stock pile, offense disappeared, and a slump happened. The Dodgers went into the break finding themselves a half game over the Giants and the Diamondbacks not too far off also the Dodgers find themselves 7 games over .500. Makes you say yikes the Slump did a lot of damage. However there’s help with Matt Kemp Andre Ethier and Mark Ellis Back in the line up the offense will have less pressure off. While there’s some solutions theres also plenty of questions to be answered that plague the Dodgers.
One question that many will ask is the Trade Deadline and what the Dodgers will do. The Dodgers need to address starting pitching help, LHP help, and add another bat to the corner position to help the Dodgers. We’ve heard so much about the Dodgers intrest with the Cubs on getting Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster which is a sign but with teams like the Brewers and Phillies being possible sellers it could be something if Cole Hammels or Zack Grenkee is available. Dodgers will likely have to give up prospects but to get players like that the Dodgers have to be cautious on the asking prices of these teams. Likely the Cubs and Brewers will not have high asking prices. As far as a bat the Dodgers have been real aggressive on trying to land a bat and missed twice. Missed out on Kevin Youkillis to the White Sox and Carlos Lee Vetoed a trade to LA only to land in Miami. The Dodgers could be aggressive again for a bat again but weather they strike gold or not is a question. It’s obvious this team wants to win THIS YEAR. A bat to the 1st and 3rd Base position looks to be a area as Juan Uribe and James Loney have been under performing at this point to make a solid contribution to help but the emergence of Eillian Herrara has been huge to the LF 3rd base position.
Another issue is the health and performance of the Dodgers again. The Injuries played a huge part in the wheels falling off in that slump that cost them that huge lead. What scares me personally is will key players stay healthy? Injuries happen but on slaught of injuries will be very bad to The Dodgers in the dog days. The performance of certain Dodgers will also be in mind like starting pitchers Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw. Will they be able to get it together to make a big run into September October? Billingsley’s meltdowns has been really bad in games and Kershaw hasn’t played like his usual Cy Young self. If they can pull through the the Dodgers will be dangerous. Another is the team itself. Will they bring it together to once again be the team that had the MLB talking? It all starts with the team but there’s no doubt Management and Mattingley will have this team ready to do battle.
All in All the Dodgers are in first place and will resume the season to keep that lead. But it won’t be easy. They start off with San Diego at home then go into a series at Dodger stadium with the Phillies. The same team that they swept in Philadelphia. After that a road trip in New York with the Mets then travel to ST Louis to play the Cardinals then conclude the road trip in San Fran against the hated giants in what could be a pivotal series in the NL West so the Dodgers have their work cut out. The 2nd Half is under way and the Boys in Blue have work to do.
While the all the action was going on in LA with the Dodgers/Angels playing eatch other and Kings winning the NHL Stanley Cup news broke of Andre Ethier signing a 5 year $85 Million Dollar deal which keeps him with the Dodgers through 2017. One of the Dodgers most popular players and one of the best players on the Dodgers is locked up with LA for a good while. Through out my twitter feed the one thing I kept seeing was for many people yelling for the Dodgers to pay Ethier after every play he made. Well the man is paid. Now at the begining of the season I made a note that the Dodgers success would come if Ethier played a part in it he he sure has leading the MLB in RBI’s and making an Impact in anyway. I also noted that Ethier would have his contract extention depending on his play and so far his play is doing worthy of the extension. Right now Andre Ethier is in a slump so many will say it came at a bad time then again this maybe something good. Only time will tell if this could be something that breaks the slump.
Now I look at this deal and can’t help but to think of the possible risks you take making a huge deal like that. First thing you think is Injuries or if he falls off but thats always the fear you have. Ethier hasn’t showed signs of falling off anytime soon. Reading an article on Lasorda’s Lair a few months back it reviewed how the Offense would suffer without Ethier and I must say he is important to the offense. Numbers such as Batting Avg, RBI’s, OBP, and so on dropped a good number so this extension was something needed opposed to letting him leave after the season and risk searching in the FA Market and signing somewhere else for just about the same deal. Now this was something that wasn’t possible in the Off-Season or Last Year at that because of the lack of funds but with this deal and how the way Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson talked about Ethier it seems as if the front office is prepared to build a Championship winning team around Kemp, Ethier, and Kershaw (Whenever his extension comes) but something tells me that this deal is worth it.
Yes they’re fears and what not about this deal but an Ethier extension is just another indication that the front office is ready to win and win right now. This is only the begining but weather its the right moves is beyond me. Now that Ethier has his extension lets hope he remains hungry, gets out of this slump, and Keep up the stellar play. Clayton Kershaw you’re up next!!