Results tagged ‘ Clayton Kershaw ’
Opening week is in the books and it has been a real memorible one. We have seen Sandy Koufax throw out the first pitch, Clayton Kershaw hit his first career home run as well as shut out the Giants. We saw the debut of Hyun Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke pitching and Carl Crawford do work as the lead off hitter. Yes what an eventful week it was for the Dodgers. As Los Angeles prepares for their week long road trip lets look back at Opening Week.
Epic Moment of Opening Week: As if Opening Day wasn’t big enough with the game the Cerimonial first pitch was huge. Magic Johnson was prepared to throw out the first pitch until Don Mattingly came out and made a change. The cange turned out to be non other than Sandy Koufax. The Whole stadium erupted including myself. It was crazy to see and how the way the whole thing was played out wasell done including the video on how the ball got there.
Play of the week: There were a lot of good plays this week but I believe this has to go to Clayton Kershaw and his Home Run. The fact that no one expected him to hit a home run and how the way he got under it was something else. Hit a home run and have a complete game shut out against the hated Giants? What more can you ask for?
Carl Crawford was hurt?: From the time of the trade last season and on the huge question mark was at Left Field and carl Crawford. Crawford missed the rest of the 2012 season with Tommy John Surgery when he was with the Red Soxs. When the Dodgers traded for him people expected him to be out at least until June. When Spring Training came there was talk that Crawford playing April 1st until he had a set back which had many fans wondering if Crawford will even play Opening Day. Well late Spring Training Crawford played and made it to start on Opening Day and it seems as if he wasn’t hurt. Crawford has been playing really well Opening week batting .450 leading off for the Dodgers. Carl Crawford is doing this playing little games to really get him going and being eased into the line up. If he can stay healthy then there’s no doubt that he can help this team get into a position to strike.
Slow start for Kemp and Cruz: Matt Kemp and Luis Cruz have really been in a funk to start out the season. Matt Kemp who really had all of Spring to heal up seems to not get it together at the moment. When ever they have an opprotunity to do some damage and get runs on the board they either strike out or hit into a double play. Yes it’s early in the season but you can’t do that with runners in scoring position at all. Kemp and Cruz will get their act together but right now the slow start really hurts.
Zack Greinke Debuts: Zack Greinke was the most sought after Pitcher during free agency. When the Dodgers signed him he was expected to be number 2 behind Clayton Kershaw. April 5th Greinke made his Dodgers Debut and did not disapoint at all. Zack managed to pitch 6 innings striking out 6 batters and only giving up 2 hits. Batting wise he went 1-2 (Error was charged in his first at bat) and even manage to some what break up a double play. Zack Greinke had a good game and makes another start in San Deigo April 11th. I would love to see if he can follow up with a repeat of last week.
현 진 류(Hyun Jin Ryu): Another Pitcher the Dodgers signed in the off-season was the Korean stand out Hyun Jin Ryu. Through out Spring Training Ryu had to quickly adjust to MLB baseball. The exhibition game vs Anaheim he was fantastic which had many fans really looking forward to seeing him pitch. His debut game was something else. April 2nd Ryu made his first career start against the Giants and was knocked around quite a bit. Ryu gave up 8 hits in a 3-0 loss to the Giants. If anything this is all apart of the process of him adjusting to the MLB. His last start Sunday vs the Pirates was a better game. Yes he gave up 5 hits and a bomb to Andrew McCutchen but he struck out 6 in 6 innings. While some say he had all of spring training to adjust many have to remember he pitched limited games and it’s still an adjustment when the regular season comes because he’ll be pitching more frequently. Hyun Jin Ryu will be in a learning process for a few starts before he can really get it together.
What will we learn from the Dodgers on the road: Getting an early road trip in will show what the Dodgers can do in streatches like this. If anything we’ll see if the Dodgers can fix their problems with the slow start and leaving runners on base. San Deigo and Arizona will be interesting to see. My main concern is the Arizona series just for the fact the D-Backs have had the Dodgers numbers quite a few times before.
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.
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.
It’s about that time again folks! With Pitchers and Catchers reporting next week that means Baseball is in good sight. It’s been a long offseason for many teams. Some were really busy making moves to better their team or make it worse. Some were quiet. Many players were on the move this offseason as well, Josh Hamilton signed with the Angels (Texas fans are mad at that) Zack Greinke made a move down the I-5 to Los Angeles, Torri Hunter went to Detroit, So much happened. The Dodgers were really busy making moves to move towards the ultimate goal. Win A World Series. As we kick off our Dodgers 2013 Season Preview we’ll start off with what the Dodgers needed, Pitching. Starting with Starting pitching.
2012 Review: At the start of last season the Dodgers starting pitching was filled with a lot of question marks. However once the season was underway the Dodgers starting pitching surprised everyone. With the exception of Kershaw the rest of the Dodgers Starting pitchers were really stepping up. Chad Billingsley was playing up to his All-Star form, Chris Capuano was pitching like a Number 2, Ted Lilly was also pitching great as well. As the season went Injuries started to come and hit the Dodgers. Ted Lilly was sidelined for the season due to Injury and Chad Billingsley went back to melting down in late innings before he was struck by injury twice in the season. Chris Capuano declined in the second half of the season and Aaron Harang couldn’t get it together. Kershaw played well but towards the end was hit with a hip injury and caused him to miss a few games towards the end. Los Angeles brought up Nathan Eovauldi and Stephen Fife to start a few games while players were injured and played well. Eovauldi was traded in the Hanley deal towards the deadline. Dodgers also traded for Joe Blanton whose time in L.A. wasn’t the best of things and made a run at Cliff Lee and also acquired Josh Beckett who was solid in L.A.. All and all the Dodgers didn’t make playoffs but you can say the Starting Pitching got them in position to make such a run but fell off as the season went. Dodgers starting pitching at the end managed to go 56-56 with a 3.41 ERA (3rd Best in MLB). As to note Clayton Kershaw finished second in the Cy Young Award voting.
Offseason Moves: Going into the Offseason the Dodgers were going to have money to spend and they spent on gaining pitching help. Los Angeles was looking for solid Number 2 behind Kershaw and everyone knew who was out there. Come winter meetings Zack Greinke had talks with the Dodgers but Los Angeles wanted to try to trade for a pitcher. That ment Chris Capuano or Aaron Harang would be in a deal to make a trade. While a trade for a number 2 pitcher didn’t happen the Dodgers did make moves to grab what they needed and more.
Zack Greinke- From the start of the offseason many executives had Greinke going to the Dodgers stating that they could throw whatever money at him. This was the Number one Pitching Free Agent on the market and many thought the Dodgers and Angels would go after him. Well Anaheim made a few moves to take themselves out and in came Texas who gave the Dodgers a good bidding run until the Dodgers and Greinke both agreed on a $147 Million dollar deal. Largest for a Right Hand Pitcher. In 2012 with the Brewers/Angels Greinke went 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA and 200 Strikeouts. Zack was traded from the Brewers to the Angels before the 2012 Trade deadline.
Hyun Jin Ryu- Stan Kasten talked about wanting to have the Dodgers make an impact in the international market like they used to. We all know Yasinel Puig was the first guy the signed but Hyun Jin Ryu was a player that really stood out in my opinion. When then Dodgers won the bidding to negotiate with the Korean Left Hander they got right to it to try to sign Ryu but as time went it was looking less and less likely that the Dodgers would get him. On the last day of the 30 day deadline (Nov 9th to Dec 9th) the Dodgers signed Hyun Jin Ryu to a 6 year $36 Million Dollar deal. Many Dodger fans will be impressed at his career stats in the KBO (Korean Dodger Baseball Organization). In his career with the Hanwah Eagles Ryu went 98-52 with a career ERA of 2.80 and 1,238. That’s very impressive no matter where you are pitching. Many scouts say his change-up is his best pitch and a legit out pitch at MLB level.
3 Questions to be answered: 1) The health of Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly- With So many questions regardless of the moves, It’s hard to pick 3 questions but I’ll start with this Billingsley and Lilly. Chad Billingsley has issues with melting down in late innings but tend to show flashes of his All-Star form. Chad Billingsley was sent to the DL after he injured himself towards the All-Star break, When he came off Billingsley was pitching really good until going back on the DL for a partial UCL tear and sidelined him for the season. Ted Lilly on the other hand was hurt early on in the season (May 24th) and was placed on the DL. Lilly did make a rehab start but suffered a set back that sidelined him for the season. The big question for these two is the health progressing towards the 2013 Season. We’re hearing that Chad Billingsley isn’t feeling any pain at all while throwing and that Ted Lilly is pitching some as well so that’s some good news on that but how far are they from actually pitching a full game or anything remains to be seen.
2)Will a Starting Pitcher be Traded?- This was a question in the offseason that many were asking. The speculation was that someone not named Clayton Kershaw in the rotation would be traded. Well here we are as of February 7th and we still a lot of Starting pitching. Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano are on the Trade block, That much we do know but whether they’ll remain there or not is something we won’t know. If I had to guess I do believe the Dodgers will trade either Capuano or Harang (Maybe both) during Spring training. It’s good to have a lot of starting pitchers but if you can made a deal to help the team in any way then by all means go for it.
3) Will Zack Greinke live up to expectations?- In my opinion I believe Zack Greinke will have the most to prove this season. He was the most sought after pitcher on the market during the off-season and the Dodgers signed him to a $147 Million Dollar deal. The number 2 Ace behind 2011 Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw Greinke have some expectations this coming season and eyes will be on him. What makes things helpful for Zack is that he’s playing in a Pitchers league, in Dodger Stadium which is a pitcher’s park, and has a Lineup that you can say is stacked. You can see in his attitude that Greinke is a guy who lets his pitching talk for him so you can say that’s a positive right there. As long as he help the Dodgers get into a position to win with his pitching then he will be alright.
Who to watch for: Josh Beckett- Out of many Starting Pitchers on the Dodgers there’s plenty to keep an eye out for, One of them being Josh Beckett. Beckett came over in the huge Dodgers/Red Sox deal over the summer and provided a solid outing through his time in Los Angeles. Josh Beckett as noted is a very solid pitcher but needed a change of scenery after things went south in Boston. This season Beckett will have a Spring Training with L.A. to really get going and I believe that is good for him to work with AJ Ellis and Rick Honeycutt as well.
Hyun Jin Ryu- I list Ryu because he is the one pitcher who I believe many have no clue about. The Dodgers pitching coaches will have all of spring training to work with the Korean Lefty and see what he is made of. While he is an Unknown he will be pitcher to watch for, Just to see where in the rotation he will be. One thing for sure is that many can’t wait to see what he can do.
Clayton Kershaw- I put Clayton on here not because he’s unknown or anything like that but because one he is coming off of hip surgery and two will that bother him? Clayton missed some games due to a hip issue and from what you could say might have hurt his Cy Young Award chances. despite all of that Clayton Kershaw STILL lead the NL in almost every pitching statistical category. Impressive huh? We will know what effects the surgery will have on Clayton but this guy continues to get better and better every single season and it shows too. Cy Young in 2013? We have to see how he does.
Overview: Over all the Dodgers have TONS of starting pitching going into Spring Training. This was an area where the Dodgers spent the most money on during the offseason. While the Dodgers tackled the needs and spent the money there’s still A lot of questions that has to be answered in this area.
On Deck in the Season Preview: Dodgers Bullpen
Today the Team USA Roster was announced for the World Baseball Classic and while names were already mentioned on who would headline the team the full roster was a mystery. Well this morning Team USA Manager Joe Torrie announced who would represent the country in this Spring Baseball Tournament. Here is your Roster (From the Team USA Baseball website)
Jeremy Affeldt – San Francisco Giants – LHP
J.P. Arencibia – Toronto Blue Jays – C
Heath Bell – Arizona Diamondbacks – RHP
Willie Bloomquist – Arizona Diamondbacks – UTL
Mitchell Boggs – St. Louis Cardinals – RHP
Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers – OF
Steve Cishek – Miami Marlins – RHP
Tim Collins – Kansas City Royals – LHP
R.A. Dickey – Toronto Blue Jays – RHP
Luke Gregerson – San Diego Padres – RHP
Derek Holland – Texas Rangers – LHP
Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles – OF
Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves – RHP
Jonathan Lucroy – Milwaukee Brewers – C
Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins – C
Kris Medlen – Atlanta Braves – RHP
Glen Perkins – Minnesota Twins – LHP
Chris Perez – Cleveland Indians – RHP
Vinnie Pestano – Cleveland Indians – RHP
Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati Reds – IF
Jimmy Rollins – Philadelphia Phillies – IF
Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins – OF
Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees – IF
Shane Victorino – Boston Red Sox – OF
Ryan Vogelsong – San Francisco Giants – RHP
David Wright – New York Mets – IF
Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays – UTL
Now while that isn’t a bad Roster in my view there are still opinions on the roster. Many will complain the roster not having enough Stars on it. Well let me go ahead and get into that. As many know the format of USA Basketball most of the International Tournaments take place during the Summer when the NBA isn’t going on. That allows Stars like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James to play. With the World Baseball Classic it can’t take place in the Summer because that’s in the middle of MLB and the Main pool games can’t take place in the Winter because most players are playing Winterball. Some will skip most of Spring Training with their teams to play and some will stay with their teams to get ready. Players like Mike Trout for the Angels chose to skip the Classic so he can get ready with the Angels and that’s understanable. Other players such as Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw will not play due to Injuries or recovering/Rehabing from Off-Season surgery. So the whole Not enough Stars have to be put away.
On paper this is still a good team and good enough to win. Will they win is going to be a mystery until the Classic because we don’t know who will be on the other teams roster till later. Looking at the Pool in Arizona I’d say the top two favorites would have to be Mexico and USA. All together I am excited like many baseball fans for this and been looking forward to the World Baseball Classic for a while. First Round of the World Baseball Classic take place on March 2nd at Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome in Fukuoka Japan.
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!
다저스 류에 오신 것을 환영합니다 (Welcome to the Dodgers Ryu)
When I did the Zack Greinke post I walked out the house assuming nothing was going to get done with Hyun-Jin Ryu. Well 2 Text messages and a phone calls later I find out that the Dodgers signed him for $36 Million 6 Year Deal. Now for those who only heard of the Korean Left Hander I posted highlights above to give you a glimpse of what he can do. His career stats in the KBO (Korea Baseball Organization) with the Hanwah Eagles is something amazing. In Korea Ryu (Prenounced Roo no Y) had a 98-52 record with a 2.80 ERA and 1,238 Strikeouts. Yes those are ridiculous stats and he’s only 25 Years old people. As he was introduced Ryu sounded like a guy who was ready to get at it. He has goals for himself in MLB and wants to win double-digit games with a low ERA and seeing Dodger Stadium is pitchers park that’ll work well in Ryu’s favor. I for one am excited that Ryu is on the team and can’t wait to see him pitch at Dodger Stadium very soon.
Dodgers introduce Zack Greinke
Yesterday the Dodgers Officially introduced Zack Greinke as he passed his physical and signed his $147 Million 6 Year Deal. Watching the press conference yesterday the one thing that I’ve noticed is that Greinke isn’t really much of a talker but I’m fine with that. As long as he can do his talking on the mound and grab wins then I’ll live with that. During the press conference Greinke said that he was very close to signing with the Rangers until L.A. upped the offer. He also said he wrote down the names and noticed that It’s obvious that he should join the Dodgers. For Dodger fans it was a joy to watch because now L.A. has two aces in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke which on paper is a solid 1-2 punch and can be difficult for any pitcher. I mentioned the same thing with Ryu regarding pitching in Dodger Stadium and how it’ll help him, Greinke made that same mention. He talked about wanting to play in a flyball stadium and Dodger Stadium was just that. With the Outfield and Offense Mr Greinke has there’s no doubt he’ll regret it. One reporter asked Magic about the spending and Magic made it clear and simple “We Want To Win” Thats the attitude that will bring players to L.A. Zack looks at this team as a team that can contend for several years and as a player you want to play for a team that will contend. Zack Greinke welcome to Los Angeles!
Skip Schumaker Trade
Hours after Greinke was introduced the Dodgers made another move trading for Skip Schumaker. This has been in the rumors for a few days if not a week and now they came to light trading Minor League Shortstop Jake Limmerman to St Louis for the 2nd Baseman. Last season in St Louis Schumaker batted .276 with 28 RBI’s 1 Home Run and a .339 OBP. Schumaker not only plays 2nd Base but can play outfield has well so I can see why the Trade was made. With Mark McGwire as the Dodgers hitting coach Schumaker will have someone whom he’s familiar with so there’s something there. What role will Skip play on the team is something we all have to look out for but until them we can only speculate. Do I believe this is a good trade? I believe it’s a solid one but I have to talk to a few Cardinals fans to give me more information on him as far as fielding and anything else but this in my opinion is a solid move for the Dodgers who are very active over the winter.
Many Baseball fans and players usually say the game isn’t over until the final out and that anything can happen in baseball. In the 2012 season that was what the Dodgers thrived off of until they were knocked out of playoff contention. Apparently they brought that into the Off-Season as well. Let me go ahead and make the long story short. In case you haven’t heard the Los Angeles Dodgers have signed Zack Greinke. When Off-Season started many Front Office executive’s and Analyst were predicting the Dodgers to sign the 29 Year Old Right Hand Pitcher. The Angels and Nationals going into Winter Meetings were also two teams who could sign him as well but as time went the Angels trade for Hanson and Signing Joe Blanton took the Angels out of it and the Nationals getting Dan Haren took them out as well. So all that leaves are the Dodgers right? Wrong because the before the end of the Meetings the Texas Rangers got into the Greinke race and made an aggressive push for him. By Friday it looked as if the Dodgers were going to walk away from Greinke and by Saturday morning many reporters had the Dodgers out of it. That same day reports started to come out that the Dodgers were close to signing Greinke to a 6 year deal which had many Dodger fans excited about the possible signing. Once the report that the Rangers were out it was all clear from there. Greinke and the Dodgers agreed to a 6 year $147 Million Dollar deal pending on the physical. Dodgers made a big splash in the Off-Season as expected by many.
A lot of people and some fans may not like this deal because they feel the Dodgers overpaid for Greinke and some felt that he isn’t worth that much. Going into the Off-Season it was known that teams were going to drop big money on Greinke and while people fear of him being a bust I don’t see it happening. Greinke played in Kansas City for most of his career and trust me those weren’t good teams at that time. When he came to the Brewers and traded a season later to Anaheim he had 15-16 wins with a ERA of 3.44. With this Dodgers ballclub he’ll get the run support needed to get the wins and help this team. Not only is this a great signing but this provides a solid Number 2 Starting Pitcher that the Dodgers been looking for since Chad Billingsley was consistent. An Ace behind Kershaw is just what this pitching staff needed. Pending on the physical Zack Greinke will be the highest paid Right Hand Pitcher in MLB History which is pretty amazing looking at the deal but the Dodgers had a lot of money to spend and was willing to pay big for Greinke.
Zack Greinke will come from the O.C. to Hollywood as many expected and that will be huge but the Dodgers will not stop there. With about an hour left the Dodgers are working on signing the Left Hand Pitcher from Korea Ryu. If L.A. can’t get a deal done with Ryu then look for them to go after either Anibal Sanchez or Kyle Lohse who are both solid Starting pitchers. Don’t forget that Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang are both on the trading block as well so the Dodgers are working to put the team together to win a Championship this year. It’s a great time to be a Los Angeles Dodger and Dodger fan!
Tonight is the start of a critical Series for both the Dodgers and Giants in San Francisco. The Dodgers who are coming off a loss to the St Louis Cardinals march into AT&T Park with a healthier team, Hanley Ramirez, Randy Choate, and down 3 games. Last time the Dodgers came to San Francisco they got swept and shutout. Two things that was very embarrassing because it’s one thing to get swept but to not score a run in a single game of the series is another. The Giants have also been hot since the break but are also going into the series coming off a loss as well. No doubt this weekend is huge.
Now the Dodgers who has had chances to trim the lead have done so but has so suffered 3 straight losses to the Cardinals in that 4 game series and now trail 3 games to the hated Giants. At this point The Dodgers can do at least these things to help. Beat the Giants 2 games out of 3 and trim the lead to a game or sweep the giants in San Francisco and tie them for the NL West lead. Anyway the Dodgers HAVE to win or risk being down 4,5, or 6 games which will really damage things. With the Dodgers healthy things should get really interesting and they know that this is a race to October so every game counts.
The Dodgers will get to face the Giants rotation of Matt Cain, Berry Zito, and Ryan Volgelsong which isn’t an easy task at all but if the Dodgers can get their offense going then there shouldn’t be an issue at all but the Dodgers have to do their job. Dodgers pitching also have to be ready and step up to the task of doing what they can to win the series in SF. Yesterday’s game the Dodgers pitching pretty much blew it for them. They can’t have a repeat of that tonight or they’ll be in a world of trouble.
This is BIG by all means and the Dodgers have to come ready to play and out play the Giants. San Francisco knows how much this series mean but the Dodgers have to want it more. This weekend is the time to bring the Game! No more excuses because this is the one game where they can’t afford to let things slip away. The Race for October goes through San Francisco tonight and will have to a few times but tonight is a Critical one.
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.