Results tagged ‘ Stan Kasten ’
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!!!
On March 27th It would have been exactly one year when Guggenheim Baseball Management bought the Los Angeles Dodgers from Frank McCourt. A group led by Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, and Mark Walter did something that many Dodger fans wanted to happen and that’s take the Dodgers from Frank McCourt. One year later the Dodgers are n much better shape than it was under the old owner. Instead of waiting till the 27th to talk about this I figured I go ahead and make this post to look at what the Dodger ownership has done in one year. As many remember the Dodger Franchise was under such uncertainty. Frank and Jamie McCourt going through a nasty divorce that really hurt the franchise, Dodgers going bankrupt due to the owner taking the money for his personal whatever it was, Half empty stadium due to fans boycotting McCourt, Everything was just a complete mess. A historic franchise hitting rock bottom due to one man and failed duties has an owner. Come the off-season after the 2011 Season the hot topic wasn’t only Free Agency but the bidding for the Dodgers. While the Dodgers couldn’t make any noise in the Off-Season with signings many believed that once they got a new owner Los Angeles was going to be the “Yankees” of the west (Hate that). The fate of a Franchise rest in the hands of the MLB as they had the final say on who will take control of the Dodgers and the Stadium.
Come the night of March 27th everything changed. News had broken that Magic Johnson and his group had won bidding for the Dodgers and Dodger Stadium. Many fans rejoiced as not only someone bought the Dodgers but a man familiar with the city and passion Los Angeles has with this team. Magic, Stan Kasten, and Mark Walter all talked about how they were committed to restoring Dodger pride. Many were saying that it would take a while before the Dodgers get to where they should due to the damage left by McCourt but it’s all worth it. This group was bound to make the Los Angeles Dodgers a First Class Franchise that would win for years to come.
In a span of one year Dodgers ownership have really brought this franchise a long ways back than expected. The Dodgers have the players to contend once they acquired Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford, Zack Greinke, and Josh Beckett stating that money wouldn’t be an issue for players to win right now. They’re also getting back to the International market with signings of Hyun Jin Ryu (Korea) and Yasiel Puig (Cuba) as well as restocking the Minor League system for the future. Off the field Dodger Stadium is undergoing much-needed renovations to make the 51 Year Old stadium state of the art. They’re also doing more get in touch with the fans which was a major key that the Dodgers missed under the old ownership. Players are greeting fans at the gates as they enter the Stadium, Fan Fest’s being held for fans to further get in touch with this franchise, as well as Dodger legends roaming all over the place in the Stadium. As if that wasn’t enough the Dodgers struck a deal with Time Warner to get their own Channel. You can say that the Dodgers came a long way from where they were in 2010 and 2011. This franchise is really going up and the future can’t be any brighter for this team right now. I for one am happy that Ownership is keeping their word to bring this Franchise back and the icing on the cake would be a World Series Title come October.
The Pitchers are now out the way in our 2013 Preview so now the REAL fun begins. As we continue on with the 2013 Preview we’ll take a look at the Infield. This was an area where the Dodgers really needed help at last season when it came to batting. The production wasn’t all there for them when the summer hit but the Dodgers basically did their work to bring in the likes of Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez. Luis Cruz also stepped up and became a hidden gem last season as well. This season not much needs to be done and production is expected to be better. Lets take a look at the Dodgers infield.
2012 Review- Going into last season the Dodgers were lacking production from the Infield big time but at the start of the 2012 Season James Loney, Mark Ellis, Dee Gordon, and even Juan Uribe were producing in the early part. AJ Ellis was also making his case that season even finding himself in the discussion for the NL All-Star team. Once the summer came things took a turn south. Mark Ellis ended up missing time due to a leg injury suffered in the first Cardinals series, Juan Uribe and Jame Loney weren’t producing very good at all, Dee Gordon was struggling hitting and defensively. So many things happened where it hurt the Dodgers in games but Stan Kasten and Ned Coletti weren’t going to sit back and wait till winter meetings. In the heat of a NL West Race the Dodgers worked to make moves and managed to strike gold through Trade and call ups. Luis Cruz came up from Triple A and didn’t disappoint when given the chance. He was a huge spark in the Dodgers season come the second half. Another huge trade was the Dodgers acquiring Hanley Ramirez from the Miami Marlins after they had a fire sale. Hanley’s numbers went up along with his production causing Dee to be sent down to Triple A for more coaching. In late August the Dodgers also struck with another blockbuster deal this time with the Boston Red Soxs that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford to L.A. and James Loney, Jerry Sands, and Ruby De La Rosa to Boston. After that the Dodgers still struggled until they heated up for a little bit until elimination but they showed a lot of promise.
offseason Not much was done in the Off-season because it was done over the summer. Dodgers traded for utility player Skip Shoumaker from the Cardinals in the off-season. Another addition made was the hire of hitting coach Mark McGwire who helped the Cardinals become one of the Top offenses in the NL. McGwire will have the task of helping a loaded Dodger line up this coming season.
Utility Skip Shumaker- Shumaker who was brought to the Dodgers via Trade from the St Louis Cardinals. While Shumaker will likely see time in the outfield it isn’t hard to see him play some second base or anything If Injuries hit. This was the only addition made but it is a solid one at that. In St Louis Skip was batting .279 with 1 HR and 28 RBI’s so he may not be the home run threat but he does make contact and get on base.
3 Questions to be Answered
1) Will Luis Cruz repeat his 2012 Season?- This has to be the main and key question right here. Will Cruz repeat what he did in the 2013 Season? Last season Cruz came out of nowhere and had a very good season for the Dodgers to where he will be starting at 3rd Base this coming season. Batting .297 with 6 HR and 40 RBI’s Cruz brought energy to the Dodgers and fans fell in love with him. Defensively he brought it as well at 3rd Base. This year there will be expectations from him. If he can repeat what he did last season consistently then he will be fine. Cruz have been working hard but the results is something we will see. If not then we could see Jerry Hairston Jr or Juan Uribe at 3rd.
2) Will Hanley have some success at shortstop?- Another question that many are wondering and that’s Hanley Ramirez and Shortstop. During the Caribbean World Series Hanley not only struggled batting but struggled defensively at 3rd base. Last season before he came to the Dodgers the Marlins moved him to 3rd base for defensive reasons. Hanley will be at shortstop and is willing to get it to work defensively which is a great sign. If he can step up then Hanley will be there for most of the season but I won’t be a bit surprised if he gets moved to third and Cruz goes to shortstop the moment he struggles.
3) AJ Ellis bound to produce again?- Last year some were high on AJ Ellis and he didn’t disappoint at all. He was one of the top players in the NL in terms of OBP (On Base Percentage). Defensively AJ was average and he needs work on blocking the plate better. This is another key at the bottom of the line up. Ellis needs to get on base in order for the team to have further success. AJ I believe will have a good 2013 season but he will have to A- Stay Healthy and B- Do a better job at blocking the plate.
Players to Watch For
Utl Jerry Hariston Jr- Jerry Hariston Jr is another utility player the Dodgers have and he was really solid last season at 3rd Base and Left Field. I have him as a player to watch because he is a veteran player who the Dodgers will need to step up. A healthy Hairston Jr will be a solid one. In 2012 Hariston was batting .273 with most At Bats coming from him being at 3rd base before the All-Star break but due to Injury Hariston had to have season ending surgery. 2013 he will be a player to keep an eye on.
2B Mark Ellis- Another player who contributed very well for the Dodgers and is a key player as well. Ellis is a guy who you can put at 2nd in the order and rely on him to get on base to set it up for Matt Kemp or whoever at the 3 spot. While there has been some people wanting him to lead off Ellis is fine at the 2 spot in the line-up. Defensively he can also bring it as well just as long as he is healthy.
Overview: This group has A LOT of talent starting wise and you can say on the bench as well. You can expect guys like Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Ellis and Hanley to produce with the bat. Defensively the left side is going to need some work just by the looks but I am sure they will have it together. These guys will only have so much time in the Spring due to the World baseball Classic (Cruz and Gonzalez Team Mexico and Hanley- Dominican Republic) but they have time to work individually.
On Deck for the 2013 Dodgers Preview: Outfield
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
MLB released their Top 100 on Tuesday night which featured three Dodgers Prospects. The Dodgers farm hasn’t been the best of things the past few years but Stan Kasten is really working on building the Farm system back up. Now a few prospects should be playing during Spring Training and for a fact we know the three who are in MLB’s Top 100 will be there as well. Who are the 3 you ask? Well they are none other than RHP Zack Lee, OF Joc Pederson, and OF Yasiel Puig. Those three are respectively the top prospects in the Dodgers organization (Lee-1, Puig-2, Pederson-4) . Now I haven’t gotten the chance to see any of these guys play or taken time to look at film but I have read on them and from what I read and hear these guys will be called up soon. This Spring Training we should see what they can do and if they’re ready or if they still need work. Here are where they’re ranked in the Top 100 and what is said on them.
76) OF Yasiel Puig- Over the Summer this was the Dodgers first big International Signing. Puig was signed to a 7 Year $42 Million Dollar deal by Los Angeles who was intended to re-up their International market presence that has been missing for a while. Puig spent most of last season in the Dodgers farm system and impressed a lot of people. Many scouts who saw him LOVED his Bat Power and Speed as well as Athletic actions. He is rough around the edges as many question his maturity. Not bad for a guy who missed a whole year after being suspended by Cuba for a failed defection. He should be at Double A to start the season that’s if he shows he’s ready for MLB.
My Take: The Dodgers invested a good amount in Puig. He slumped out in Puerto Rico but picked it up by playoffs. We’ll see what he is about come Spring Training. Kemp, Crawford, and Ethier have the outfield starting spot but if Puig does show he’s ready then don’t be surprised if he is the Dodgers 4th Outfielder that they need.
78) RHP Zach Lee- The Top Prospect in the Dodgers organization for the 2nd season. Many people are high on Lee and believe he has a bright future with the Dodgers. Lee left LSU, where he was a QB on the football team, to join the Dodgers Organization. Lee is most likely to join a deep rotation at the show but right now he’ll be in Double A like he has part of last season. However Lee does lack an overpowering pitch which hurts him. He has a fastball that sits in the low 90′s but he is learning how miss the zone effectively and has a great mixture of pitches that he can use.
My Take: Lee is another guy who will likely get called up soon. No it won’t be out the bullpen but in the rotation. I don’t see Capuano and/or Harang in L.A. as Spring Training progresses. I do see Lee coming to the Majors if an injury hit but that’s it. He’s 21 so he has plenty of time and a good future ahead. I think Lee will be in Triple A this coming season.
85) OF Joc Pederson- Pederson has had a remarkable 2012 Season with the Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Named the Organization’s Position Player of the year Joc Pederson has managed to move up in the Dodger Prospect rankings. In 2011 Joc had a horrible season which had him demoted from Rancho to the Rookie Leagues. 2012 he bounced back Strong and finds himself as one of MLB’s Top 100 Prospects. If the Last name is familiar to you guys then here’s something that’ll help, He’s the son of Former Dodger Stu Pederson. Pederson is a solid all-around player but will need to continue improvement while he’s tested in Double A.
My Take: Pederson made a remarkable climb to the top 5 of the Dodgers top prospects. He’ll be in Chattanooga this coming season and will have some work to do but if he does continue the uprise then he’ll be in Triple A/Spring Training by next year.
The Los Angeles Dodgers held their Fan Fest which was a chance for many Dodger fans to come up to the Stadium and see their favorite Dodger players, coaches, legends, and personalities in person before the season started. Last year the Dodgers held a Fan Fest which was a such a success that they held it again on Saturday, A Month before Spring Training. Like last year, I managed to go this year and I have to say in my view Fan Fest over did itself from last season. Unlike last year I managed to meet many current players and coaches who turned out to be very great people. Fan Fest though started off great for me when i met the Stan Kasten. The man behind the work of putting the Dodgers back on top. I managed to get a picture with him after he talked on the podium to Season Ticket Holders who got to enter at 30 minutes before the General Public. After meeting him I have to say I can see why I along with many Dodger fans are sold on this guy restoring the Dodgers back to Major League prominence.
Back to the players. The players were very friendly and welcoming to the fans today that it made the event even better in my view. From Andre Ethier, Zack Greinke, Nick Punto, Jansen, and Javy Guerra meeting the Dodger players made me feel like a kid again. The highlight of the whole thing was having a good conversation with Javy Guerra about season tickets and Andre Ethier joking around with my little cousins. One thing that bothered me was how long the lines were for Kemp, Ryu, Cruz, and Mark Ellis which cause us to not even attempt to stand in line for them. The interviews were also very good as well and attracted a huge crowd once Vin, Kemp, and Aj came. Matt Kemp managed to follow a fan on twitter during a Q&A with fans as well as encouraged many Dodger fans to make the trip to Spring Training next month. I honestly believe the best on stage Interview by far was by Tommy Lasorda who gave the fans a real pep talk to pump them up. He told many Dodger fans in attendance that he had a Wait Problem because he can’t wait till the season starts. I honestly felt very pumped up when he was talking. Made me want to suit up and play. You can always count on Tommy Lasorda to get the Fans going. Vin Scully was also a treat to hear and see. Vin always blesses us with his voice during Dodger games and his presence was even greater to see at Fan Fest. The crowd also got its first look at Hyun-Jin Ryu as he came to the stage and greeted the many Dodger fans at Fan Fest. One area that really caught my attention was the baseball history tent where they had historical artifacts from years on in baseball. I was very impressed with the programs from the late 1800′s and old uniforms they wore in the 1920′s as well.
There were some things that would’ve been done better like being better organized but In my opinion I was very good. There were some people on the other hand who had a lot of complaints about Fan Fest and I hope the Dodgers fix that next time to make it even better. Many Dodger fans not only showed for Fan Fest but to also buy Tickets for Individual games. From early Saturday morning many Dodger fans showed up to receive a wristband and take part in a raffle to purchase tickets so it wasn’t promised that you’d got tickets regardless if you got a wristband. Some decided to buy online but there a few who told me that the website crashed and that they were unable to get tickets while some were just unlucky. Tickets sold out very quickly. Tickets online were however limited which ment only a number was sold. it’s unclear though if more will go on sale later on so that’s something to wait and see later on. It will also be interesting to see if Season Tickets and Mini Plan demands go up because of the people who didn’t get tickets to the games.
All in All Saturday the Dodgers did a lot to bring a bigger buzz and anticipation for Baseball. 21,000 Fans were in attendance for Fan Fest. It pumped me up even more for the season and I can’t wait till Spring Training to see the Los Angeles Dodgers step on the field for their road toward bringing back a championship to Los Angeles. The threat of rain was a big concern but it grew smaller and smaller as the skies cleared and the sun beamed through Blue Heaven On Earth. Cousins had fun, Got to meet players, and meet more Dodger fans and catch up with many friends as well. Oh how I can’t wait for the season to start.
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.
Dodger Stadium Renovations
For a while now many people who have visited Dodgers Stadium have made mention or noted that the Stadium is in need of a make over, As soon as the 2012 Season ended they got what they’re asking for. When Guggenheim Baseball bought the Dodgers one of the many questions asked during the press conference that day was What they were going to do about Dodger Stadium. Stan Kasten made note that they would analyze the Stadium to see what work had to be done and boy were they in for something. Come September the Dodgers had announced that they would hire Janet Marie Smith to take charge in modernizing the 51 Year Old Stadium. Smith was involved in working with Stadiums like Fenway Park. What work is being done right now? A lot of it for starters but what’s being added is going to be great. The Stadium Concourse in Fied Level, Loge, Reserve, and Top Deck will be widened to give more room in the concourse area. The first 4 rows of each level were removed which will lower attendance to around 56,000. Bathrooms all over the park will be redone which will be 65% Women’s and 32% Men’s which was one of the biggest needs in the Stadium, Wi-Fi and Cellular towers will also be added which means better Stadium will have better Cell Service which was also an issue at the Stadium for people who wanted to make calls, Playground will be added for the little Dodger fans who can’t sit still, Standing Room which means the Bullpen will be pushed back a few feet, and Last but not least New HD LED Scoreboards and Video boards above the Pavilions. The Team will also have a more modern Clubhouse which mean Batting Cages, New Weight Rooms, and so on for the Players. Dodger Stadium will be getting more in the future but this is a great start. Dodger Stadium getting it’s much needed make over is something the fans will finally get.
No One qualifies into the Baseball Hall Of Fame
For the first time since 1996 the Baseball Hall Of Fame will not have a class for 2013. The BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) casted their ballots and Wednesday they were counted to see who would go into the Hall of Fame. No one got the number percentage of votes to get elected this year (75% is required to be inducted). Craig Biggio was the closet to that required 75% with 68.2 while the next was Jack Morris with 67.7. A lot of people thought Mike Piazza would get into the Hall of Fame but he didn’t come close only grabbing 57.8% of the Votes to get in. This year was basically highlighted by players who were part of the “Steroid Era” and players like Rodger Clemons, Berry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire were eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and many people believed and in that case knew that it would be an issue for many Voters to vote for players who have used PED, HGH, or Sterioids during their playing career. Let’s be honest we didn’t expect Bonds, Clemons, Sosa, or McGwire to get inducted but I felt that it was shocking that no one was getting inducted into the Hall of Fame. Many people are saying that having writers vote who gets into the Hall Of Fame is a big issue and something needs to be changed. I am one of those who believe something needs to be done with voting. One idea that could be done is have those who are already in the Hall of Fame (Thats living) Vote along with the writers. Another is maybe lowering the needed votes by 5% or a respectable percentage but something has to be done. I’m all for not allowing PED users in the Hall Of Fame and that’s fine but I think it’s kind of ridiculous that we don’t have anyone in the class of 2013. Next Year Mike Piazza and others will have to wait to get their chance but this has to be changed ASAP. BWAA Hall of Fame Voting this year is just another reason something has to change.
Dodgers To Play Exhibition Game Against Quake
As it was announced on Wednesday the Dodgers will play an Exhibition game in Rancho Cucamonga to face their Single A affiliate The Quakes on March 28th at 6:05 PM. Now before anyone gets very excited about the full team playing this will be the day the Dodgers have a Split Squad because theirs also another game an hour later in Anaheim against the Angels that day but the exciting part is that Tommy Lasorda will manage the team in Rancho. While the roster will be named at a Later date (Spring Training) it’s going to be exciting for the City of Rancho Cucamonga and the Quake Baseball club. This is also a chance for many Dodger fans, who decide not to make the Trip to Anaheim, to checkout some of the young players and prospects of the Dodgers organization and Young players of the Quake Organization and California League. March 28th will be filled with Dodger baseball both in Rancho and Anaheim so don’t miss out Dodger Fans.
It took me a few days. Ok close to TWO weeks to really digest things and do this post. Like Almost every Dodgers fan im STILL bitter about our boys not getting into the postseason. While those who watched were Sad, Mad, Shocked, Etc the Team that Eliminated us from contention The Hated San Francisco Giants Celebrated in the visiting clubhouse enjoying the moment that they knocked the Dodgers away from the playoffs. Thats the thing of Baseball many say but to me it’s more of why. We were so close to making it and it didn’t happen. The Front Office did what they could to help and the Manager could only do so much but the Play couldn’t do it and at the time it was maybe Too little too late. So as I sit here see the Postseason I could only think why couldn’t it be the Dodgers? I’ll watch a little but won’t root for a team. Won’t make me any less of a fan but because what would’ve been that I refuse to really get over at this moment.
So the season Had ended for the Dodgers and the blue print for next season is being made. The Front Office making plans about what to improve on to finish the job, Players such as Luis Cruz and Dee Gordon are playing winter baseball to improve, Matt Kemp and AJ Ellis who were hurt have had surgeries to repair and look as if they will recover in time for Spring Training. Many things will be in order for the Dodgers on the field. Also the return’s of Ted Lilly and Chad Billingsley will be a big help and with Carl Crawford coming off Tommy John things will get interesting in Dodgertown. Also with a Off-Season with the new owners means deeper pockets for Free agency where in the last two years the Dodgers were handicaped due to Frank McCourt and a low payroll. This Winter meeting the Dodgers can go out and Address the issues that this team need answered such as pitching and that’s always a positive thing. We’ll also get to see what Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Rameriez, Josh Beckett, and Luis Cruz can do in a full year with the Dodgers. With Cruz playing Winter ball and Adrian working to improve his swing to name the few it’s a real positive sign to see that players are willing to improve to do their part to help this team.
Not only will the Dodgers improve on the field but off the field as well as Dodger Stadium will under-go much needed renovations. Stan Kasten said that he wants to keep the same look to Dodger Stadium but make it more State of the Art with more stuff to better fan experiance. WI-FI has been said to be added to the Stadium by opening day next season. He’s looking to add more resturants, bars, Kid Areas as well as adding a State of the Art Dodger Store soon. Yes Dodger Stadium will look the same but will have a better look inside so Changes will be made. Ticket pricing as well is looking as if they’ll drop for the upcoming season. I’m a season ticket holder as some may not know and when I got a call about the 2013 Season tickets (Yes I AM renewing) They said that theres a price break for my section ranging from $9-$11 per ticket. That’s the only indication a can really give at the moment because I’m not 100% sure myself but it looks hopeful for many Fans. Hopefully the Dodgers work on better Transit for fans as well as other stuff and I know for a fact that Kasten will without a doubt do that to help the fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers and give us the best that we deserve.
The ending to the Dodgers Season was a nightmare but unlike us the Dodgers refuse to let it linger and are getting right to work to make this a first class Organization and reach the goal of not only making the playoffs and Winning the NL West but Winning a Championship. The Dodgers future is bright. Yes we didn’t make it this year after a hot start but let that be fuel to the players fire to get in next year. The Dodgers front office is commited, the Players are commited, But Are you the Fans committed? The Future is bright for the Dodgers and we’re going along for the ride.
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!!