Bits and pieces

When the team hasn’t announced a deal but the player has a locker at the Spring Training clubhouse in Arizona, does he have a deal? That’s what we know about Paul Maholm, who’ll be in his tenth year and has a lousy W-L record to show for it. On the other hand, if you’d pitched for the Pirates for seven years between 2005 and 2011, you’d have been hard-pressed to do much better.

Billingsley thinks his Tommy John surgery has given him an entirely new arm. He’s throwing 80mph off a mound and won’t try curveballs till the end of February.

Mattingly says Kemp probably won’t play in Australia; he hasn’t yet run outside.

Dee Gordon has been practicing at second base and in the outfield.

Update: From Camelback Ranch today:

75 thoughts on “Bits and pieces

  1. Can anyone give me any excuse at all why the Dodgers wasted $25M to sign a shortstop whom EVERYONE knows can’t and won’t hit? They apparently made no effort to sign some catchers whom we desperately need and instead sign a shortstop who will never stick in the Majors… Reminds me of another shortstop that they had in the minors for years, good field, no hit. They finally released or traded him and after bouncing around several years with other organizations they brought him back again. Why, why, why?????

    • I guess this is related… Dodgers just DFAd Justin Sellers to make room for above referenced shortstop. Sellers is/was his American equivalent and a whole lot cheaper. What are they smoking over there?

        • Everything I’ve read about the Cuban (I won’t attempt to spell his name) says the same thing about him. Except for unknown benefactor in Dodger front office. Wasn’t there a scandal recently about scouts taking kickbacks to sign players?

  2. With Stephen Drew still unsigned, wonder if there’s any chance the team swoops in and signs him in an effort to win the WS now. He’d solve the infield issue, even if he would cost a draft pick. Dependable glove and bat & PVL of the kind Ned likes very much.

    He’d also kind of cause a logjam as far as the future goes, and he no doubt sees himself as an everyday player. Boras is his agent, so there’s definitely that.

    Bet the team has been tempted, and still may be. It for sure has made worse moves, tho I don’t know that I’m jumping up and down in favor. Just intriguing.

  3. Couple other items involving Koufax over the last couple days, which I don’t think have been here–

    “Reliever Jose Dominguez tried out a new slider grip suggested by legendary lefty Sandy Koufax and reported improved downward break on the pitch.”

    That could be a milestone. Dude throws 100 and now may have a wipeout slider, thanks to Sandy Koufax, the gift that keeps on giving.

    Question: how can Koufax know about slider grips? He didn’t throw that pitch. As I get it, he was blazing FB and probably the best curve ever, and that’s all he needed. Did hear stuff about maybe trying a forkball and maybe another pitch. Couldn’t find any confirmation, tho.
    ——————————————————
    Josh Beckett, greeted by the Dodger legend, who has worked with him for more than a decade:

    “I was standing there with Haren, we were a few feet from Sandy, and I said, ‘Did you ever think we’d be pitching and standing here with Sandy Koufax?’

    And Haren said, ‘There should be a unicorn out here.”

      • Nice try, but probably not. Carlton only appeared in 24 games at the ML level before Koufax retired after the 1966 season. Eleven of them were starts, all for the Cards (I tend to forget he started out with St. Louis).

        He helped out with the Dodgers and the Mets for quite a while in spring trainings past, though, so he could have picked it up from any one of a bunch of pitchers.

          • Who knows? Just sayin’ that he was one of the premier lefties after Koufax retired and worked the booth, so I am sure there was a personal interest on Sandy’s part to how Lefty pitched, particularly his best pitch, which I don’t think Sandy ever used.

      • I don’t have much faith Dee either (particularly on defense), but in his short career he has an OPS of .664 against righties. One might compare that to what Punto put up for us last year at .655 as a switch hitter overall and .622 as a lefty against righties. Rather have Punto given his versatility, but if you factor in speed and keep your fingers crossed on the defense, in the right spots Dee could be acceptable.

  4. How the heck did I not know this sooner? Apparently Puig came to camp at 251 pounds(!), some 25 pounds higher than his weight last season. Saxon of ESPN says so far it hasn’t seemed to hinder him, but good grief that’s a lot of weight to carry if you’re going to chase fly balls down regularly.

    Saxon’s original note on this is here.

      • Have seen a couple wise remarks elsewhere that Ethier finally hit a lefty.

        Which would be in very poor taste if Sandy had been hurt much, and in which case I wouldn’t repeat.

    • I must say that I am a little taken aback by his father donning a giants cap in court. I am sad for him and for his son, and assume his motivation was done in respect to his son, but it seemed to me that this was framing the outcome in terms of some sort of rivalry between the two teams. Baseball is a silly game relative to the human tragedy involved.

  5. I have read where Donnie is considering a platoon system at 2nd base with Guerrero and Dee Gordon. I tell ya, Dee is living a charmed life. He would not make any other team. No defense, No bat, only speed. Go figure.

    • Saw that too. He said he was open to it, but didn’t sound like that was part of any plan unless absolutely necessary. What I inferred from it was that Gordon is likely to break camp on the ML roster.

    • Right place at the right time! I assume he would bat 8th, so we may be treated to having Dee and Puig on base at the same time (if Dee can get on).

  6. Chuckles dept.===

    “Only in spring training could this story happen. The Twins signed infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka in the spring of 2011. He didn’t speak much English, and didn’t know anyone on the team. Several teammates convinced Twins outfielder Denard Span to introduce himself to Nishioka, to make him feel more a part of the team. Only they tricked Span — they told him that Ray Chang, another infielder, was Nishioka. So Span, ever respectful, approached Chang, bowed gracefully, introduced himself, and asked him if he spoke English.

    “Sure I do,” Chang said. “I’m from Kansas City!”

    The whole team howled.

    This and other goodies follow the team recaps in top part of this ode to spring training…..

    http://espn.go.com/blog/spring-training/post/_/id/1188/its-a-wonderful-day-baseball-is-back

    • I think Kemp will have to have a season or two of superstar type numbers before he will every be considered one again. Potential is not performance.

  7. Pretty strong words for a guy who can’t stay healthy. Seems to me, playing around 120 games a year would be perfect in trying to keep him healthy.

    • He might end up playing 120 because of injuries, but this doesn’t seem to be a sound strategy going in to avoid injuries. Its not like his injuries so far have been related to being worn out.

        • No, not you John. There is following video were Matty says that, though he is aware of the story behind it, he isn’t fond of the nickname and prefers KEMPV.

          • Maybe we should meet him halfway and dub him with Ethier’s old moniker as the new 3.5.

    • Every player and manager needs to have a lawyer with him at all times, so sportswriters— and fans— won’t misinterpret what they say. I think Kemp was only saying what each of the other three would say, that their mindset (ego) would not allow them to think of themselves as only part-time players. I’m sure each of the four thinks of themselves as clearly good enough to be Major League starters, not part-time players, and I’m sure the organization wants them to think that way. Until they want them to think otherwise…

  8. In case you all missed it, Jim Fregosi, longtime Angels player and manager who also managed the White Sox, Phillies and Blue Jays, died today of multiple strokes suffered six days ago while on an MLB alumni cruise.

    I saw him play shortstop for the Angels in their first year of operations. He was a pretty skinny kid back then.

    • The most important story on that page might be the last one, where parking changes are discussed. $10 prepaid rather than $15 drive-up. Also, ” the lots will be re-striped for better flow and there will be more walkways, bike racks and signage directing to underutilized entry gates.”

    • More worried about his ankle. Gurnick seems to forget that he already had his stroke back when he came back from the shoulder injury, hitting OPS of 1.047 in 44 PA, before they shut him down because of the ankle.

  9. Better get Hanley extended or he may be the next Yankee shortstop. The Yankess don’t mind spending money.

    • Gotta thinks that’s the plan. If Hanley were to move, however, I would imagine that the next team would have some leverage to get him to move to 3rd, so Tulo might be a better target for Yanks if they want a SS.

    • Commenters at most big sites have a large group of lunatics. I won’t suggest you read the LA Times comments or WaPo’s or the NYT’s: they all degenerate into offensive name calling rather quickly.

      We at Elysian Fields, on the other hand, pride ourselves on our clever and discerning commenters. 😉

  10. I guess running outside rather than inside entails possibilities of uneven surfaces and such causing problems until he is fully healed. I don’t mind being overly cautious with him, as that is a big investment with potentially a big return.

  11. I hope Bills progresses well. Matt Kemp is real iffy and they can send Dee to the minors.