Nov 28

Prospects now, prospects later

Throw ’em into the fire now or give ’em another year? It’s a question more and more teams are facing. With the Dodgers, it’s 20-year-old Cory Seager at shortstop. The cons, as determined by Richard Justice:

  • He’s 20 years old.
  • He’s played only 38 games above Class A.

The pros:

  • He’s scary good.
  • He’s passed every test so far

The Mets, Twins and Giants are facing similar decisions.

Obviously it’s a gamble. Sometimes it pays off, as when the Orioles brought up a 20-year-old named Cal Ripken in August of 1981. Probably more often than not it fails, or at least the kid has to go back down to the minors for more seasoning. Given the dearth of big league players looking for short-term deals (because the Dodgers don’t want to block Seager for years), they may decide they don’t have much choice.

Update: Vinnie turns 86 tomorrow. A couple of years ago ESPN celebrated his 84th birthday with a sequence of what it picked as his top five calls:

Nov 17

Open Thread #2

Here’s a nice story about Dodgertown in Vero Beach. It has had a checkered history since the Dodgers left in 2008. Minor League Baseball tried to run it for a while as a multi-use facility to accompany its already-obvious baseball uses, but that closed down in 2012. Then a miracle occurred!

O’Malley and his sister, Terry, feared that if the facility shuttered again it may never reopen. So the O’Malley family became owners again, with [Chan Ho] Park and Hideo Nomo, as founding partners, and re-branded the place as Historic Dodgertown. It was named a Florida landmark on Monday.

Those are some good Dodgers names, huh?

Young Mr. Puig had a good day yesterday in the Japan-MLB Series in the Tokyo Dome: he went 3 for 4 and made a diving catch in right field as well.

Nov 06

Awards season

Update: Kershaw wins Baseball Prospectus’s NL Player and Pitcher of the Year awards.

Adrian Gonzalez and Juan Uribe won Defensive Player of the Year awards at their respective positions. In addition,

Gonzalez’s honor comes one day after he won a National League Gold Glove Award for the fourth time in his career. Gonzalez also won the Fielding Bible Award as top defensive first baseman in 2014.

Gonzalez also won the 2014 Silver Slugger award for National League first basemen.

Zack Greinke won a Gold Glove for 2014 as well.

A few days ago Clayton Kershaw was awarded three Players’ Choice awards: MLB Player of the Year, National League Outstanding Pitcher and Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award. He’s the first player ever to win three Players Choice awards in one season. It’s the third time he’s won the Outstanding Pitcher award.

Today he was awarded the 2014 Warren Spahn Award for best left-handed pitcher in the major leagues. It’s the third time he’s won the Spahn award, given by the Oklahoma Sports Council in Spahn’s home state.

Nov 06

New Hires at Dodger Stadium

Thursday the Dodgers announced they hired Farhan Zaidi as general manager and Josh Byrnes as senior vice president of baseball operations. Zaidi had been with the Oakland As for the past ten years, and Byrnes has been a GM for parts of eight seasons with the Diamondbacks and Padres.

In addition, ESPNLA is reporting that

the Dodgers will hire former longtime MLB outfielder and current Fox TV analyst Gabe Kapler as the team’s farm director and Billy Gasparino as the director of amateur scouting.

Gasparino is essentially trading places with Logan White, who left the Dodgers to join the Padres last month. Padres scout Jeff Pickler also will be joining the Dodgers, likely as the team’s top talent evaluator for potential trades and free-agent acquisitions.

This is a sabremetric-friendly front office, that’s for sure.

Nov 01

Hot Stove League Talk

The Dodgers bought out Chad Billingsley’s contract for $3M, making him a free agent.

The 30-year-old Billingsley, a former All-Star, is trying to return from two arm operations. He didn’t pitch in 2014 and made only two starts in 2013 before needing Tommy John surgery. While rehabbing this year, he required surgery to repair a partially torn flexor tendon.

A first-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Billingsley went 81-61 with a 3.65 ERA for the Dodgers. He won a career-high 16 games in 2008 and was an All-Star in ’09.

Billingsley becomes the seventh Dodger free agent. In addition to him, Hanley Ramirez, Paul Maholm, Chris Perez, Roberto Hernandez, Kevin Correia and Jamey Wright are also free to negotiate for new deals with any team.

Ramirez’s contract is possibly the biggest decision new boss Andrew Friedman will have to make. Do the Dodgers make him a $15.3M qualifying offer, which ensures they get something in return (a supplemental draft pick between the first and second rounds) if he rejects it and goes elsewhere? He might be worth more than that, especially if he’s willing to move to third base for a new team. The Dodgers have Uribe signed through 2015, so that’s not an option they could easily fulfill. My guess is they make the qualifying offer just to guarantee themselves a player in return when he signs with the Yankees to replace Derek Jeter.

Dan Haren picked up his $10M option to stay with the Dodgers, and Brian Wilson is expected to pick up his for the same amount. Maholm is recovering from knee surgery, Perez was lightly used down the stretch, Hernandez was mostly adequate, Correia wasn’t much help, and Jamey Wright is 40 years old with who knows how much left in his arm.

The team still has more outfielders than it knows what to do with, and it’s also got Joc Pederson pounding on the door to get in, although his cup of coffee at the end of September wasn’t very successful. Ethier and Crawford could be trade bait, but both have very large contracts. Ethier is signed through 2017 with an option for 2018; the balance of the contract is $53.5M through 2017. Crawford is still under terms of the contract he signed with the Red Sox, which has a balance of $62.5M through 2017.

It should be an interesting off-season.