Open Thread #5

Jay Jaffe pens a nice appreciation of Hiroki Kuroda’s MLB career.

Four guys are elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. One of the electees is a minor surprise to my mind (Smoltz, earlier than I expected), while a couple of the unelected are a disappointment to me (Piazza and Bagwell).

Maybe more later.

48 thoughts on “Open Thread #5

  1. Scherzer and/or Shields not completely out of the question, says GM Zaidi.

    We don’t comment on free agents that are out there. I’ll just say we’re
    not closing any doors at this point. You’re never done. You’re
    constantly evaluating new options to improve the team and we’re still in
    that phase. If there’s a guy out there that we think makes us better
    and is available at the right price, we’ll absolutely consider it.”

    • I think the Dodgers are still the strong division favorite, but I would say the Padres have overtaken the Gnats (who may catch up with the Snakes but probably not the Rox).

  2. Does anyone here have advice about going to spring training in AZ? I went several times when the Dodgers were in Vero, but this will be my 1st time in AZ.

    • I went three years ago with a friend. We stayed in a hotel that was not a long drive from many of the ballparks. It is possible to go to day and evening games on the same day. I suggest going later in spring training so you will see more of the players likely to make the Opening Day rosters. I also suggest going to various stadiums to get a sense of the entire package. The Glendale complex that the Dodgers and White Sox share has considerable areas to walk around and you can see the minor leaguers work out. The ballpark has great sight lines and the concourse is spacious. The Giants play in Scottsdale. It is an older, well-maintained stadium on a city block. Parking was a bit difficult. There are more things to do near that stadium, such as going to restaurants, than at many others. Spring training is a fun experience, but it has gotten quite costly in the last few years. Have fun.

    • I get emotional when I am repeatedly told that my reaction to the Kemp trade is emotional. I just think it was bad. I welcome Grandal at this point, but he says that Grandal is a good framer, who needs to work on passed balls. I would hazard to guess that there is a tradeoff involved. As I recall, Martin was known as a good framer but also suffered from passed balls. If you are trying to keep your glove in the zone as long as possible, it stands to reason that some might get away.

      • I think Grandal has an offensive upside, though. In retrospect, I’m disappointed that A.J. didn’t get a chance to prove himself earlier, but now he’s really aging for a catcher.

        • Yes, of course Grandal on the offense, I was just wondering how much he might be able to improve on passed balls and that a lot of them is not necessarily a sign of poor defense.

          • Having pitchers throw sliders and curves into the dirt, as is the fashion these days, is a good recipe for passed balls.

          • Maybe we needed a scrambler instead of a framer, what with the emphasis on ground ball pitchers (who tend to keep it down in the zone)and improved infield defense (but does this make outfield defense less important!?)

    • Uh oh. Donnie, Jimmy is not a leadoff hitter anymore, even if he ever was one,. Batted second for the Fillies most of last year. Has never had an OBP of over .350 in his entire career and came in at .323 last year. Actually, the pieces were a bit easier for him to manage last year. I can foresee a lot of lineup juggling as he learns how best to use the new players.

    • Donnie seems to forget that he actually put Matty in leftfield and Dre into cf. The numbers show that Dre was actually a worse cf than Matty and Donnie latter moved Puig there and Matty to rf (and Dre to the bench), where Matty fielded at an average level and hit a ton. In cf, Vin thought that Puig was the second coming of Willie Mays and his number there were actually much better than Trout’s (zero runs save versus -8).

    • Wish Donnie all the luck in the world. We have just had two WS capable teams in 2013-14, snakebit by a couple of less-than-Kershaw outings, bad pen last year and Hanley injury in 2013.

  3. Alphabet cleared waivers! (is that a good thing?) and is non-roster invitee to ST.

    • I little bit more to the point than the Arneson blog I posted in the previous thread bemoaning the trade from the A’s side!

    • Bleacher Report’s credibility is widely dismissed, but others have come to similar conclusions. I think the issue is whether he’ll make consistent contact and/or be able to maintain his high walk rate.

    • Talk about bold. ZiPS has him at 3.3 WAR (.239/.374/.420 with 22 dingers-so a good portion is expected from dWAR), third best on the team behind Puig and Kendrick. In all ten position players with at least 2.0 (no other team has more than 7), so they buy into the balanced lineup. Combinations at catcher and lf are both expected to be around 4.0. Overall from best in the NL at 31.2 oWAR in 2014, they are predicting 30.0 for the team in 2015. Not surprising, since they are probably crunching the same numbers as the Dodger Brain Trust (DBT).

  4. This new C from SD….. “Not so illustrious” career includes PED suspension.

    What’s the scoop on this guy? Back up to AJ? Compete for starting job?

    • Piazza and Bags would have been nice. Not that he doesn’t deserve it, but Smoltz on paper doesn’t seem to compare to a guy like Mussina