Mar 01

First Cactus League game is Wednesday

Erik Bedard will start it against the White Sox. He’ll probably go only two innings or so.

Thursday Clayton Kershaw will start, also against the White Sox. Friday is a split-squad day.

In much sadder news, Minnie Minoso passed away today. He was the first black player on either team in Chicago after he was traded to the White Sox in 1951, two years after he came up with the Cleveland Indians. Young people remember him, if they do at all, as the guy who kept getting active long enough to appear in a game or two in the Seventies and Eighties after his 40th birthday as an owner’s gimmick. That’s a shame, as he was a great ballplayer, a nine-time All Star who had nearly 2,000 hits and a career .298 batting average in his 15 years as a regular outfielder in the big leagues.

Feb 11

Open Thread #10

Correction: I thought the Dodger Insider post I linked to was written by Jon Weisman. I’m still not used to thinking of that site as a multi-author blog. It was actually written by Cary Osborne. I’m sorry for the misattribution!

By Mr. Weisman’s Cary Osborne’s calculations, the moves the Dodgers made during the off-season have made them the most improved team in the West in terms of Defensive Runs Saved.

Huh? What’s that number, you ask? Defensive Runs Saved is an attempt to determine the value of a player against other players of the same position. As Joe Posnanski put it at his blog: “the number determines (using film study and computer comparisons) how many more or fewer successful plays a defensive player will make than league average.”

Here’s the full-on explanation from its creators at The Fielding Bible, if you’re interested. It’s lengthy.

Anyway, Jon Cary says

Gone from the Dodgers are Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Dee Gordon, who combined for -37 DRS. In are Howie Kendrick, and Jimmy Rollins and what appears to be either Joc Pederson or Andre Ethier. Since there isn’t enough Major League statistical data on Pederson, we’re going to slot Ethier into the replacement for Kemp. Rollins, Kendrick and Ethier combined for six DRS. That’s a swing of +43 DRS.

He’s got the other NL West teams’ DRS data, and he comes up with the startling fact that the Dodgers are the only team in the division whose changes over the winter give it a net positive number.

Huh.

Jan 22

Open Thread #7

Update: Ernie Banks passed away today. The Hall of Famer and former Cub was 83 years old.

Baseball America has a recap of the Dodgers’ offseason moves, with some attention paid to the minor leaguers.

Aside from the Cubs, the Dodgers’ top three prospects are as strong as any other organization’s in baseball. Corey Seager, a shortstop for now who likely moves to third base, is one of the most talented hitters in the minors. Center fielder Joc Pederson is a 2015 Rookie of the Year frontrunner, while teenage lefthander Julio Urias has the makings of a future ace, combining plus stuff with feel for pitching beyond his years.

After the vaunted trio, the Dodgers farm system is in a better place than it was a year ago because of the emergence of depth beyond them. Their top 2014 draft picks—first-round righthander Grant Holmes and outfielder Alex Verdugo — both had strong debuts and look like potential impact talents.

We’re less than a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting. They do that on Feb. 19 and have their first workout Feb. 20. Position players report Feb. 24 and have their first workout Feb. 25.

Dec 17

Open thread #3

In case the comments close on the previous post, here’s a new one. Also, if you’re wondering what the college football bowl schedule looks like for the next three weeks, I posted ESPN’s list at my other place.

Update: The Kemp trade is on hold for the moment because a physical showed Matt’s got arthritis in each hip. As Mark Saxon explains, this could blow up “two other trades and three other teams.” That’s because some of the secondary players were being sent on to other teams for yet more players by both the Padres and the Dodgers.

Dec 10

Winter meetings, Day Three

Update: Kemp is gone to the Padres for catcher Yasmani Grandal and a pair of pitching prospects. Fedex also goes to the Padres, along with about $30M to defray part of the cost of Kemp’s contract.

Wow! In very short order today the Dodgers

  • Got 36-year-old shortstop Jimmy Rollins from the Phillies to fill the gap left behind when Hanley Ramirez went the free agent route
  • Traded Dee Gordon and Dan Haren to the Marlins in exchange for pitcher Andrew Heaney, backup catcher Austin Barnes, minor leaguers Enrique Hernandez and Chris Hatcher
  • Flipped Heaney to the Angels for second-baseman Howie Kendrick
  • May be close to signing free-agent pitcher Brandon McCarthy
  • and have discussed adding pitcher Cole Hamels and second-baseman Chase Utley to the Jimmy Rollins deal with the Phillies

And there’s still tomorrow to find deals which send Ethier, Crawford or Kemp to somebody for a starting pitcher or prospects!

Now that they’ve gotten Kendrick, I can’t see why they’d want Utley except as more bait to trade off, as they did with Heaney (hey, kid, I’d have liked to see you pitch!). Do the Phillies need an outfielder?

Update: changed the post title to day 3, which is accurate. I lost a day somewhere.

Dec 07

Winter meetings begin Monday

Grantland’s got speculations!

Question 1. Will the Dodgers move Kemp? Grantland and the Magic 8 ball say “Can’t predict now.”

Questions 2 through 5. Who cares? The only guess about the Dodgers here is whether they’ll try hard to get one of the available starters: Lester, Hamels, Scherzer or Shields.

As Paul Harvey used to say, “Stand by…for news!”

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: