Apr 02

Game Five, 2014

Dodgers v. Padres at Petco Park, on SPNLA TV at 7:10PM PST. The Dodgers send out Dan Haren for his first start for his new team in 2014 while the Padres send out Tyson Ross, a 26-year-old in his second year with San Diego.

Lineup:


In other news, the Dodgers claimed infielder Carlos Triunfel off waivers from Seattle. They’ve optioned him to Albuquerque. You may well ask why they need another middle infielder and shortstop, what with Hanley Ramirez, Corey Seager, Alex Guerrero (being moved to second base) and Erisbel Arruebarrena already on board.

Feb 22

Short-timers!

Jeepers. This Australia trip has done severe damage to the Spring Training schedule. The halt, the lame and the blind may get put on a short-term DL, those who don’t measure up may be cut early, and even the healthy may not be ready to pitch. According to the team website (via Jon W), they’re not even sure Kershaw will be ready to pitch on Opening Day in Australia.

The Dodgers will have only 19 days of Spring Training games to make nearly all of their decisions. Last spring, they played 36 games before Opening Day.

“It’s not a perfect situation,” said manager Don Mattingly, “but it’s good for the game.”

Even though the 25-man roster officially doesn’t need to be submitted until March 21 at 1 p.m. PT, the Dodgers and D-backs will break camp on March 16 and take a maximum of 30 players to Australia from which to draw their 25-man Opening Day rosters.

Yikes. The only consolation for this is that the team which might be their strongest rival within the division is having to do precisely the same thing, since the D-Backs are the opponents in Oz.

Jan 22

Spurned!

Now that Tanaka-san decided to try his luck with the Yankees, what do the Dodgers do? Do they really need another starter?

Yes, yes: “You can never have too much pitching.” And it’s true that after Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu the Dodgers have questions. Will Haren return to his earlier form, or is he now a .500 pitcher? Will Beckett and Billingsley recover fully from their respective injuries? Who knows?

Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza and Bronson Arroyo, among others, remain unsigned. Santana and Jimenez received qualifying offers, which means that landing them would cost the Dodgers a draft pick. That seems unlikely, given the team’s imperative to rebuild the farm system gutted by Frank McCourt. Neither Garza nor Arroyo received qualifying offers, which could put them in play.

I dunno. I think they need to get Hanley Ramirez’s contract extended before offering more money to any of those guys.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN both Tweet that the Dodgers have signed ex-Angel Chone Figgins to a minor league contract and invited him to camp as a non-roster guy. If he’s got anything at all left (he sat out last year and is 36 years old) he could be one of the utility guys the Dodgers desperately need.

Jan 15

He makes the big bucks

Sources tell ESPN.com that Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers have agreed to a seven-year deal for 215 million bucks.

He has an option-out clause after five years, the story says.

It is the richest deal in Major League Baseball history for a pitcher, eclipsing the seven-year, $180 million deal Detroit gave Justin Verlander last winter.

Five years is a good long time to lock up the best pitcher in baseball. All we have to do now is hope he doesn’t injure himself.

Dec 17

‘Tis a high price to pay

News item: The Yankees and the Dodgers are the only teams which have to pay a luxury tax on their payroll for 2013. The threshold for this season is $178 million, the Dodgers’ payroll was $243 million, and they pay at a 17.5 percent rate and owe $11,415,959.

Checks are due in the Commissioner’s Office by January 21.

But what does all that money get used for? From Article XXIII of the Collective Bargaining Agreement:

(1) The first $2,375,400 of proceeds collected for each Contract Year shall be used to fund benefits to Players, as provided in the Major League Baseball Players Benefit Plan Agreements.

(2) 50% of the remaining proceeds collected for each Contract Year, with accrued interest, shall be used to fund benefits to Players, as provided in the Major League Baseball Players Benefit Plan Agreements.

(3) 25% of the remaining proceeds collected for each Contract Year shall be contributed to the Industry Growth Fund and, with accrued interest, used for the purposes set out in Article XXV.

(4) 25% of the remaining proceeds collected for each Contract Year, with accrued interest, shall be used to defray the Clubs’ funding obligations arising from the Major League Baseball Players Benefit Plan Agreements.

Okay, but what’s the “Industry Growth Fund?”

The objective of IGF is to promote the growth of baseball in the United States and Canada, as well as throughout the world. To this end, IGF will be operated jointly by Players and Clubs in furtherance of the following purposes:

(1)to enhance fan interest in the game;
(2)to increase baseball’s popularity; and
(3)to ensure industry growth into the 21st Century

(See Article XXV of the CBA, linked above.)

So now we’re smarter than we were several hours ago. Isn’t that a good thing, class?

Mar 31

Opening Day Roster finalized (for now)

Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers made several roster moves today to set their 25-man roster as the season begins tomorrow. They placed Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly on the 15-day disabled list and moved Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang to the bullpen. Hanley Ramirez and Scott Elbert are also on the DL. Billingsley’s placement on the list was backdated to March 22, so he’s eligible to come off no later than April 13. As Gurnick says, that means they’ll have to make another personnel decison on that date.

It looks as though Justin Sellers will start at shortstop for the start of the season, meaning Luis Cruz will likely be the starting third baseman. The two of them may rotate with Punto and Uribe (Yes, Uribe is still on the major league roster. The only reason I can think of is that he’s under contract and the team sees enough value in him not to release him outright and eat the last year of his deal).

The roster:

Pitchers — Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Josh Beckett, Zack Greinke, Brandon League, Kenley Jansen, Ronald Belisario, J.P. Howell, Paco Rodriguez, Matt Guerrier, Capuano, Harang

Catchers — A.J. Ellis, Tim Federowicz

Infielders — Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Ellis, Sellers, Cruz, Juan Uribe, Nick Punto

Outfielders — Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Skip Schumaker, Jerry Hairston

Mar 26

Option day

As Dale mentioned in the comments below, the Dodgers optioned Dee Gordon to Albuquerque today and sent Yasiel Puig to AA Chattanooga, saying both players need more time to play regularly.

In addition, the team announced that Hyun-Jin Ryu will start Game Two of the season on April 2 against the Giants. Kershaw will pitch Opening Day April 1st, Josh Beckett will pitch Game Three and Zack Greinke will pitch Game Four. Chad Billingsley will pitch a minor league game Friday, March 29 and will go into the rotation after the first four pitch. There’s an off day after each of the first two three-game series the Dodgers play, so there will be a slot for Billingsley in one of those six games.

Update: The Dodger Stadium Express shuttle will run from Union Station downtown to the stadium: “. . . for the first time, a dedicated bus lane on Sunset Boulevard has been established that should speed up the process. Game-day tickets will be honored as payment to ride the service and the shuttle operates 90 minutes before first pitch and 45 minutes after the game.”

Update: Jon posits that there are never too many starters on the staff, so the Dodgers shouldn’t be in a hurry to trade any of the current overabundance.

The last thing the Dodgers should do is rush into a low-value trade of one of their excess starting pitchers – Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang or Ted Lilly – just so they can make room for a Wall or Kevin Gregg in the back of their bullpen.

Absolutely. Better to keep the veterans up and the rookies down unless there’s a fantastic opportunity to fill a hole in the infield, and what are the odds any team in the majors has that much interest in any of these three serviceable but not spectacular pitchers?

Mar 18

Dodgers – D-Backs on Prime Ticket

I just realized it. The game started 45 minutes ago, and the D-Backs lead 3 – 0 in the third. Josh Wall started, went two innings and was relieved by Peter Moylan. Crawford is hitting leadoff and singled in the third.

In personnel news, the team reassigned Tony Gwynn and Wilkin Castillo to Albuquerque and released Ramon Castro.

Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley both were relieved of their starting assignments today and tomorrow respectively, Beckett with the flu and Billingsley with a bruised right index finger. Greinke is set to start on Wednesday.

Update: Chad Moriyama has injury updates on Hanley Ramirez, Greinke, Billingsley, Crawford, Beckett, Withrow and Gordon. The most serious of these may be Ramirez’s thumb, which he jammed playing in the title game of the WBC yesterday. He dove for a ground ball while playing third. He stayed in for another at-bat and even got a hit, but he came out after that. He’ll have an MRI today at Camelback Ranch.

Feb 14

Scully “slams” Piazza!

Steve Dilbeck at the LAT has dug up the incriminating KTLA interview Vin did with Mike Piazza before he was traded to Florida which Piazza has claimed permanently damaged Piazza’s reputation with the LA fans. I dunno, but I don’t hear Vin saying anything which Piazza objected to at the time, and certainly nothing which would have sent the fans into fits of outrage.

Update:

PRIME TICKET will televise games Feb. 25 against the Cubs, Feb. 28 against the Angels, March 7 against Texas and March 18 against Arizona. Scully will be at the microphone for all four games. The Dodgers previously announced that Scully would handle KCAL 9 games on March 17 against Milwaukee and March 26 against Colorado.

Jan 11

Spring training’s a month away

Here’s a video of Dodgers VP for planning and development Janet Marie Smith talking about the stadium renovations.

At ESPN LA Mark Saxon points out that on the day camp opens the Dodgers have six veteran relief pitchers, four utility/bench players, eight starting position players and seven starting pitchers. That’s a far cry from the last few years when there were deals for starting pitchers being done seemingly up to Opening Day. Presumably they’ll deal a starter, hopefully for a fourth outfielder. Saxon gets off a good line, noting that there are a bunch of players whose health is best described as “improving.”

Trainer Sue Falsone might have more interesting media sessions than manager Don Mattingly.

Should we start getting excited yet?

Update: ESPN has released the Sunday Night Baseball schedule through July 21, and the May 5 Dodgers – Giants game at AT&T Park is included on the list. As David Pinto points out, there’s only one Yankees – Red Sox game on the schedule, which is a welcome change as far as I’m concerned. The Angels have two games scheduled, at Texas and the White Sox.

Update: Jon has some parting thoughts about both Stan Musial and Earl Weaver at the old site.