Mar 19

Turner breaks wrist, out weeks

This is a fine how-do-you-do.

Dodgers All-Star third baseman Justin Turner suffered a small non-displaced fracture of his left wrist Monday night when hit by a Kendall Graveman pitch. He will open the season on the disabled list and be re-examined by local hand specialist, Dr. Brian Shafer, on Tuesday to determine how long he will be sidelined.

General manager Farhan Zaidi said this type of injury is “usually on the order of weeks” and surgery probably won’t be necessary. He said the club is not looking to replace Turner with an acquisition because of confidence in its internal depth.

Video of the incident and of Manager Dave Roberts talking about the injury at this link.

Mar 15

Getting closer to Opening Day!

Have a nice story complimenting the Dodger Stadium architects and the owners who have kept it up.

Okay, it’s an ad for Kingsford charcoal, it’s still kinda cute.

Cory Seager’s elbow shows no ill-effects from throwing in a game Wednesday and Kiké Hernandez says “Hey, I can hit right-handers too!” Alex Wood went five innings and struck out six White Sox “A” leaguers while giving up just one hit, and Matt Kemp went 1-4 as a starter in left field. Andrew Toles came off the bench and was 0-for-1. Alex Verdugo came off the bench and was 1-for-1 with a double. Trayce Thompson came off the bench and was 1-for-1 with a bloop double. Other news here.

Mar 10

NCAA Tournament Challenge 2018

Here we are again, folks.

Here’s the link.

Group Name: Elysian Fields

Password: hershiser59

You must fill out the bracket by Thursday morning before the games begin.

d. Lock-time. All picks will lock at the scheduled tip off time of the Tournament currently scheduled for Thursday, March 15, 2018. Your picks for the matchups must be submitted, received and recorded by Sponsor’s computer by the scheduled locktime.

Feb 27

One week into spring (training)

So far this spring the Dodgers have a 2-3 record. I like this deal,though:

Dodgers @ Padres
Peoria Stadium – Wed 2/28
358 tickets as low as $4

As we all expected, the Dodgers have a bunch of outfielders all trying to win a job in left field (Yasiel Puig’s a fixture in right and Chris Taylor’s the same in center). Andrew Toles is coming back from a torn ACL in his right knee, Joc Pederson’s trying to regain his form of 2016, Alex Verdugo might be their best non-pitching prospect, and oh yeah, Matt Kemp is back. He’s 40 pounds lighter than he was last season, which should certainly help his fairly awful defense of the last few years, and he can still hit. I think it’s even money he and his $43M contract get traded, possibly before the season begins, but the Dodgers have supposedly been trying to do that since they reacquired him in the offseason. The left field situation featured in a Dodgers.com story about Maeda’s two-inning stint on Tuesday:

In the ongoing competition for left field, Matt Kemp started in left Tuesday and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Joc Pederson started in center and was 0-for-2 with a walk, caught-stealing and strikeout, and he threw out former Dodger Willie Calhoun at the plate; and Alex Verdugo started in right and was 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Off the bench, Andrew Toles was 0-for-1 with a sacrifice fly and a strikeout.

I just subscribed to the new sportswriting website The Athletic. If you subscribe by clicking that link you get 25% off the $59.99 annual subscription price and I get $10 in credit at Amazon. It looks like a slightly pricey deal for a lot of extraordinary sportswriters, including people laid off by ESPN like Jayson Stark. Ken Rosenthal of Fox is there, as is Peter Gammons. It’s covering the NFL, the NHL, the NBA and MLS in addition to MLB. Take a look at it.

Feb 12

Spring Training begins this week

To get into the mood, Houston Mitchell of the Times is listing the results of a readers’ poll which asked “Who are the 10 Greatest Dodgers of All Time?”

I received 8,382 ballots from newsletter readers who responded to send me their choices as the top 10 Dodgers of all time. Points were assigned based on ranking, with the first-place choice getting 12 points, second place getting 10, third place eight, down to one point for 10th place. After tabulating the ballots, I will be presenting the top 25 in points. We will be counting down Nos. 25-11, one each weekday, for the next three weeks. Then we will time the top 10 so No. 1 unveils on March 29, the day the season opens.

Click the link to see who #25 is.

The Cubs wanted Yu Darvish enough to pay him $126 million over six years. Obviously the Dodgers didn’t want to pay that much for that long. I suspect it was the length of the contract more than the dollars which gave the Dodgers pause.

Kenley Jansen and Alex Wood are both ready for spring training:



Jan 28

Could collusion happen again?

Kenley Jansen is wondering that. He suggested that there may even need to be a strike to unlock the free-agent market, which so far this off-season has seen “eight of the top 10 free agents from MLB Trade Rumors’ top 50 list…still in search of teams for 2018.”

But is it collusion or is it smarter front offices which has made offers so rare? Jay Jaffe of SI.com analyzed the top 20 of the Top 50 free agents first identified in November. He suggests

Of the seven pitchers, four had Tommy John surgery within the last three years, and all hit the disabled list at least once, with Arrieta the only one not to miss at least a month due to an arm injury. Of the 13 position players, just two will start the 2018 season still in their twenties. Only two rank among the top five at their positions in three-year WAR, while five were in the lower half of qualifiers.

As he says, if he can figure this out with a little effort, the analytical teams in each front office can do the same.

If I were a player who’d been counting on at least one big payoff in salary and length of contract in my career and had finally reached free agency, I’d be feeling a little annoyed and a little worried right now.

Of course, it could be both smarter front offices and collusion.

Jan 14

One month away

Today’s news is that A-Gon is reportedly on his way to play for the Mets in the 2018 season.

The Mets get Gonzalez at the league minimum salary of $545,000 in 2018. The Braves are responsible for the $21.5 million owed to him for the 2018 season under his previous contract.

Except for that whole “playing on the East Coast again” issue it looks like Adrian has landed on his feet. Good for him.

Earlier in the week the Dodgers avoided arbitration with all the players they have who were eligible. Here is a copy of the table Eric Stephen of TBLA put together to show the results:

Player Service Time 2017 salary MLBTR projections TBLA guess 2018 salary
Yasmani Grandal 5.115 $5,500,000 $7,700,000 $7,400,000 $7,900,000
Alex Wood 4.123 $2,800,000 $6,400,000 $6,550,000 $6,000,000
Tony Cingrani 4.088 $1,825,000 $2,200,000 $2,300,000 $2,300,000
Josh Fields 4.083 $1,050,000 $2,200,000 $1,900,000 $2,200,000
Joc Pederson 3.023 $555,000 $2,000,000 $2,800,000 $2,600,000
Pedro Baez 3.059 $550,000 $1,500,000 $1,400,000 $1,500,000
Kiké Hernandez 3.054 $550,000 $1,300,000 $1,650,000 $1,600,000
Yimi Garcia 3.004 $550,000 $700,000 n/a $630,000
Dec 29

Cue Felix Mendelssohn

There have been or will be not one, not two, but six Dodger weddings this offseason. There might even be seven, but Kiké Hernandez and his fiancée may not have set a date yet.

Messrs. Ryu, Stripling, Wood, Turner, Barnes and Pederson have all either gotten hitched already or gotten engaged. Isn’t that sweet? See the pictures at True Blue LA’s link above.

All these gentlemen are obviously taking Satchel Paige’s advice, particularly his 4th rule: “Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society. The social ramble ain’t restful.” Marriage will settle a man right down, I’ve heard.

Dec 13

Keep the Action Alive — a guest post

Our colleague Fred sent this to me and suggested he’d post it as a comment if I didn’t put it in a post. It seems to me it’s likely to get more attention for a longer period if it’s in a post, and it’s worthy of discussion.

Every year there is talk about speeding up the game of baseball. Millennials are different, they don’t want to watch the grass grow during the 25 seconds between pitches or watch the pitcher and catcher play catch.

Players are not playing at their best if they stand around and they are not at their best in extra innings.

Here are some ideas for creating more action in a shorter period of time:

  1. Use the DH in the NL but when the third pitcher enters the game, he goes into the DH spot.
    a. The pitcher who last pitched would thereafter be in the DH spot.

  2. Start all extra innings with a runner on second base. This will shorten the number of extra innings played and keep the game lively in those extra innings.
  3. Use electronics to call balls and strikes. Less arguing and allows hitters to be more aggressive.
  4. Reduce the time between innings.
    a. Five warm up pitches?
    b. Insert more ads during the innings whether it is the announcer reminding viewers that the game is brought to you by X or maybe a graphic somewhere on the screen.

  5. Electronically reduce the strike zone whenever a pitcher takes too much time. The clock would start when the pitcher has the ball and is within 10 feet of the mound. Maybe 18 to 22 seconds?
  6. Expand the strike zone electronically whenever a hitter is not ready to hit within 8 seconds between pitches.
  7. Reduce the strike zone for the next 5 pitches whenever a pitcher puts a pitch more than 6 inches inside and above the shoulders. Less intimidation means more action. The location would be determined electronically.
Dec 07

The Stanton sweepstakes

From Sports Illustrated today:

Stanton is a definite upgrade in leftfield over the combo of Kiké Hernandez and Joc Pederson, but considering they’ll combine to make around $3–4 million next year, is it worth tacking on Stanton’s contract and potentially hamstringing future offseasons or losing Kershaw to accomplish that?

When it’s put that way, and when I consider that Stanton will be in his thirties for most of the remaining ten years and $275 million of his existing contract, I don’t think I really want him that badly.