Jan 05

New Year, New Post

Rob Neyer at FoxSports:

The Dodgers were expected to spend WHATEVER IT COSTS to retain the services of Zack Greinke. Absent Greinke, or maybe even with Greinke, the Dodgers were expected to acquire one of the other big-time pitchers out there: David Price or Johnny Cueto.

Greinke signed with the Diamondbacks, Price with the Red Sox, and Cueto with the Giants. Ergo, the Dodgers had (or are having) a lousy winter. Right?

Before exploring that question in some detail, we should start with this salient fact: The Dodgers won 92 games last season.

Thank you, Mr. Neyer. The pundits and fans do somehow forget the team has won three titles in a row, and only two of them were Greinke-aided. It can survive without him.

Neyer points out that the Dodgers re-signed Anderson, who was pretty good and figures to be close to that again. They signed Kazmir, who figures to be better than Anderson. They signed Maeda, who only has to be an average pitcher for him to replace the 12 guys who tried to fill that role at the back end of the rotation last year. They also still have Wood, who’s young and whose history is better than his performance with the Dodgers last season. They’ll get Ryu back, and we don’t know yet how complete his recovery might be. Finally, they’ll get McCarthy back mid-season, and if he’s recovered most of his form that will be the equivalent of getting a mid-season trade for a starter done without giving up a player or two.

Neyer thinks the Dodgers will be pretty good this season. So do I.

Dec 26

Post-Christmas stocking-stuffers

Speculation remains the currency of choice among the beat reporters, it seems.

Dodgers meet with Maeda, says MLB.

The Dodgers met with Japanese free-agent pitcher Kenta Maeda on Thursday, according to several Japanese media outlets.

[snip]

The Dodgers are believed to prefer a trade for Miami ace Jose Fernandez or Tampa Bay fourth starter Jake Odorizzi, but don’t want to deal such top prospects as Corey Seager or Julio Urias to do it.

They also reportedly have some interest in Scott Kazmir, one of the few remaining free agents who could crack their rotation.

Dec 15

Pre-Christmas jibber-jabber

The Dodgers haven’t signed anyone! They’ve lost Greinke! They’re going to lose 100 games!

Nah, says Fox Sports guy Ken Rosenthal. There are still several good mid-rotation starters looking for work. There are also lots of trades which could be made.

Panic not! Scott Kazmir is available, as are Wei-Yin Chen, Mike Leake and Yovani Gallardo. Also, they still have Ryu and they’ll get McCarthy back mid-season (as good as a trade without giving anything up!).

I don’t doubt the team will fill holes. Obviously it won’t fill them the same way we expected them to, and if the front office is honest, probably not the way they expected to either, but they’ll field a top-notch team ready to compete for the playoffs again.

Dec 07

Winter meetings

Update: The Chapman trade is on hold until MLB finishes a domestic violence investigation of an incident involving Chapman and his girlfriend in October. It’s not pretty, although the police filed no charges.

Police interviewed multiple people, including Chapman, Chapman’s girlfriend, her brother and a man identified as Chapman’s driver, according to the report. No arrests were made “due to conflicting stories and a lack of cooperation from all parties involved,” the report said.

On Day One of the meetings the Dodgers have already traded for Aroldis Chapman, sending two prospects to the Reds. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Corey Seager, Julio Urias and Jose De Leon are not in the deal.

As the article suggests, getting an elite closer in a trade means your current elite closer may have some bad feelings, understandably so. What they’re going to do, or try to do, with Kenley Jansen is still up in the air.

Earlier in the day the Dodgers signed 34-year-old right-handed starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, a free agent who’d been with the Mariners for four years. Interestingly, he’s thrown fewer pitches in his career than Greinke, who’s three years younger.

They also signed 37-year-old infielder Chase Utley to a one-year deal for $7M, about half what he made last year, a season in which he never fully recovered from an ankle injury he suffered in January.

Dec 01

Open Thread #4, Winter 2015

Now that the Red Sox have gone berserk with their money and given 30-year-old David Price a contract worth $217 million over the next seven years, how much will the Dodgers have to bid to retain Zack Greinke’s services? He might get the same annual compensation as Price but for a shorter time period, since Zack is 2 years older.


Nov 21

Open Thread #3, Winter 2015

Beware the Jabberwock rumor mill, my son!

On a recent conference call, Friedman said he doesn’t yet know what his payroll will be in 2016, but that much of what his group is focused on might not dominate Twitter in the coming months. Then again, Friedman is never one to quash a bad rumor if it can help his cause, so the Dodgers figure to get dragged into plenty of rumor mills they’re not actually attending once again.

That is Mark Saxon of ESPN. This part will not appease package, I’m afraid. Saxon suggests that the Dodgers will be aggressive going after second-tier free agents and dumping older expensive guys:

the Dodgers certainly aren’t giving off the signal that they’re going to be at the head of the line with the biggest check this time around. In fact, they didn’t do that last year under Friedman either.

[snip]

“We’re going to do everything we can to maintain a 90-plus-win team with a really good chance of winning the [National League] West and a chance to win the World Series, while also doing everything we can to get younger. It doesn’t happen overnight,” Friedman said.

Nov 14

Open Thread #2, Winter 2015

I’m calling it winter. The wind is howling through my windows this morning and I needed two blankets last night.

Next month MLB’s Winter Meetings take place. After observing the just-concluded GM meetings, here are Jerry Crasnick of ESPN’s thoughts about what to watch for at the upcoming gathering:

  1. How active will the trade market be?
  2. How serious are the Cincinnati Reds about making trades?
  3. What do the Detroit Tigers need to do to become relevant in the AL Central again?
  4. How can new team president Mark Shapiro and interim GM Tony LaCava plug the pitching holes in Toronto?
  5. How do the St. Louis Cardinals move on from the loss of Lance Lynn to Tommy John surgery?

Here is a post from ESPN with upcoming important dates in the offseason and a bunch of links from their writers to stories of free agency, offseason storylines and trades already made.

Nov 04

Open Thread #1, Fall 2015

On November 4, 1922 Howard Carter opened King Tut’s tomb in Egypt

On November 4, 1956 Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary and Budapest

On November 4, 1979 Iranian students stormed the US Embassy in Teheran

On November 4, 1995 Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in Tel Aviv

On November 4, 2001 the Diamondback’s Luis Gonzalez blooped a single into left field off Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning of Game Seven to defeat the Yankees for the World Series Championship

On November 4, 2008 Barack Obama was elected as America’s first black President

And on November 4, 1950 I came forth unto the world, naked and screaming

Nov 01

World Series Game Five, 2015

Here we go. Can the Mets stave off expulsion from the Series or will they succumb to the Royals and the incessant hitting machine that is their lineup?

Royals at Mets, 5:00PM PT, TV: Fox

The pitchers from Game One are matched up again. Edinson Volquez returns from attending his father’s funeral in the Dominican Republic to face Matt Harvey, who took the loss the first time these two righthanders met last week.

If you think the Royals are the latest edition of The Comeback Kids, you’re right: “Kansas City has now won six games this postseason after trailing by multiple runs.”

Oct 31

World Series Game Four, 2015

Royals at Mets, 5:00PM PT, TV: Fox

(Insert pro forma rant about World Series games played at night in the Northeast)

Why can’t MLB at least schedule weekend World Series games during the day so the average eight, nine or ten-year old can watch them through the end of the game? Yeah, yeah, college football. Yeah, yeah, the NFL. Competing with those entities and expecting to win is done, guys. That ship has sailed. But real baseball fans are going to watch the Series, not Texas-San Antonio v. North Texas.

On to tonight’s game. The Mets send rookie lefthander Steven Matz to the hill to face Tall Chris Young, who pitched three shutout innings of relief in the fourteen-inning Game One. If the Mets win the Series is tied, if the Royals win they’ve got a 3-1 edge.