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.
Jon revealed his new employment situation to me over the weekend and asked me if I wanted him to put a pointer in his post to this blog, and I said sure, after I congratulated him on what must a dream job he never anticipated landing.
So here we all are. The winter meetings are beginning, Matt Kemp’s name may be on the trading block, the Dodgers may or may not be trying to acquire David Price from the Rays, they’ve already gotten Dan Haren on the free agency market, and looming over everything is getting Clayton Kershaw signed to a long-term deal.
Whoops. I forgot. They’ve also added Orel Hershiser and Nomar Garciaparra to their TV broadcasting team.
Pirates at Dodgers. A. J. Burnett v. Clayton Kershaw. Don’t forget it’s a 6:10 PM PT start time this evening. It’s on Prime Ticket.
We know what Kershaw did in his first outing. Burnett had a good one too, giving up three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings while striking out ten and issuing just one walk.
Update: And why has no one mentioned this before? “the Victory Knot at Dodger Stadium is a megasized pretzel designed for four people, and is about 3,080 calories.”
Update: The Dodgers have traded Aaron Harang (and $4.25 million!) to the Rockies for backup catcher Ramon Hernandez. According to one report, it’s a salary dump on the Rockies’ part (Hernandez is due $3.2M this season). According to another report, the Rockies hope to flip Harang to another team.
Oh goodie. Another PVL. Hernandez hit .217 in 50-something games last season.
Lineups will be posted when available.
LF: Carl Crawford
2B: Mark Ellis
CF: Matt Kemp
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
RF: Andre Ethier
C: A.J. Ellis
3B: Luis Cruz
SS: Justin Sellers
SP: Clayton Kershaw
Update: Dodgers win! Dodgers win! Jon has a recap of the events at his place.
Cain was 1-0 with a 2.73 ERA in four starts against the Dodgers last season, not facing Kershaw head to head. For his career, Cain is 4-8 with a 3.41 ERA in 23 games against L.A.
Kershaw, getting up for his team’s big rival, has been dominant against the Giants. He was 2-3 last year in five games, through no fault of his own. His ERA was 1.62 and he held Giants hitters to a .197 batting average. In 17 career outings against San Francisco, Kershaw is 8-4 with a remarkable 1.37 ERA in 118 innings. His 0.88 WHIP vs. the Giants is his best against any club he’s faced more than twice.
Crawford, C, LF
Ellis, M, 2B
Kemp, M, CF
Gonzalez, A, 1B
Ethier, A, RF
Cruz, L, 3B
Ellis, A, C
Sellers, J, SS
Kershaw, C, P
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?
Old friend Russell Martin pulled out of the World Baseball Classic when Team Canada decided he’d catch rather than play shortstop as he preferred.
Say what? Martin hasn’t played shortstop since 2002, his first pro season in the minors, and that was just one game.
This hasn’t endeared him to Canadian fans, nor has it done him any favors with Justin Morneau of the Twins, who’s playing for Team Canada.
But the desire to play a new position is kind of what has everybody wondering what the decision-making process was behind that. When we get there, we’ll be there with everybody who wants to be there and with somebody who’s capable of playing shortstop.”
You know, as badly as Martin’s skills have fallen off and as weird as this reasoning is, I think it’s just as well we let him go to the Yankees a couple of years ago.
Update: Another old friend, Rafael Furcal, is going to have Tommy John surgery and will be out for the season.
That’s a shame. When he was healthy Raffy was a great shortstop for the Dodgers.
Update: Tonight’s (March 8) game is available via webcast. Capuano is on the mound to start.
Update: Video of Kershaw’s two-hit one-run outing today in Scottsdale, which the Dodgers won 6 – 1. Juan Uribe (!) had a three-run home run.
“Juan Uribe had the first hit for the Dodgers, a line single, and Andre Ethier the first extra-base hit, a triple off left-hander Leyson Septimo.”
Well might you ask “what the hell is Juan Uribe doing in the lineup at all?” A question, unfortunately, that I can’t answer.
Kershaw started, gave up two runs in two innings, and came out for Belisario. He too gave up two runs in the Dodgers’ eventual 9 – 0 loss to the White Sox.
Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu make their Dodgers exhibition debut Sunday against the White Sox at noon PT on Gameday Audio.
Update: Ownership in the form of Mark Walter and Stan Kasten was present for the game, and had some thoughts for Barry Bloom of MLB.com:
Expectations are high now for the Dodgers, and criticism could follow if they don’t win.
“I suppose people will say we were foolish or something and maybe they’ll even be right, if that’s the case,” Walter said. “I know Stan is going to do everything possible for the long term. We know that you can’t be a perennial strong team, strong franchise, without a farm system and player development. Stan is going to build that.
“I feel that especially in L.A., where there’s been a down period we’ll say, we needed to do something to tell the fans we cared and wanted to be back. Whether that results in a World Series ring right away or not, there’s really no guarantee of that. But it does tell people we care a lot.”
“I’m thinking, ‘Why me?’ This is awesome,” said Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis. “I get to catch two of the elite pitchers in all of baseball. Two former Cy Young winners. Guys who are probably going to win more Cy Youngs in their future. I’m more than excited.”