And what will the Dodgers do? Here’s one thought from the LA Daily News:
… the Dodgers’ focus this winter seems less about making significant additions to the roster and more about maintaining what they have already built — an uncommonly deep roster with flexibility and a more manageable payroll.
“Yeah, that’s a really, really good team,” Friedman said of a 2017 roster with the same elements intact that produced 91 wins in 2016 and fell two games short of reaching the World Series.
That group would return with the prospects of improved health, Friedman points out – how could it not be better than last year’s? — and added maturity for the young players who made such critical contributions.
But there is a strain of wistfulness in Friedman’s comments. He is aware just how unlikely it is that the Dodgers will be able to put last year’s band back together.
The word is that they’ve reached a deal with Rich Hill for three years and $40 million, so that’s one part of the puzzle, although not the most important one, at least as far as blogger Howard Cole is concerned. To him Justin Turner’s resigning is Job One.
And it starts with the announcement that nine Dodgers are officially free agents. Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen top the list, followed by by starting pitchers Rich Hill and Brett Anderson, relievers Joe Blanton, J.P. Howell and Jesse Chavez, outfielder Josh Reddick and second baseman Chase Utley. Scott Kazmir and Carlos Ruiz could join the list depending on their respective opt-outs.
My personal opinion? Keeping Turner and Jansen should be management’s first priority. After that it’s mixed. I doubt they’ll keep Utley. I think I’d keep Blanton and Howell, I’d try to keep Hill, and I’d watch Reddick and Chavez go.
The Dodgers ask Rich Hill (12-4, 2.06 ERA) to continue the excellent work he’s done in his first four starts for the team, although he did stumble his last time out when he gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings against the D-Backs. Those were the first four runs he’d given up since he came to the Dodgers, so they can be forgiven. He’ll face Johnny Cueto (16-5, 2.86 ERA), who’s been a horse for the Giants all year long. This will be his fifth start against the Dodgers this season. He gave up six runs to them in April but has given up two runs or fewer in each of the last three times he’s faced them.
Turner on Cueto:
“He only throws three pitches, but with the slide-step and hesitation, it feels like nine or 10 pitches,” said Turner. “He changes the tempo, and it messes with my timing. For me, it’s a fight because of my leg kick. That quick pitch, it makes it hard for me to get the leg kick. I try to anticipate the quick pitch every time and be ready to go. It’s a cat-and-mouse game every time. He’s one of my favorite guys to face.”
RHP Jose De Leon (1-0, 4.50 ERA) makes his second big league start for the Dodgers, and RHP Brian Mitchell (1-0, 0.00 ERA) goes for the Yankees. De Leon is rated the #2 prospect in the Dodgers’ organization, while Mitchell is highly regarded by the Yankees. De Leon went six innings against the Padres on September 4, giving up four runs, three earned. Mitchell spent five months recovering from a left big toe which needed surgery for a broken bone, so his first start of the year was September 7 against the Blue Jays. He went five scoreless innings in that game.
Turner or Ethier may DH for the Dodgers in this game.
Here’s a good story by Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register talking to Joc Pederson about his improvement in hitting and reduction in strikeouts this season.
Lineup when available.
Tonight's Dodger lineup: Utley 2B Seager SS Turner 3B González DH Grandal C Reddick RF Kendrick 1B Pederson CF Toles LF (De León P)
Scott Kazmir (9-5, 4.51 ERA) goes for the Dodgers against Jeremy Hellickson (9-7, 3.72 ERA) for the Phillies. Worrisome stat: Kazmir has made 22 starts for the Dodgers and hasn’t gotten past the sixth inning in 12 of them. Hellickson, on the other hand, has gotten through the sixth in all but one of his last ten starts and in two-thirds of all his starts this season.
Today’s Dodger lineup vs. Phillies: Utley 2B Reddick RF Seager SS González 1B Grandal C Pederson CF Kendrick LF Segedin 3B Kazmir P
Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 1.69 ERA) has come back from TJ surgery much more strongly than I expected. Tonight he’s up against Michael Wacha (5-7, 4.45 ERA), whose 2016 season has been disappointing after his outstanding 2015 one.
JT is having much too much fun with Animal, who thinks the Dodgers need a drummer:
Video deleted as it kept restarting randomly.
The #Dodgers have recalled C/IF Austin Barnes from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned LHP Julio Urías to OKC.
Cardinals at Dodgers, 6:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FS-M (HLKLA, take notice!), MLBN (out-of-market only)
The Dodgers hope Scott Kazmir (2-3, 5.54 ERA) can right his ship. He showed signs last outing, coming within one out of a quality start (5 2/3 innings, three earned runs against the Mets). He’ll face Carlos Martinez (4-2, 2.61 ERA). The Cardinals hope Martinez has recovered from a respiratory illness which caused him to lose 15 pounds in ten days and pushed this start back two days.
Ross Stripling (0-2, 4.33 ERA) goes for the Dodgers and Marco Estrada (1-2, 2.64 ERA) goes for the Blue Jays. Estrada’s gotten only 10 runs to work with in his five starts this year while Stripling has seen his ERA climb every start since his first, when he threw 7 1/3 innings of no-hit ball and was pulled due to a predetermined pitch count. In two of his last three starts he hasn’t made it to the fifth inning. It’s not for lack of determination, though:
Gonzalez will be the Dodgers’ DH, but the first base job is between Utley and Turner. Meanwhile, Russell Martin returns to the catching position for the Jays; he took Dickey’s start off.
From pink bats to specially-designed uniform logos to honorary bat girls to “Pink Out” days in the stands all of MLB will celebrate Mother’s Day in one way or another.
Someone please post the lineup in the comments if I don’t get to it before the game starts (7:10AM my time).