Nov 01

Hot Stove League Talk

The Dodgers bought out Chad Billingsley’s contract for $3M, making him a free agent.

The 30-year-old Billingsley, a former All-Star, is trying to return from two arm operations. He didn’t pitch in 2014 and made only two starts in 2013 before needing Tommy John surgery. While rehabbing this year, he required surgery to repair a partially torn flexor tendon.

A first-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Billingsley went 81-61 with a 3.65 ERA for the Dodgers. He won a career-high 16 games in 2008 and was an All-Star in ’09.

Billingsley becomes the seventh Dodger free agent. In addition to him, Hanley Ramirez, Paul Maholm, Chris Perez, Roberto Hernandez, Kevin Correia and Jamey Wright are also free to negotiate for new deals with any team.

Ramirez’s contract is possibly the biggest decision new boss Andrew Friedman will have to make. Do the Dodgers make him a $15.3M qualifying offer, which ensures they get something in return (a supplemental draft pick between the first and second rounds) if he rejects it and goes elsewhere? He might be worth more than that, especially if he’s willing to move to third base for a new team. The Dodgers have Uribe signed through 2015, so that’s not an option they could easily fulfill. My guess is they make the qualifying offer just to guarantee themselves a player in return when he signs with the Yankees to replace Derek Jeter.

Dan Haren picked up his $10M option to stay with the Dodgers, and Brian Wilson is expected to pick up his for the same amount. Maholm is recovering from knee surgery, Perez was lightly used down the stretch, Hernandez was mostly adequate, Correia wasn’t much help, and Jamey Wright is 40 years old with who knows how much left in his arm.

The team still has more outfielders than it knows what to do with, and it’s also got Joc Pederson pounding on the door to get in, although his cup of coffee at the end of September wasn’t very successful. Ethier and Crawford could be trade bait, but both have very large contracts. Ethier is signed through 2017 with an option for 2018; the balance of the contract is $53.5M through 2017. Crawford is still under terms of the contract he signed with the Red Sox, which has a balance of $62.5M through 2017.

It should be an interesting off-season.

Oct 07

Who might go?

In end-of-the-season news, Josh Beckett announced his retirement after the game. He did better for the team than most of us anticipated he would, I think: 6-6 with a 2.88 ERA and a no-hitter before going down for the year with a torn labrum in his hip.

The Dodgers have a passel of free agents led by Hanley Ramirez. The team has until five days after the World Series to extend what’s called a Qualifying Offer of $15.3M (a number set by the Basic Agreement as the average of the 125 highest contracts by average annual value). That ensures that the Dodgers would get a compensating draft pick if Ramirez rejects the offer and goes elsewhere. On the other hand, he could accept it. If so, he and the Dodgers would be committed to one another for next year.

Other free agents: Chad Billingsley (team option of $14M or a $3M buyout — after two surgeries the Dodgers may elect to buy him out); Paul Maholm, Roberto Hernandez, Kevin Correia and Jamey Wright. Dan Haren has earned a $10M player option but even after Tuesday’s game said he remained undecided whether to play or retire. Brian Wilson has a $10M option he’s expected to accept.

Aug 08

Game 117, 2014

Dodgers at Brewers, 5:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA

The Dodgers will trot out their brand-new pitcher Roberto Hernandez, who’s been pretty good lately: he’s won his past three decisions, pitching at least seven innings in three of his past five starts. He admits to butterflies:

“It’s the first time that I’ve been traded,” Hernandez said through a translator. “Obviously it’s a nice feeling going to a team that has a chance. I’m really nervous right now. I wasn’t expecting this. I’m excited, but at the same time, I’m nervous.”

The Brewers counter with Kyle Lohse, who lasted only four innings Saturday against the Cardinals, giving up nine runs. Overall he’s 11-6 with a 3.40 ERA.

It may be a surprise, but this is a series between two first-place teams. The Dodgers lead the Giants by 3 1/2 games in the NL West, as you know, but the Brewers lead the Cardinals by a game in the NL Central.

Update: SI has a discussion of the Dodgers’ rotation with the loss of Beckett and Maholm as well as Haren’s recent troubles and the loss to the DL of Chris Perez and Paco Rodriguez.

Lineup when available.

I am amused that our second baseman’s name is now Dee rather than Gordon.

Aug 04

Game 113, 2014

Angels at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA

I hadn’t realized this, but the Angels have the second-best record in the major leagues. Unfortunately for them, the team with the best record is also in the AL West, so the Angels are in a dogfight.

The Halos send Garrett Richards out to face the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke. Richards is in his third full year as a big leaguer and it’s his best by far: he’s 11-4 with a 2.74 ERA. His last two starts were stumbles, however: he lost to Detroit and Baltimore and gave up eight runs in 13 innings in the process.

Greinke’s last two starts, on the other hand, were excellent. He pitched 15 innings, gave up one run, lowered his ERA to 2.65 and raised his record to 12-6.

Lineup when available.

Update: From Twitter:

The Dodgers placed RHP Chris Perez on 15-day DL (bone spurs, right ankle) and selected contract of RHP Carlos Frias from AAA Albuquerque. To create room on the 40-man roster for Carlos Frias, the Dodgers transferred LHP Paul Maholm (right ACL tear) to the 60-day disabled list.

Aug 02

Game 111, 2014

Cubs at Dodgers, 6:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA

It’s the Dodgers’ Korean import Hyun-Jin Ryu versus the Cubs’ Japanese import Tsuyoshi Wada this evening, an hour earlier than the usual start time. Ryu will be pitching on five days’ rest; when he does that he’s 11-2 with a 2.80 ERA. He’s 12-5 with a 3.44 ERA overall. Wada is a former Japan League MVP who spent two years in the Orioles’ farm system after nine years in the Japanese major leagues. This will be his third major league start; he got his first win against the Rockies on Monday, throwing seven innings of six-hit one-run ball while striking out six and walking only one.

In medical news, Paul Maholm tore the ACL in his right knee while covering first base last night; if he opts for surgery he’s probably out for the season. Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig are both day-to-day. Mattingly says Gonzalez will probably sit today’s game out and Puig will be available to pinch-hit.

Update: Paco Rodriguez has been called up to take Maholm’s spot on the roster.


Jul 12

Game 96, 2014

I made a mistake the day before yesterday: Clint Robinson has been designated for assignment, not sent to Albuquerque.

Padres at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MLBN, FSSD

Paul Maholm will pitch for the Dodgers, taking Josh Beckett’s place while he’s on the DL. Maholm has made seven starts this season, going 1-4 with a 5.50 ERA. Overall he’s 1-4 with a 5.18 ERA. He’ll face Ian Kennedy, who’s 7-9 with a 3.71 ERA. He’s gone 4-4 with a 3.49 ERA in nine starts on the road as he’ll be tonight.

Lineup when available.

May 14

Game 42, 2014

Marlins at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA

With the calamitous loss of Jose Fernandez, possibly for as long as a year, the Marlins have had to scramble to find a pitcher to take his spot in the rotation. It will be filled by Anthony DeSclafani, who will be making his MLB debut. The right-hander is 24 years old and is touted as the sixth-best prospect in the Marlins’ organization. Here’s what he’s done at AA this season:

JAX SOU AA 3 4 4.19 8 8 0 0 0 0 43.0 45 20 20 4 0 10 0 38 .278 1.28 0.86

The Dodgers will send out Paul Maholm, who is 1-3 with a 4.71 ERA.

Notice that A.J. Ellis is back in the lineup. The Dodgers called him up from Albuquerque and optioned Miguel Olivo back there today.

May 09

Game 37, 2014

Giants at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA

Madison Bumgarner for the Giants, Paul Maholm for the Dodgers. Seems like a mismatch, particularly when you read this data about the Dodgers’ outfielders past performances against the Giants’ pitcher: “Carl Crawford is 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Andre Ethier is 3-for-24 with nine strikeouts. Matt Kemp is 4-for-24 with seven strikeouts. Yasiel Puig is 4-for-15 with five strikeouts, while Scott Van Slyke is 2-for-5 with three walks.”

Bumgarner is 3-3 with a 3.18 ERA on the season; Maholm is 1-2 with a 4.70 ERA. Each pitcher did have a quality start in his last appearance.

Lineup when available.

May 03

Game 31, 2014

Dodgers at Marlins, 4:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA

Paul Maholm (1-2, 4.74 ERA) goes for the Dodgers against the Marlins’ Jacob Turner (0-0, 7.50 ERA). Maholm pitched well last time out against the Rockies and is 6-6 with a 4.02 ERA against the Marlins in his career. This is Turner’s second start in MLB.

In other news, A.J. Ellis can’t run without pain yet, so his return is still a few weeks away. That partly explains why the Dodgers sent FedEx down to Albuquerque and brought Olivo up. They could have carried Fedorowicz and his .108 BA for another week, but since Ellis is going to be out longer than that they decided to bring up Olivo, who’d been tearing the cover off the ball with the Isotopes (OBP .438, SLG .661, OPS 1.099).

We won’t see old friend Rafael Furcal this trip. He’s back on rehab assignment with Double-A Jacksonville, and he was in the lineup there on Friday night. The hamstring which put him on the DL at the start of the season is fine, but he strained a groin muscle last weekend while rehabbing.

Lineup when available.

Crawford is in a 4-45 slump since Tax Day, which may explain why he’s not in left field against the right-handed Turner.

Apr 26

Game 25, 2014

Rockies at Dodgers, 6:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA (Note the one-hour-earlier-than-usual start time.)

The Dodgers are 3-5 on the homestand, 1-5 in extra innings games and the bullpen has suffered eight of the team’s 11 losses. To try to stop the slide, today the Dodgers will pitch Paul Maholm, who’s 0-2 with a 5.60 ERA so far this season. He’s also a career 1-8 against the Rockies, although the last time he pitched against them was three years ago. The Rockies counter with Juan Nicasio, who’s 2-0 with a 4.30 ERA this season. He’s 3-2 with a 3.67 ERA in eight lifetime starts against the Dodgers.

Here’s Gordon’s infield double from yesterday’s game:

Lineup when available.