Pitchers and catchers report in five days

R.I.P. Frank Robinson. He was a force on the field for the Reds and then for the Orioles. Even at age 36 he had a slash line of .251/.353/.442 with 19 HR and 59 RBI in one season with the Dodgers. I remember hearing Dodgers-Reds games in the early 1960s and worrying when he was about to come up. The 1961 team which won the NL pennant had F Robby, Wally Post and Vada Pinson in the outfield and Joey Jay, Bob Purkey and Jim O’Toole in the rotation with a young fireballer named Jim Maloney in the bullpen where he was joined by wily veteran Jim Brosnan. They were good and Robinson was the best of them.

How tough was he?

Robinson was hit with a pitch 198 times in his career, an outlandish amount for such a great player. Nobody else hit that often ever had even 350 home runs. Aaron was hit only 32 times, Clemente 35 and Mays 44.

He was so much more than just one of the greatest players of his era, though. He was a tough hard-nosed field manager and executive in the Commissioner’s office after his playing days were done. Let this be his epitaph:

Pioneer, Hall of Fame player, manager, executive … yes, Robinson excelled in multiple capacities like very few ever did. His greatest role, however, may have been as a role model in what it means to compete fully and relentlessly. In that vein, Frank Robinson forever is in nobody’s shadow.

85 thoughts on “Pitchers and catchers report in five days

  1. Today’s game v. the Pale Hose. WBBsAs can tell us about the right fielder, as I know nothing about him other than his career stats. He’s played sparingly for the Royals in the last four years, garnering 230 hits in 874 ABs for a .263 BA, a .289 OBP, and a .673 OPS. 14 HRs and 81 RBI overall. All his time has been in the outfield.

  2. Is there going to be a game thread today? 5 p.m. Santiago time, so I can watch before going out to dinner with a friend.

  3. I’m pleased to see some baseball in action, even if my hometown Atléticos look pretty awful tonight (Also, I sorta like the Marineros, my other hometown team).

  4. Klayton shutting it down for a few days not a good sign. Doesn’t sound like an injury, so might be him not happy with results from off season routine meant to get his velocity back up.

  5. The Athletic says a number of Dodgers have gone dairy-free to good effect. Less inflammation, weight loss (Seager dropped from 247 (!) during his injury rehabs last year to 220), etc. But no pizza, no cheese? Yikes!

  6. Just heard a rumor that Harper might get 11/330M offer from Phillies with deferred money while the Giants maybe offering 5 years. Padres are still interested. I would think the Padres would offer the same contract to Harper that they gave Machado.

  7. If it looks certain the Giants are going to sign Harper, I would like the Dodgers to swoop in and snag him. That would be the only reason I would want the Dodgers to sign him.

    • In the unlikely event that Harper becomes a Gnat, they’ll still be a sub-.500 team for several years at least. He would improve the Dodgers, but their outfield talent and depth remain impressive.

  8. The Athletic on Seager’s year of rehab.

    As Seager recovered from 2018 elbow and hip surgeries, McDaniel and the Dodgers’ training staff learned he may not [need all the reps he used to do pre-injuries]. Seager demonstrated a new willingness to rest when he is content with his progress, and the surgeries made him freer on the field and more likely to feel content.

  9. Justin Turner really wants to win the WS this season.

    “When you get that close two years in a row, it borderline drives you insane,” Turner said. “You’re just psychotic about trying to finish it. So the drive is even greater than it was last year.”

    • Hard to follow, but I basically agree that outfield should be stronger with no Matty, Pollock freeing CT3 and Quique for LF, with Joc the worst of the group, and assuming Belli for Puig is a wash. Rather surprised by the large decline in 2018 to 23rd from being 4th in 2017.

  10. The Athletic features Bellinger.

    “I should be in the lineup every single day,” Bellinger told The Athletic. “I don’t think there’s a question about that. Even when I’m not good, I’m still really good.”


    “…I can’t do it off the bench. And they know that.”

    They know, but he still plans to emphasize it.

    “I’m gonna have that conversation here soon with them,” he said. “I want that, and I know they’ll give it to me. They’re really good at communicating. So, it’s gonna be nice to see what the actual plan is.”

  11. President Friedman says Dodgers can be an elite team.

    “I think the most important thing for our fans is, ‘Are we in a position to win a World Series?'” Friedman said. “I feel strongly that we are, and time will tell.”

    • I’d say the Dodgers are already an elite team, and have been for several consecutive years now.

  12. The Athletic on Jansen’s and other Dodgers’ early starts:

    As pitchers and catchers reported to camp on Wednesday, Jansen was far from the only veteran Dodger doing things differently. Rich Hill began to throw before Christmas in an attempt to break his streak of slow starts. Clayton Kershaw, too, changed his offseason routine. Catcher Russell Martin, a new acquisition, is adding launch angle to his swing.

  13. So who’s on the roster as ST begins? 30 players remained from the 40-man roster at the end of last season.

    The Dodgers added five players to their roster from their minor-league organization prior to the Rule 5 draft. Catcher Keibert Ruiz, infielders Matt Beaty and Edwin Rios and pitchers Yadier Alvarez and Josh Sborz. They acquired pitchers Adam McCreery and Jaime Schultz from Atlanta and Tampa Bay.

    Old friend catcher Russell Martin was also acquired via a trade with the Blue Jays. Martin will look to pair with Austin Barnes this season.

    Finally, the Dodgers signed free agents, pitcher Joe Kelly and outfielder A.J. Pollock, both will be counted on to play key roles this season.

    • The Dodger equivalent for what the Fillies gave up for Realmuto probably Julio and Ruiz.

      • From Rosenthal at The Athletic:

        The​ Marlins​ do​ not deny it. Their early​ “asks”​ for​ All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto were high.

        From​ the​ Dodgers,​ Miami​​ wanted first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger. From the Mets, either outfielder Michael Conforto or shortstop Amed Rosario, plus a top shortstop prospect. From the Yankees, both catcher Gary Sánchez and third baseman Miguel Andújar in a bigger deal that might have included infielder Miguel Rojas and potentially another piece along with Realmuto if the talks had gained traction.

        • Can’t argue with success, as they did well. Must mean that Fillies will go all out for Harper or Machado, otherwise doesn’t make much sense for them to just add a couple more potential wins.

  14. Is it safe to assume that Robinson crowded the plate and that was the reason he was plunked so many times?

    • From the SI article linked above:

      He stood as close to home plate as possible, and leaned his head over the plate, to better take away the outside pitch from the pitcher.

      • Hopefully Turner won’t get plunked this year but with his back foot almost in the strike zone, he will.

      • Nor old friend Ron Hunt, who got plunked 50 times in 1971 as an Expo. Chase for his career got HBP every 38 PA; Hunt every 25 PA and in 1971 every 13 PA.

  15. Robinson was so scary whenever he came up. He hit 42 HRs against Brooklyn and L.A, not counting the 1966 World Series. The one I remember most came in August 1962 at Crosley Field, a walkoff grand slam in the bottom of the 10th off Larry Sherry in a 7-3 Reds win. I was listening to the game, and I was crushed. It was the only one of Robinson’s eight career slams that came against the Dodgers:

    • In the end, that game was the difference in the 1962 pennant race (though one could say the same of many other similar games).

  16. Never saw Frank play, but did seem him manage the newly arrived DC Nats in 2005 to an 81-81 record. Only good for fifth place in the NL East that year! Pads took the NL West with 82-80.