Tag Archives: Giants

Goodbye To All That.

After Joan Didion’s short-story “Goodbye to All That

It’s easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends. I can remember now, with the clarity that makes the nerves on the back of my neck constrict, when the 2010 season started for me. An airy breeze welcomed us into Dodger Stadium on Oct. 15, 2009. The Dodgers lost and the Dodgers’ owners announced they were getting a divorce. The Dodgers lost the series in five quick, forgettable games and we all brushed it off so easily, there will–or would–be a next year and the Dodgers would probably repeat the NL West championship. Things happen and hope springs eternal; this I was led to believe and understand.

A year later, some beer swirling at the bottom of a bottle, staring down the bottle neck, some song playing on my iTunes that sang “I wanted love, I needed love, most of all; most of all …” The world unwound itself. I now know that everyone comes to this conclusion, that what we were told isn’t always true. One of the mixed blessings of being 20 or 21 or even 23-year-old is the conviction that your team, the team you’ve rooted for all your life, will some day reward you and that’ll be next year.

We spent the early parts of the off-season talking about how the Dodgers weren’t spending any money because of frozen assets and divorce proceedings, yada yada, and the later parts talking PECOTA cards, CHONE, ZIPS, other predictive functions that were mostly down on the Dodgers. This wasn’t right, we all said. The Dodgers were a 99-pythag win team in 2009, we said, and even with their two off-season losses (Randy Wolf and Orlando Hudson), they were still a 93-win team.

In retrospect, those were the best days of the season. Nothing was irrevocable and stats seemed to be in our favor. Just after every win was a turn around the corner, a winning streak on the way and the possibility that the Dodgers are going to finally be that team that defies pythag records.

But … nah. 2010 was the worst year in the Dodgers’ franchise history. Some mixed signals early in the season got the Dodgers to a better record than they should have. The early season was as volatile as it was fascinating, and the middle parts were as depressing as they were hard to watch. The divorce and the big reveals that took place on a week-to-week basis–from using team money to finance personal lifestyle to hiring Russian healers to plans to run for the President of the United States–twisted the knife. The final death rattle was the Giants winning the World Series.

Of course it could have been some other city to get lucky this year. It could have been the Rangers. It could have been the Phillies again. But it was the Giants and some few days later I’ve come to realize some things are irrevocable.


Filed under MLB, MLB history

Why Roy Oswalt is Better Than Jonathan Sanchez

Sanchez v. Oswalt, NLCS Game 6 2010

This is the strikezone plot from the first two innings of the NLCS Game 6 in 2010, Roy Oswalt vs. Jonathan Sanchez.

Sanchez has calmed down a bit, while Oswalt has given up a couple of hits. It’s 2-2 in the 3rd inning.

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Cody. Effing. Ross.

I posted this on twitter yesterday, but the idea of the Giants succeeding where the Dodgers failed two years in a row is disturbing. Not only by beating the same team that stymied the Dodgers two years in a row (and in crushing fashion), but with some marginal players. Juan Uribe, who’s having an outrageously good year. Aubrey Huff, who has somehow rediscovered his talent from Tampa Bay. Andres Torres, who was cast off by several teams and somehow became good as a Giant.

Worse yet is Cody Ross.

Dodger fans remember Ross as that marginal fifth outfielder who struggled for playing time against Jason Repko. Somehow, he keeps burning the Dodgers.

After fighting for playing time with the Marlins in 2007 and 2008, he found some time in a series against the Dodgers in mid-May, 2009. In those three games in Florida, he went 4 for 8 with two home runs and two walks. Though it was early in the season, his season line went from .207/.242/.339 to .225/.268/.411, a .100-point jump in OPS. The Dodgers lost 2 of 3 in the series. He’s always been a streaky hitter, I guess.

I dunno why, but he’s branded himself in my memory since then.

As a member of the Giants this post-season–and remember, he was only acquired so the Padres couldn’t claim him–he’s done pretty well for himself, including hitting three home runs in the National League Championship Series. That’s two against Roy Halladay and one against Roy Oswalt. He is not, as we say, fucking around.

Only time I’d root for the Phillies is when they’re facing the Giants and this happens.

The good news is that Dodger fans get to look forward to the huge regression the Giants will face next year between losing Huff and Uribe and their offense likely won’t be carried by Posey, Torres and a rapidly declining Sandoval.

Effin’ Cody Ross.


Filed under MLB

A Brief Conversation About Hitting and Home Runs with Matt Kemp

Kemp is a tough nut to crack. He’s often stand-offish with the press and is the brunt of criticism, sometimes undeservedly, but he is who he is and he’s a fantastic baseball player.

So when I tried to talk to him about home runs and fastballs, he didn’t give me a whole lot, but he gave me a few things.

Without further ado:

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Filed under Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB

Belisario Returns, Kershaw Starts Suspension and Some Link Catch-Ups

Where to start.

First off, there’s been a ton of trade rumors popping up around the Dodgers, as both buyers and sellers. Turns out the Dodgers are no longer interested in Scott Downs, but Ken Rosenthal tweeted last night the Dodgers, Giants and Padres are interested in Scott Podsednik. C/O Memories of Kevin Malone:

NL West teams are bombarding the Royals with interest in Scott Podsednik, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Rosenthal suggests the Giants, Padres and Dodgers could be fits. The Giants and Padres have been linked to outfielders for weeks now and Dodgers GM Ned Colletti recently said he wants to add outfield depth.

Oh dear.

-Most importantly, i’m announcing that I think i’ll be doing a daily updated trade rumor thread until the deadline passes. Feel free to check in regularly or contribute. 😀

-Update: Confirmation on Scott Podsednik rumor.

I tweeted last night that this sounds like BS and even though it’s been confirmed, it still sounds more like teams are kicking the tires. Pods isn’t anything more than a bench player for any of those teams. It makes even less sense for the Dodgers, who have a great offensive outfield, a great spot outfielder in Xavier Paul and a great bench outfielder in Reed Johnson. They even have a great off-the-bench baserunner in Jamey Carroll. Acquiring Pods would also mean getting rid of Garrett Anderson and if the team hasn’t done that by now, they won’t. Don’t trust anything that comes out of any GM’s mouth.

I also just realized how white the Dodgers are. And how often I’ve been praising the white players.

Next, Ronald Belisario has returned from who knows where. And it appears he was in an alcohol program?

Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario, who has been on Major League Baseball’s restricted list since July 7, has resumed workouts at Dodger Stadium, according to the team, though no timetable has been set for his return to the active roster.

The Dodgers offered no further comment. Belisario hasn’t pitched for the team since July 5, when he threw shutout ball over a career-high three innings against Florida. Players can be kept on the restricted list for a maximum of 30 days, meaning that Belisario has until approximately Aug. 6 before the Dodgers make a decision on him.

After a 2009 rookie season in which he posted a 2.04 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings, Belisario opened the 2010 season on the restricted list following visa problems that detained his arrival in the States from his native Venezuela. He made his season debut April 21, and after performing inconsistently through the end of May, had a 1.45 ERA from June 1 on. For the year, Belisario has a 3.79 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings.

Belisario was arrested for driving under the influence in June 2009 and subsequently pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Well that’s good to know. I hope he really came out of that better. The bullpen could really use him if he can perform at an average level.

Clayton Kershaw has started his suspension as of today.

Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers have decided to have the lefty drop the appeal of his five-game suspension, which he will serve this week, postponing Kershaw’s next start until Sunday in San Francisco.

Kershaw was suspended for hitting Giants outfielder Aaron Rowand with the first pitch of the seventh inning July 20, after both teams had been issued warnings earlier in the game. Dodgers manager Joe Torre and coach Bob Schaefer served one-game suspensions related to the game last week.

This lines up Kershaw to pitch against Stephen Strasburg on Aug. 6 (h/t to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA).

Speaking of TBLA, Michael White posted a series preview for the series against the Padres, which starts today.

Starting Pitching for our Series:

Game 1: Jon Garland will take the hill for the Padres against Mr. Complete Game Chad Billingsley. Understandably, Garland couldn’t continue to carry his insane sub 2 ERA like he had when the Dodgers last visited Petco, but he still has an ERA outperforming his x-FIP. His ERA on the year is 3.61 compared to an x-FIP of 4.44.

Game 2: Clayton Richard is a LHP who came to San Diego last season in the Jake Peavy trade. Richard has better numbers than Garland, as his ERA is only outperforming his x-FIP by a margin of 3.57 to 4.00. Pretty solid numbers for the lefty.

Game 3: Mat Latos is back from injury and will make the start against Vicente Padilla on Thursday. Latos was drafted by San Diego in 2006 and has been very impressive in his professional career so far. The 22 year old enters the series with a 2.48 ERA and an x-FIP of 3.49.

It’s gonna be a good series. I imagine if the Dodgers lose all three games, it could knock them into “sellers” at the deadline.

I also think I’ve said on here that trading Andre Ethier probably wouldn’t be a bad idea, if they got something worthwhile out of it. Ethier is awesome and is under contract through next year and has another year of arbitration after that. It’d be interesting to see what they got in return for him.

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Filed under Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB

Trading Ethier: Where Would He Land?

This is gonna sound incredibly lame, but a rumor by Peter Gammons was confirmed by Ben Maller that the Dodgers may put Andre Ethier out on the open trade market to see what he could bring back. So if you’re counting, one guy said one thing that maybe the Dodgers might want to trade a player before the trade deadline. Perhaps.

Ethier signed a 2-year/$15 mil contract in the off-season to buy out his arb. 2 and 3 years–Ethier has a fourth arbitration year in 2012–and not many players are going that cheap in baseball right now.

Ned Colletti gets a lot of flack for being dumb, and unfairly so. He’s made some very good deals in the past off-seasons–getting Manny Ramirez for spare parts–even though he’s been burned on one bad one.

While moving Ethier would be horribly unpopular, it might be the right move. Ethier’s value is at its peak and he’s 28 years old. He’s hitting well against left-handed pitchers, too, and that production may not continue next year. He was never expected to be this good and for that we’re all grateful. But that also means the chances of him repeating this production for the rest of his career are pretty slim. Very few baseball players beat the scouting reports to have an above-average career and many, many baseball players lost their groove after the age of 30. So why not see what you can get?

The Dodgers right now have two corner OF minor leaguers who make intriguing options for 2011 and Andrew Lambo specifically could see a late-season call-up if the Dodgers are out of it. Lambo’s ceiling appears to be Ethier’s production, so there’s not a lot of hope in that, but

With no further ado, here’s where Ethier could land:

Chicago White Sox: White Sox currently have a .360 wOBA coming out of right field and rumor has it they’re hot on Adam Dunn, even though Nats GM Mike Rizzo is asking a lot (Hudson AND Viciedo are the rumors). White Sox GM Kenny Williams and Colletti have a good relationship and made a trade during the off-season, so maybe they go back to that well.

New York Mets: The Mets surprisingly have the worst wOBA out of the position out of all major league teams, despite being in the hunt for the NL East title. Ethier would be a huge offensive upgrade. The Mets also have some intriguing prospects in Jenrry Mejia and Ike Davis.

Atlanta Braves: The Braves would be the only team to move Ethier to a different part of the field, and they’d probably move him to left with All-Star teammate Jason Heyward fielding right. Left field has been abysmal for the Braves, fielding six different players in the position and Ethier would be such a great improvement that it’d be worthwhile for both teams. Heyward and Ethier would be an impressive duo and the Braves have some good starting pitching pieces they could send the Dodgers way (Arodys Vizcaino and Julio Teheran, for two, though it’s unknown how much their production is affected by the Braves’ extreme pitchers parks in the minors). It’s certainly intriguing what can come of a trade between these two teams.

Anaheim Angels or Oakland A’s: I can’t ultimately see either team trading for Ethier, but there’s an outside chance that the Angels forego the usual decent-defense-decent-offense plan and the A’s try to plug him in at DH. The Angels don’t have a lot to offer unless they’re willing to give up Mike Trout. But the A’s have a few interesting parts, like Michael Taylor or Jemele Weeks. This’d be weird, though, since the A’s are further out of the AL West than the Dodgers are out of the NL West.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays like team-friendly contracts and Ethier has one. He makes a little less than what Pat Burrell made and could be a decent fit for the DH spot. But knowing the Rays’ management, they’d look down on his defense and his LHP/RHP splits and decide to look elsewhere.

Within the Division: The Giants, Padres and Rockies could all use some OF offense and the Dodgers could provide it at a premium cost. Ethier’s shown he can put up some awesome numbers in the heavy-pitchers division, so it’s worth looking into.

Edit: An earlier draft of this article said the deal reached between Andre Ethier and the Dodgers this past off-season, a two-year deal worth $15 mil, bought out Ethier’s arbitration years. It bought out Ethier’s year 2 and 3 arbitration years, but because Ethier was a Super 2, he has a fourth arbitration year in 2012.

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Filed under Hot stove, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB

A Quick Reminder About the Draft: Don’t Get Your Hopes Up

Before we get all of our panties in a bunch about the draft, which starts in a mere 40 minutes, let’s remember one thing: a lot of these players aren’t going to reach the majors. Maybe one of these players (Bryce Harper) has the chance to become a once-in-a-generation player. Maybe half of these picks make the majors. Maybe five or six become all-stars.

Attrition is going to happen regardless of how many players a team drafts, but a good drafting team can limit that number. Just as an example, take the Giants.

The Giants have two amazing pitchers in the majors right now, one drafted out of high school and one who had all sorts of concerns over delivery in his draft. Now this is gonna be arbitrary, but between 2000 and 2006, when these two pitchers were drafted, the Giants had nine first round picks. Nine. Only Lincecum and Cain can be considered successes; Noah Lowry had some success, but is no longer pitching in baseball. This is a successful drafting franchise. They draft a lot of pitchers and the pitching talent that’s developed and can’t be used (or peaked) is traded off, like Alderson for Freddy Sanchez, which turned out to be an OK deal. There’s a number of teams that haven’t had a single first round pick pan out in the last 12 years. And it’s more than just stumbling into talent by way of massive picks, the draft-heavy A’s haven’t developed a great prospect since Chavo in 1996 and that blew up in their faces.

Take, on the other hand, the Astros. They’ve had 28 picks in the first four rounds, years 2000-2006. Of those 28 picks, only seven reached the majors, only one of those was a first round pick (Chris Burke). And only Hunter Pence and Chad Qualls, both second round picks, have performed above average in that time (and I guess Kirk Saarloos, but really?).

Half of major league baseball’s best talent doesn’t even come from the draft, it comes from international signings.

With that in mind, let’s play a little.

Memories of Kevin Malone has a list of draftees associated with the Dodgers.

Keith Law says the Dodgers are leaning heavy toward Drew Vettleson.

Here’s basically every major mock draft.

I’m following MLB Bonus Baby and will be posting on TrueBlueLA.

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