Tag Archives: Padres

Correction: Dodgers Draft Pick is All But Protected

A couple of weeks ago, I reported the Dodgers were on the cusp of a protected pick, but with an added caveat: only the 13 worst records in baseball would be protected because of two picks held over from the 2010 draft (no. 6 Barret Loux and no. 9 Karsten Whitley both didn’t sign).

This is false.

The rules are that the 15 teams with the worst records in baseball have protected picks regardless of held-over picks. In the 2010 draft, the Rangers received a held-over pick for failure to sign Matt Purke from the 2009 draft between picks 14 and 15. The Cubs, who had the 15th worst record in the 2009 season, still had a protected pick at no. 16.

The ruling states that picks held over from last year’s draft become that pick’s (a). So the Rangers’ 2010 pick was pick no. 14a. The Diamondbacks’ no. 6 pick from last year will become no. 6a (7) and the Padres’ pick will be 9a (11).

This means picks 16 and 17 in the 2011 draft will be protected.

Sorry for the error, I hope I didn’t mislead anyone.

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A Conversation with Outfield Defense Coach Rick Renteria

Rick Renteria is the first base and defensive positioning coach for the outfield for the San Diego Padres. The Padres are enjoying a heck of a season with very good defense, even though it may be a small sample size.

Regardless, Renteria talked to us for a bit about defensive positioning, why it’s so important and how long it takes to put together a good positioning chart against a batter.

Take note, next person who interviews Rick: he likes to talk very quietly.


Dingers: How do you prepare for a series against a team?

Rick Renteria: We study the videos. We put the little game plan. It’s typical stuff, we look at the spray charts and then you look at the different run scenarios. [Then we] come up with the positioning.

Is the positioning divided up, by player or pitch or what?

It’s location and count. With two strikes, without two strikes. [There’s also] understanding the swing path. If we say, ‘pitch this guy away,’ he still might pull the ball. Some guys are ‘inside-out’ hitters and they can hit the ball the other way. We study each hitter and the way they swing at the ball through the zone. Then we create it into pre- and post-two strike counts. Then we create [a positioning] that’s a best case scenario.

You have an interesting defensive positioning case on your team–Adrian Gonzalez. Some teams play a shift against him, is that the right call?

How batters hit the ball in the air versus how they hit it on the ground are different things. Typically, guys will hit the ball on the ground the other way. That’s not always necessarily true. Every hitter is different. You have to take into account individuality. It’s important when you go over positioning, to take into account each batter’s tendencies.

It takes about 2-3 hours to put together basically a game plan.

Yeah, I interrupted you working on your computer, what were you doing? Pardon me if that’s invasive.

Ah, just tracking my charts online.

What does that mean?

Just looking for things, watching movement. Keeping my eyes open.

Is there ever a time when a position player thinks he’s in the right position, but he’s in the wrong position and he’s perceiving it wrong?

Absolutely. But it’s like anything else in the world: the more consistent you are and the more success you have [e.g., against the opposing offense], the more you develop trust. Because as the manager, your players have done all of their homework, in terms of studying everyone. I know, for myself, I don’t like surprises. So I want to know where a particular guy swings the bat, I want to know in particular if he’s changing his swing, I want to know in particular if he’s changing his approach in his at-bats.

It’s the same as how we defend.

Are most of the charts you’ve created from the pre-season or are you doing this as you’re going?

Oh no, this is as it’s going on. We [study the tape of each player] before every series. Nothing changes. We might have a series during interleague and you see them two months later and you’re looking at the video and you’re still looking at the spray charts. Suddenly it’s changed a little bit. He’s pulling the ball a little more, he’s doing different things he wasn’t doing before.

You ever see a player, say like Ryan Howard early last year, who starts spraying the ball but stops hitting for power?

You can make adjustments even in the game. You see guys approaching at-bats trying to drive balls, trying to stay down on the ball. You see things and you have to trust what you see and make adjustments.

You make adjustments with your eyes. It’s tough to put that into a mathematical context, but the mathematical equation is the result after the play has run its course.

Most stats are used for counting or for what a player’s performance was to that point. There are a few that are predictive, though.

Numbers get you the product, I guess.

Do you look at numbers at all? Do you look at any stats that would tell you how your players are doing?

No, I can tell how they’re doing as the season goes on.

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Revisiting the McCourt’s 2004 Purchase of the Dodgers

Josh at Dodger Divorce posted that it’s possible Dennis Gilbert, an insurance business owner and Dodger season ticket holder, may be in line to buy the Dodgers if/when the McCourt(s) put it up for sale.

Gilbert was part of the Greenberg/Ryan group that attempted to purchase the Texas Rangers, but was ultimately shot down. Josh astutely pointed out how poetic it would be if Gilbert didn’t receive his second choice of teams to own and ended up with his first choice, as opposed to Frank McCourt, who failed in his bid to get the Red Sox, his favorite team, but successfully purchased the Dodgers.

All of this got me thinking about when this all started.

In January of 2004, Frank McCourt officially announced himself as the new owner of the Dodgers, along with his wife, Jamie. The opening press conference was an era of good feelings. The Dodgers were no longer run by corporate ownership. There was a name and face to the franchise owners again.

And to that, I was happy. I’m sure a lot of people were.

Said acting Commissioner Bud Selig:

The sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to Frank and Jamie McCourt heralds the beginning of a new era of family ownership for one of the game’s most storied franchises. This transaction meets all of Baseball’s debt service rules and financial requirements in every way. We at Major League Baseball are confident that Mr. McCourt, as a rabid and knowledgeable fan and successful businessman, will devote the time and energy necessary to make the franchise a great success.

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A little reflection on the Dodgers’ Trade Deadline

Not gonna comment too much on this. A lot’s been said, a lot’s been published, but we’re going to need some time to reflect on it.

The Dodgers traded away Blake DeWitt, Elisaul Pimentel, Lucas May, Brett Wallach, James McDonald and Andrew Lambo. That’s one MLB starter, one #5 starter, two back-end starters, a back-up catcher and a troubled but talented outfield hitter.

They got in return Ted Lilly, Scott Podsednik, Ryan Theriot and Octavio Dotel. A decent SP, an average OF with no power, a replacement level 2B with no power and a sub-par reliever.

The plan is to win this year, but at what cost?


Meanwhile, the Dodgers are 7 games out of first place in the NL West and 5 games out of the wild card. It’s a long shot to even get to the playoffs.

The best news is the biggest pieces in the Dodgers’ farm system are still Dodgers. Trayvon Robinson, Jerry Sands, Chris Withrow, Dee Gordon, Aaron Miller, Ethan Martin, Javy Guerra and Nathan Eovaldi. Andrew Lambo was a loss, but he’s a risky investment and Sands has performed better than him this year and last. Sands is also a risk, but I’d rather have Sands.

Giving up McDonald, though, was a mistake. And giving up McDonald AND Lambo for Dotel was a big mistake.

Even if neither of them does well in the majors, it was overpaying greatly for a sub-par reliever. Honestly, the Dodgers paid less for Lilly and Theriot. You wonder what the Dodgers could’ve netted for McDonald and Lambo if they had shopped them more.

The second-best news, I guess, is Podsednik, Manny, Lilly and Dotel (if his option year isn’t vested) are free agents after the season and offering arbitration could give the Dodgers 5 or 6 first round draft picks, if all goes to plan.

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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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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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Here Come the Padres

Padres are currently leading the NL West by 1.5 games with a 40-29 record, mostly thanks to their pitching.

Well don’t look now, because Adrian Gonzalez has suddenly caught fire.

Season slash at June 1: .263/.384/.446
Season slash as of today: .310/.409/.552

He’s currently second in the NL in B-R’s WAR, 3.9, behind Ubaldo’s 4.4.

It also seems their pitching has adjusted and Garland and Richards are both performing at reasonable levels for Petco Park. The team pitching as a whole has one of the lowest FB percentages and one of the highest GB percentages and a remarkably reasonable 8.7% HR/FB ratio. And then behind them is the best defense in baseball according to UZR/150.

Right now, the Padres are performing BELOW their pythag win-loss.

Yep, Padres are for real.

Edit — Padres have one of the highest UZR/150s in baseball partially because of David Eckstein’s remarkable 16.2 UZR/150 at 2B this year. Eckstein has never been a favorable defensive player at short stop, but the transition to second base could be a main reason for the switch–Eckstein’s biggest defensive flaw has always been his throwing arm, which isn’t strong. It’s hard to say if Eckstein’s enjoying a really good 1/3rd defensive season because (a) he’s done so well in a small sample size, (b) he’s become better at a middle-infield position by different training, like Derek Jeter in 2009, or (c) the switch from SS to 2B was beneficial for him and took him a year to learn it. UZR doesn’t have the complex history other stats do (it was first recorded in 2002, as opposed to home runs, which were recorded all the way back in 1871), so we’re just gonna have to take a “wait and see” approach on this one. If it’s any consolation, his UZR/150 has actually gone DOWN the last half month or so.

The other reasons for the team’s total defense performance are Tony Gwynn and Scott Hairston, both of whom are terrific outfield defenders, and Chase Headley and Adrian Gonzalez. Every position player right now has a positive UZR, and it could be because the coaches are telling them to improve range rather than stick to balls they can only field cleanly.

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From around Dodger blogs, MSTI doesn’t think it’s going to be the easiest flight home.

MOKM takes a break to look at the farm.

True Blue LA reviews week 11 and just how painfully bad it ended yesterday. Gotta hate that Kuroda put forth such a great performance yesterday and was screwed by a defensive miscue and no offense.

Dodger Thoughts’ Jon Weisman posts his power rankings of Dodger players from the week that was.

Argyled Plaschke has been quiet for a few days, but he still has up this AWESOME footage of Three-Fingers Brown.

Vin Scully is my Homeboy went to the Fenway series and has pictures.

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