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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

The Grass Melangerie
2005-03-21
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Watched my first game of the season Sunday (it took all day on TiVo) and gosh, October is still so fresh in my mind, I was struck by the contrast in intensity. Almost hard to believe it was the same sport. ...

Some notes from over the weekend. ...

With his proclivity for walks, Hee Seop Choi may bat No. 2, with Jayson Werth or his injury replacement batting sixth, according to Ken Gurnick at MLB.com. Sensible enough ...on-base percentage high, power low. Of course, Cesar Izturis will still bat leadoff. ...

It's still in doubt whether Werth will begin the season on the disabled list or not. What doesn't seem in doubt is that Jason Repko would take his roster spot if need be. ...

Gurnick also writes that newly-acquired catcher Jason Phillips is not expected to play for "several days." Do the Dodgers lead the leagues in Ja(y)sons yet? ...

Jim Tracy wants two lefties in the bullpen, according to Bill Shaikin of the Times. Shaikin suggests this might mean Kelly Wunsch and/or Mike Venafro, depending on whether Wilson Alvarez begins the season in the rotation. Frank Brooks should be in that discussion too - if you're going to have that discussion. However, especially if Barry Bonds is starting the season on the disabled list, just go with your best 11 or 12 pitchers, regardless of hand.

The staff (11 men when healthy): Jeff Weaver, Derek Lowe, Alvarez, Elmer Dessens, Eric Gagne, Yhency Brazoban, Duaner Sanchez, Giovanni Carrara, Scott Erickson, Odalis Perez (if healthy), Brad Penny (if healthy).

The potential replacements (two or three from this group): Venafro, Wunch, Brooks, Aquilino Lopez, Buddy Carlyle, Edwin Jackson, Ryan Rupe.

Left-handed reliever Orlando Rodriguez was cut but apparently gets to stay in the organization after being outrighted to AA Jacksonville. Remember, we're pulling for him long-term:

In 2002, Rodriguez allowed no runs in 35 A ball innings and struck out 52! In 2003, he had a 3.75 ERA with AA Jacksonville before injuring himself. He's 24; root for this one.
With Rodriguez off the 40-man roster, two spots are available for non-roster players. One will be Scott Erickson - the other presumably Norihiro Nakamura, or Nori as Vin Scully called him Sunday. Nakamura, remember, was signed to that visa-complicating minor-league contract. ...

Scully and Jim Tracy blamed the Dodger defense (particularly minor-leaguer Mike Edwards) for Erickson's crooked numbers Sunday, but Erickson is going to be in trouble all year if he can't close out hitters with a strikeout, or at least get them to keep the ball on the ground. Erickson had some pop Sunday, but the hitters seemed to catch up to him. Not drawing any conclusions - just pointing it out.

Koyie Hill may be winning a roster spot with the Diamondbacks, according to the Arizona Republic. In addition to batting .400 (with no walks) in Spring Training, Hill on Saturday "helped Arizona get out of a rocky sixth inning with a hustling, diving play to tag out Jamal Strong in a rundown at third." ...

Another Pedro Guerrero tidbit - did you know he went 11 for 17 as a pinch-hitter in 1980, in what may have been the greatest pinch-hitting season ever for a player with 15 at-bats or more? ...

Derek Lowe starts for the Dodgers today against his former teammates, the Boston Red Sox, in an ESPN game at 11 a.m. Open chat-away ...

Comments (54)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-03-21 08:24:17
1.   gvette
1)For me the jury is still out on Erickson. I'm always suspicious of guys who come out of nowhere to have great springs, since they usually end up like Tom (The Flamingo) Brennan, or Jason Romano. Keep in mind that Lima already had a comeback year with KC before signing with the Dodgers;

2)What's the point of keeping a situational lefty if he (Venafro) can't get anyone out? And isn't spending time in Dodgertown taking Bill Shaiken away from his true calling, monitoring "breaking news" concerning the earth shattering LAA of Anaheim name change?;

3)Is Dave Ross quoted correctly in yesterday's papers that he should be judged on his whole career,not recent developments? OK Dave, but given a golden opportunity you hit .170 last year, got released from your winter ball club, and are 0 for Vero. Enjoy Vegas Dave!

4) More Pedro Guerrero trivia; although later in his career he was clearly disinterested in playing defense at any position, he actually played 2B for a time down the stretch in 80 until he also got hurt.

2005-03-21 08:34:37
2.   Vishal
well, if/when werth is healthy i'd like to see him hitting third ahead of drew, with bradley leading off and izturis batting seventh. i wish i knew how to create simulations for how many runs score with a particular lineup. it would be fun to play around with it and see which is the most productive one. maybe i could order diamond-mind or something.
2005-03-21 09:01:20
3.   Bob Timmermann
With Ross going down and Ishii gone, who is left from last year's opening day roster:
Gagne, Perez, Weaver, Werth, Bradley, Izturis, Grabowski, Alvarez, Saenz and Sanchez. That's 40%. I don't know if other teams are comparable. I have a feeling that some teams have more turnover, like Arizona.

So who will get the job of player rep now?

2005-03-21 09:23:05
4.   JJoeScott
Vishal: I concur that Bradley seems the best leadoff candidate. I'd probably hit Izturis second. Choi's production is such a wild card, it's tough to know where to put him, even if you did run simulations.

Timm'man: Even better question is who is left from the end of the 2003 season, 18 months ago? Only 4 - Gagne, OPie, Izzy, Alvarez. Amazing.

2005-03-21 09:27:14
5.   JJoeScott
Seeing the Dodgers uniforms without the names on the back just looks, simply, wrong. It's like they've got a bunch of guys on the field who were just acquired and they've not had the chance to add their names yet.

Oh wait ... that IS the case! (See above comments.)

This is really starting to feel more and more like a penny-pinching move -- saves the name-stitching costs, allows them to reuse the jerseys for each DePo move. I mean is it my imagination or is this year's #15 about the same jersey size as last year's #15! :-)

2005-03-21 09:32:06
6.   Dodgerkid
Jon you're starting to write like Walter Winchell, or Larry King.
2005-03-21 09:32:28
7.   Landonkk
What exactly is D. Ross' situation? I assume that his salary is guaranteed, but isn't it more likely that he would be released and/or traded rather than sent to LV? I was surprised that he wasn't involved in some way in the Ishii trade even if he was a throw in.

JJoeScott - I agree. No name uniforms are annoying already. Reminds me of another NL West team... ugghh.

2005-03-21 09:43:07
8.   Jim Hitchcock
Had exactly the same thought as JJoe as regards to the uniforms. In addition, I would add that it detracts from the appearance...they just look incomplete.
2005-03-21 09:45:20
9.   Icaros
What about D.J. Houlton (his name is Dennis Sean, so I don't see where D.J. comes from), the rule 5 pickup from Houston? They seemed to be high on his curveball, and he's put up some impressive numbers in the minors. Has he already been let go and I didn't hear about it? It would seem moving Ishii would make it easier to keep this guy around, since he has to remain on the 25 all season. He has to be better than Dessens.

P.S. I love the nameless uniforms; they look great to me. Names on jerseys came into baseball the same time as those horrific belt-less, button-less pajamas that most teams (except the Dodgers and Yankees) wore until the end of the 80s. Good riddance to that era of tackiness.

2005-03-21 09:52:37
10.   Icaros
Okay, just found this on Houlton from Dodgers.com:

"Rule 5 Draft selection D.J. Houlton didn't help his cause when he allowed four earned runs and six walks in a 3 1/3-inning start in a split-squad game against the Mets. The Dodgers have not had a Rule 5 Draft selection make their Opening Day roster since Jose Nunez in 2001, and he lasted only a month."

I still stand by my claim that he can't be worse than Dessens.

2005-03-21 10:02:03
11.   Jonathan
I have a hard time believing DePodesta would have acquired Houlton if he didn't think there was a good chance he could be kept on the roster all year. Anybody know what Oakland's record is with Rule 5 picks?
2005-03-21 10:11:15
12.   Jon Weisman
I am officially neutral on the nameless uniforms. I think they actually look better, but it does leave you guessing sometimes, especially in Spring Training. I do think once the season starts and people only have 25 numbers to learn, it's much less of an issue.

Jonathan: the loss on Houlton, if they don't keep him, is $25,000. That's what's known as taking a flyer - it's easy to believe that DePodesta could invest in him without guaranteeing him a job. However, I will agree with Icaros in that he probably isn't significantly worse than Dessens.

2005-03-21 11:14:30
13.   Borgnine
Shouldn't the season TV schedule be up by now??????
2005-03-21 11:20:47
14.   FirstMohican
Anyone watching the game wish to drop some info on the rest of us?
2005-03-21 11:31:12
15.   bokonon42
The LA Times is reporting that KCOP 13 will carry 25 games (but not which 25) and that FSN West 2 will carry 125.

www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb/dodgers/la-sp-dodrep19mar19,1,5916949.story?coll=la-headlines-sports-mlb-dodger

2005-03-21 11:39:34
16.   DXMachina
"Anyone watching the game wish to drop some info on the rest of us?"

It's 0-0 in the top of the third, Trot Nixon's on 1st, no outs. Lowe has scattered four hits and a couple of walks already.

2005-03-21 11:40:44
17.   DXMachina
And Repko just threw out Nixon trying to take the extra base on Ortiz's single.
2005-03-21 11:46:33
18.   bokonon42
And Youkilis, the Greek god of walks, just hit a two run homer off of Lowe.
2005-03-21 11:46:50
19.   DXMachina
Youkilis hit a two-run homer the opposite way. Sox up 2-0.
2005-03-21 11:50:41
20.   Doug N
Fay Vincent was interviewed last inning. He said he thought a lifetime ban for players who test positive more than twice would be fair. Also said that he wasn't sure that steroid use is still an ongoing problem.
2005-03-21 12:07:41
21.   Im So Blue
Bottom of the 4th, Choi hits a double off the outfield fence, Drew grounds out and Valentin also doubles to drive in Choi. Valentin is left stranded at 3rd. Sox now leading, 2-1.
2005-03-21 12:21:34
22.   Dodgerkid
The sportscasters are getting me nervous. i think one of them just predicted the end of Gagne's career. he looks hurt.
2005-03-21 12:21:45
23.   Doug N
Gagne is CLEARLY still hurt & should NOT be pitching. do not know why he's still in there.
2005-03-21 12:47:12
24.   Im So Blue
Gagne went one inning. They interviewed him, and he said he feels fine. He said he was being careful with that knee, so that threw his release point off a bit. He says he'll be ready on opening day.
2005-03-21 14:02:26
25.   The Saul
A few things:
1) ESPN seems to running a disproportionate amount of Dodger Spring Training Games compared to other teams, which is nice.
2) Gagne should not have been out there today, he looked really uncomfortable and I don't see any reason for him to have been out there.
3) Choi had some good cuts out there today, including a long double.
4) I have this uneasy feeling that Izturis might have a letdown this season at the plate after last year's breakout, but maybe I'm just looking for this to worry about.
2005-03-21 14:37:54
26.   molokai
Dessens as a relief pitcher is decent. If he was to start it would only be a spot start once in a while unless the rotation really goes south.
Starter Numbers:
CTL Dom ERA
3.6 5.8 7.40
Relief Numbers
2.0 6.6 2.25
Numbers courtesy of Baseball Forecaster.

I would say in a relief role he is a significant upgrade over a rule 5 pitcher like DJ Houlton. If Depo really likes Houlton they he will make a deal with Houston to keep him so that he can be sent to the minors but I doubt he makes the 25 man roster.

2005-03-21 14:45:44
27.   molokai
I can't remember where I saw the study but batting Werth 2nd last year made a lot of sense as he was one of the top players in the majors in the number of pitches seen per at bat. That is something very useful for a number 2 hitter if you have a player like Izzy leading off who is very capable of putting up huge stolen base numbers.
If last year was a mirage and Izzy can't duplicate his growth year then I can see moving Bradley to lead off but I have no problem with Izzy starting off the season in the lead off role.

Anyone catch the ball go through MB's wicket yesterday while playing RF? I get mad when my softball team does that, to see a professional ballplayer do that just leaves me shaking my head, spring training or not.

2005-03-21 14:50:27
28.   molokai
I think Mr. Colbourn is a lot smarter then the ESPN crew of Steve Philips/Mark McLemore. If Gagne was in any danger he would not have pitched. Why would anyone from Dodger Thoughts put any weight into anything an ESPN announcer said.
Now a announcing crew of Tom(4th outfielder for analysis), Jon who I'm sure would make a decent play by play man and either Icaros or Vishal as the color man would make a worthwhile trio to listen to.
2005-03-21 15:05:37
29.   Jonathan
Now that I think about it, Houlton was probably acquired as very cheap insurance should the Dodgers pitching staff come up with gaping holes before the season starts. Previously, I was thinking that a combination of Houlton's history and an organizational need led to his acquisition and only a change in how management perceived his ability or an increase in pitching depth would lead to his return to Houston. But its more likely that only a breakout by Houlton or a breakdown in pitching depth would lead to him making the team. Financially, it makes sense either way; its $50k plus major league minimum if we need him, $25k spent on insurance if we don't. As excited as I was to see the young guy succeed, I'm glad we don't need him.
2005-03-21 15:12:07
30.   Icaros
"Now a announcing crew of Tom(4th outfielder for analysis), Jon who I'm sure would make a decent play by play man and either Icaros or Vishal as the color man would make a worthwhile trio to listen to."

I'm waiting by my phone. I'd have to think Bob Timmermann would make a good broadcaster as well, but he'd have to leave his fannypack at home, as I don't think there'd be enough room in the booth.

2005-03-21 15:13:02
31.   Bob Timmermann
I didn't see the game, but obviously Gagne is going to look less than sharp in his first outing, especially if his knee is a little sore.

He's got to try it out some time.

2005-03-21 15:16:31
32.   Doug N
Im So Blue;
"he said he feels fine"
He said he feels fine, right before limping off the field.

molokai;
"Why would anyone from Dodger Thoughts put any weight into anything an ESPN announcer said"
I wasn't making my comment based on what they said, just watching Gagne's landing. Looked painful. Though I do agree that Colburn wouldn't have him out there if there was genuine worry, I just thought he looked sore. Good call on the Bloggers-turned-Announcers Corp, btw.

2005-03-21 15:23:50
33.   Jim Hitchcock
I think the vast repository of minutae that is Bob Timmermann would be an excellent replacement for Ross Porter...
2005-03-21 15:48:46
34.   Icaros
"Do the Dodgers lead the leagues in Ja(y)sons yet? ..."

I remember being sad as a kid that the only major league player who shared my first name was Jason Thompson of the Tigers/Pirates, two teams I didn't care much about.

I'd really be happy today if I were still an eight-year-old. Jason was a very popular name for children born in the 70s; I was always one of three or four Jasons in just about every elementary school class I took.

My cover is now slightly blown with the DT readership...I'm scared.

2005-03-21 15:58:02
35.   Suffering Bruin
Pointless analysis of announcers from Dodgers/Red Sox game:

Gary Thorne: I like him but I don't talk that loud when I'm trapped in a cave. A+ for enthusiasm.

Mark McLemore (sp?): First time outing and it did not go well. Like a lot of ex-ballplayers making their debut behind the mike, the tendency is to rely on cliche's they've heard thousands of times to counteract the nervousness.

Steve Phillips: I think it's safe to say that Steve is in the anti-Moneyball camp, whatever the heck that is. Steve and Jeff Brantley are both the same--great delivery but but both distract because their analysis rarely if ever deviates from conventinal wisdom, even if said wisdom has been debunked eight ways to Sunday (You want a speedster at the top of the lineup... OPS and what have you are fine but you gotta have heart to be a winner, etc., ad nauseam).

Sidenote: My favorite player this season is Choi. For Simers, he's FP Santangelo. For Plaschke, he's exhibit A of DePodesta's computer fetish. The national media will fall in line.

I hope he OPS's eight-hundred.

2005-03-21 16:04:06
36.   Icaros
"I hope he OPS's eight-hundred."

Sadly, this "weird statistic" won't prove anything to the guys you've mentioned if he doesn't get 100 RBI as well.

2005-03-21 16:08:56
37.   molokai
Because I have idle time while some doing some data uploads here is the Jayson and Jason breakdown.
13 Major League Jason Hitters
2 Major League Jayson Hitters
10 Major League Jason Pitchers
0 Major League Jason Pitchers

Plus we traded Jason Frasor last season to get Jayson Werth.

And quite a few bubbling Jason minor leaguers just waiting to add their name to the Major league list.

2005-03-21 16:32:41
38.   Bob Timmermann
"I think the vast repository of minutae that is Bob Timmermann would be an excellent replacement for Ross Porter... "

Actually, that should be spelled minutiae.

I want a blog dedicated to saving my job!

2005-03-21 16:42:33
39.   Jim Hitchcock
Would you beleve the eye doesn't work on my computer?
2005-03-21 16:49:53
40.   Icaros
"Would you beleve the eye doesn't work on my computer?"

That has to be really hard, Jim. Most people just use their fingers for typing.

2005-03-21 17:05:55
41.   Bob Timmermann
It's amazing that in two different blogs I've been able to use the meta-humor about the spelling of minutiae.

I think I need to retire that joke.

I can't believe I actually used the word "meta-humor" too.

2005-03-21 17:17:36
42.   Jon Weisman
Once again, I'll recycle my favorite memory from the Daily News copy desk. Overheard, c. 1991:

"I know this sounds minor, but is nit-picking hyphenated?"

2005-03-21 17:28:35
43.   Bob Timmermann
Family dinners with my brothers involve lectures on when to use "shut out" and "shutout".

And that's just what they're teaching their little kids!

2005-03-21 17:34:13
44.   db1022
First timer here. I'd like to add a couple of thoughts if I may be so bold:

1. Who gets the 5th starter role, if Odalis and Penny are out (w/ Alvarez and Erickson already at 3 and 4)? Not Dessens, who's splits just don't justify him starting a game. Maybe they could have someone come out, throw a pitch, then bring in Dessens to "relieve" for about 6 or 7 innings.

2. What about Houlton, who could get an audition for the 5 slot if OP and Penny are out?

3. I'd rather have a team of Jasons, then the team of Todds we had in the mid 90s (Hollandsworth, Worrell, and Zeile).

2005-03-21 17:42:06
45.   Jim Hitchcock
I only know that I use shut up and shaddup interchangebly.
2005-03-21 17:47:48
46.   Jim Hitchcock
...and the n only when I'm yelling at my parrot...
2005-03-21 18:01:14
47.   The Saul
Slightly off topic BUT....
Does anyone else feel like this year's team will be the hardest by far to peg down in terms of wins? I don't just mean compared to teams of the past, but also every other team in the majors.
I feel like usually you can guesstimate most teams within a 10-win window, like the Padres will finish with 79 to 89 wins, or the Giants will finish with 87 to 93 wins.
I feel that this year's Dodgers can win as many as 95 or as little as 75, I've never had to give myself such a large degree of variance in the final weeks of spring training before.
2005-03-21 18:53:14
48.   Jose Habib
In 1977, the Dodgers made history when four members of the team hit 30 or more home runs: Steve Garvey (33), Reggie Smith (32), Ron Cey (30) and Dusty Baker (30).

Does anyone think that's possible this year? The way I see it, there are 5 guys on the team with a shot at 30 HRs: Choi, Kent, Werth, Bradley, and Drew. Kent and Drew have done it in the past. Choi hit 15 HRs in 95 games for the Marlins last year, and Werth hit 16 in 89 games for the Dodgers.

2005-03-21 19:14:01
49.   FirstMohican
Valentin would be able to have a shot if he weren't going to be a platoon guy.

Let's hope that if we have a bunch of guys hitting 30 HRs that they decide to do it when eachother is onbase.

2005-03-21 19:29:51
50.   Icaros
Great, Jim Tracy's annoying speech virus has officially infected Jayson Werth. From Dodgers.com:

"Is it realistic if I get back and everything's healthy and get moving ahead with baseball activities that I could be ready for Opening Day? I could be," said Werth. "The main thing is to be healthy and ready to go."

"Could I play with it now? Yeah," Werth said. "Is that where I want to start from? It doesn't make sense to start from a point where I'm still in a situation where maybe there could be damage to the soft tissue."

Scary...

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-03-21 19:37:37
51.   Jim Hitchcock
What would you rather face, Icaros...that, or a pandemic of TommySpeak?
2005-03-21 20:41:43
52.   checkityahla
I think the dodgers also had 4 guys do that in the 90's with Mike Pizza, Eric Karros, Raul Mondesi and Todd Zeile... I would love to see that happen again!
2005-03-21 20:47:22
53.   Jon Weisman
Is it really that big a deal to talk like this? No, I don't think so. Don't many people do this often? I'm pretty sure they do.
2005-03-21 21:12:38
54.   Im So Blue
Some quotes from Gagne & Colburn from the AP:

Gagne: "I tried to protect it and not put too much weight on it," he said. "It feels pretty good right now. I knew it wouldn't feel good (during the game)."

Colburn: "I don't think he was in top condition. He wasn't throwing correctly ... I expected that... I want to see both his knee and delivery get better... I feel it was a step forward. I feel a lot better that he'll be ready for the season now that I saw him pitch than I was before the game."

Search on Google News for "Gagne" and you'll get the AP wire story. There's also a story on MLB.com by Ken Gurnick.

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