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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
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Tiffany Opener
2005-04-07 20:04
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Dodger farmhand Chuck Tiffany struck out 11 in five innings, allowing one hit, as Class A Vero Beach won its season opener over the St. Lucie Mets tonight, 1-0.

Comments (56)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-04-07 20:31:48
1.   corey
He'll be traded this season for some big-league talent. It's a lock.
2005-04-07 20:45:54
2.   Tripon
Define 'Big-league' talent, Milton Bradley talent, or Jason Repko kind of talent?
2005-04-07 21:18:58
3.   apsio
Doesn't hold a candle to my junior high pitcher (I coach) K'ing the first 17 batters he saw. :-P

6-looking
9-swinging
2-bunted foul

Among the 9 swinging were 3 pitches in the dirt that the team's pint-sized catcher had to scurry after and nailed at first.

Granted this is LOW level ball, but most awesome pitching exhibition I've seen in person. And FYI, his competition is either the same age or a year older.

2005-04-07 21:41:24
4.   Eric L
What makes you think Tiffany will be traded Corey?

Aside from Franklin Gutierrez, DePo hasn't really traded any of the top tier guys in the farm system.

I would assume that DePo would trade Tiffany if a deal knocked his socks off, but I can't see it is as lock.

2005-04-07 21:57:40
5.   corey
Depo has made it pretty clear that he has no qualms about trading prospects for proven talent. We also know he won't hesitate to make moves to fill holes on the major league team. And again, we know he's smart so he isn't going to give away any top prospects unless it's for a superstar. Chuck Tiffany is pretty low on the Dodger prospect list, but he could bring in something good. He's a "name" prospect. So I just feel of all the Dodger prospects, he's most likely to be traded. It's my spidey sense.
2005-04-07 22:00:56
6.   corey
Ehhh, he's not really that low on the prospect list. I was actually thinking of Hanrahan. Oops. Still, I could see either or both of them being traded this season.
2005-04-07 22:47:27
7.   Eric Enders
Tiffany is in a downward spiral, obviously. Last year, IIRC, 2 of his first three starts were no-hitters.
2005-04-07 22:54:16
8.   Chris H
Tiffany doesn't have much trading value yet. Teams want to trade for guys who are ready to play at the big league level.
2005-04-07 23:11:42
9.   Eric Enders
I very much disagree, Chris: IMO, Tiffany has an absolute ton of trade value. Teams love trading for live arms like his, especially when the player in question has already combined potential with performance, as Tiffany has.

Look at it this way: Tiffany right now is in exactly the same situation Billingsley was last year. He's starting the season in Hi-A, will almost certainly finish it in AA. And by July of last year, Billingsley was such a desired prospect that DePo was refusing to include him in a trade for Randy Johnson.

Also, I think it's very important to emphasize the point Eric L made in #4. Despite all the "major league talent" DePo has traded for (Finley, Penny, Choi, Bradley), he has only traded one Organization-Top-10-type prospect in Franklin Gutierrez. And even Gutierrez sort of tanked in the Indians farm system last year.

2005-04-07 23:16:17
10.   Eric L
It depends on the team Chris.

The Marlins picked up Dontrelle Willis in the Matt Clement-Antonio Alfonseca deal. At the time, he hadn't pitched above A ball.

Then again, I don't know how highly touted Willis was or if he was the centerpiece of the deal.

2005-04-08 00:12:42
11.   molokai
Tiffany=LeftHander=HeStays
Y'all know he's a local boy?
Good thing you corrected yourself Corey as I almost popped a vein when you said he was pretty low on the prospect list. Our future Koufax/Drysdale tandem of E Jackson/G Miller may get surpassed by Billingsly/Tiffany. I am as ever, a prospect hound.
2005-04-08 00:21:22
12.   Eric Enders
Heck, I'd even settle for them becoming the future Valenzuela/Hershiser.
2005-04-08 00:42:11
13.   In Enemy Country
One of the things that makes Billy Beane so sucessful is his willingness to replace big league talent that has been overpriced, with cheaper young players. Since DePo is Beane's protege I'm betting he won't trade Tiffany unless he gets some serious value for him.
2005-04-08 00:53:08
14.   BMny
As far as Tiffany being traded, I agree that a pitcher who hasn't thrown a pitch in AA won't have the weight of attracting a semi-premium big league talent. He's just 20 yrs old.

With the future of Greg Miller, unfortunately, in serious doubt, a premium left-handed minor leaguer in Blue is worth keeping.

"There is no such thing as a pitching prospect," but the news of his performance is exciting.

2005-04-08 01:06:40
15.   BMny
Hmm... I've just read Eric's post, and if what he says is true, then I might have a slight change of heart - or atleast an idea. He pitched against the Mets' minor league team right?

Maybe Omar might have noticed. If so, is there a chance he'd like to replace a recently departed lefty by the name of Kazmir? I'm not a big prospect buff, so I'm not even sure if it's a comparison, but perhaps DePo can coax Omar into making a move.

Who do we want from the Mets?

Is Wright, possible? Is it worth it?

2005-04-08 01:28:19
16.   Aug C
If Minaya were willing to trade David Wright straight up for Chuck Tiffany, DePo should do it in half a heartbeat! But no way the Mets would pull that deal.
2005-04-08 04:53:27
17.   CanuckDodger
The 12-year-old Dodger fan who spotted Tommy Lasorda in an airport, approached him, and, bold as brass, said, "Mr. Lasorda, I'm Chuck Tiffany, and I'm going to pitch for the Dodgers some day," is NOT going to be traded.

The highly-coveted Covina high school southpaw who looked into a sea of about 30 scouts sitting in the stands at one of his games and noticed that at the center of them was Tommy Lasorda, is NOT going to be traded.

The young man who picked up a phone on the first day of the draft in 2003 and heard the familiar voice of Tommy Lasorda say, "Chuckie, you're a Dodger now," is NOT going to be traded.

The Columbus Catfish hurler who, in 2004, pitched a seven-inning perfect game, striking out 12, on just the day that Tommy Lasorda was in Columbus to take a look at the Dodgers' low Single A team, is NOT going to be traded.

The Dodger prospect who, in minor league spring training camp in 2005, after being asked by Tommy Lasorda, "How ya doin', Chuckie?" answered, "I'm tired, Tommy," only to be playfully roared at by Lasorda, "You're never tired wearing that Dodger uniform!" is NOT going to be traded. And when he IS pitching for the Dodgers, in a few years, his arm is NOT going to fall off from over-work, because Tommy Lasorda is NOT going to be his manager.

2005-04-08 05:04:41
18.   Suffering Bruin
True story.

My biological father was a terrific pitcher as a young man. He once threw a perfect six-inning game with eighteen strikeouts... and lost.

The last batter struck out but strike three got away from the catcher. The throw to first went into right field, the right fielder's throw to third was wild and before you knew it, the game's only run crossed the plate.

Six innings + eighteen strikeouts = one loss. He played high school football, dislocated his shoulder and was never the same.

May Chuck Tiffany have better luck.

2005-04-08 07:31:06
19.   molokai
Canuck, while Tommy may have a soft spot for our Mr. Tiffany you can bet Depo will only do what he feels is best for the team.
The guy who sits in front of me at Dodger stadium coaches the Covina high school team and he told me how Tiffany knocked his team out of the CIF playoffs several years ago. Were all rooting for him big time to make it but we know the odds are small no matter how much the talent. With 3 prospects already under the knife this winter and E Jackson and Hanrahan dropping like rocks in prospect status it just shows how tough it is for a pitching prospect to make it.
2005-04-08 07:43:53
20.   al bundy
Canuck, that was hilarious. I'm glad I read all the way to the end.
2005-04-08 07:46:11
21.   molokai
FYI-Our AA Jacksonville team is going to have an infield of:
1st-Loney
2nd- D Young
SS - Joel Guzman
3b -???
With Russel Martin as a catcher. If you catch a game with either Billingsly or Broxton pitching you could be seeing 5 future major leaguers.
2005-04-08 08:04:04
22.   Eric Enders
I suspect that before long, Andy LaRoche (currently at Vero) will be the Jacksonville third baseman. They really don't have any other obvious candidates.

From Jacksonville Courier:

"The Suns used two productive innings at the plate and a stellar performance from four pitchers to post a 7-0 win Thursday night over the Birmingham Barons in front of 3,725 fans at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

The Suns won their third consecutive home opener with 11 hits, including Tydus Meadows' three-run homer, Joel Guzman's two-run double and Jon Weber's RBI double.

Suns pitchers combined to allow four hits and struck out 17. Chad Billingsley started but only got in two innings because a downpour forced an hour delay, ending his night."

2005-04-08 08:11:31
23.   Howard Fox
maybe corey is watching a different Dodgers than I am

DePo is reducing payroll and stockpiling young talentby 06 or 07 we should have one of the younger teams in the majors

2005-04-08 08:22:48
24.   db1022
Depodesta needs to be mindful of the 40 man roster when pertaining to our young talent. Most of our youngsters are not yet eligible for it, but will be within the next year or two. If he doesn't trade some prospects (or some current members of the 40 man) we risk losing them.

I'd expect some of them to be traded this year. Brad Wilkerson of les Nationals would be a nice fit if we have ongoing OF injury issues, or Choi proves that he really can't hit.

2005-04-08 08:33:33
25.   Colorado Blue
Howard/Corey: to take it a level deeper I believe one of DePo's tactics is to "over-stockpile" talent. The pool looks deep and rich to the outside. I think DePo is very crafty... he uses his analysis to determine who should be kept and who is trade bait. The Dodger minor league system is loaded with talent. So a guy DePo sees as expendable looks to the outside as a hot prospect. DePo then trades for a proven Major Leaguer when needed and the system is still stalked.

Of course, this is just my theory on DePo's long-term strategy, but I think we'll see that his combination of Moneyball perspective combined with an ownership that is willing to spend some money will have the Dodgers sitting pretty for years to come.

2005-04-08 08:37:25
26.   Colorado Blue
Oops... I hit the post button before I was ready: just wanted to add that I think the surface analysis by the main-stream media (and even the other GMs) that labels DePo as a pure Moneyball nerd will work to his advantage and he knows it. Heck, I'll bet he works hard at perpetuating the obtuse view others have of him. JMHO.
2005-04-08 08:43:20
27.   Dr Love
"Depodesta needs to be mindful of the 40 man roster when pertaining to our young talent. Most of our youngsters are not yet eligible for it, but will be within the next year or two. If he doesn't trade some prospects (or some current members of the 40 man) we risk losing them."

Are something like 15 guys on the 25 man roster on the last year of their deals? Valentin, Alvarez, Ledee, and Bako are on one year deals IIRC, Dreifort is coming off the books after this season... I don't think it's a problem at all, DePo is in full anticipation of this.

2005-04-08 08:44:08
28.   Eric Enders
I think #25 nails it exactly. That's been my impression of DePo's strategy as well.

Re the 40-man roster issue... I believe this is the reason for the short-term contracts given to people like Kent and Valentin. If somebody is a free agent you don't have to protect him on your 40-man. With the short-term signings DePo is trying to create as much future roster flexibility as he can.

2005-04-08 08:54:42
29.   db1022
re: 40 man. Yes I agree with you. Depodesta has done a tremendous job creating "roster flexibility", both for this season and future seasons. That being said, I would certainly be in favor of more "Bradley-for-Gutierrez"-type trades (medium prospect for young big league talent).
2005-04-08 09:05:56
30.   Palatine
That's nice, but he's no Chuck Finley. Hell, he's not even Chuck Tanner.

Seriously, that's a nice glimmer, but it is A-ball. He's obviously too good for that level. Let's see how he does when he moves up.

2005-04-08 09:06:38
31.   Marty
SB, nice story. Only in little league could you hope to see a perfect game loss. Did you inherit any of his talent? Were you a ball player? Unfortunately, I got all of my dad's talent and was done by end of junior high.
2005-04-08 09:10:41
32.   Colorado Blue
"DePo then trades for a proven Major Leaguer when needed and the system is still stalked."

Well, I guess it will still be stalked by other teams, but I really meant to say stocked. My grammar proficiency is directly proportional to my caffeine intake (which at the post time was "low").

P.S. I'm not well versed on the intricacies of the 40-man roster rules, but the arguments on DePo's moves seem sound. Just another feather-in-his-cap to me.

2005-04-08 09:18:33
33.   db1022
I believe that after 3 years (?) of service time, minor leaguers need to be either added to the 40 man roster, or made available via the Rule V draft. With 25 on the ML roster, that leaves only 15 for minor leaguers. Seems like enough, but the Dodgers have an inordinate number of single A players reaching their service time cap around the same time. In order to remove a player from the 40 man roster, I believe they need to pass through waivers (a la Thurston and Chen last month).
2005-04-08 09:27:45
34.   Colorado Blue
Thanks for the "101" db1022! Makes sense... I thought Rule V was tied in somehow; you confirmed my suspicion.
2005-04-08 09:29:37
35.   CardsFan
"I suspect that before long, Andy LaRoche (currently at Vero) will be the Jacksonville third baseman. They really don't have any other obvious candidates."

I heard that Andy would have been in Jacksonville to start the season if he had shown up to camp in shape. I don't understand why some of these kids do that. It's not as if he's unchallenged as the future 3Bman of the Dodgers.

2005-04-08 09:37:29
36.   CanuckDodger
Sorry, there aren't going to be any more "Gutierrez-for-Bradley" deals in the forseeable future.

First of all, Gutierrez was not a "medium prospect." He was our best hitting prospect coming into 2004, and even after an injury sapped some of his power in 2004, Baseball America still ranks him among the Top 50 prospects in baseball. He would have been ranked our #4 prospect this year, behind Jackson and ahead of Loney.

The Gutierrez trade was all about the peculiar circumstances we were in at the time. In short, we were desperate. The ownership turnover had caused an off-season of complete inactivity. DePodesta was hired shortly before the season, and he found himself stuck with a roster full of players he did not like. SOMETHING had to be done after a Dodger season in which we scored the fewest runs in baseball. Signing free agents was not an option at that late point in the off-season. Trading somebody we would have liked to keep was our ONLY option, in DePodesta's eyes.

One year later, our circumstances could not be more different. DePodesta had a busy off-season, and a busy year as a whole. He has created a roster he likes, and in the few areas where he could be expected to want to see improvement eventually, he has prospects lined up in our own organization whom he fully intends to see become Dodgers. That does not mean there won't be ANY trades, but the trades that will come will be for more role-players and involve shipping out non-premium prospects we have decided we are not crazy about, like getting rid of Koyie Hill and Reggie Abercrombie in the Steve Finley deal.

2005-04-08 09:43:57
37.   db1022
I just think Depodesta viewed Gutierrez as an overrated prospect due to his borderline peripheral stats. Bradley fits his player profile a little more, and had proven himself at the ML level.
2005-04-08 09:46:09
38.   scareduck
I'm in complete agreement with CanuckDodger -- this was a circumstance the Dodgers couldn't turn down.

That said, I'm excited and all for Tiff, but TANSTAAPP applies here. Edwin Jackson was way cool at lower levels, too.

2005-04-08 09:50:15
39.   db1022
Our prospects are just that - "prospects". If they can be packaged for quality ML talent, it shouldn't be automatically discounted. I'm talking about intelligent deals, not what the Mets are doing (Zambrano for Kazmir anyone?). If young, proven talent can be acquired by letting go some of our minor leaguers, it should be considered.
2005-04-08 09:55:23
40.   In Enemy Country
Canuck hit the nail on the head. Plus, Bradley is going to be an All-Star this year and for years to come. He looked good against the Giants.
2005-04-08 10:21:56
41.   CanuckDodger
It is precisely BECAUSE of the pitfalls that surround pitchers in their development stage that it is wise to stockpile these pitchers. I think DePodesta believes this. Billy Beane's trading away Jeremy Bonderman for "proven major league help" is not looking very smart right now, and Beane had to trade away Hudson and Mulder with some cheap years still on their clocks in order to get OTHER team's pitching prospects because of the combination of him trading away Oakland's own pitching prospects in the recent past and the failure of the prospects Oakland kept to develop properly. If one knew for sure that Jackson, Billingsley, and Broxton will turn out great for us, I suppose one might well ask, "Who needs Tiffany?" But we really don't know yet WHICH of our pitching prospects will fall to attrition. If we did know that, then of course we would trade THOSE guys and keep the future MLB stars, right?
2005-04-08 10:22:11
42.   db1022
If Choi is still struggling at mid-season (I know I know - patience), that's an area that can be upgraded. Would you send Loney and a pitching prospect to Washington for Brad Wilkerson? I don't know if he's a FA after this year, or still arbitration eligible.
2005-04-08 10:52:35
43.   DodgerJoe
db - I'm giving Choi until June 1. I'd love Wilkerson, but do you think the Nats would give him since he is young and cheap?

I was thinking more along the lines of Mike Sweeney of KC. He is from SoCal.

The problem is that I think Depo has more invested in Choi and may wait to sit him down.

2005-04-08 10:57:25
44.   Strike4
Molokai,

Can you ask the Covina coach if any CHS grads made it to the bigs? I think nearby guys include Jack Clark (Gladstone), Roenicke brothers (Edgewood), Giambi brothers (Northview?), soon Tiffany (Charter Oak). Anyone know of a site where you can sort/search ML players by high school?

2005-04-08 11:01:47
45.   Eric L
I don't think I would touch Sweeney with a ten foot pole right now. His contract is huge and his numbers aren't that great considering that he plays 81 games a year in one of the better hitter's parks in the league.
2005-04-08 11:08:34
46.   DodgerJoe
What does Sweeney have left on his contract?
3 yrs, 30MM maybe?

Are there any other 1B's that could be available come the trade deadline?

2005-04-08 11:17:21
47.   fernandomania
Cecil Fielder went to Nogales High.
2005-04-08 11:19:24
48.   fernandomania
And: Chuck Tiffany is awesome. Can't wait to see him in the bigs.

And: we don't need anyone for 1B. Choi will be fine. Quit panicking.

2005-04-08 11:25:54
49.   Eric L
Disclaimer: I supported the Drew deal, even with his history of injury problems.

Sweeney's contract runs for 3 more years (including this season) and is actually similar in terms of money to the Drew contract. The last time he played close to a full season was 2001.

Just by glancing at his numbers, I would say his best years are behind him.

2005-04-08 11:43:29
50.   jelmendorf
Re: #37

Obviously I've no idea how DePo viewed Gutierrez, but I wouldn't say Franklin's peripherals were borderline.

In fact, at the time of the trade, he compared favorably to one-time prospect Milton Bradley. After each's first 3 pro years, they were the same age and had both played 1 year of rookie ball and 2 years of A ball.

Bradley had a slightly better average in both years in A ball, while Gutierrez's had much better power, and the two had similar plate discipline in those years. At age 20, Bradley hit 295/358/440 for an OPS of 735, while Gutierrez hit 282/345/513 for an OPS of 858.

Gutierrez's power dipped this past year, but he hit .302 and upped his isolated discipline to .070, his career best. Since it was his first year in AA, a dip in power doesn't strike me as death to his prospect-status.

My guess is that DePo got Bradley because he didn't want Dave Roberts (whose 03 OPS was 638) manning center field. Bradley was young, talented and cheap, and unlike Gutierrez, he could contribute right away. Plus, the opportunity fell in the Dodgers' laps when Milton pissed off Eric Wedge one time too many (or was it the reverse?).

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-04-08 11:56:19
51.   Jon Weisman
To show you what games I was going to in the 1970s, every time I see "jelmendorf" I think of former Ram Dave Elmendorf.
2005-04-08 12:34:55
52.   molokai
And the red headed strong or was it free safety who's name I can longer remember. Biggest Ram fan in the world until they moved to another country when they were whisked away behind the orange curtain. I no longer even follow football and I used to have the biggest super bowl parties.

Brad Wilkerson, now that is a Depo ballplayer. How many guys can play CF/1st/leadoff and hit 32 homers. Love that guy.

2005-04-08 13:06:07
53.   jelmendorf
Good memory on Dave. I'm no relation, though there was no convincing any PE coach throughout my youth of that.
2005-04-08 13:24:58
54.   atg12
I think we have a fallback solution for the potential "flailing Choi" problem without having to go outside the organization. Kent's spent some time at first (in the past and this spring) and Antonio Perez seems to be a potential solid everyday second-baseman.
2005-04-08 14:41:35
55.   Langhorne
Since we're on the topic of minor leagues, I've long been a fan of the California League. I've seen a few good players go through. I love the fact that things change in the minors so quickly and yet there's a hundred years of history in the Cal. San Bernadino Spirit-San Bernadino Stampede-Inland Empire 66ers in about five years. The team in Modesto has had an affiliation with Oakland for decades. Reggie Jackson played there. But that is over. They have a new deal with the Rockies and will now be known as the Modesto Nuts. I live for this!
2005-04-08 15:10:51
56.   Herb Stencil
FYI, Giambi went to South Hills High, which is Covina's crosstown rival.

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