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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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2005, The First Third: First and Third
2005-06-04 21:30
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Sprinting out to first place to start the season before falling back to third place in the National League West, the Dodgers end the first 33.33 percent of the 2005 season as a .500 team.

Here is a review of how 34 different players added up to absolutely average:

Batting Statistics
PlayerPAOPSEQABatting WSFielding WSWSABVORP
Cesar Izturis249.787.2785.71.8317.5
Olmedo Saenz1041.085.3557.30.2516.5
J.D. Drew222.868.3108.40.6516.2
Milton Bradley202.855.2975.81.1316.1
Jeff Kent224.823.2907.51.7514.5
Antonio Perez591.068.3765.00.2410.9
Jason Phillips163.713.2574.51.227.5
Ricky Ledee139.779.2793.40.316.8
Hee Seop Choi149.773.2763.90.215.7
Mike Edwards50.751.2721.30.102.6
Jose Valentin86.722.2802.70.312.3
Paul Bako47.662.2521.30.311.5
Jason Repko90.704.2531.70.301.2
Mike Rose4.000-.221-0.10.00-0.9
Oscar Robles30.440.137-0.70.0-1-2.3
Jayson Werth43.552.2050.10.20-2.4
Jason Grabowski38.499.186-0.20.1-1-2.4
Norihiro Nakamura41.350.017-1.50.1-2-5.0

PA = plate appearances, courtesy of Baseball Prospectus
OPS = on-base percentage plus slugging percentage (ESPN.com)
EQA = "A measure of total offensive value per out, with corrections for league offensive level, home park, and team pitching," (Baseball Prospectus)
Batting WS = Batting Win Shares (The Hardball Times)
Fielding WS = Fielding Win Shares (The Hardball Times)
WSAB = Win Shares Above Bench Player (The Hardball Times)
VORP = "The number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same percentage of team plate appearances," (Baseball Prospectus)

Capsules
Cesar Izturis leads the team in VORP, rendering him by that statistic the Dodgers' most irreplaceable player of 2005 so far.

Olmedo Saenz is Mr. Lightning in an ever-more-frequently-tapped bottle. He has the eighth-highest VORP - a cummulative stat - among major league first basemen, despite having half the plate appearances of each of the top seven. In the American League, he would be an All-Star candidate.

J.D. Drew may not be earning an $11 million salary and may appear not to hit in the clutch, but he has been the team's top offensive player, providing the most production of any full-timer. A .310 EQA is hard to quibble with. (Actually, I guess Drew proves that it's easy to quibble with. But it's still good.)

Milton Bradley has the fourth-best VORP of any major-league centerfielder. Though it's not like losing Scott Rolen in a collision, the Dodgers will miss Bradley while he's injured.

The statistics of Jeff Kent have been carried by his April performance, but without that April performance, the Dodgers might well be fighting off Colorado for the NL West cellar. Note that Kent's fielding contributions almost match those of Izturis.

Antonio Perez shows that .423 hitters are always nifty to have around. It's been fun.

Jason Phillips is neck-and-neck with Paul LoDuca in VORP.

Ricky Ledee has been better than expected, though he still doesn't hit enough for a full-time outfielder - which, with the injuries to Bradley and Jayson Werth, he has almost been. As a pinch-hitter, he has reached base in 8 of 13 appearances with a 1.252 OPS.

Hee Seop Choi has had a hot stretch sandwiched by two cold ones - thanks to his most recent slump and his Saenz-diminished playing time, he is without an extra-base hit for almost a month. Yet he is an above-average hitter, showing how overloaded the Dodgers are at first base. In theory, Saenz or Choi should be traded for pitching help.

Mike Edwards deserves no derision - a solid bench player in 2005 who has never wilted when forced to start. As a pinch-hitter, he is 3 for 4 with a walk.

Jose Valentin, with Kent, helped the Dodgers start 12-2.

Paul Bako has nearly been an average hitter for a catcher, which is much more than the Dodgers could have expected.

Jason Repko, like Edwards, did the Dodgers proud, considering he began March off the radar. He'd be a superb defensive replacement/pinch-runner/pinch-hitter against lefties for this team, if that were all the Dodgers needed.

Mike Rose has only played in one game. He made contact in all four plate appearances.

Oscar Robles couldn't do what Edwards could do - not embarrass the team. Instead, he did what some people expected Google to do after its IPO - simply crater.

Jayson Werth has hurt the team for the most part since returning from a long stay on the disabled list. Room for improvement.

Jason Grabowski just doesn't get the job done enough. As other players have shown, it's possible to have a positive impact in limited duty.

Norihiro Nakamura may rip it up in Las Vegas, but he amost had to work to do as poorly as he did in Los Angeles. If the outfield ever gets healthy, you could still see Nakamura take Repko's roster spot and get a second chance.

The Dodgers have 10 players with EQAs over .270, totaling all but 446 of their position players' plate appearances. Considering that the adequate catching platoon takes 210 plate appearances of that 446, this is quite good. Yes, some of the team's production has come in blowouts. The Dodgers have been held below three runs 16 times this season - which places them in the middle of major league teams and sandbags their high major-league runs (eighth) and OPS (ninth) rankings. The offense could be more consistent. But after accounting for the pitching-friendly environment the Dodgers play in, the offense remains an overall strength.

Pitching Statistics
PlayerIPHRK/9WHIPERAWSVORP
Brad Penny51.054.591.103.18414.0
Derek Lowe78.076.231.283.58411.0
Odalis Perez48.066.001.134.5015.1
Duaner Sanchez29.036.521.243.7224.9
Yhency Brazoban24.138.511.324.0723.0
Elmer Dessens9.011.001.114.0001.7
Kelly Wunsch17.029.001.414.7611.5
Derek Thompson10.008.101.404.5001.3
Eric Gagne8.1217.281.444.3201.1
Giovanni Carrara22.119.671.884.8410.8
Jeff Weaver73.1125.891.425.6510.0
Wilson Alvarez18.265.301.345.790-0.4
Steve Schmoll16.114.411.654.960-0.9
D.J. Houlton17.017.412.247.410-3.5
Buddy Carlyle14.048.361.438.360-4.3
Scott Erickson42.2111.901.596.75-1-5.3

Capsules
Since returning from the disabled list, Brad Penny has been the ace of the staff - and he hasn't even been at his best. His 4.6 strikeouts per nine innings is well below his career average. He is either still vulnerable physically, ready to absolutely take off and eliminate any remaining lament of the Paul LoDuca trade, or both.

Derek Lowe leads the team in innings and has been effective for most of them. The big inning tends to get him, but he has definitely been an asset.

Odalis Perez has been mediocre, failing to assuage any concerns over giving the injury-plagued pitcher with the declining strikeout rate a multi-year deal - except for the fact that the Dodgers are desperate even for his mediocrity. Does Perez have a career second (or third) wind in him?

Duaner Sanchez has been a solid but unexceptional middle reliever.

Yhency Brazoban goes up and down. His ERA soared after Eric Gagne returned from the disabled list. With his high strikeout rate, however, most signs remain encouraging.

Elmer Dessens shouldn't be a staff savior. Anyone counting on that from him when he returns from his rehabilitation is probably going to be disappointed. But he didn't hurt the Dodgers during his brief 2005 appearances.

Kelly Wunsch has allowed a lot of baserunners, but somehow he doesn't seem that bad. Our standards have been lowered since Tom Martin 2004.

Derek Thompson has been the Mike Edwards of the pitching staff, helping more than hurting when we didn't expect even to see him.

Eric Gagne may not be 100 percent, but striking out two batters an inning shows that something's still there. Imagine if he gets his act together.

Giovanni Carrara allowed his first home run of the season Friday. Right now, he just isn't able to keep people off base, though his strikeout and home run totals indicate he may be pitching in some bad luck. If I were more confident of him maintaining that strikeout and home run excellence, I'd be more confident of him improving as the season went on. As it is, he would ideally be the staff's 11th man.

Jeff Weaver: What can you say about a pitcher who has thrown 73 1/3 innings and has a VORP of 0.0. He has become the staff's Kazuhisa Ishii - reeling off six good innings here and there, but absolutely getting torched in the interim. He needs a solid month before there can be any confidence in him.

Wilson Alvarez in 2005 has been the pitcher you would have expected him to be in 2003, when his career appeared over. The Dodgers will hope the bullpen cures him.

Despite his moments of glory - much of which carried from his diving catch of a bunt in Milwaukee - Steve Schmoll doesn't appear to have the numbers to be a contributor this season.

D.J. Houlton - we'll wait until tonight's first career start, where the forces of his strikeout potential and ugly walks+hits/innings will collide, before rendering any kind of verdict.

Buddy Carlyle - was awful for the team, but I can't give up on the guy.

Scott Erickson - was awful for the team, and I can give up on the guy.

The VORP of every pitcher the Dodgers have used this year, except Penny and Lowe, adds up to 5.3. That's 13 pitchers combining to be the equivalent of less than Hee Seop Choi.

If the Dodgers let Perez get healthy, they might have a third starter. If Weaver can come back, they have a fourth starter. If Thompson or Dessens can give them five decent innings a game, they have a fifth starter.

Those are three big ifs. The team absolutely needs help in its starting rotation.

The bullpen needs help too, but the bullpen hasn't been as bad as the rotation, and solutions are easier to come by there.

Manager
To be discussed in a separate post.

Outlook
The Dodgers have enough offense to win. They've gotten enough contributions, however inconsistent, to present a credible lineup in virtually every game. They do face such immediate tests as Bradley missing games and Saenz, Antonio Perez and perhaps Izturis primed to decline, but there are plenty of other players with upside.

Despite what he says in the press, Paul DePodesta certainly knows that unless the Dodgers figure out why they are giving up home runs at a record rate, the current pitching staff is inadequate. You have to appreciate that he isn't projecting desperation to the world - pointing out how bad the hurlers have been is not going to help him make a deal. But it's obvious that there isn't enough pitching help anywhere in the organization for the Dodgers to get by simply as is.

A deal doesn't have to be made today - the wild card race is essentially a tossup as we speak, and San Diego hasn't exactly clinched the division. (You might recall that a down-and-out 2004 NL West team in June gave the Dodgers quite a scare in September. The Giants were 27-27 on June 4, 2004.) But if the Dodgers want to play postseason baseball, something tangible needs to happen fairly soon: either a real solution to the gopher balls or replacements for them gopher flushers. Look for one or the other to come in the second third of the season.

Comments (57)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-06-04 17:20:04
1.   Louis in SF
Great post Jon. The comment about the trade of a 1st baseman for a starting pitcher is one that makes most sense to me. I just don't know who we could get. The question that I have in looking at this post and has been discussed in previous ones is the use of the pitching staff.

With Erickson being a bust, Alveraz being both unlucky and not as good as last year, is it not possible to keep both Thompson and bring up another starter who could pitch both middle relief and spot start. If my memory is correct, back in the 70's and 80's pitchers like Fernando, Bob Welch, Hershiser, and I think Doug Rau all came up and initially pitched out of the bullpen and occasionally spot started. This preparation seemed to be helpful the following year when they became starters. This sensible trend also is followed less across the major leagues today.

2005-06-04 17:36:25
2.   molokai
I thought you said you were tapped out for time. Great synopsis of the 1st third of the season. Here's to hoping Depo proves his mettle as he tries to net us the pitching we need.
2005-06-04 17:41:12
3.   Doug N
My fear at this point is that it will take trading Gagne to get the team all of the SP it needs. I'm not opposed to the notion of trading Gagne in the right situation, I'm more concerned that he's our only really strong bargaining chip.
2005-06-04 18:02:39
4.   Bob Timmermann
We can't trade a guy who is on one of those banners that's on the side of the stadium?

Can we?

Oh wait. Mike Piazza....

2005-06-04 19:09:55
5.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
As always, Jon has done some nice analysis.

So, we need another starter. Anyone have any ideas. Oswalt perhaps? And what would it take in prospects to get him? Would anyone be willing to give up Guzman for him?

Weaver, despite my jinxing him, did not pitch horribly yesterday all things considered. The strong six innings in frames 2-7 kinda sorta made up for the first. I still think he's primed for improvement.

Odalis Perez's declining K numbers are disturbing, but if his durability questions can be overcome, I'm optimistic about his chances for improvement.

Nevertheless, it does sound like DePo will need to acquire some pitching help at the deadline.

WWSH

2005-06-04 19:40:06
6.   CanuckDodger
Not only do we not need to make a trade, we need to NOT make a trade. Such short-sighted moves will only ensure that tomorrow we are in the same predicament we have been for what seems like an endless string of years, desperately trying to plug holes like the proverbial Dutch boy sticking fingers in a damn that keps developing more holes than he has fingers.

Putting Derek Thompson in the rotation is a prime example of what this organization needs to keep doing: trusting the farm. I wouldn't trade Thompson for Barry Zito straight up, and Thompson was basically our fourth best Double A starter.

2005-06-04 19:53:12
7.   Steve
To be discussed in a separate post.

Ominous.

:)

2005-06-04 20:11:45
8.   Fearing Blue
Thanks Jon. Good stuff.

Like Steve, I am anxiously awaiting the "separate post".

2005-06-04 20:21:42
9.   Sam DC
I've been wondering if Saenz is tradeable. Sure, hate to trade away our leading offensive light, but we've got a lot of horsepower and I wonder if his great start and low low salary make him valuable on the market. You'd need to find someone who thinks his platoon numbers would pan out even if played full time, I imagine.

Young Nationals starter/long reliever Zach Day is available, though he's go to theal up a wrist injury. He has showed promise and good stuff at times, but has a bad r'ship with Frank Robinson and opposing batters both right now. Was recently sent to minors with 6 plus ERA. He was almost traded for Juan Encarnacion recently (also rumors re Preston Wilson). Reasonable chance he could rebound somewhere, I'd guess, though he's certainly not going to be the frontline starter the Dodgers and fifteen other teams want right now.

2005-06-04 20:44:41
10.   Jon Weisman
CanuckDodger - I don't want to make a dumb trade any more than you do. Not all trades are dumb and ruin the future. You might note that some good young talent has come in via trade.
2005-06-04 21:15:30
11.   CanuckDodger
Jon, the young players we have gotten in trades are not the kinds of guys you usually get at this time of year or at the trade deadline, which is why I was so PLEASANTLY surprised by the deal with the Marlins last year. I have liked DePo's trades, which have usually involved giving up major leaguers we don't want, or eminently expendable minor leaguers. The Gutierrez-for-Bradley deal is the only case in which we gave up a guy we had envisioned as being somebody we would want long term, and we were really desperate then, having not been able to sign anybody in the off-season because of the sale of the team to McCourt, and NOBODY from our own minor league system was ready to contribute in the majors.

It's a different situation today: some of our minor league talent, if not our best guys, IS ready to help us, and I believe that we should be looking to these young guys as Dodger PLAYERS, not Dodger trade bait, bits and pieces that can be sent to contribute elsewhere while we get back more veteran rental players who are soon hitting free agency. Even Penny now sounds like he will bid us farewell unless we pay him more money than he is probably deserving of.

2005-06-04 21:39:42
12.   Steve
I like these numbers:

Izturis Fielding VORP: 1.8
Kent Fielding VORP: 1.7

2005-06-04 21:44:49
13.   Jon Weisman
11 - I don't think we're really disagreeing all that much, except perhaps for the amount we think the minor leaguers will help.
2005-06-04 22:22:07
14.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
Okay, Canuck, you've persuaded me to be more patient. I was just thinking about Guzman, since his K numbers do still give me some pause. But I agree that patience is a virtue, which is much too easily squandered by fans in general, including myself.

Another argument for patience is that we're just not really that close to being a true world championship team. If we were just one player away, then it'd make more sense to give up a top prospect. But I think we're more like one player away from winning the division, and then maybe getting into the NLCS. Another solid starter would give us a pretty good rotation, but not a dominant one, and although I think the offense will be fine, "fine" is different than championship caliber. Giving up the next Juan Gonzalez for a NL West championship would be worse than unfortunate.

That being said, it does sound like DePo will make a move from the latest Dodger notes story, and that those moves will involve minor leaguers. How valuable those minor leaguers will be is the question we'll find out.

WWSH

2005-06-04 22:24:49
15.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
Re: 13

Actually, Jon, Houlton tonight and Thompson might indicate that some of our top pitching prospects could spot start. Someone like Tiffany or Billingsley could very well give a few strong spot starts, much like the ones Thomposn has given, and what Jackson gave after his first callup. That could be enough to tide us over if Perez's injury isn't too serious. The 4 or 5 slots in the rotation may be a crazy-quilt patchwork, but it could still be reasonably effective, or, at least, effective enough.

WWSH

2005-06-04 22:34:59
16.   Jon Weisman
I don't disagree - my concern is that the Dodgers might need more than spot starts as the season progresses. The past three nights have been mostly encouraging, but it's just three nights. But it'd be wonderful if it worked out.

Tiffany is just in A ball right now, though, right? Asking him to contribute in 2005 is really asking a lot.

2005-06-04 22:38:32
17.   Fearing Blue
#15: Based on what happened to Jackson, there could be an organizational philosophy against bringing up 20/21 year old pitching prospects. If that's true, those are the ages of all of our top pitching prospects (Billingsley, Broxton, Tiffany, etc.). That could partly explain why Thompson (24) and Houlton (25) are being used before the 12 pitchers Baseball America ranks ahead of them. The other possibility is simply control issues. Thompson and Houlton had much better K/BB ratios than any of our top prospects.
2005-06-04 22:42:01
18.   Ben P
Regarding the earlier discussion of trading Gagne, it won't happen. Not this year, and not next year unless we're in last place. This isn't a computer simulation. It doesn't matter if it makes sense from a logic standpoint (his value is at its highest, Brazoban is an adequate replacement, etc.). Winning may be the most important thing, but the Dodgers absolutely will not trade the guy who puts the most fans in their seats and keeps them there. The idea simply isn't worth discussing unless we fall 20 games under .500 (and even then I doubt it would happen).
2005-06-04 22:42:38
19.   Fearing Blue
#17: I was wrong. Billingsley's control has actually been better than Thompson's. It seems like the differences must have been age and the 40-man roster, since Thompson was already on it and Billingsley was not.
2005-06-04 22:45:57
20.   Sushirabbit
I'd cut bait on Alvarez and Choi, and throw somebody over from the older wrack in Vegas or Jacksonville, for a good starter like Oswalt. Thing about that, is if we get Oswwalt or Zito (who I'd rather not have) then can you afford to keep them around like Penny? I'm might be inclined to gamble on Day ala Bradley. I just don't know why he's floundering (good info, Sam).

Also, I'd still not mind if we could get Helton. Perhaps there's some personal interest/bias on my part (but no inside info). As much as I like and rooted for the guy, I think it's clear now that Choi should be on the bench for awhile, especially after this post. I mean how many at bats does it take?

One thing is for sure, I think changes are a-comin'!!!

2005-06-04 22:46:31
21.   Fearing Blue
#18: I think it depends on what we get in return. Even casual fans would be easily swayed if we outright fleeced somebody (e.g. Zambrano + top prospects). But, if we were making a trade strictly for the future, fans would riot.
2005-06-04 22:49:53
22.   Sushirabbit
Heck, wonder what it would cost to get Chan Ho and Hideo back?
2005-06-04 22:52:41
23.   Jon Weisman
Trade for Helton, when we're getting near-Helton-level production for $1 million? First base is one of the Dodgers' strongest positions. Obviously, Helton is better than Saenz or Choi, but an acquisition of his contract would be a misuse of resources at this point.

Choi, it should be clear from this post, is a good player who is a part-timer mainly because of an unexpected extraordinary performance by Saenz.

2005-06-04 22:53:03
24.   Fearing Blue
#22: Heck, why not give Pedro Astacio and Ramon Martinez call? :)
2005-06-04 23:01:49
25.   Fearing Blue
#9: I was higher on Zach Day until I actually looked at his statistics. He doesn't strike anybody out (4.57 K/9) and he walks a lot of batters (4.03 BB) leading to a pretty bad ratio (1.13 K/BB) for his career. So far this year, he has more walks (25) than Ks (16) in 36 innings pitched. No wonder Robinson doesn't get along with him :).
2005-06-04 23:01:54
26.   Jae
I am the biggest Choi supporter around, and even I can't disagree with the Choi/Saenz platoon, especially since Antonio Perez is playing like Scott Rolen.
2005-06-04 23:07:31
27.   Sushirabbit
I agree with what you are saying about Helton, but we aren't using resources at this point. But then, he'd want more money etc etc, and would probably tank as soon as he put LA on his head. I'd much prefer resources spent on aquiring a real pitcher if that's doable...

I see that Choi is good, but I also see that Saenz is better, even if it is unexpected.

If you take everything all the people that supported Choi were saying about giving him a chance, give him some ABs on both sides, etc, you could apply that now to Saenz. I guess 45 more ABs/PAs might reduce his fielding to less than Choi's, but it might also extend his VORP.. right? I guess, we should be happy to have the problem, but given the numbers above, I'd be playing Saenz more and Choi less.

2005-06-04 23:10:20
28.   Sushirabbit
#24, you proposing a graft of the two just to get Pedro Martinez? I don't think it's all in a name.... :-)

Where have all the Dodger pitchers gone...
hahahahaha

2005-06-04 23:29:41
29.   Fearing Blue
#27: It's extremely rare for a 34 year old to make a major leap in ability. Saenz has always been a good hitter (.271/.351/.473 career averages), but not this good. So far, over 40% of the balls he puts in play are falling for hits (41.38% to be exact). Since he's not legging a bunch of those out, there's clearly some luck involved. For a frame of reference, Kent has only had 25.79% of his balls in play for fall for hits.
2005-06-04 23:32:09
30.   Sushirabbit
Can we start a list of pitchers that might be available? As much as I would love Zambrano (maybe even for Gagne)... I think that is unlikely, so what about Kerry Wood? He's a fastballer. I guess there is some minor league talent, but we already have that, right? Anyone think Randy Johnson has any life in him? Talk about far fetched, but that's what I meant about changes, the one thing Depo has shown me is the ability to shock and surpise in his trades. (hopefully the Dodger's will be keeping Izturis)
2005-06-04 23:33:32
31.   Fearing Blue
I'm all aboard the trade bandwagon, but only if we go for a #1 starter. By obtaining a #1 starter, it would move everyone back and give us a rotation that could compete in the playoffs. As WWSH said, let's not sack our farm system for a division title. Oswalt or bust.
2005-06-04 23:34:06
32.   Sushirabbit
#29 so you're sayin' Saenz is just riding a 'Neifi'?
2005-06-04 23:37:14
33.   Sushirabbit
I second: Oswalt or bust!

...or should I say: Free Oswalt!

....as a final thought, maybe we should get Cora back to pitch. :-)

2005-06-04 23:44:28
34.   Eric L
Would it be surprising if DePo ended up grabbing a pitcher that we aren't considering? I don't think it will be Zito, cause we already have a couple of guys like him in the rotation.

The "Lo Duca trade" pretty much came out of nowhere and I could see a similar type of thing happening again.

2005-06-04 23:54:30
35.   Fearing Blue
#30: Here is a list of teams that are likely out of it, and comments about the interesting pitchers.

Tampa Bay (nothing of value)
Detroit (won't trade Bonderman)
Cleveland (will likely trade Millwood, but not Sabathia)
Kansas City (won't trade Greinke)
Seattle (may trade Piniero or Meche)
Oakland (definitely trading Zito)
Milwaukee (won't trade Sheets, may trade Davis)
Pittsburgh (may trade Redman or Wells)
Cincinatti (probably won't trade Harang)
Houston (may trade Oswalt and/or Clemens)
Colorado (nothing of value)

Of this set, I'd only really be excited about a couple of them:

#1: Roy Oswalt is a 27 year old certified staff ace and is signed through next year at a fairly reasonable $11 million mark. Other than some minor injury concerns, what's not to like?

#2: Kip Wells is a 28 year old pitcher who strikes people out. He would fit into the top of our rotation either just ahead of or just behind Lowe. He's pitching very well this year and making last year's performance look like an abberation. To top it all off, he's still arbitration eligible for another year.

2005-06-05 00:00:00
36.   Fearing Blue
#34: Perhaps, though DePodesta has said he doesn't want to trade major league parts. Last year, prior to the LoDuca trade, he had said we would likely be forced to trade major league parts. If he's only focusing on trading our minor-leaguers, we're limitted to the set of teams that are already out of it. Above, I have 11 teams listed, and there just aren't a lot of great pitchers on those teams.
2005-06-05 00:19:58
37.   Fearing Blue
#32: That's what I was saying, but I double-checked and his luck actually isn't as egregious. Only 33% of his balls in play are falling in for hits (I had accidentally used ABs instead of PAs). Adjusting that to 30% (about average), would transform his batting line to .318/.397/.635, which is still just fine. On the other hand, over the past 3 years, he's OPS'ed over .300 points lower against RHPs (.687 vs .999). His line this year isn't that far out of line with his 3-year averages against LHPs.
2005-06-05 01:38:57
38.   jasonungar05
Mark Redmond
Andy Pettit
Doug Davis
Kip Wells
Barry Zito

guys that I wouldn't be thrilled with, but they could help.

2005-06-05 06:03:07
39.   Langhorne
A conversation with Astros GM Tim Purpura if my Uncle Ralph were the Dodger's GM.

"Tim, babe, how's everything? Great! How's the wife and kids? Great! Fabulous! Look, I'm calling to do you a favor. Your team's struggling. Let's be honest, you've got a lot of dead weight over there. Am I wrong? I want to help. Why? I love you, babe, you know that. Look, this Oswalt character, he's pretty shady. Very shady if you ask me. He's bringing you down. I'm willing to take him off your hands. You don't need pitchers. Pitchers are a dime a dozen. Pitchers don't win ballgames. You know who wins ballgames? Outfielders. Look kid, I wouldn't make this kind of offer to just anybody. What you need is a quality outfielder. Berkman? Tavares? They're done. Strictly yesterday's news. But I'm going to help you because I like you. We've got a guy who's just tearing it up out in Vegas. He's hitting, are you sitting down, .471. You heard me, four-seven-one. Last night he practically won the game single-handed. He went five for five with a home run and two doubles. Can you believe that? His name is Grabowski or something. Is that a baseball name or what? This kid is out of his skull. What? Well yeah, he's 29 but he's a kid at heart. He plays like a kid. I'm telling you he's a bona fide, pure outfield monster. And I'm going to let you have him for practically nothing. I'm telling you, I'm letting you rob me blind but I've got no choice. We've got no where to play him. Our outfield is full. You've got to take him. You'll be kicking yourself if you don't. I'm not going let that happen to my favorite GM. So you just send over that Oswalt guy and I'll put Grabowski on the first plane to Houston. What? Still not convinced. Tim, baby, you are a shark. I'll tell you what I'll do. You're worried about pitching. I really shouldn't do this. The boss'll kill me. Only for you, babe. I'll throw in one of our best young pitchers. I know, I'm crazy. His name is Buddy Carlyle. He's great, you'll love him. What's not to like about a guy named Buddy. So it's a deal? Great! I love you, babe."

If only it were that easy.

2005-06-05 08:09:47
40.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
Following 39:

Okay, so, if we want Oswalt, what are we willing to give up for him? Remember that it took an all-star catcher with Heart-and-Soul and the premiere NL setup man (by reputation at least) to get Penny and Choi, and I consider Oswalt a better pitcher than Oswalt. If DePo wants to only trade minor-league talent for Oswalt, I can't see how it'd take anything less than a top-flight prospect or two--i.e. Guzman, Tiffany, or Billingsley.

Are we willing to give someone like that up?

After some thought, and Canuck's pointed prodding, I'm not willing to. In re: 31, actually, Fearing Blue, where I think we differ a bit is that although I think Oswalt would essentially give us the NL West title, barring catastrophic injuries, I don't think our offense is strong enough to make us WS favorites, even with a playoff rotation of Oswalt-Penny-Lowe-Odalis/Weaver. Saenz and Izzy will come down to earth, Kent is getting long-in-the-tooth, the injury specter still haunts both Drew and Milton, and Werth is unproven. Don't get me wrong, I think we'll be fine, but I mean fine as in contending as-is for the division title and doing okay in the playoffs. A judicious deal will put us over the edge to be NL West favorites, but I don't think even Oswalt would make us WS favorites. And I just think that our best prospects are too precious to be dealt away unless it gives us a decent chance to win the World Series.

In all due honesty, I think DePo will end up giving up bigger prospects to make a bigger deal than I might prefer. I still remember him making it clear before that unlike Dan Evans, he considers no prospect untouchable. He's actually acted a lot more like Evans than those words would indicate, but now that he has a big-league roster of his own doing, I think he will start trading from the farm. There's also the issue of public relations and fan pressure to take into account. For those reasons, I actually could see a top-flight prospect being moved for Oswalt, or a lower-tier one for someone like Zito, or perhaps a starter DePo considers undervalued (and thus less costly in prospects) and that is off the radar screen. I would prefer the latter two scenarios, but it's not like I really have any say in the matter!

WWSH

2005-06-05 08:14:03
41.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
Argghhh--The second sentence in 40 should obviously be comparing Oswalt and Choi, as opposed to Oswalt.

WWSH

2005-06-05 08:47:39
42.   Fearing Blue
#41: First, let me say that I agree that Oswalt is a much better pitcher than Choi :).

Here's what I would consider trading for Oswalt:

Trade Adam LaRoche to Philly for Ryan Howard, since it sounds like there has already been interest expressed.

Trade Ryan Howard plus a second-tier pitching prospect, perhaps Thompson since his stock is currently up, to the Astros for Oswalt.

Now, let me explain why. First, adding Oswalt soon should give us a great chance of catching the Padres for the division title. Second, Oswalt / Penny / Lowe / Perez is a playoff caliber rotation, especially considering that Perez may not have to pitch much as the 4th guy. Third, our offense is top quality, even for the playoffs. We're currently around 4th or 5th in th NL in most offensive categories, and we play in the second most extreme pitcher's park in the league. Last, LaRoche is likely blocked by Guzman and we have 10-12 better long-term pitching prospects than Thompson.

Also, looking forward, there's only one pitcher who's going to be a free agent who could be considered in the class of Oswalt, A.J. Burnett. He'll likely make more than $11 million a year, with a long-term contract, plus he has injury concerns. And, the chance that we outbid the 15 or so other teams who will want him is really low. Add that to the fact that we may lose Penny to free agency, and you have a situation where we're going to be desparate for a rotation stopper.

2005-06-05 09:03:49
43.   Fearing Blue
Apparently, after winning last night, the best thing Plaschke could criticize the Dodgers for is the lack of names on the back of their shirts. What a hack.

http://tinyurl.com/8dej2

2005-06-05 09:49:49
44.   Sameer
While Plaschke is a hack, he did make an effort to publicize the fact that the best shortstop in the majors is not getting his all star lovin'. I went online and voted for Izzy 25 times, and here's to hoping that the rest of LA follows suit (if they haven't already).
2005-06-05 09:57:41
45.   Fearing Blue
#44: Very true. His article on Izzy was spot on. Everyone who reads this site needs to give Izturis 25 votes. That is, unless you subscribe to Steve's philosophy of voting for Garciapparra who's start would default to Izturis.
2005-06-05 10:18:50
46.   Icaros
I actually hope that Izturis doesn't make the team. I'd rather see him (and every other Dodger) get a much-needed 3 day rest. The All-Star game is meaningless anyway.

They do have to take one player from each team, though. Maybe we can send Grabowski.

2005-06-05 10:23:25
47.   Bob Timmermann
I don't mind the absence of names on the uniforms, but they need a different font for the numerals.
2005-06-05 10:26:21
48.   Icaros
Would Times New Roman work for you, Bob, or New Courier? Those are both MLA approved.
2005-06-05 10:56:35
49.   Bob Timmermann
I want them in Arial Bold.

And I think they need to work on the kerning also for the two digit numerals.

Brady Penny looks like this

3_____________1

2005-06-05 12:15:42
50.   dzzrtRatt
Not only are the Dodger prospects not untouchable, but we have more of them than we could possibly use. We're not going to suddenly play 12 rookies in 2007. And no matter what we're saying about Guzman, LaRoche, Billingsley, Aybar, etc. now, most of them will not become top quality major league players for one reason or another. The highest and best use for at least 25 percent of them, conservatively, is as trade bait.

That said, who's got the biggest need to stock their system with prospects?

http://www.minorleagueball.com/story/2005/3/16/104245/603

The Reds, Phillies, Tigers, Marlins, Mets, Yankees and Padres are all bottome tier. DePo could get any one of those teams feeling better about their futures in one trade. (Except Padres of course.) Harang, Lieber, Burnett, Mussina, Pavano, Glavine, Maroth and other #1s and #2s on those teams should be on DePo's shopping list. No point in aiming lower if we're going to part with any of our glorious prospects.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-06-05 12:56:06
51.   Dodgerkid
Mussina and Glavine have complete no trade clauses.
2005-06-05 12:57:11
52.   Dodgerkid
As does Lieber.
2005-06-05 18:36:11
53.   chumsferd
Our pitching has been bad, but it's true talent level is not THIS bad. We have yet to see the vaunted Penny, Lowe, Perez, Weaver rotation all in the rotation at full strength. In short, the pitching should bounce back a bit.

I think we actually have a decent collection of mediocre pitchers already, so I don't think some of the names like zito being thrown around very realistic, especially if you factor in what they will cost.

The only guy of interest that's been discussed is Oswalt, who would cost us two prime prospects. Depo would never do such a deal so I'd forget about it.

I could envision a Werth plus prospect(s) for Dunn scenario, but not for one of our prime guys.

2005-06-06 08:39:27
54.   mrboma
Just wondering if anyone has some sort of stats on how the new field configuration has helped/hurt the Dodgers. The obvious answer is that the batters have been helped by getting a few extra chances and pitchers have been hurt by opposing batters getting more chances. But I'm wondering exactly how much of a change it has made. Most of us still consider Chavez a pitchers park, but with less foul ground it isn't as much of a pitchers park as it used to be. Just wondering if that is quantifiable.

I guess you'd have to watch every game and determine how many catchable balls are going into the new seats... has anyone been tracking this since day 1? I bet the ball club is, but I doubt they will be releasing the data.

As for Plaschke and names on the jersey... I think it was a bad PR move to go nameless in a year with so many new players.

2005-06-06 09:15:48
55.   Robert Fiore
There seems to be something awfully interim about this roster. When I ask myself which of these players are likely to be here three years from now, what I come up with are Izturis, Drew, Bradley, Perez (depending), Penny, Lowe, Gagne, Brazoban, maybe three others as bench players. The organization is on the right track, but the train is a lot closer to Respectableburg than Championville at this point.
2005-06-06 09:48:13
56.   Fearing Blue
#55: Do you have examples of other teams where you can project more than 3/5th of the rotation, the back end of the bullpen, and 3/8th's of the positional starters that far out? Additionally, Werth, Perez, and Choi are all good candidates to stick around, since they'd still be under team control. The reason a lot of people believe the Dodgers are heading towards "Championville" is they should be able to fill holes with quality minor leaguers and use their considerable budget to sign big-impact free agents.
2005-06-06 13:42:53
57.   Robert Fiore
I do think the Dodgers are going to Championville; that's where the tracks are heading. The question is at what point along the track the Dodgers are.

In 1975 you could have projected much of the Dodgers' lineup and rotation for eight years.

The most encouraging thing about the Dodgers is that DePodesta has been given a number of difficult decisions to make, has not shied away from making them, and been right. I.e., letting Beltre go, letting Finley go, believing that LoDuca could be replaced . . .

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