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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

Tossing Darts at the Dodger Bullpen
2006-03-16 15:50
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

You might have an easier time today picking the NCAA men's basketball Final Four than the exact composition of the Dodger bullpen. In any event, here's a look at the many relievers who still have a shot at making the Opening Day roster - but be forewarned, I sort of feel like I'm leading the cattle drive through the rain in City Slickers in trying to make a coherent evaluation.

Locks (3)
Eric Gagne, RHP: So far, so good. No physical complaints. Update: Ken Gurnick of MLB.com provides this bit of news:

Gagne apparently has a body type inclined to produce significant scar tissue, which has translated into requiring more time to recover between appearances this spring. It is believed the elbow sprain he suffered last spring caused the formation of scar tissue that entrapped a nerve in his elbow, requiring last June's season-ending surgery.

Gagne has been taking three days off between appearances, although that will now be trimmed to two days for the next two appearances. He said he plans to pitch on back-to-back days before Spring Training concludes, but he will not pitch two innings in any game, as he had in previous springs.

"For sure, I won't do two innings," he said. "There's no reason with the bullpen we have. If I have to during the season, I'll do it, but later in the season."

Danys Baez, RHP: In the words of Hank Hill, "Yep."

Lance Carter, RHP: If the Dodgers care to define roles this precisely, Carter is making a move to grab the seventh-inning setup role from Yhency Brazoban.

Most Likely to Succeed (2)
Yhency Brazoban, RHP: He was the No. 3 reliever entering Spring Training, so he'd have to fall quite a ways to fall off the roster. Yes, an Edwin Jackson 2004-2005 quality is starting to emerge with Brazoban, a feeling (perhaps only temporary, we can hope) that he is more shaky than sensational. But the odds remain that the Dodgers will give him a chance to prove otherwise in April.

Tim Hamulack, LHP: It's a tossup at this point for the lefthanders, but I'm giving the slight edge to the Ned Colletti acquisition.

And for the Final Spot(s), It Could Be ...
Hong-Chih Kuo, LHP: Mr. Upside - get him while he's healthy.

Franquelis Osoria, RHP: Hasn't really ever done anything wrong. Look to him if Brazoban veers toward collapse.

D.J. Houlton, RHP: He could still win a swingman role, though he'll have to show consistency.

Kelly Wunsch, LHP: More experienced than many of his competitors but working without a net.

Jonathan Broxton, RHP: Still only 21 - and in some people's minds still prone to bad innings - Broxton may simmer in Las Vegas while the team defers to the more proven veterans. (You can decide what they're proven to do.)

Takashi Saito, RHP: Dodger manager Grady Little has said nice things about Saito more than once, but he still has longshot written all over him.

Aaron Sele, RHP: Here's the deal with Sele. Right now, there's no movement to have Chad Billingsley appear in the majors this April. So Sele and Houlton are battling to be the first backup for the starting rotation. To that end, the Dodgers would probably prefer they were both starting in the minors. Despite his headlines this spring, it's hard to believe that the Dodgers want Sele for any other reason than injury insurance. So the question is mostly whether Sele decides life is too short to bum around the Pacific Coast League at age 35.

Joe Beimel, LHP: A year ago, he might well have made the team. This year, there may be too many alternatives.

Essentially, though, there are 10 guys still competing for the final three spots in the bullpen.

Comments (84)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-03-16 16:00:44
1.   ToyCannon
Nice writeup and I think your right on the ball talking about Houlton/Sele. Did we ever get a definitive answer if Kuo and Osoria are out of options because that would play very heavily in the decision?
2006-03-16 16:03:09
2.   Jon Weisman
I believe the definitive answer was "not out of options."
2006-03-16 16:47:36
3.   King of the Hobos
Isn't Brian Meadows still there? Not that he has any chance to make the team, but I'm still not sure what to expect from Colletti, maybe he really likes Meadows
2006-03-16 16:50:11
4.   Jon Weisman
I just don't see a case for Meadows making the team, so I left him out.
2006-03-16 16:50:17
5.   MartinBillingsley31
Great post Jon, i live for your analysis of the team.

1

Both kuo and osoria are not out of options.

5 pitchers that are out of options and are high on the list to make the team are gagne baez brazoban carter hamulack.
I expect all 5 of them to make it.
Leaving 1 or 2 spots left.

As Jon noted, I bet houlton and sele will be the first guys to call up for an injury to the rotation, therefore they both will start in the rotation in the minors.

I think the dodgers want broxton to get more seasoning in the minors.

Saito and beimel are not worth mentioning.

Leaving kuo, wunsch, osoria competing for the 1 or 2 remaining spots in the pen.

Just my opinion.

2006-03-16 16:52:51
6.   thinkblue0
5-

I'd personally keep Kuo out of that last bunch. I don't see anything wrong with having two lefties in the pen...Kuo has been fantastic. Like Jon said, get'em while he's healthy.

2006-03-16 16:54:58
7.   MartinBillingsley31
7

I 100% agree.

I'm just not sure what ned wants.

2006-03-16 16:56:24
8.   MartinBillingsley31
OOOPPPSSS, my 7 post was directed towards thinkblue0 post 6.
2006-03-16 16:58:03
9.   Jon Weisman
UCLA's 2005-06 football and basketball teams really like them slow starts and fast finishes, don't they?
2006-03-16 17:07:52
10.   thinkblue0
9-

I got so bored with that game I've had it paused on my tivo for about 30 mins...at least I'll be able to fast forward through all the commercials of the next game...

2006-03-16 17:08:50
11.   sanchez101
All the talk of rookies had me thinking how much the Dodger farm system has contibuted in recent history. Looking back as best I can, here are the farm system contributions since after Hollandsworth won the ROY back in '96 through to 2004:

Position Players, first season with significant playing time:
Wilton Guerrero, 2B 1997 (357 ab's)
Adrian Beltre, 3B 1998 (195 ab's)
Alex Cora, SS 2000 (353 ab's)
Paul LoDuca, C 2001 (460 ab's)

total: two utility infielders, a good starting catcher, and one of the biggest prospect busts in recent times.

Starting Pitchers, first season with at least 10 starts:
Kaz Ishii, LHP 2002 (28 GS)
Luke Prokopec, RHP 2001 (22 GS)
Eric Gagne, RHP 2000 (19 GS)

total: one complete bust, one back end starter, and one failed starter turned superstar reliever. (should Ishii even count as a product of the farm system?)

Relievers, first season with at least 40 apperances:
Darren Dreifort, RHP 1998 (48 G)
Onan Masaoka, RHP 1999 (54 G)
Matt Herges, RHP 2000 (59 G)

total: one injury-ruined pithcer, one career AAA pitcher, one solid middle reliever.

Am I missing anyone?

2006-03-16 17:09:22
12.   MartinBillingsley31
One thing that i'm pretty sure i'm right about is that mccourt ned and grady all think highly of "depth" considering last season.

So if there is a tight competition between a guy who has options and a guy who is out of options (or has an out clause) i think the guy who is out of options (or has an out clause) will make the team, i.e. martinez or robles (or both) over aybar.

2006-03-16 17:10:55
13.   MartinBillingsley31
Add to 12

Maybe even ross over repko (if repko has options).

2006-03-16 17:12:36
14.   sanchez101
12. I agree, player options and injuries will probably have more to who makes the opening day roster than spring training performance. I hope we can keep Cody Ross, I think he could do more for the team than Repko right now.
2006-03-16 17:18:24
15.   thinkblue0
14-

I'll take just about anyone over Repko...

2006-03-16 17:19:08
16.   MartinBillingsley31
The more i think about it, the more i'm looking forward to 2007, with the prospects joining the team and sticking (guzman billingsley broxton martin) maybe laroche.

Some money available to sign a couple top free agent powerhitting high obp position players.

Some of the mediocre guys gone, due to a 1 year contract (lofton alomar carter) i wish i could say tomko and mueller.

No need for the repkos and izturis of the world.

That is if ned doesn't do something stupid.

2006-03-16 17:19:18
17.   Uncle Miltie
Just got back from class. I guess UCLA decided to show up and Belmont remebered who they are.
2006-03-16 17:20:12
18.   Bob Timmermann
Now that UCLA has finished off Belmont, they should take Belmont's archrival: Marshall.
2006-03-16 17:24:49
19.   trainwreck
America is cheating its way to the conference finals in the WBC.
2006-03-16 17:26:45
20.   D4P
20
It's the American way.
2006-03-16 17:31:20
21.   sanchez101
Does Cantu's RBI squelch this controversy, or am I going to have to hear about this for the next couple days?
2006-03-16 17:33:29
22.   King of the Hobos
Update on Navarro:

"Maybe it won't be too long," said a hopeful Navarro, whose prognosis for return is 10-14 days. "It's better than they thought. It was really painful. When it happened, I thought maybe it would be three months. Stuff happens, you know? I'm glad it happened in Spring Training."

2006-03-16 17:33:41
23.   trainwreck
If America wins the game you will hear about it.
2006-03-16 17:35:20
24.   sanchez101
In that case, I just figuered out which team Im rooting for.
2006-03-16 17:38:20
25.   King of the Hobos
Miller and Laroche were optioned down to minor league camp. Also, Kevin Malone felt brave enough to show his face in Dodgertown today. I'm not sure why he's there though

http://tinyurl.com/mo5t8

2006-03-16 17:41:45
26.   sanchez101
does it bother anyone that the anouncers were more impressed by Chipper than by that amazing catch?
2006-03-16 17:43:30
27.   Uncle Miltie
I completely forgot about the WBC. So how did the U.S. cheat this time? I'm rooting against them because I'm fed up with umpires favoring them.
2006-03-16 17:43:49
28.   sanchez101
Figures that Malone shows up when all his contacts are finally off the books. Then again, look at the farm system he had to work with.
2006-03-16 17:46:10
29.   D4P
27
One of the Mexican players hit a ball fairly high up off the rightfield foul pole, only to have Bob Davidson rule it a double.
2006-03-16 17:46:47
30.   Jon Weisman
25 - That article has some interesting notes about Gagne's durability. I've published an excerpt in the Gagne section up top.
2006-03-16 17:49:23
31.   Uncle Miltie
Wow, just saw the replay. That is terrible call. I wouldn't be surprised if these umpires are being paid off.
2006-03-16 17:53:17
32.   MartinBillingsley31
Little seems to have settled on a batting order with no surprises -- Rafael Furcal, Kenny Lofton, J.D. Drew, Jeff Kent, Nomar Garciaparra, Mueller, Jose Cruz. Jr. and Navarro. With either Furcal or Lofton sitting, he would move Garciaparra to second and Mueller or Cruz to fifth. It could get pretty interesting, however, if Guzman blasts continue to clear the palm trees.

1)I'm salivating if guzman joins the team and sits lofton.
2)I'd salivate even more if the dodgers kept choi and moved nomar to 3b giving choi/saenz 1b.
3)And i'm allready salivating over my boy martin starting.

#2 won't happen tho.
And knowing ned, #1 won't happen either.
I can dream tho.

2006-03-16 17:53:57
33.   thinkblue0
am I the only one more interested in the tourney?

I just want dodger baseball to start asap...

2006-03-16 17:54:19
34.   D4P
32
At least it's starting to sound as if Grittle has abandoned the idea of batting Drew 5th (instead of 3rd).
2006-03-16 17:58:51
35.   Mark Linsey
From Lyle Spencer's new article on mlb.com:

"If new GM Ned Colletti's acquisitions pay off, this will be a more talented team than the one that won a World Series 18 years ago, stunning the Mets and A's along the way."

Anyone think that this is a tad optimistic, even assuming that all the older players aquired meet their (reasonable) upsides?

2006-03-16 18:00:21
36.   sanchez101
33. no
2006-03-16 18:00:53
37.   D4P
35
To be fair, the 1988 team wasn't really that talented. Orel and Gibby carried the team, with unexpected, "timely" contributions from guys that wouldn't typically be thought of as "talented."
2006-03-16 18:14:18
38.   trainwreck
Anybody else rooting for Xavier?
2006-03-16 18:14:55
39.   ToyCannon
Listening to Miller/Karros/Sutcliffe my gag reflex just hit an all time high.
Zag's better come through or I'm going to quit them.
2006-03-16 18:19:14
40.   sanchez101
35. Thats very easy to imagine, the '88 team was so "magical" because they werent terribly good but won anyway. You cant be lovable, long shot underdogs AND very good.
2006-03-16 18:29:03
41.   grandcosmo
35. Maybe more talented offensively but I don't see how their pitching staff is as talented as the 1988 staff.
2006-03-16 18:31:43
42.   sanchez101
Im sure Im not the first person to ask this but, how has Arod been DHing while Jeter AND Chipper play in the field?

Is Chipper/Jeter's leadership auro overwhelming Martinez' better judgement, or is this just the manisfestation of the hatred aimed towards ARod by everyone? Its probably both.

2006-03-16 18:41:51
43.   Bob Timmermann
42
There are some things best not known.
2006-03-16 18:50:08
44.   ToyCannon
It is amazing that Chipper is playing 3b. I have no problem with Jeter playing SS since AROD hasn't played SS in 2 years. Great game, two more innings.

Thank you Zag's for not breaking my heart again.

2006-03-16 18:51:43
45.   D4P
Thank you Zag's for not breaking my heart again.

I have them losing to Indiana in the next round, which means (of course) that they'll beat San Diego St.

2006-03-16 18:54:11
46.   Steve
Worst. Region. Ever.
2006-03-16 18:55:58
47.   D4P
46
The #1 seed is a team from Tennessee who gets to play right next door in California.
2006-03-16 19:08:06
48.   Steve
Memphis -- headcase

UCLA -- plays in the Pac-10

Gonzaga -- competition is San Francisco

Kansas -- headcase

Pitt -- A non-conference schedule that makes UCLA's look like the NBA

Indiana -- Not even in the tournament three weeks ago

Marquette -- We saw how that went.

Arkansas -- Why?

Bucknell -- Right.

Alabama -- Only good enough to beat Marquette

San Diego St. -- Rest assured that Air Force does not belong in this tournament.

2006-03-16 19:26:52
49.   Uncle Miltie
Why pinch run for A-rod? I'd pinch run for Chipper.
2006-03-16 19:31:23
50.   Uncle Miltie
Haha..the U.S. loses. The curse of A-rod? I guess Jeter isn't a championship caliber player. I love how Eric Karros is already making excuses.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-03-16 19:32:31
51.   TheRedMenace
49 - When you are the road team you play for the lead, not for the tie. A-rod represented the go-ahead run, thus the pinch-runner.
2006-03-16 19:34:19
52.   Uncle Miltie
51- you don't play like that when you have a clear advantage in pitching talent though. Buck Martinez is a horrible manager and I'm glad the U.S. lost.
2006-03-16 19:40:58
53.   Bob Timmermann
The other problem for the US would have been (and this is all a moot point) that Jones was the third baseman and Rodriguez the DH. The US didn't have another third baseman on the roster so the team would have lost the DH.

Not that the US didn't have pinch hitters left. They still had Matt Holliday. And Brian Schneider. And ...

2006-03-16 19:51:28
54.   Uncle Miltie
Bob- I didn't know that A-rod was DH'ing. I only watched a couple innings of the game. Why we would DH when he's a much better defender than Chipper? Another head scratching move from Buck Martinez.
2006-03-16 19:56:35
55.   Bob Timmermann
See comment 43 where I gave my answer.
2006-03-16 20:00:40
56.   das411
Hey Jon, has Bob ever out-commented you in competing threads like this before?
2006-03-16 20:04:01
57.   D4P
56
The score was just tied at 56...I guess I should go over and re-tie the score...
2006-03-16 20:16:50
58.   Jon Weisman
56 - I embrace it. All for one, one for all.
2006-03-16 20:41:43
59.   Bob Timmermann
I have the advantage of having real games.

Things will get back to normal once the regular season starts and Grady Little leaves in Odalis Perez too long and then has Lance Carter relieve.

That should be good for about 300 comments.

2006-03-16 20:46:19
60.   das411
True Bob, but...how did we miss more love for Hee Seop?!?!?

http://www.yard-work.org/?p=470

2006-03-16 21:05:27
61.   Bob Timmermann
In Anaheim, American fans chanted "Hee Seop Choi!" but the Koreans would chant "Choi Hee Seop!"

The scoreboard identified him as "Choi HS"

2006-03-16 21:19:06
62.   Marty
Indiana may pull this out. I could use it.
2006-03-16 21:45:18
63.   Steve
Strange how if you would have told me before the game started that Vernon Wells would have blown the game hitting into a first pitch double play, I would have unreservedly believed you.
2006-03-16 21:48:11
64.   Bob Timmermann
Shouldn't Bad Altitude be praising David Cortes's performance?
2006-03-16 22:43:39
65.   Louis in SF
I am looking forward to the Korea Japan game on Saturday, especially if Sao pitches and we see the old Chan Ho Park, and if we can get another homer from Hee Sop Choi. The pitching performance of Sao and the boost in his confidence, should bode well for this upcoming season.
2006-03-16 23:02:37
66.   Bob Timmermann
It will likely be Seo vs. Uehara in one semi and Colon vs. Marti or Lazo in the other.

The pitch limit is 95 for the final two games and the mercy rule is not in effect.

2006-03-16 23:17:00
67.   Eric L
54 I've been wondering if A-rod DHing was a move to calm Steinbrenner's nerves. I'm not a tinfoil hat type of guy, but I think it could be a realistic possibility.
2006-03-16 23:21:13
68.   sanchez101
Im rooting for Choi right now harder than Ive ever rooted for anyone ever before. The only chance in the world he has left to get significant playing this season is if he gets some sort of (say this like jim rome) "clutch" hit. Ideally of the four bag variety. Even then, he may get benched.

Im trying to hold my judgement of Grady until he actually make some obvious bonehead decisions. This may have already happened, but lets hope we avoid steve starting a firegradylittle.com.

2006-03-16 23:25:36
69.   sanchez101
67. everyone wishes they could blame their problems on steinbrenner. bottom line is that we are all supposed to hate alex rodriguez, even if you dont know why (i dont).
2006-03-16 23:37:32
70.   Bob Timmermann
Dodgers still playing in the WBC:
Odalis Perez
Hee-Seop Choi
Jae Seo

The only other team with three players left in the WBC would have been the Pirates with Ronny Paulino, Salomon Torres, and Damaso Marte. But Marte isn't going to pitch the last two games.

2006-03-17 00:19:45
71.   blue2thebone
The US got humbled tonight. It's sad to see such a potent lineup just roll over. Too many big ego's trying to hit long-balls like they're softball players.

I guess it goes to show how important it is to be scrappy! Stats can show trends,but they don't show a complete picture of a team or individual. There are intangible qualities that must also be considered to create a champion.It sure helps to have leadership, and teamwork. Players that hustle can make up for a lack of raw talent.
Just my opinion.

Now I'm rooting for Korea. In addition to Choi & Seo, they've got good intangibles.
They're downright scrappy!

2006-03-17 01:46:54
72.   GoBears
71 Thanks. I needed a good chuckle.
2006-03-17 03:11:55
73.   Andrew Shimmin
The 2004 Royals beat the 2004 World Champion Red Sox twice in eight chances. Was their winning occasioned by hustle, or by chance? If it wasn't chance, what's the point of playing 162 games? Why not adopt a WBC style round robin tournament?

Hustle can make some of the difference in talent, just not much. Not nearly so much as chance, which is what Scrap Über Alles types tend to like poaching. Which is irritating. Like insomnia.

2006-03-17 04:04:07
74.   Andrew Shimmin
Is Ainsworth officially gone, yet? Haven't heard anything about him, and he didn't make the big list.
2006-03-17 07:04:54
75.   Sam DC
Baseball is surreal -- Cristian Guzman is likely lost for the season and Nationals fans are bummed. The most hated guy on the squad last year, but it's Spring so my next door neighbor thinks, this year, Guzzie's gonna' break out.

Of course being left with Royce Clayton at short is certainly reason to be bummed.

Bob -- that Capitol Punishment blogger who showed up at the Griddle has some proposed questions for Boswell's chat at 11 Eastern today. Other than the failure to capitalize, I thought you'd like the first one:

"Potential questions:
-- Can Royce Clayton compensate for the loss of Guzman's swagger?
-- How did you get to be so smart? Educate me, oh wise one!
-- I think the stadium design stinks, reassure me, gentle Boz!"

http://dcbb.blogspot.com/

2006-03-17 07:27:30
76.   Steve
I liked this line too:

Truthfully I'd rather have Rauch, but I have a feeling that they're just going to squander him or lose him for nothing anyway.

Good times.

2006-03-17 07:46:24
77.   iluvned
Ned Coletti is a magician. With 2 trades he upgraded our bullpen exponentially (Baez, Carter, Hamulak) and he improved our rotation (Seo). When mid-May rolls around the words Coletti and genius are going to be used in the same sentence often.

In his other trade he brought in a great young prospect in Ethier for an injury riddled, cancerous Bradley and an expendable Antonio Perez.

The man can finnagle.

2006-03-17 07:51:17
78.   Jon Weisman
Dodger Thoughts March Madness Leaders after Day 1:

1 kiely 1 , t. kiely 150 (15-1)
2 Weatherman 1 , D. Weatherman 140 (14-2)
Carter 4 , A. Carter 140 (14-2)
Willig , A. Willig 140 (14-2)

http://games.espn.go.com/tcmen/group?groupID=93221&entryIDFrom=592311

I'm way, way back at 10-6. Seeded teams are 12-4.

2006-03-17 08:17:22
79.   Steve
This must have been Super Scrap-er-ific

The Americans blew an opportunity against Edgar Gonzalez in the top of the fifth, when Jeff Francoeur opened with a double and Barrett was hit by a pitch. Francoeur strayed off second when Michael Young squared to bunt, and was caught in a rundown. Gonzalez then retired Young and Derek Jeter on ground balls to end the inning.

2006-03-17 08:26:14
80.   Marty
75 That guy is good. I've bookmarked his blog.
2006-03-17 08:33:02
81.   Bob Timmermann
The entry entitled "Coin Flip" got half of the games right.

Figures.

2006-03-17 09:26:22
82.   ToyCannon
81
LOL
2006-03-17 11:57:19
83.   Sushirabbit
Feel the love...
for Pat Borders, that is! :-)

I was checking out the sounds and had to share this with you guys:

Pat Borders Game Used Bat:
http://tinyurl.com/ryh38

2006-03-17 16:37:55
84.   Marty
Well, so far I'm 7-1 today. Go George Mason!

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