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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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NL West and Gagne Talk
2006-03-22 07:09
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Rich Lederer and Bryan Smith of Baseball Analysts invited me and Geoff Young of the San Diego Padre blog Ducksnorts to discuss the coming season in the National League West. In the end, despite my reservations, I couldn't find any team I felt had a better shot of winning the thing than the Dodgers - but the consensus was that it would be another mediocre year for all five teams.

(Previously: NL West preview at SI.com)

* * *

Meanwhile, the Register, Daily News, Times and Press-Enterprise all conduct an unintentional roundtable of their own regarding the one-inning limit (four outs tops) that Grady Little has announced for Dodger closer Eric Gagne. Aside from my usual disappointment in consigning the team's best reliever to pitch only in that specific inning instead of the inning he might be most needed, I have to wonder why the Dodgers would measure Gagne's workload by innings instead of pitches.

Are you telling me that if Gagne comes into the ninth inning of a tie game at Dodger Stadium (when a save opportunity no longer becomes available) and rips through the opposition in five pitches, you would take him out if the game goes to the 10th? I want Little to be as flexible about bullpen usage as he has appeared to be toward considering different people for the roster.

Anyway, Bill Plunkett of the Register offers this.

Little said he could see himself using Gagne for more than an inning "later in the year" after Gagne has had time to regain arm strength.

"That's something you don't want to get in the habit of doing," Little said. "In the end, it'll take the air right out of the balloon."

Little did not have a true closer with the 2003 Boston Red Sox, a circumstance that he jokes led to his firing after the season - "That's what got me where I am today."

Ugueth Urbina had 40 saves for the 2002 Red Sox. That season, Little used Urbina for more than an inning three times in 61 appearances, on consecutive days 16 times and three consecutive days three times.

(Previously: "No Proof That Mota Trade Hurt Gagne", where we learned that despite the common belief, Gagne's workload did not increase after Guillermo Mota was traded in 2004. Remember, Gagne's problems in 2005 apparently grew out of him altering his mechanics to compensate for a fluke knee injury.)

* * *

Little had this funny comment about Joel Guzman in Tony Jackson's Daily News article:

"I'm a little disappointed in (Joel) Guzman. When we put him in to pinch hit in the eighth or ninth inning and he's the tying run, we're not looking for a base hit to right. I thought he was going to hit one up on that (clubhouse) roof (in left). I just had a vision in my head."

- Dodgers manager Grady Little speaking tongue-in-cheek about the 6-foot-6, 252-pound Guzman, who has monstrous power but poked a harmless single into right field with a runner on and the Dodgers down by two in the eighth inning

Comments
2006-03-22 08:22:43
1.   Terry A
From the Times article, we learn that Grady Little has begun to morph into Jim Tracy:

"Will this man be able to do that?" he (Little) said. "That was in my thoughts this morning. And the answer in my mind is yes."

2006-03-22 08:29:32
2.   Sushirabbit
Look for a tell all book soon, from Milton Bradley,

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/11950065/

2006-03-22 09:06:52
3.   Terry A
I enjoyed the roundtable at Baseball Analysts. It was interesting to think about the Padres now being in a similar position to the Dodgers of a few years back: Trying to win with aging, expensive veterans because the farm is so (relatively) thin.

I guess we've known for a while that the Giants were headed there as well.

2006-03-22 09:10:29
4.   Bob Timmermann
I guess Terry enjoyed it more than the guy who left the commment on Baseball Analysts' site.
2006-03-22 09:25:56
5.   Jon Weisman
You're welcome to continue commenting here on the NL West and Gagne, but there's another new post up top.
2006-03-22 09:54:16
6.   Terry A
Maybe it had something to do with being named Ira?
2006-03-22 09:56:03
7.   regfairfield
Little's inability to think outside of the box with the bullpen isn't surprising. The fact that he mocks the closer by commitee idea shows that he still doesn't get it. The idea was that you bring in the pitcher that best suits the situation in 9th. Bunch of lefites? Bring in Byung, etc.

Little though, took this to mean make one guy your closer until he chokes, and then try someone else. (this is detailed in Mind Game). This is why the closer by commitee idea that has been so derided didn't work, because Little has no imagination and couldn't implement it correctly.

2006-03-22 11:57:32
8.   Uncle Miltie
Is there really anything wrong with what Bradley said? Especially this quote:
"I know the Giants, the San Diego Padres, the Colorado Rockies will be glad I'm not with the Dodgers anymore."
Yea, I'm sure our division rivals are going to really fear 39 year old Kenny Lofton.

I laughed at the picture of Bradley too...

Jeff Kent would never allow that kind of behavior go on in the clubhouse.

2006-03-22 12:08:32
9.   scanderbeg
What, no love for the Diamondback organization for Bradley?!?! What a forgetful jerk!

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