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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

Ross No Longer Dressed for Less
2006-04-13 15:17
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

It hasn't been a wonderful thing to be a Dodger named Ross the past few years. Things ended sadly here in the 2004-05 offseason for Mr. Dave and Mr. Porter, and it looked like it would be the same in 2005-06 for Mr. Cody.

Now, everyone's wondering more than ever about the fate of Cody Ross. Not that one magnificent seven-RBI game does a career make (though it's a heck of a moment), but it's hard to argue that Ross isn't more valuable to the Dodgers than one of the seven men in their bullpen. Yet the Dodgers can't stash him in the minors, because he is out of options.

Ross' hot start to the season off the bench for the Dodgers has cemented that he has some trade value. Both he and fellow right-handed outfielder Jason Repko, who were practically waiver bait when Spring Training began, have shown upside. So the Dodgers might try to parlay their April performances and trade one of them for something useful.

However, it should be clear that the category of "something useful" should not include another mediocre relief pitcher. So on the theory that the Dodgers might find no meaningful trade offer, here's what we're looking at:

1) The Dodgers can and should make sure Kenny Lofton is 100 percent and then some before activating him from the disabled list.

2) With more not necessarily being merrier, especially with off days in each of the next two weeks, the 12-man pitching staff should be reduced to 11 once Lofton or Nomar Garciaparra comes off the DL, as Ken Gurnick of MLB.com suggests:

Little said his struggling relievers might be more effective if there were fewer of them pitching more regularly. That could mean optioning to Las Vegas a young reliever like Franquelis Osoria, whose ERA is 12.27 after he allowed a run Thursday.

Even more likely, something could be done with Yhency Brazoban, who is pitching as if the sore shoulder and elbow he battled during Spring Training still aren't sound. He was shut down for two weeks in Florida and might be headed back to the sidelines.

"The guys feel he's not throwing like he's capable of throwing," said Little.

I would add Tim Hamulack, whose 0.00 ERA belies the inherited and unearned runs he has allowed to score, to the list of drop-down candidates.

3) Should Lofton and Garciaparra both somehow become healthy before the next Dodger gets hurt - almost unthinkable, isn't it - first baseman James Loney would probably return to AAA Las Vegas. Unfortunately, that would lead the Dodgers extremely overloaded on the bench with right-handed batters. With a right-handed pitcher starting, Ricky Ledee would be the only left-handed bat on reserve.

So that's the scenario that might force the Dodgers' hand on Ross. But with circumstances changing almost daily, we can cross that bridge when we come to it.

In the meantime, some cold water to toss your way. Ex-Ross manager Jim Tracy wasn't too overwhelmed by the player's hitting display, according to Alan Robinson of The Associated Press:

Pirates manager Jim Tracy said any major league hitter would have liked the two pitches Ross homered on.

"The grand slam was a split-finger pitch by Oliver that sat in the middle of the plate," Tracy said. "The homer off Marte was a first-pitch fastball that was right down the middle. Cody, or anybody else, is going to hit pitches like that."

On a more random note, here are the career stats of the last Ross to hit two home runs in a game for the Dodgers, Dave, since his great day of September 14, 2003: 64 for 311, 10 home runs, 26 walks, .277 on-base percentage, .354 slugging percentage, .631 OPS.

But as Gurnick noted, in the same game Cody Ross hit his last (and first) career home run, also a grand slam, Cody suffered a season-ending knee injury. A three-run home run is a nice alternative to that.

* * *

Playing hurt: Gurnick earlier had a couple of reports about the following walking wounded that should be cause for concern.

(J.D. Drew) hasn't seemed to recover fully from last year's shoulder surgery. He has yet to come close to displaying the power throws that made him one of the better defensive right fielders in the league. ...

Shortstop Rafael Furcal is still occasionally troubled by a sore shoulder he encountered trying to play catch-up this spring while recovering from knee surgery. Furcal said he still feels it on certain throws, especially off his back leg.

Given how Repko and Ross have been hitting, don't look for Drew to get many starts against left-handed pitchers, at least for now. Kind of unusual to platoon an $11 million hitter, but I have to come down in favor of anything that will help Drew physically, that will buy him some time. And again, look for change as soon as the plan stops working.

Meanwhile, Furcal presents another situation of a Dodger compensating for one injury and then coming down with another. Anyone out there endose putting Furcal on the disabled list for 15 days to let him heal, and surviving, however glumly, with Ramon Martinez or Oscar Robles at short for a while?

(Or Joel Guzman? No, I know - that positional ship has sailed.)

* * *

If you're disappointed about Drew's fragility, boy, things could be worse right now. Adrian Beltre and Shawn Green, whose would-have-been Dodger paychecks have instead funded Drew among others, were a combined 8 for 55 (.145) with three walks and one extra base hit, Green's home run Tuesday.

Comments (74)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-04-13 16:25:08
1.   Bob Timmermann
So is this weekend at Dodger Stadium going to be the Jason Repko and Cody Ross Experience?

I don't believe Lofton is going to come back this weekend (if he exists at all) and Garciaparra may not be back for even longer.

2006-04-13 16:27:44
2.   Jacob L
All the short term veteran contracts, all of them, should have had clauses that allowing the club to convert them to actual coaches should younger players start producing at their respective positions. Ugh.

How much you want to bet that by midseason Repko and/or Ross will be outplaying Lofton, Loney for Garciaparra, and any living catcher for Alomar? Not to mention Billingsley/Tomko. The roster spot/playing time will go to the a) guy playing better, or b) name guy making the money?

What I'm learning is that bad contracts are still bad contracts even if they're only for one year.

2006-04-13 16:31:52
3.   Jon Weisman
2 - Well, I wouldn't get carried away. Ross is a ways from proving that he's better than Lofton. For that matter, so is Repko.

I'm not saying I would have signed Nomar and Lofton to be starters at first and center, but I wouldn't have bet that Repko or Ross would be the ones making us question them.

2006-04-13 16:39:02
4.   Bob Timmermann
I notice that Jon has finally been de-h'd on SI.com.
2006-04-13 16:41:28
5.   Jacob L
3 All I'm saying is that once you hand Kenny Lofton $4 million, he's your starting center fielder, and he's on your roster all year. Its also very reasonable to think that somebody, though not necessarily Repko or Ross, could outproduce him.
2006-04-13 16:42:20
6.   Vishal
how does hamulack have a 0.00 ERA? didn't he give up the game-winning homer to abreu the other day? doesn't at least abreu's run get charged to him, even if the runners weren't his?
2006-04-13 16:43:43
7.   Telemachos
6 At a guess, because of the Furcal error?
2006-04-13 16:45:04
8.   Vishal
[7] ohhh yeah. i forgot about that.
2006-04-13 17:00:01
9.   blue22
I'm a big fan of Loney, but I don't think he's ready for a fulltime gig (let alone out-produce Nomar). He's shown ML-quality defense, and a nice approach at the plate. He hasn't shown a smidgen of power though, outside of some nice line drive singles.

I think this was a nice audition to show what he can do, unfortunately he needs time to develop the things he can't do.

2006-04-13 17:11:10
10.   Jon Weisman
9 - Loney sure hit a heck of a foul ball the other night.
2006-04-13 17:14:05
11.   Suffering Bruin
Just got back from the Grand Canyon. It's spectacular, amazing and frankly, a little scary.

Lord, am I sick of these injuries. I haven't been able to follow the team inning-by-inning like last season because I'm a working man now but I am sick to death of our guys getting hurt. I'm kind of glad we didnt' get Vlad after all because I like him and if he played for us, he would be on his second surgery by now.

I'm just sayin'...

2006-04-13 17:16:41
12.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
9 - I don't think he's ready for a fulltime gig (let alone out-produce Nomar)
Nomar is hurt and can't play. By definition, Loney is out-producing him.
As for your other point, I'd rather have a young player with "ML-quality defense, and a nice approach at the plate" but needs to develop power, rather than a player with oodles of power but a lousy batting eye and a stone glove.
2006-04-13 17:18:11
13.   Telemachos
In all fairness to Nomar, weren't most reports this spring saying he was acquitting himself well with the glove?
2006-04-13 17:20:20
14.   Sam DC
So, I've been feeling that I've stuck too much DC in the comments of late (Jon's "so what kind of fan are you" question this morning was the subtle tip off . . .). (kidding!) But for whatever reason, I can't quite resist. Today's news: Ryan Church is now back up; Brandon Watson loses the job after a week. My marginally more extended comments (which I was trying to keep out of here) are over in Bob's Quality Start thread if you've any interest.
2006-04-13 17:22:54
15.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
11 - Scary, eh?? Then you definitely don't want to read "Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon." It's an accounting of all 500-plus deaths in that beautiful gorge.
http://tinyurl.com/qjxzt
Then again, perhaps reading it would help you face down your fear. ;)
2006-04-13 17:25:11
16.   Bob Timmermann
Gratuitous cheap shot at the Nationals on the Griddle now.
2006-04-13 17:26:12
17.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
Block that metaphor!
Dig Steve Henson's lead: "Cody Ross was blindfolded with a sword in his back prodding him down the plank. He had his hands tied behind his back and no reprieve in sight. He had his name all but typed onto the waiver wire."
2006-04-13 17:29:39
18.   Bob Timmermann
The Grand Canyon?

You mean the thing that's always on the opposite of the plane that I'm flying on?

2006-04-13 17:29:52
19.   Eric Enders
15
After going to Yellowstone (and I'm glad it was after), I read a book called "Death In Yellowstone" which accounts for all the deaths in the park's history. Most of them were people who fell into Lake Yellowstone and either drowned or froze to death, but the one I remember best is the guy whose unknowing dog jumped into a boiling hot spring. He jumped in to rescue Fido and both were immediately burned to death.
2006-04-13 17:32:17
20.   Jon Weisman
14 - Not at all. Didn't mean to made you second-guess yourself one bit.
2006-04-13 17:32:24
21.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
18 - I once saw majestic Monument Valley from 30,000 feet. From that height, it looks as if the land needs an application of sandpaper to get rid of those ugly nodules.
2006-04-13 17:37:19
22.   Eric Enders
That Griddle post was pretty funny, Bob.
2006-04-13 17:41:34
23.   Sam DC
20 I truly was kidding; you didn't at all. My efforts at self-regulation are just that. s
2006-04-13 17:42:05
24.   Marty
The boys over at Fire Joe Morgan have pointed out that Mike Celizic wrote that if the Mets can take 6 out of 9 from the Braves in 3 series during late April and early May then the divsion will be wrapped up. How's THAT for stupidity.
2006-04-13 17:45:10
25.   ssjames
On an unrelated note, it looks like the Feds are going to be going after Barriod for perjuring himself in the Balco investigation. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
2006-04-13 18:22:27
26.   das411
24 - How late in the season were the Braves in 4th place last year?

Re: the bench/bullpen situation, maybe Saito is supposed to be that other lefthanded bat..?

2006-04-13 18:22:53
27.   Linkmeister
This is the second time the Grand Canyon has made an appearance on a blog I've been reading today. What's going on here?

If you go back and hike it, be sure to go down the Kaibab Trail and up the Bright Angel. The Kaibab is the steeper of the two.

I learned this the hard way back in 1970.

2006-04-13 18:23:37
28.   Blu2
If Ross is so good, how come he can't grow hair? (That's a joke)
2006-04-13 18:26:18
29.   King of the Hobos
The Pirates have placed Jody Gerut on the restricted list because he underwent knee surgery they didn't want him to have. If he's going to risk his salary with surgery, then he must really think something's wrong, plus I just wouldn't trust the Pirates.
2006-04-13 18:33:48
30.   sanchez101
29. I know, what I cant believe is that so many of Tracy's assistants followed him there. I mean, its bad enough that they're willing to follow Tracy around, but they're willing to follow him to Pittsburgh? What does that say?
2006-04-13 18:34:15
31.   Bob Timmermann
29

I would think that if Gerut files a grievance about that, he will win.

It's not like most pro athletes are faking injuries like a Californian seeking a worker's comp claim from Dr. Nick Riviera.

2006-04-13 18:39:15
32.   Eric Enders
Heck, the Dodgers should hire Dr. Riviera. He'd probably be an improvement.
2006-04-13 18:39:38
33.   Steve
Who gave Littlefield permission to get a lobotomy?
2006-04-13 18:58:37
34.   blue22
12 - Unfortunately, I expect Loney to produce Hatteberg-esque numbers if he were to play everday this year.

Nomar may be over-rated, but he'll outhit Loney this season.

2006-04-13 19:02:16
35.   Vishal
i've got an mlb.tv question here...

i'm thinking of getting it, obviously, but i'm wondering about how the blackout thing works. i live in syracuse, ny, which is a blackout area for the yankees and mets (which i guess is fine when i'm here, because i can watch it live on tv, but not when i'm visiting my family or in china which i will be for large chunks of the season), and my family lives in orange county. however, their zipcode (92843), which SHOULD probably be in a blackout area for both the angels and dodgers, which would be incredibly inconvenient, is not on the official list of blacked out zipcodes. so should i do my syracuse zipcode and deal with it, or put in 92843 and hope that i've somehow found a loophole in the blackout system? i think i can rig the billing address either way. but if i'm going to be blacked out, i'd rather black out the new york games.

2006-04-13 19:05:08
36.   King of the Hobos
14 Not just is Church replacing Watson, Brendan Harris will replace Wiki Gonzalez, making LeCroy the backup catcher. Frank, unhappy by the move, will rest Schneider "very rarely." While nothing he says can be trusted, it looks like Brian Schneider will catch until he is physically unable. Now fans in Washington will get to go through what Dodger fans went through with Loduca in August and September
2006-04-13 19:17:57
37.   King of the Hobos
35 My zipcode (91390) does not appear on the blackout list yet I have the games blacked out. It's probably because it's a fairly new zipcode, and the majority of it is located in forested area (I, however, am not in the forest). Blackout doesn't apply to archive though
2006-04-13 19:20:11
38.   Bob Timmermann
35

I would try to use the upstate New York ZIP code if you can. Don't they hand out credit cards to college students just for showing up now? I would think some credit card company would preapprove you.

2006-04-13 19:29:53
39.   King of the Hobos
Sele got off to a nice start, gave up 3 runs in the first inning. Aybar managed to doubled off Weaver, but the 51's failed to score. 3-0 Bees after one inning
2006-04-13 19:46:13
40.   King of the Hobos
Sele got out of the 2nd unscathed. Following a Robles double and Martin single, Wilson Valdez homered, matching his total from last year. Valdez is currently 9-22 with 2 doubles, a homer, and 4 walks
2006-04-13 20:29:21
41.   Vishal
[37] man, that's disconcerting. i called MLB and they said if the zip code is not on the list, i won't be blacked out.

[38] yeah, all my credit cards have billing addresses here in new york, but i could rig something through my parents' if i needed to.

2006-04-13 20:31:55
42.   King of the Hobos
Aybar gives the 51's the lead with a solo homer against Weaver, good for his third of the season
2006-04-13 20:37:31
43.   Bob Timmermann
41

I believe that MLB.com speaks with forked tongue.

2006-04-13 20:38:16
44.   bhsportsguy
According to AP, Federal Grand Jury is investigating potential perjury by Mr. Barry Bonds.

I am guessing that Barry will say nothing and his lawyers will say they will not comment on an ongoing investigation.

2006-04-13 20:39:20
45.   bhsportsguy
I sure hope that Aybar's power is a combination of hard work (although is Winter Ball stats left a lot to be desired) and Vegas park adjustments and not the product of something else.
2006-04-13 20:48:26
46.   Underbruin
Great game going on in Vegas right now. 4-3 (for those curious for the exact score). Aybar is the man today (currently 3-3 with a 2B and HR). Though a bit worrisome, Weaver's K/BB ratio is currently a non-real number, as it is impossible to divide any number by zero, including the number 6. I'd like to see a 51 or two get a free pass at some point, and they're already through 6...
2006-04-13 20:50:36
47.   Underbruin
Hmm, on another note, this line in the Gameday window amuses me: "a-Batted for Pride in the 7th."

Heh.

2006-04-13 20:59:08
48.   King of the Hobos
Aybar's not slowing down, another single so he's now 4-4
2006-04-13 21:02:14
49.   King of the Hobos
Ansd Ethier draws the first walk of the night for either team. 4 pitch walk that involved a wild pitch, so the pitcher doesn't have a lot of control right now
2006-04-13 21:16:17
50.   das411
...sooo I just noticed that according to MLB.com, three of the four lowest ERAs in MLB right now belong to members of the 2003 Marlins starting rotation.

Hm.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-04-13 21:21:47
51.   King of the Hobos
Joe Beimel went a couple of scoreless innings before Truby doubled and Martin grounded out to get the run in, so 5-3 51's. Broxton in to pitch the 9th
2006-04-13 21:30:37
52.   King of the Hobos
And Broxton gets them 1-2-3 including a Morales strike out. 51's win their 7th
2006-04-13 21:32:12
53.   bhsportsguy
Even though some will say that Broxton is showing that he is ready, I think closing in AAA is just right for him now, let him do it at least 1/2 the year and then lets see where we are. Sounds like he is trying to work on his second and third pitches and AAA is the place to do it.
2006-04-13 21:35:20
54.   natepurcell
broxtons been pretty impressive in LV.

no walks in 4IP but 8Ks. nice.

i wonder how hard hes throwing.

2006-04-13 21:37:06
55.   natepurcell
hahaha the seinfeld is on where george wants to name his kid Seven.

hhaha great episode.

2006-04-13 21:37:52
56.   natepurcell
guzmans inability to walk is concerning me.
2006-04-13 21:49:41
57.   sanchez101
guzman's high strikeout rate is concerning too,
2006-04-13 21:54:52
58.   natepurcell
guzman, russ martin and matt kemp for miguel cabrera?
2006-04-13 22:03:36
59.   sanchez101
What do you do with LaRoche? Cabrera is a 3B now, this seems to escape many people. I would think Florida would want a 3B back because Grant Psomas is their only thirdbase prospect, but they could see Guzman as a 3B.
2006-04-13 22:04:00
60.   Steve
Sam, are the Nats going with LaFick behind the plate now that Wiki is Gone-zalez?
2006-04-13 22:04:08
61.   sanchez101
I would save Kemp for the twins when they trade Santana
2006-04-13 22:08:16
62.   natepurcell
i view laroche as the safer choice to not bust between guzman and laroche.

i would personally move cabrera to LF.

the marlins can move guzman back to 3b.

2006-04-13 22:14:38
63.   natepurcell
the hitters besides the one in vegas, have gotten off to very slow starts.

abreu- 208
hu- 226
kemp- 242
ruggiano- 200
raglani- 158
dewitt- 194
denker- 174

and everyone on the columbus roster hasnt hit a lick.

the good news is that the only way they can go is up. so they all have that going for them.

2006-04-13 22:23:57
64.   DodgerHobbit
54-i saw broxton hit 101 on the gun with his last pitch tonight. i remember him hitting 97 a lil earlier.

it was dollar beer night

2 brothers fought over a ball like it was life or death.

Jered Weaver looked really sharp at times. He had guys fooled really badly.

2006-04-13 22:24:50
65.   Blu2
30 I know, what I cant believe is that so many of Tracy's assistants followed him there. I mean, its bad enough that they're willing to follow Tracy around, but they're willing to follow him to Pittsburgh? What does that say?

It might be saying there is little market for ex-Tracey Coaches..

2006-04-13 22:28:37
66.   King of the Hobos
Laroche isn't doing so bad, .292 average with 6 walks and only 3 strike outs, although with absolutely no power

Carter and Westervelt are having nice starts, too bad they aren't 3 years younger

2006-04-13 22:30:25
67.   sanchez101
I think it says that those coach's werent all that good. Look at Colburn, he messed with all the starting pitchers deliveries and they are all predictably struggling. Wonder what Edwin Jackson would think of that?
2006-04-13 22:36:18
68.   natepurcell
66

i agre, laroche has done well, especiall in controlling the strike zone, i find that more important and impressive then the power. Jax stadium kills laroche's power. he sucked there last year as well. Most of laroche's fly balls die out in left center to right center.

2006-04-13 22:36:50
69.   natepurcell
dodgerhobbit,

was broxton throwing other pitches besides the fb? how did they look? sharp?

2006-04-14 06:43:16
70.   Sam DC
60 Steve, the Fick half is still on the DL, so Robinson is left with LeCroy as backup catcher, but he thinks LeCroy can't catch (he may have a point), so his quote yesterday was basically, "Schneider better cowboy up b/c he's not sitting down this year." Talk about needing your manager and gm on the same page; Bowden and Robinson are not on this issue at all.

Meanwhile, I'm sorry but what a jerk Jim Bowden is. Here's his quote after yesterday's game: "'We're not going to sit here and watch another 10 games like the 10 games we've already had,' Bowden said by phone after yesterday's game. 'We have to right the ship. They have to right the ship. And if they don't, then we can release guys, we can trade guys. We'll do what it takes to get better.'" (bolded word was italicized in the paper). I find this sabre-rattling totally obnoxious. Later in the article (this is from the main game story at washingtonpost.com), he moans about how guys are out of options and the team is "boxed in." Gosh, how could that have happened?

Tony Kornheiser read that quote on his radio show today and then said (very close paraphrase), "You want to do what it takes to get better? Leave. That'll make the team better right away."

2006-04-14 07:19:28
71.   Steve
Funny is not the right word, but if Robinson ruins Schneider over 20 some odd meaningless games, it would be...tragic? Just? Expected?
2006-04-14 08:28:39
72.   Jeff Iannucci
I agree with John on putting Furcal on the DL, but why not call up Willy Aybar and let him try SS instead of Robles or Martinez? Better yet, why not let him play SS in Vegas just in case the want to do this? It seems a waste to not have a position for a guy who looks like a prototypical #2 hitter.
2006-04-14 08:29:51
73.   Jon Weisman
Jeff, I'd love to see Aybar, but I just don't get the sense the Dodgers believe in him as a shortstop for whatever reason.
2006-04-14 09:09:00
74.   DodgerHobbit
69 he was very aggressive with the fastball. There were only a few changeups that registered mid-high 80:s. he was almost all fastball--looked pretty straight, and they were hit realatively hard but all playable. Delwyn Young had to run hard to catch the final out.

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