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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

Penny Ante
2007-01-12 15:55
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

2006 ERA, Brad Penny: 4.33
2005 ERA, Brad Penny: 3.90

2006 ERA+, Brad Penny: 106 (100 is average, higher is better)
2005 ERA+, Brad Penny: 104

According to Baseball-Reference.com, Penny had a better season in ERA in 2006 than in 2005, even though his ERA was higher.

He did have higher walks+hits/innings pitched in 2006 - 1.376 vs. 1.289. And on The Hardball Times, Penny's ERA+ declined slightly in 2006, and his fielding-independent ERA worsened.

On the other hand, even with his second-half slump, Penny's strikeout ratio improved in 2006, and his home-run rate remained constant.

The small point I'm trying to make is that even when ERA goes up year-to-year, it doesn't always mean a pitcher had a poorer season. So many other factors are in play.

That leaves the larger question of whether with an offseason of rest, Penny can approach his first-half 2006 form. I don't expect him to match it for all of 2007, but at age 28, I think he can have an overall season that's an improvement over 2006. Something to consider when evaluating the Dodger pitching staff (or, if you prefer, what Penny is worth in trade.)

I probably sound like a broken record, but I think making sure the guy doesn't pitch hurt is critical to this. Let's take maturity over macho.

* * *

Nice feature on Ross Porter by Fred Fehr of the Shawnee News-Star. Next week, Porter will receive the Bill Teegins Excellence in Sports Broadcasting Award.

As a Shawnee High School sophomore in 1953, Porter began dabbling in sports broadcasting. Fred Davis, KGFF radio sports announcer, began inviting his youthful Chapman Street neighbor to baseball games involving the minor league Shawnee Hawks.

"He did the game, and I would sit in the booth," Porter said. "He asked me once if I wanted to broadcast half an inning. I ended up doing that several times that summer."

This was no whimsical flight of fancy for Porter, who at the tender age of 8, told his mother, Elizabeth, that he wanted to be a sports announcer. Elizabeth had envisioned a stockbroker.

There was a natural base for the allure of broadcasting. Ross Porter Sr. created KGFF in 1930 and launched the Oklahoma Radio Network.

"My father broadcast the 1932 Shawnee football games. That was the team that went undefeated and unscored on," Porter said. "He also courted my mom by singing on KGFF." ...

The article goes on to describe such memories as when Porter got to meet Jim Thorpe.

Comments (52)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-01-12 16:07:26
1.   DodgerJoe
I think that consistency is the key with Penny. He was so good in the first half last year and so bad in the 2nd half.

If some of those good first half outings were sprinkled throughout the 2nd half, then I think that we would have a much higher opinion of his worth.

2007-01-12 16:11:04
2.   sanchez101
Am I the only one that thinks Penny was probably pitching injured last season? He definitly pitched worse after his memorable all-star start. I wouldn't suprise me if he was injured at somepoint in Sept., but pitched anyway because there isn't a DL, the playoff race, and because thats just what the Dodgers do.

I think Penny is one of those guys that pitches worse than his stuff. According to Bill James, he had the highest average veloctiy on his fastball last year (~93-94mph) and his curve looks good. Despite ace-type stuff and better than average command, his upper limit in IP is 200 and his ERA's are "only" around 4.00 while throwing in friendly pitchers parks.

IMO, Penny's a solid front-line starter, or put in other words a 2-3 type - a relative bargain salary-wise. I like Lowe more, though, because he'll give you 215+ innings with roughly similar ERA's. Also, Penny seems to always deal with some injury every year while Lowe never gets injured (knock on wood). If Colletti feels like he can move some of the starting pitching depth (presumably because both Billingsley and Kuo are deserving of a rotation spot), I'd rather they trade Penny over the other veterans.

2007-01-12 16:15:02
3.   Jon Weisman
2 - "Am I the only one that thinks Penny was probably pitching injured last season?"

No, I pretty much said the same thing in the last two paragraphs of my post. I think it's a common enough belief.

2007-01-12 16:19:28
4.   gpellamjr
2 I got the feeling that he was hurt for some time. The first time I got that feeling was when he got pounded in Atlanta. I think that was the first time he started leaning on his knees between pitches (I may be wrong). Of course, it reminded me a little of a fat kid pretending to be hurt in PE when he's getting yelled at for not running (I was one of those).
2007-01-12 16:26:39
5.   Claire Malone-Evans
I certainly hope Penny is getting in a lot of running or cycling in the off season. He seemed to lack endurance last season.
2007-01-12 16:33:47
6.   Jason in Canada
What TV station was Ross Porter the sportscaster on before he worked for the Dodgers?
2007-01-12 16:34:33
7.   Jon Weisman
KNBC - 4
2007-01-12 16:35:11
8.   regfairfield
Brad Penny, OPS against by pitch count:

1-15 .788
16-30 .849
31-45 .686
46-60 .830
61-75 .768
76-90 .650
91-105 .725
106-120 .810

Penny actually struggled more at the start of games than at the end.

2007-01-12 16:48:40
9.   Jason in Canada
My Dad always mentions whenever Ross Porter's name is brought up about how excited he got on the news broadcast when he told everyone he was leaving to take the Dodgers job.

Funny, my similar memory is when Olberman revealed his ESPN t-shirt when he left channel 2.. Channel 2 right?

2007-01-12 16:54:06
10.   Gagne55
8 All I see are seemingly random fluctuations, most likely caused by small sample size where the noise is much greater than any correlation between pitch count and effectiveness. Seriously, when the OPs againt goes up, down, up, down, down, up, up...
2007-01-12 16:55:17
11.   regfairfield
10 Okay, that was just bad math on my part. Point is, Penny didn't get any worse.
2007-01-12 16:56:39
12.   the count
Complete speculation, but I wonder if the turnover in the medical staff had anything to do with the handling of Penny. It's hard to know that sort of thing, but his second half performance was nothing short of awful.
2007-01-12 17:00:12
13.   StolenMonkey86
9 - where'd ya get that?
2007-01-12 17:02:15
14.   StolenMonkey86
nevermind, found it at Yahoo!
2007-01-12 17:03:29
15.   Bumsrap
Ross Porter usually had a few chuckles with Tom Snyder but the best silliness was when Ross would come on to do the sports segment and say here are some scores. Then he would just say 4, 5, 2, 7, 6 and he and Tom would have a laugh.

Gil Stratten was OK as well on CBS.

2007-01-12 17:04:41
16.   sanchez101
3. ya, that was more of a rhetorical question, I know most around here think he was pitching hurt.

Does Penny have a tendency to pitch well in the first half, and then poorly in the second half, perhaps related to a tendency to get injured?

2007-01-12 17:05:24
17.   StolenMonkey86
Penny doesn't give up batting practice on 3-0; he had 12 3-0 counts last year, and retired one batter and walked the other 11.
2007-01-12 17:11:15
18.   Bumsrap
As bad as Penny was at the end of 2006, Grady was still determined to pitch Penny over Billingsley in the playoffs.

After the Dodgers swept Houston in the final three games of the year a few years back to tie Houston and force a one game playoff, LaSorda pitched Goltz instead of the rookie Valenzuela to my chagrin.

Why can't people resist making the decision they can most defend if things go wrong?

Here is to Penny getting off to a great start and then trading him for someone that I personally want to join the Dodgers.

2007-01-12 17:27:08
19.   Greg Brock
Jeff Nelson signed with the Yankees, then promptly retired in order to "Retire a Yankee."

I don't know when this started (might have been Jerry Rice), but it is officially the lamest thing in sports.

2007-01-12 17:38:35
20.   scooplew
15 -- Gil Stratton, the same Gil Stratton who used to say "Time to call them as we see them," when he used to work on L.A. Rams' TV broadcasts way back when, has a wonderful role as William Holden's sidekick in "Stalag 17," one of the finest war films ever made.
2007-01-12 17:42:40
21.   Jon Weisman
18 - If you check the DT archives, you'll see where the notion of Valenzuela being available instead of Goltz is a myth. He had already worked too much in relief.
2007-01-12 17:59:30
22.   Bob Timmermann
21
Valenzuela had pitched two innings on Sunday and two innings on Friday. He ended up pitching two innings in the Monday playoff.

There was also the small matter of the Dodgers just getting six singles off of Joe Niekro.

Valenzuela was the fifth pitcher used in the playoff. It went Goltz, Sutcliffe, Beckwith, and then Castillo.

Howe pitched the last two innings.

2007-01-12 18:02:14
23.   Bob Timmermann
19
Actually, I think Roger Craig (the 49er) was one of the first players to do the "retire as a (insert team name)". It's been around for a while. A lot of the 49ers of that era did that.
2007-01-12 18:19:17
24.   Marty
6 And Bryant Gumbel was the weekend sports anchor for KNBC when Porter was there.
2007-01-12 18:43:01
25.   Bob Timmermann
Bryant Gumbel was doing the play-by-play for the big high school football game at my alma mater, Kennedy, back in 1974 when the Cougars upset San Fernando (with Charles White).
2007-01-12 18:43:36
26.   Bob Timmermann
Actually, I think the game was in 1973. San Fernando also had Kevin Williams
2007-01-12 18:58:49
27.   Gen3Blue
Penny is a perfect example of a Dodger trade dilemma, and how irrational management can be. The D's are in the position of power, and don't need to make a bad trade, or any trade for that matter. It would of course be wonderful to acquire a great power hitter for this team, but they have the possibility of developing one from their deep farm, or acquiring one with their deep pockets. Contrast this with the many small market teams desperate for one of the D's position prospects, who might give them a good player they can control for ~ 5 years.
This brings us to Penny--he has great stuff, is young and physical; on the other hand his second half combined with his year long high pitch counts conviced me that he might be done over gone.
My point is that the D's are in the catbird seat. Despite the trading of JtD, Rugg, and various others for about nothing,they don't have to DO anything, and should only make a trade that seems ridiculously in their favor. There will be desparados around and I hope they don't pick Col's pocket. The D's should only trade for a "great player". They have potentially good players.
2007-01-12 19:51:18
28.   trainwreck
Apparently, the A's are going to sign Darin Erstad.

...?!!

2007-01-12 20:30:56
29.   Andrew Shimmin
Hula Hoop Crisis: Day Four

Nothing to report. Ms. Selin has declined to reply to my email. You've made a powerful enemy ma'am. I may have to take this all the way to school site counsel meeting! Or a bake sale, or something. Even if I have to go so far as to forget about it, entirely--mark my words: I will have satisfaction.

2007-01-12 20:34:27
30.   Jason in Canada
Oh and we can't forget another So. Cal anchor, Jim Lampley...or maybe we can...
2007-01-12 21:29:12
31.   Xeifrank
hmmmm, 8.7 quake in the pacific near japan? Tsunami warning is being posted on the weather channel. ETA for Santa Barbara is 540AM and 604AM at LaJolla. Sounds like it is just a warning, nothing certain at this point, but probably best to stay away from the immediate coast early in the morning.
vr, Xei
2007-01-12 21:35:34
32.   Xeifrank
31. Looks like it's just an advisory for us.
http://www.prh.noaa.gov/pr/ptwc/latest
vr, Xei
2007-01-12 22:24:41
33.   Greg Brock
In honor of Andrew's hula hoop obsession, I'm watching the Hudsucker Proxy (Still better than Fargo, despite Andrew's assertion of mental retardation on my part).
2007-01-12 22:53:11
34.   Andrew Shimmin
Was it the Fargo/HSP dichotomy that led to that regrettable name-calling? I mean, there was an Aladdin's cave of things to pick on you over, that day, as I recall. And, as far as it goes, calling the HSP a better movie is an intellectually below replacement level thing to say. But I'd still like to think it took more provocation that just that.

Off topic: here's a maturity test, use the site google bar and search for "retarded." If you're not laughing hysterically by the time you hit the taunt, "Are you joking, retarded, or Kevin Malone?" you win. I didn't win.

2007-01-12 22:59:12
35.   Greg Brock
34 I enjoy Fargo. It's a fine movie. A bit too celebrated for my taste.

HSP: Brilliant sets, Paul Newman, Tim Robbins, Jennifer Jason Lee, Charles Durning, noir feel, absurdist humor.

Not even close. Hudsucker Proxy > Fargo

2007-01-12 23:00:07
36.   Greg Brock
Liking Fargo is like appreciating David Eckstein...It's scrappy, hard working, and very average.

Hud is beyond your silly taunts.

2007-01-12 23:05:33
37.   Bob Timmermann
Hud?

With Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, and Patricia Neal?

2007-01-12 23:05:34
38.   Greg Brock
Only a numbskull thinks he knows things about things he knows nothing about.
2007-01-12 23:07:57
39.   Greg Brock
37 Another great movie. Patricia Neal...Yummm.
2007-01-12 23:11:37
40.   Xeifrank
FYI. toaster.tv
vr, Xei
2007-01-12 23:16:34
41.   Greg Brock
Xeifrank, one of my favorite DT posters and a smart guy. We've established that spontaneous tv/movie talk is okay. The Philosopher King has said that such talk is okay on DT. He's basically refuted your militant anti-entertainment position.

I know you don't like it, and I appreciate your position. Just let it go. Please.

Again, you're one of my favorite DT posters.

2007-01-12 23:18:06
42.   Xeifrank
FYI. toaster.tv
vr, Xei
2007-01-12 23:19:33
43.   Greg Brock
42 See: 41
2007-01-12 23:29:17
44.   Bob Timmermann
Now I don't want to talk about anything...
2007-01-12 23:33:00
45.   Xeifrank
There's always the Dodgers to talk about, or baseball, or sports, or a witty opinion to have, or a grammar mistake to correct.
vr, Xei
2007-01-12 23:47:04
46.   Greg Brock
45 Or maybe we can have many different conversations, and talk about many things, and you don't have to be the arbiter of every conversation.
2007-01-12 23:54:04
47.   Andrew Shimmin
The thing I said was funny, yesterday, just got a little funnier. Xei is forum shopping.
2007-01-13 07:37:13
48.   Bumsrap
21
If you check the DT archives, you'll see where the notion of Valenzuela being available instead of Goltz is a myth. He had already worked too much in relief.

I would have started Valenzuela and let him go as far as he could go. I am not trying to call him a Sandy Koufax but when it was Drysdale's turn to pitch the final game of a world series, Sandy pitched instead on two days rest, pitched a complete game as I remember, and won.

Sandy over Drysdale, Valenzuela over Goltz.

And, the decision to pitch Goltz may have foolishly started when Valenzuela was asked to pitch in relief on Sunday.

2007-01-13 07:59:24
49.   Jon Weisman
48 - Okay, he could have gone about two innings. And then where are you?

And the Dodgers wouldn't have had a Monday if they didn't win on Sunday.

2007-01-13 10:41:39
50.   Bumsrap
49 - He may have been able to pitch four or more innings like Koufax did when Drysdale was available with more rest.

My point that I would have loved to have made was that there was a rookie pitcher that was pitching much better than the veteran but it was the latter that got to start the playoff game because the manager more than anything else went with the most defensible decision.

Starting Valenzuela (Billingsley) would have been like running a statue of liberty play to win a bowl game and we all know how pleasing that turned out to be.

But if you would prefer to run White off tackle instead of letting Bush try to pick up a first down, I respect your choice. It probably was as a good of choice as was starting Goltz. It just didn't turn out well.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-01-13 14:17:13
51.   Jon Weisman
50 - I don't think your analogy tracks (and frankly, I'm trying not to be insulted by it - it feels kind of insulting, but maybe I'm overreacting). Running a Statue of Liberty play is not the same as putting the arm of a 20-year-old phenom in jeopardy.

Of course, in retrospect, Valenzuela seems like the ideal choice. But I think using him and seeing how long he could go when he had pitched so much over the weekend would have been flat-out irresponsible.

Lasorda didn't need any encouragement to burn out an arm. We may be very lucky that he didn't see a reason to in '80.

2007-01-13 17:37:14
52.   Bumsrap
Jon, In my muddy way all I am saying is I would have liked it if Grady wanted to pitch Billingsley over a loboring Penny in last year's playoffs and compared that decision to Lasorda's decision to start Goltz over Valenzuela.

I was trying to say that Lasorda's and Grady's decision lacked an entrepreneureal spirit ala a statue of liberty play. I haven't found the insult to you yet but I am still looking.

You were merely saying to me as I interpreted your post that my idea of starting Valenzuela over Goltz may have ingored the fact that Valenzuela did not have sufficient rest. You were right.

You were supporting Lasorda's decision to start Goltz and I will admit that was probably the best choice, like running White off tackle, I just would have preferred a riskier choice in both cases.

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