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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Kemp, Valdez On - Bigbie, Loney Off
2007-03-31 21:57
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

In a surprising turn of events, one that could among other things have a real impact on Andre Ethier's role with the Dodgers, Matt Kemp's power surge over the final week of Spring Training put him on the Dodger Opening Day roster ahead of Larry Bigbie, according to Tony Jackson of the Daily News. (Soon, of course, everyone will have the story, but Jackson has been quick to get things on his blog all spring long.)

This is head-spinning on many levels, especially when combined with the fact that James Loney is starting the season with Las Vegas.

The Dodgers' fourth outfielder was always going to get a little playing time to give Luis Gonzalez a rest in left field, but the choice of Kemp over the left-handed Loney or Larry Bigbie makes me think that Ethier will not get as many starts as he would have expected. One presumes the Dodgers aren't keeping Kemp on the roster just to have him play in the field once a week (no more likely to happen than Hong-Chih Kuo becoming a lefty middle reliever at this point), and that they chose Kemp over Loney because Loney was green in outfield, because Kemp has serious home-run power, or both. It all adds up to Kemp getting a long look in right field in April. The high-ceiling guy getting a chance against the guy who settled in earlier.

Newly acquired outfielder Brady Clark, therefore, ends up mainly as a second-choice right-handed pinch hitter behind Olmedo Saenz. Sure, the Dodgers could be doing straight platooning in the outfield - Clark and Kemp against lefties, Gonzalez and Ethier against righties, but I don't suspect it will be that cut and dry.

The Dodgers are clearly betting at this point that Bigbie, whose opt-out window ends tomorrow night, will choose to stick in the organization, unless they're so committed to Kemp that they finally see Bigbie as superfluous.

The Dodger outfield shapes up like this:

L: Gonzalez, Pierre, Ethier, Anderson
R: Kemp, Clark

Rafael Furcal is starting the season on the disabled list but will be eligible to play Saturday. For the short-term, the Dodgers chose Wilson Valdez over Tony Abreu, surely thinking that it will be much easier for Valdez to clear waivers after the season begins. Ramon Martinez will probably start Opening Day to save Valdez the jitters, and then switch places with Valdez for the second game.

Here's the infield and catchers:

L: Anderson (Yes, I know I'm counting him twice)
S: Betemit
R: Kent, Garciaparra, Martin, Valdez, Saenz, Martinez, Lieberthal

Rudy Seanez made the team in the bullpen - I think he will end up disappointing, given his age, inconstency and tendency to get hurt. But I guess there's no harm in trying him out.

The pitching staff for Opening Week:

Starters: Schmidt, Penny, Lowe, Wolf
Relievers (R): Saito, Broxton, Tomko, Billingsley, Seanez
Relievers (L): Beimel, Hendrickson

So here we are, after weeks of speculation, with Loney hammering the ball and not making the team. There's a lot of different thoughts running through my head, but the one I can't escape is this.

There is currently one spot in the lineup for Ethier, Kemp, Bigbie and Loney to fight over, and fight they will. Ethier will probably start at first, but he's going to have to hit to keep playing. But I actually think Gonzalez has to watch his back, too. The promotion of Kemp makes me think that neither Ned Colletti nor Grady Little think they can keep the big kids down for much longer. I think we're looking at a best-man-win situation in left field as well as right by summertime.

Or, there's a trade looming...

Update: From The Associated Press:

Manager Grady Little acknowledged that Loney didn't take the news of his demotion well.

"This kid had a great spring for us and he played well for us last season," Little said. "In most cases, when you option a guy down to Triple-A, you have some things you want him to work on and get better at. In his case, we're going to be looking for the opportunity to get him back up here."

Update 2: Sunday night, Tony Jackson wrote that "Ned and Grady made it clear that Kemp is going to be on the bench, which is why I'm fairly sure he'll go back to the minors as soon as Furcal comes back."

This is completely perplexing. It's one thing to keep Valdez on the team while Furcal is out - it's another thing entirely to give Rafael Furcal two backups at shortstop when he returns. And if Kemp weren't going to start any games, why keep him as a pinch-hitter when you just acquired Clark. I honestly can't believe this is for real. Given the pace with which news changes with the Dodgers, I'm going to try to have faith that it isn't.

Comments (232)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-03-31 22:43:45
1.   Sagehen
Just repeating my last post on the previous thread, since it came after this new one. This is not nearly so clear and eloquent as what Jon just said though.

Reasons for Kemp to make the team instead of Loney:

Power, and the team desperately needs power. Does this mean we can expect to LaRoche sooner rather than later?

Less upside with our veteran outfielders. Nomar, when healthy, can carry the team. I think we'll see Loney up when Nomar starts to wear down later in the year.

Kemp has greater upside than all three of our current starting outfielders. He's righthanded, so he could platoon with any of them. Ethier's slumping again, so we might see Kemp in right quite a bit (which will bum me out because I love Ethier). I won't rehash all the reasons for playing Kemp over Gonzo or Pierre, since you all know them already.

Wow. We at least get one kid. The bench isn't entirely full of washed up veterans.

Are we going to be seeing a lot of Kemp and Clark as late-inning defensive replacements in left and center?

2007-03-31 22:49:50
2.   thinkingblue
1.

I will say this about LaRoche, I know he's got all the upside in the world, but I didn't see all that much out of LaRoche this spring. I know, it's only spring, but are we totally sure he's recovered from surgery yet? I mean, his swing just looked like he could only hit one type of pitch in a certain location, and it seemed like whenever he was up, he just hit ground balls. I don't know, is it just me, or could LaRoche use at least another month or two in the minors?

2007-03-31 22:54:04
3.   Jon Weisman
2 - Is it just you? No, it's you, me, many readers here and the entire Dodger braintrust.
2007-03-31 22:55:35
4.   underdog
I agree, I think part of the reasoning for keeping Kemp is to give the team more power potential. I'm happy to see it, to see Kemp, if he gets some playing time, but it still seems odd and surprising. Especially after they just traded for a righthanded outfielder. But Kemp still seems better suited for the corner OF slots, whereas Clark plays CF well.

At any rate, I hope Loney doesn't hang his head too much - I'm quite sure he'll be up before too long. Not that I'm rooting for Nomar to get hurt, of course (but it wouldn't surprise anyone), but there could be a trade, and there could be an injury to someone, and he'll be the first called. Hope he can remain a little patient. Still, I would've thought he over Kemp. Glad it's Kemp over Bigbie, though.

As for LaRoche - he can use a lot more than another month in the minors. He's probably a late starting player, never does well in ST, will heat up as the minor league season rolls. But he looks to be a year away from helping at all.

2007-03-31 22:56:35
5.   natepurcell
S: Pierre

Pierre is straight left Jon. You probably knew that and it was just a slip of the mind :)

2007-03-31 23:02:00
6.   underdog
More questions I ponder before heading to bed:

Will mlb box scores will continue to confuse Saenz and Seanez?

Whither Valdez once Furcal comes off DL (and will anyone care)?

Will Bigbie accept minor league assignment or get released? (I assume they won't be trading him to anyone)

I wondered for a second if Kemp making the team over Loney was an April Fool's joke.

How long will it be before Meloan arrives in the D's bullpen (replacing Saenz, I mean Seanez)?

Why am I still here?
Night, and talk to you all on Monday.

2007-03-31 23:02:22
7.   Jon Weisman
Honestly, Nate, and I mean this sincerely and without any snark, I've been reading so long about how great Pierre's work habits were and all the comparisons to Maury Wills, I think I somehow convinced myself that Pierre had to be a switch-hitter.
2007-03-31 23:02:30
8.   underdog
(oops, minus one "will" in opening line above)

I'm an April Fool, I guess.

2007-03-31 23:04:52
9.   natepurcell
7

no apologies needed. even the best sometimes have brain cramps.

2007-03-31 23:07:28
10.   Sagehen
6 I think we'll see Tsao before Meloan. We might as well make use of that fastball before he blows up again. Tsao by May and Meloan in July?
2007-03-31 23:11:59
11.   Sagehen
Trade looming???

Too bad free agents can't be traded until, what, the end of June?

Please oh please don't trade Ethier ... (No, that's not a rational plea, and I don't pretend that it is)

One wonders if Gonzo has shown them less power than they expected (like that should be a surprise???). One wonders if Ethier's recent slump has them truly worried. One wonders how much playing time Kemp is going to get. One wonders if Ethier is just a two week slump away from becoming the fourth outfielder.

2007-03-31 23:16:20
12.   Eric Enders
Add Martinez to the infield.

I sort of like the idea of keeping Kemp, as long as he's going to play about 40% of the time or more. He should start every game against lefties, since he can spell LuGo, Ethier, or Pierre. Hopefully he starts the odd game against righties too although I have my doubts about that.

The Dodgers managed the nifty trick of leaving their three best hitters in spring training (Loney, Bigbie, Abreu) off the team, which is kind of weird. Loney and Bigbie did everything that could have been asked of them. It's got to be discouraging to know that even going into camp, you never had a chance no matter how well you played.

2007-03-31 23:20:40
13.   Eric Enders
I'll say one thing about this team: It certainly has the depth to deal with serious injuries to the starters, which was one flaw of DePodesta's teams (not that I'm necessarily putting all the blame for that on DePo).

This may be the only team I've ever seen that has five positions at which an injury to the starter actually might improve the lineup. (1B, 3B, LF, CF, RF)

2007-03-31 23:21:38
14.   scooplew
Loney is a pure hitter who will have to be placed in the lineup soon. Kemp appeared streaky at the plate last year, or overmatched when he returned, and he had frequent problems in the outfield last season. I guess the Ddogers are hoping that he will provide some power the club now lacks. Before too long, Loney will be at first and Kemp will be a corner outfielder. Here's hoping that Ethier is the other corner. With Pierre an apparent fixture in center, I don't think the Dodgers are serious about turning Loney into an outfielder unless Ethier is about to be traded, which I hope does not occur.
2007-03-31 23:23:07
15.   Dodgers49
4. At any rate, I hope Loney doesn't hang his head too much - I'm quite sure he'll be up before too long. Not that I'm rooting for Nomar to get hurt, of course (but it wouldn't surprise anyone), but there could be a trade

The problem I have with that is with Nomar blocking him I'm having a hard time imagining a trade that would get Loney on the team. Unless maybe it involved Betemit. I don't really see Loney in the outfield. He belongs at first base. But how in the world is he going to get there?

2007-03-31 23:44:48
16.   Bob Timmermann
UCLA swept USC in volleyball tonight at Galen Center.

I'm trying to salve some wounds here.

2007-03-31 23:55:18
17.   Just Blue
I kind of had a feeling Bigbie wouldn't make the team when I noticed that Grady used about every other minor leaguer in the last 2 games, but not Bigbie.

Now I'm concerned that Kemp is gonna ride the bench, and just get used as a last-hope, late-inning, right-handed PH when we're trailing by 2 or more runs.

Maybe Ned/Grady just want to lite a fire to let Ethier & Gonzo know that their jobs aren't safe.

2007-03-31 23:58:44
18.   Greg Brock
Manager Grady Little acknowledged that Loney didn't take the news of his demotion well

Why would he? Who would? What else does a kid have to do to earn a spot? Why am I asking so many questions?

James Loney should just hope that he escapes this madhouse.

2007-04-01 00:05:34
19.   JoeyP
Its good that Kemp made the team.
I felt all along that Kemp will learn more fighting through slumps at the MLb level, rather than at the AAA level.

Also good that Colletti recognized the team has no power, and that Kemp is a must have on the 25 man roster.

Loney's just going to have wait for someone to get hurt. His situation would be alot easier to handle if the team would have just cut Marlon Anderson/Brady Clark.

2007-04-01 00:47:49
20.   King of the Hobos
There was in fact a trade looming, as the Dodgers just acquired Tomas Perez for future considerations from the Cubs. Is Valdez, Martinez, Abreu, Hu, Betemit, and Nomar not enough SS protection that the Dodgers needed the one guy who is actually worse than Neifi?
2007-04-01 00:49:36
21.   Brian Y
I don't mean to be so blunt, but what they are doing by leaving James Loney off this team is just wrong. Not only does he deserve a place on this team, he deserves a chance to start. If not here, then somewhere else. I would rather see players that deserve to play be traded from teams that won't play them. Hopefully it would result in us getting something valuable back but I hate it for the kid. I really do.
2007-04-01 00:49:59
22.   LA Native
Even though Kemp is ready for the outfield more so than Loney, Kemp would benefit far more than Loney from time in Vegas. Has Kemp shown he can hit the breaking ball yet at all? He has yet to play a full year at AAA and trouble hitting home runs there last year even in Vegas. He didn't have a good Spring at all.

I would love to see Kemp as a corner outfielder in the Dodger's future (or even Center), but where is he going to play now (for Gonzo or Pierre I don't think so). Sadly I agree with Jon, that they must be looking at replacing Eithier.

I don't blame Loney at all for being distraught. You can't hit any better than the guy did over the last 11 months. I expect him to be on the team before June in any case though. Kemp needs more seasoning in Vegas (1/2 year).

2007-04-01 00:51:05
23.   Brian Y
I like that Kemp is on the team but I don't feel he deserves to be on it quite yet. Valdez either but that's just my opinion since I still feel Betemit and Marlon Anderson can play an adequate SS still which I'm probably far off base with assuming.
2007-04-01 00:51:06
24.   Brian Y
I like that Kemp is on the team but I don't feel he deserves to be on it quite yet. Valdez either but that's just my opinion since I still feel Betemit and Marlon Anderson can play an adequate SS still which I'm probably far off base with assuming.
2007-04-01 01:17:03
25.   overkill94
21 You know, Ryan Howard served the same plight while waiting to start in Philly...

I'm a bit confused by this Matt Kemp business since I just plain don't see him getting many opportunities to play. Pierre will obviously play ever day, but Ethier and LuGo might get one day a week off, leaving Kemp with maybe 2 games a week starting. Although I love his power off the bench, I think it would be for his own good to spend some more time in AAA.

As for Loney, I truly love the guy and agree that he has nothing left to prove, but is he really the savior we all peg him to be? As of now his ceiling seems to be a .300 hitter with 15 HR power which is dangerously close to Hatteberg range. As much as I hate that he's being passed over in favor of a guy that's less major league-ready, it still seems like the correct move for the team to put a guy with more power in the mix.

2007-04-01 01:21:54
26.   Sagehen
As I think about it, I think we're going to see Kemp and Ethier platooning in right. When Kemp came up last summer, it was to start. I don't see them changing that pattern now.

I agree with all the above - Loney deserves to be on the team, and Kemp can probably use some more seasoning.

If Kemp was going to make the team anyway, then why did they sign Gonzo and Pierre? Yeah, yeah, I'm preaching to the choir here. I suppose they weren't sure that Kemp was ready, and they didn't know what was going on with Ethier at the end of last year (not to mention the last two weeks), so they wanted some insurance.

2007-04-01 01:26:25
27.   Sagehen
20 Tomas Perez was obtained to be the backup infielder in AAA, so of course he's even worse than Neifi. I suspect the Dodgers haven't given up much for him. I'll faint if we actually see him on the Dodgers this year.
2007-04-01 01:27:05
28.   trainwreck
Maybe Ned has started getting a little worried about Gonzalez.
2007-04-01 01:52:38
29.   Sagehen
Forgive me if anyone has mentioned this on a previous thread: Baseball America right now has teams ranked by the "Total Player Seasons Produced By Organizations Since 1995." The Dodgers rank #29 on the list. Only the Brewers are worse. Ouch! I knew the team was bad during the FOX years, but this is ridiculous!
2007-04-01 01:52:59
30.   Sagehen
28 We can hope.
2007-04-01 02:04:27
31.   GoBears
If Gonzales really wants to show some veteran leadership, he can let Colletti off the hook and just retire.

Yeah, not gonna happen.

I do think Kemp can spell him, even more often than Ethier (who hits LHP very well).

I see Loney's ceiling as more like .320-.330 than .300, with a bunch of doubles and a few HRs, and more walks than in AAA. He's a very good hitter.

2007-04-01 03:57:05
32.   Andrew Shimmin
Google's April Fool's day joke is up. Doesn't do much for me, but ymmv.

http://www.google.com/tisp/

2007-04-01 07:16:58
33.   D4P
When Veterans like LuGo get upset over playing time, it shows their determination and commitment to winning.

When Youngsters like Loney get upset over playing time, it shows their immaturity and lack of character.

2007-04-01 07:34:52
34.   immouch
I don't know what Kemp means, but I'm thrilled to see the move. It eases - for now - my fears about The Rug Colletti being a single-cell beast. However slowly, talent is being allowed to rise.
2007-04-01 07:38:46
35.   ToyCannon
Nice move by keeping Kemp up. They really had no choice about putting Loney down, he has no spots for at bats. I feel more comfortable with Kemp here then Loney because our whole outfield could probably use a platoon partner. We know that Gonzo does and while Ethier had a decent average against LHP last year his power was non-existence and I don't think we can afford to have a RF with no power when facing the lefties in the NL.
I wish Bigbie luck, he had no place on this team but I think his spring should give him a job somewhere. Hard to beleive that a team like Florida couldn't use him. A RF combo of Borchard/Ross and a CF of Anza isn't going to cut it. Hermida very quickly has gotten the injury prone bug.

Loney will be back by May 15th, how the Dodgers make room for him will be the interesting story of the spring. I wouldnt' be very comfortable if I was Ethier even though it should be Gonzo who should be worried. We shall find out soon if this Management is geared to fielding the best possible team or the safest.

Nice April Joke on the word verification. I don't think I could spell his name even with it staring me in the face.

2007-04-01 07:41:34
36.   D4P
Or, there's a trade looming...

BYKim4Loney

2007-04-01 08:02:35
37.   Bumsrap
I think that Grady/Ned plan to give Kemp an equal number of ABs as Ethier and Gonzo get through April and go from there.

I assume that the Dodgers do not know when Furcal will be able to play. In the short term Valdez will be the shortstop and in the long term Abreu would be the replacement. Valdez or Martinez will be traded or Valdez will be sent down when Furcal returns.

Loney will be brought up when Furcal returns and in the mean time will be taking fly balls in the outfield.

The starters at the outfield corners will be Kemp, Ethier, Loney. April will decide. Gonzo becomes that left side pinch hitter. Anderson is traded.

Ideally Ned/Grady give in and make Nomar a third baseman and put Loney at first beginning May 1. In the mean time Loney gets outfiled eligibility in fantasy leagues.

2007-04-01 08:19:36
38.   Bumsrap
Ignoring money and pride, Hendrickson is a good middle reliever from the left side.

Billingsley will be starting eventually this season as will Miller, and when that happens I see the relief staff consisting of:

Melaon, Broxton, Saito, Brazabon, Tsao, Biemel, Hendrickson.

Traded: Tomko, Penny, LaRoche.

2007-04-01 08:21:10
39.   Pedro Astacio
I feel that the Dodgers might trade James Loney and Wilson Betemit for a potential power bat at third.
2007-04-01 08:32:52
40.   blue22
39 - a potential power bat at third

Who has more power potential at third than Andy LaRoche?

2007-04-01 08:35:27
41.   blue22
Any word from the club on what position Loney will be playing in Vegas?
2007-04-01 08:36:21
42.   s choir
Do not despair, James Loney. You are not yet 23. People will get hurt, and you will play.
2007-04-01 08:49:12
43.   blue22
I don't want to get ahead of myself here, but Atlanta, Baltimore, and {gasp} the Giants all have 1B and starting rotation issues. I wonder what a Loney/Hendrickson package would bring in return...
2007-04-01 08:50:07
44.   Icaros
Ignoring money and pride, Hendrickson is a good middle reliever from the left side.

No he isn't. He just gets less opportunity to do bad things as a reliever. Remember when Brett Tomko looked like a future closer those first two weeks out of the pen last year?

After enough innings, he was still Brett Bomko, just like Hendrickson will still be The Giving Tree.

2007-04-01 09:22:14
45.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
A few notes, and questions:
1. For all the opportunities Loney received to make the roster, what might've doomed him to Triple-A was his poor outfield defense.
2. With Loney beginning the year in LV, doesn't this delay the start of his service clock? This could be a move with the expected payoff in the long run, not during the first weeks of 2007.
3. Bigbie, I imagine he's gone. Thanks for the nice March, and good luck to you.
4. Enders made an excellent point about depth. Boy, does this club have it. When late June comes around, not many teams will have more trading chips than the Dodgers, if they want to go in that direction.
5. Two men who need to worry: Andre Ethier and Luis Gonzalez. I don't recall any talk of competition for their starting jobs, but roster moves speak louder than words.
6. FWIW, here's Gonzo vs. RHP last season: 277/360/459/819. It's OK, and in a platoon won't kill you as would his split vs. LHP: 259/332/408/740. But will he accept sitting twice a week?
7. Subtract Tomko and Hendrickson, and I love the bullpen. The rotation, I like - unless Schmidt's lousy spring turns out to be a bad omen.
2007-04-01 09:33:11
46.   Vishal
wait, so what happened to tsao? does he get released or stashed in vegas?
2007-04-01 09:35:00
47.   blue22
46 - He's closing in Vegas (or setting up for Meloan). He was able to get sent down without exposing him.
2007-04-01 09:54:59
48.   rjc41276
I think Kemp will platoon with both Gonzalez AND Ethier........sometimes one, sometimes the other (maybe just depending on who happens to be playing better at the time between the two, who needs the rest more, etc). Of course, if one of them gets hurt (or if Pierre gets hurt for that matter) then Kemp will get even more ABs (not to mention any additional ABs he'll get as a pinch hitter). Either way, I think he'll get a large enough number of ABs to justify keeping him up on the big league club.

As far as Loney.....

1. If either of the starting corner infielders OR any of the starting OFs get hurt......Loney can be called up.

2. If either of the starting corner infielders OR any of the starting OFs get traded.......Loney can be called up.

The chances of at least one of these two situations happening is extremely high (especially the chances of Nomar getting hurt). As a result, Loney will get his fair share of ABs this season on the team.

2007-04-01 10:01:59
49.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
Don't forget, there's pressure on Kemp. If he starts the season in the same slump that got him sent down last year, with the ugly fishing fore breaking balls and all that, then I can't imagine he's long for Chavez Ravine.
Thinking about it, the OF could be a big, big problem:
1. We know Pierre doesn't walk, but what he doesn't hit singles either?
2. What if Gonzo's age completely wipes him out?
3. What if Ethier was playing over his head last season?
2007-04-01 10:06:15
50.   Marty
Because he's become my favorite player, I think Loney is going to be traded.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-04-01 10:16:40
51.   Daniel Zappala
I think Loney will be up as soon as he learns to play OF decently, as long as he continues to hit well in AAA. If we somehow have an embarrassment of riches and Loney, Ethier, and Kemp can all perform well in the majors, then I'm sure Little will be able to find ways for them to all get ABs in the OF (and 1B for Loney), with Gonzalez getting the short stick if he can't keep up.

More likely, at least one of the three will not stick, or someone else will get hurt, solving the problem for us.

2007-04-01 10:26:44
52.   Vishal
if there are say, 6 games a week, i can imagine kemp, gonzalez, and ethier sharing the 12 corner outfield starts and each getting 4 starts a week. i wouldn't mind that.
2007-04-01 10:28:06
53.   Vishal
[47] thanks. hopefully hendrickson and seanez will be gone before too long and we can see those guys in the LA bullpen.
2007-04-01 10:30:36
54.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
52 - But would Gonzo mind?
2007-04-01 10:31:04
55.   KAYVMON
50- I feel pretty good about Loney not being traded, simply because Little said that he did not take the news well. Dodger management might sometimes seem like they don't understand the meaning of the words they say, but even they know a quote like that can undermine a young player's trade value.
2007-04-01 10:33:41
56.   Sagehen
It will be interesting to see how the DL gets used this year. If a vet gets a nagging injury or will be "day to day" for a week, it might make sense to put him on the 15 day DL. He gets a two week vacation, which will keep him sharp for the end of the season, and one of the kids gets a two week audition. How to Manage a Roster in the Post-Greenie Age.
2007-04-01 10:34:19
57.   Vishal
[54] 4 starts a week is not exactly sitting on the bench, and regular days off would probably keep him fresh. i doubt even he would raise a stink, and if he does, well, tough.
2007-04-01 10:34:30
58.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
55 - How does Loney's disappointment undermine his trade value?
Frankly, I'd be looking to collect guys who were upset about not making the big-league club.
2007-04-01 10:36:27
59.   Sagehen
Lurkers -- you must login and try the Word Verification today
2007-04-01 10:36:54
60.   willhite
55 -

I don't think that Loney's being upset would affect his trade value. Just shows he knows he should be up here. If he had torn apart the clubhouse that would be a different story but no mention was made of anything like that.

I don't see him going anywhere in a trade because I'm sure they still view him as their 1st baseman of the future, unless of course, the Marlins decide to offer Cabrera for a package including Loney. That might severely tempt Ned.

2007-04-01 10:38:44
61.   Sagehen
Compare Loney's complaining to Guzman's last year. Guzman complained about not being called up when, if I remember correctly, he wasn't exactly hitting the cover off the ball in AAA. Loney, on the other hand, has a real reason to be disappointed. I like this kid. He has a sweet swing, a smooth glove, and a great attitude.
2007-04-01 10:40:47
62.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
57 - Just a warning: Gonzo hasn't been a part-time player in more than a decade.
2007-04-01 10:42:46
63.   D4P
Within the context of guys with Bad Character, trade value doesn't really matter to Ned. He just wants to get rid of them.
2007-04-01 10:44:42
64.   willhite
63 - Is there anyone left to get rid of?
2007-04-01 10:47:51
65.   D4P
64
Yes: Loney. He'll be a cancer in the AAA clubhouse, negatively affecting everyone else's performance.

And LaRoche is on thin ice too. What has he done, you ask? Nothing yet, but you can just tell that he'll do something eventually. Best to nip these things in the bud with pre-emptive strikes.

2007-04-01 10:48:20
66.   Sagehen
63 Plaschke would have us believe Penny must go.
2007-04-01 10:49:44
67.   Sagehen
65 You're making me want to post an announcement of LaRoche, Loney, and Penny being traded to Tampa Bay, but that's too scary a thought for April Fool's.
2007-04-01 10:51:47
68.   willhite
66 -

Penny's bad attitude was entirely due to his low self image, vastly improved now that he's brought his new svelte body to this season.

You'll see. He'll be the model citizen......................until Kemp drops the first fly ball, or Betemit kicks the first grounder. Actually I thought he conducted himself very well last night when the guys behind him were giving their very own rendition of Barnum and Bailey.

2007-04-01 10:58:58
69.   mankatododger
Sad news for followers of the Twins and a bad feeling for those of us who treasure Vin: Herb Carneal, the voice of the Twins for 45 years, died today.
2007-04-01 11:03:16
70.   Sagehen
69 Yet another reason to watch the games at home instead of going to the Stadium. Vin is a treasure who must be savored while we can.
2007-04-01 11:03:27
71.   Bob Timmermann
I was posting something on the Griddle as you made that comment. I was looking for some audio, although it was hard to find.
2007-04-01 11:20:58
72.   txdodger73
Would it be too big of a stretch to assume if Loney & LaRoche play the OF in AAA with profiency, and Kemp holds his own that Ethier could be traded in a month or two? If you look 2 years down the road, post Nomar & Kent you could move LaRoche to 1B, re-sign Nomar, or move Loney to 1B. Abreu seems primed to play SS or 2B, and Betemit has played 2B in the past. Of course signing an OF or 1B via free agency would be a disticnt possiblity aswell.

Tx

2007-04-01 11:21:04
73.   Dodgers49
L. A. Times DODGERS PREVIEW

>>> "Remember last year when I was saying we'd be happy going .500 the first three weeks until we settled in?" Little said. "That's not the case this year. We're coming out of spring training to win every game we play. There is no learning curve." <<<

http://tinyurl.com/3asl7v

2007-04-01 11:27:10
74.   Marty
The Dodger character in the graphic on the cover of the special section looks a lot like J.D. Drew to me.
2007-04-01 11:33:12
75.   Daniel Zappala
72 If we get to the point where we have more good, young players than places to play them, we'll all be extremely happy. Having one of them on the bench part time to fill in as needed wouldn't be terrible.
2007-04-01 11:43:31
76.   mankatododger
The local papers here are talking about the bad opening day streak the Twins are on: their long-time PA announcer died two years ago right before opening day, Kirby died last year during spring training, and Carneal this year.
2007-04-01 12:34:31
77.   natepurcell
Antonio Perez did not makes the A's...
2007-04-01 12:36:23
78.   D4P
I see that ESPN is showing the Tampa Bay game and the Kansas City game tomorrow
2007-04-01 12:37:55
79.   D4P
Antonio Perez did not makes the A's...

Makes you think he probably had no chance going in, given that he had a pretty good spring

2007-04-01 12:38:13
80.   Dodgers49
>>> Remember me: It's easy to forget that former Dodgers top pitching prospect Edwin Jackson is still only 23 years old. Perhaps rushed to the big leagues before he was ready, Jackson fell into the trap that too often plagues young power pitchers: he had no idea how to pitch and couldn't figure that out at the big league level.

After a disappointing season with Tampa Bay in 2006 (0-0, 5.45 in 23 games and only one start), Jackson showed signs of rejuvenation this spring. Manager Joe Maddon awarded Jackson the job as the No. 5 starter after Jackson posted a 1.74 ERA. It is the fourth lowest spring ERA in the American League. <<<

http://www.dailybreeze.com/sports/articles/6815062.html

2007-04-01 12:45:46
81.   MJW101
I personally think that the Dodger front office (FO) felt they were going to get a lot of bad publicity in the media when they sent Loney down to AAA (and rightly so). However, and maybe I am giving them too much credit for intelligence here, what if the FO decided, for PR purposes, to surprise everyone and KEEP Kemp on the 25 man?

They assume that the average brain dead "fan" and newspaper sports reporter has the attention span of a gnat so they will be so overwhelmed by the news of Kemp making the roster that they would forget about Loney being sent down.

Why do the Dodgers need 6 OFs (Gonzo, Ethier, Pierre, Kemp, Clark and Anderson)? Why do we need 2 (Martinez/Valdez) light hitting reserve IFs?

Any proof of this theory will come in the next week or so when Furcal comes off the DL. At that point who will be sent down or lost? Valdez? Anderson to DL? Kemp to AAA?

If Kemp is only up for a couple of weeks, for PR purposes, until Furcal returns, then what was the real point?

Of course, as some have pointed out this may be a precursor to a trade (heaven help us).

Again, maybe I am attributing too much intelligence (deviousness) to the Dodger FO.

2007-04-01 12:48:12
82.   underdog
Meanwhile, the Dodgers' first opponent made their final roster moves as well, with a few minor surprises. Interesting, as we debate the wisdom and thought process of our own team's roster making, to see the rationale given from another team:
http://cbs.sportsline.com/mlb/story/10102171

"Melvin said the Brewers chose to keep Gwynn, son of 2007 Hall of Fame inductee Tony Gwynn, because of his speed as a pinch runner. Gwynn had two short stints with the Brewers last season, hitting .260 in 77 at-bats."

(PS: Love the April Fool's gag.)

2007-04-01 12:49:32
83.   D4P
because of his speed as a pinch runner

Are they paying him $44 million...?

2007-04-01 12:51:20
84.   Sagehen
81 I think you're a wee bit cynical here (although I can't blame you for that). I really do think it's that the Dodger braintrust has correctly identified a weakness among their outfielders. Gonzo won't put up the power numbers. Ethier is slumping. Pierre has zero power, so after Furcal returns, so Pierre is no longer the leadoff hitter, Kemp could quite ably fill in once or twice a week in center. Kemp is a right-handed power hitter, who can play all three outfield positions. It makes sense to have him backing up and filling in for the three lefty starters we have.
2007-04-01 12:53:43
85.   underdog
How could Ethier be slumping before the season's started?
2007-04-01 12:57:58
86.   Sagehen
85 Good point. Is a spring training slump really a slump? Let me rephrase: word has it that he hasn't looked particularly good at the plate the last two weeks. Or has he looked good but just hasn't gotten any hits? He did start the spring well. Correct me if I'm wrong, but he seems to be a very streaky hitter.

That said, I think it would be a huge mistake to take Ethier out of the lineup. The kid needs to get his confidence going, and then he will get hot again. I love Ethier.

2007-04-01 13:01:39
87.   Honoluludodger
Kemp will hit home runs. I like home runs.

Mahalo.

2007-04-01 13:02:05
88.   underdog
86 Ah, gotcha. Yeah, spring is one thing - but now that the games count is when I'll be eying Ethier. I don't know if he's streaky as much as he just severely tailed off at the end of last year, which some scouts attribute to fatigue at playing the longest season he'd ever played. Given that, it's good to have more options this year so he can get more breaks and be fresher in the fall than he was last year. I feel like that's more what these moves are about than any serious lack of faith in Ethier. But, yeah, we'll see - and I like him too!
2007-04-01 13:11:20
89.   Izzy
What I saw of Ethier is that he was hitting the ball hard, but he was't finding the holes. Kemp and Ethier had numerous warning track shots as well. The lines at Holman ater 340 on each side. It's a deep field, but I don't know what center is.
2007-04-01 13:11:20
90.   D4P
BTW: When Grittle says this about Loney, "In his case, we're going to be looking for the opportunity to get him back up here", what does he mean? Does he mean he wants someone currently on the roster to fail or get hurt? If not, what other "opportunity" could there be for Loney?
2007-04-01 13:14:46
91.   natepurcell
90

what do you think it means?

2007-04-01 13:17:42
92.   D4P
91
I really don't know. The only way Loney gets an opportunity is if someone plays poorly or gets hurt, right? If so, then to say that you're going to be looking for Loney to get an opportunity would seem to mean, in essence, that you're looking for someone to play poorly or get hurt, which is a strange thing for a manager to say.
2007-04-01 13:27:03
93.   natepurcell
92

i think you are reading too much into it. not everyone is as cynical as you.

2007-04-01 13:30:13
94.   willhite
Has anyone announced yet where they plan to play Loney at LV? If they start him in the outfield a fair amount of the time I think that bodes well for a faster return, unless, of course, he proves he's hopeless out there.
2007-04-01 13:39:43
95.   Icaros
[90-93]

I think it means Little is hoping that MLB switches to softball rules, so he'll have an extra outfield spot for Loney.

2007-04-01 13:53:57
96.   Ken Arneson
79 Perez probably makes the team if Dan Johnson doesn't get hurt, and the Padres don't release Todd Walker. Neither of those things happened until just a few days ago.
2007-04-01 14:02:26
97.   Sagehen
88 Ethier also had the problem with his shoulder at the end of last year, so we can be optimistic about his potential for this year.

Here's a question re Kemp's problems with breaking balls. Does he have the same problem when the pitcher is left-handed? That would be another argument for having Kemp start every time a lefty pitcher is in. How often do we face lefties?

Another question: What does keeping Kemp say about Little's confidence in Clark?

2007-04-01 14:05:25
98.   D4P
Ethier: 302/362/340
Bradley: 390/500/659
Perez: 298/388/474
2007-04-01 14:06:11
99.   natepurcell
98

what is your point?

2007-04-01 14:08:16
100.   Bob Timmermann
I thought Brady Clark has the Ricky Ledee Memorial Roster Spot.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-04-01 14:09:35
101.   chago70
I've said it before, but I'll repeat it. IF, a trade is in the works, The PERFECT choice
will be RYAN Zimmerman. This
guy is a STUD. Does not get much ink, but he's got very
good #'s.....Pat
2007-04-01 14:10:43
102.   Dodgers49
Here is the way the Brewers rotation is set up so it would appear we'll see the first three in this order:

1. Ben Sheets, RHP:

2. Chris Capuano, LHP:

3. Jeff Suppan, RHP:

4. Dave Bush, RHP:

5. Claudio Vargas, RHP:

http://tinyurl.com/3d5rkw

2007-04-01 14:10:46
103.   Daniel Zappala
100 Did Ledee do enough to even be remembered, much less memorialized? I expect more of you Bob -- surely you could come up with someone better to name it after.
2007-04-01 14:12:59
104.   D4P
99
There are a lot of potential points, including:

1. What's up with Ethier's power? Juan Pierre (of all people) outslugged him by 124 points this spring. Here we are worried about Pierre's lack of power, and then I see Ethier with an IsoP of 38.

2. What's up with that trade? It doesn't get talked about much, but keeping Bradley would not only have meant that we would have had a pretty good centerfielder with some power, but it also would have meant not signing Juan Pierre. And it's still pretty ridiculous to think that our GM thought Ethier was of equal value to Bradley + Perez.

3. Nice spring for Perez.

2007-04-01 14:13:33
105.   trainwreck
What is with the word verification at the bottom of post a comment section?
2007-04-01 14:15:18
106.   Sagehen
105 Try it.
2007-04-01 14:15:19
107.   D4P
The word verification is (presumably) April Fool's related
2007-04-01 14:17:02
108.   Sagehen
103 I think that's the point. Clark will be just as unmemorable as Ledee. Should it be called the Unmemorable Memorial Roster Spot? The Average Outfielder Memorial Roster Spot?
2007-04-01 14:18:41
109.   natepurcell
104

1. its spring training

2. Bradley is always hurt, Ethier out performed both of them last year.

3. who cares about Perez.

2007-04-01 14:20:22
110.   trainwreck
Aww, I did not even actually try to use it.

If only yesterday's games were just a joke.

2007-04-01 14:20:42
111.   Bob Timmermann
Brady Clark has the Dave Clark Memorial Lefty Hitting Outfield Spot?

Is that better?

2007-04-01 14:21:48
112.   natepurcell
104

I dont know whether i like d4p better when he was all about heart, soul and intangibles or him now, as a know it all, cynical, wanna be sabermetrician.

2007-04-01 14:23:18
113.   D4P
112
It's a tough choice, huh? Both personas are so endearing...
2007-04-01 14:24:13
114.   Sagehen
I bet Penny wishes Bradley were on the team because then Plaschke would pick on Bradley's temperament instead of his. Is it just me, or does Plaschke always need one Dodger to try to railroad out of town?
2007-04-01 14:25:12
115.   natepurcell
they're something although endearing wouldnt be my word of choice.
2007-04-01 14:27:53
116.   Daniel Zappala
I was thinking the OF equivalent of Rafael Landestoy. Maybe Terry Whitfield.
2007-04-01 14:33:07
117.   xaphor
114. Sign Plaschke up with the Dodgers and he would paradoxically begin complaining about his own need to single out players and drive them out of town causing a rift in the clubhouse driving himself out of town for a TB reject.
2007-04-01 14:36:15
118.   Michael D
For some reason I'm having nightmares that Loney will get traded for Jorge Cantu and it won't be a joke
2007-04-01 14:36:22
119.   Eric Stephen
I have to rescind my support for D4P, even though he is a Weird Al fan.
2007-04-01 14:37:46
120.   Just Blue
The Dodgers record of 95-67 was due in large part to the bat of Matt Kemp, who slugged 34 bombs with 112 rbi!

...oops, wrong thread.

2007-04-01 14:39:15
121.   D4P
I have to rescind my support for D4P

Under which auspices...?

2007-04-01 14:40:44
122.   Dodgers49
Inside The Dodgers just posted tomorrow's lineup and Martinez is at short as we expected.
2007-04-01 14:52:48
123.   das411
118 should keep everyone up into the wee hours tonight...

Jon or Bob, will anybody be hosting a non-partisan Opening Night chat?

2007-04-01 14:59:42
124.   Bob Timmermann
123
There will be a nonpartisan Opening Day/Night chat on the Griddle. I believe I set it for 4 pm.
2007-04-01 15:03:54
125.   Bob Timmermann
Actually, it was set for 3 pm.
2007-04-01 15:48:52
130.   hernari
http://insidethedodgers.mlblogs.com/

Pierre, CF
Martin, C
Nomar, 1B
Kent, 2B
Gonzalez, LF
Betemit, 3B
Ethier, RF
Martinez, SS
Lowe, P

2007-04-01 15:53:07
131.   Ricardo
Jon first of all congratulations for the blog, from a brazilian fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Well, I think the reason that Grady decided that is Randy Wolf as 2nd starter and Tomko the 5th is that he doesn´t trust them and if it´s needed he can use Chad Billingsley. And yesterday I watched the game against Angels and to me there isn´t doubt that Meloan will earn Seanez spot in the bullpen.

PS: sorry for my English.

2007-04-01 15:53:21
132.   gpellamjr
Where went 126-129? I must know what was said!
2007-04-01 15:55:09
133.   Daniel Zappala
They failed the word verification test.
2007-04-01 16:00:11
134.   natepurcell
it looks like great lakes roster is set!

http://tinyurl.com/yrmsh5

SP and 2007 season ages

Clayton Kershaw age 19
Steven Johnson age 19
Thomas Melgarejo age 20
Jesus Rodriguez age 21
Josh Wall age 20

Melgarejo is a potential sleeper. He was signed out of Mexico and is making the jump from the GCL and had a decent winter league campaign in the mexican league. Rodriguez is a TJer who should be completely healthy this year. His era wasnt spectacular but he posted a really good K:bb ratio of 44/5 in 45IP last year for Odgen.

2007-04-01 16:00:36
135.   Jose Habib
Is Nomar really completely incapable of filling in at short for a few games now and then? Then Valdez wouldn't be needed and Loney could have had his roster spot.
2007-04-01 16:05:54
136.   Bob Timmermann
132
It was all in incorrectly spelled Latin, so it was deleted.
2007-04-01 16:06:56
137.   Bob Timmermann
131
I'm not Jon, but welcome. And your English is fine.

It's likely a lot better than the way most of us can write in Portuguese.

2007-04-01 16:16:48
138.   Sagehen
117 I love it! Perhaps we can trade him to a newspaper in Tampa.
2007-04-01 16:19:51
139.   Ricardo
Thanks,Bob. Did you read the Dayin Perry article at Fox Sports.com? He´s picking the D´Backs for the NL West and the Dodgers is ranked 18th in his Power Rankings. I disagree in my opinion Dodgers offense is not that bad.
2007-04-01 16:20:44
140.   bhsportsguy
131 Welcome to you, too. I am pretty sure that none of us would have even noticed despite your qualifier.
2007-04-01 16:25:09
141.   Indiana Jon
134
Does anyone know when Kershaw will pitch for Great Lakes? The Loons are here in Indiana, at South Bend and Ft. Wayne, 5-12 April. I would love to go up and see Kershaw pitch, but I have no idea where to find their scheduled starters for these games. Can anyone help?
2007-04-01 16:38:24
142.   Bob Timmermann
I didn't think minor league starters were picked that far in advance. I guess you should check the papers in Midland when the season starts to see if there is any rotation set up.
2007-04-01 16:44:53
143.   bhsportsguy
Some interesting stuff on the Baseball America site, this may have been discussed already since it is a few days old but here goes my take.

1. An NL scout was asked to compare Elbert and Kershaw and he said that basically on pure stuff, they are really close, both have fastballs that are in the low-mid 90's (Kershaw can reach as high as 97 mph), their breaking ball or curve ball is their next best pitch while their change ups are works in progress.

2. Though they are 2-3 years apart in age and 2-3 levels apart in minor league competition, Kershaw may move faster through the system than Elbert did.

3. When the words best, Dodgers, and Alex Cora are combined, that probably doesn't bode well for the boys in blue. Baseball America put out rankings of how teams do with developing players they have signed since 1995.
How did the Dodgers do, out of 30 teams, including expansion clubs, they ranked 29th. The only player with over 1500 plate appearances who orignally signed with the Dodgers is Alex Cora. (Note that Beltre was signed, underaged, in 1994 and LoDuca was drafted and signed in 1993) The top pitcher as far as IP for the Dodgers who signed since 1995 is Eric Gagne.
The next two position players on the list for the Dodgers are Shane Victorino and David Ross, Russell Martin is fourth based on his not even one full season in L.A.

To say the drafts from 1995-2001 were bad is an understatement, hopefully guys like Martin, Broxton, Billingsley, Loney, Kemp, LaRoche, Abreu, Kuo, and the rest will change those rankings when we look back at this again.

2007-04-01 16:49:17
144.   StolenMonkey86
Remember, we could still see Loney if Nomar strains his rib muscles changing a diaper or something.
2007-04-01 16:49:49
145.   CanuckDodger
134 -- Nate, it is a safe assumption that Kershaw, Johnson, and Wall will be in the rotation, but Melgarejo is not a slam dunk to start (but he probably will), and Rodriguez is improbable as a starter. Rodriguez pitched mostly out of the bullpen in 2006, and he was a lot better as a reliever than he was in his few starts. Joe Jones is on the Loons' roster and he started 6 games out of 9 appearances for Columbus last year. I think Jones will definitely be in the rotation, but he is 24 years old, so that is like a waste of a rotation slot to me. It would have been nice to have an All-Prospect rotation in low A. Damn Bryan Morris and his TJ surgery!
2007-04-01 16:57:29
146.   Sagehen
I think the rosters posted for the Minor League teams right now are pure speculation.
2007-04-01 16:57:57
147.   SoSG Orel
I'm loving the word verification gags. So far I've gotten smörgåsbord, Mientkiewicz, Duchscherer, rose4hof, ipwlalou. Still waiting for Grudzielanek.
2007-04-01 16:59:34
148.   natepurcell
we are doomed. Kruk AND Steve Phillips both predict the dodgers to make it to the world series.
2007-04-01 16:59:45
149.   StolenMonkey86
Krukkie and Phillips have the Dodgers losing the World Series this year.
2007-04-01 16:59:56
150.   Sagehen
147 Oh no! They disappeared with the last reload!
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2007-04-01 17:01:16
151.   natepurcell
145

speaking of morris (i totally have forgotten about him until you just brought him up), any chance you think he sees the mound sometime this year? Seems like TJers are recovering quicker and quicker.

2007-04-01 17:01:18
152.   SoSG Orel
150. It must be some sort of April Fool's joke!
2007-04-01 17:01:38
153.   StolenMonkey86
Maybe the doom doesn't count because it's April Fool's Day?
2007-04-01 17:03:56
154.   Eric Enders
148 Curt Schilling, whose new blog is actually pretty impressive, had a pretty good comment on there about Kruk the other day.

"I played with John Kruk, I watched, on a daily basis how he absolutely abused the media. M-F'ing them left and right, talking about how much he hated dealing with them, couldn't stand them. How he'd rip them day in and day out. Now he retires and you can't change a channel without seeing his face."

2007-04-01 17:05:21
155.   natepurcell
154

money talks!

2007-04-01 17:24:36
156.   be2ween
Today's fish-wrap mentions that Manny Mota will NOT be suiting up for road games this year, due to some new rules.
He will be allowed in the clubhouse before and after the game. Only 6 coaches are allowed on the road...
2007-04-01 17:33:20
157.   dzzrtRatt
Maybe this is already a topic, but I just noticed, the A's DFA'd Antonio Perez. So, you want him back anybody? Or is he one of the men of unsound character Colletti was talking about the other day?
2007-04-01 17:40:55
158.   Gen3Blue
Of course welcome Ricardo! Another strength of DT is to have range from Wash, D. C. to Hawaii and beyond and Canada to Latin America.
The trade for that lightweight infield triple A guy was for future considerations.
This often means something substantial and is often used when the trader does not care to take the heat at the time. Anyone care to guess what this is? A prospect maybe?
2007-04-01 18:13:37
159.   Eric Enders
156 It actually doesn't say only 6 coaches are allowed on the road. It says only six coaches are allowed to be in the dugout during any given game. presumably it's the Dodgers who made the decision that it's not worth it for Mota to travel with the team if he can only participate in pregame activities.
2007-04-01 18:25:10
160.   bhsportsguy
The man in the big Panama hat outwits a cop.

For 20 years, [Mike Brito] stood behind the backstop at Dodger Stadium, with his Panama hat, big cigar and trusty gun. The scout who brought Fernando Valenzuela to Los Angeles, he signed 29 who made it to the majors.

In all his time, he said he recorded only two pitchers in triple digits -- Ryan at 102 mph and J.R. Richard at 101.

"I don't believe the numbers I see now," he said. "People go to the stadium and they want to see a guy who throws hard. They want to see 102, 103 on the scoreboard. But even these guys from Detroit, do you think they throw harder than Nolan Ryan?"

A few years ago, Dodger Stadium switched to an automated system that put the clockings on the scoreboard.

Brito still has his gun, not that he needs it. He's seen so many pitches, he can instinctively tell the speed of baseballs -- or anything else. Many years ago, he said, police stopped him on the way from Pomona, Calif., to Dodger Stadium. Brito was accused of going faster than 80 mph.

"I told the officer that I thought he needed to check his radar gun," Brito said. "He asked me why I said that, then he saw my hat and recognized me. He let me go."

2007-04-01 18:31:45
161.   jasbo
Two things, and sorry if I'm treading on what somebody's already said, but I haven't had time to read everything ...
1. I realize decisions aren't made in a vacuum, but here's one I'd make: Loney belongs on the Dodgers' roster, no matter what.
2. If Kemp might struggle at times, doesn't he deserve a better chance than subbing at every conceivable outfield position?
2007-04-01 18:46:19
162.   bhsportsguy
161 I disagree, Loney is 22 years old and should be playing not sitting on a MLB bench. Olmedo Saenz and Marlon Anderson are better choices as the top pinch hitters on the club, he has not played enough outfield to go in as late inning replacement player.

Look, the Dodgers are a very difficult team to predict how they will finish because arguably because they are built for the inpredictability of a 162 game season.

Now in 2005, the White Sox had an amazing year because nearly all the starting pitchers and regular players were injury free. But generally, teams go through one or two or more injury issues in the year.

In 2005, for the Dodgers, it was first Jose Valentin and then J.D. Drew and Izzy who all went down for long periods of time.

Last season Mueller, Navarro, Lofton all had injuries, Cruz could only hit from one side of the plate, etc, those things caused the Dodgers to bring up all the youngsters and make moves down the stretch.

Now if the lineup that plays tomorrow is basically the same on July 1st, it will probably mean that Betemit was able to hit above .250, Nomar, Kent and Gonzalez have battled Mother Nature successfully for the time being and the Dodgers are in the race.

Will all of those things happen, whose to say but for the time being, the Dodgers have the players and resources to cover themselves if they don't.

2007-04-01 18:49:35
163.   Andrew Shimmin
There was a heart and soul vortex at Busch tonight!
2007-04-01 18:59:31
164.   Michael D
From BP:

One scout who spent time in Florida is confused as to why Dodgers righthander Chad Billingsley has been sent to the bullpen, considering his 7-2, 3.16 mark in last season's second half, continued by some impressive spring showings. "Between the plus fastball, the slider--which is probably his best pitch--and a real good curve, that's three solid offerings," said the scout. "His command is shaky at times, but they chose Brett Tomko over this? Please."

2007-04-01 19:08:25
165.   Andrew Shimmin
Oops. Hadn't read far enough to know we were doing Cards/Mets chat over at the Griddle.
2007-04-01 19:08:50
166.   D4P
Jeff Kent on young players:

"They want to win everything," Kent said. "I have a responsibility to be a leader, and I can show them a lot about how to handle failure. Even the best lose 60 to 70 times. They need to accept that."

Looks like he and LuGo need to get their stories straight

2007-04-01 19:16:21
167.   Gen3Blue
I hope to be able to take a trip this summer to see some Dodgers play. As it now stands, I would go to Vegas to see an infield of Laroche, Hu, Abreu, and Loney. Vegsa is a fun time and I don't know LA well. I wouldn't go there to see an infield that is Boston,San fran and Atlanta.
2007-04-01 19:26:00
168.   Bob Timmermann
167
You'll probably get to see Larry Barnes play first in Vegas. That's always a lot of fun.
2007-04-01 19:26:31
169.   LA Native
164

Seems correct to me. If Bills is not starting and Loney on the team by June 1, I am going to lose patience really quickly. I am giving Ned the benefit of the doubt for now, as I, like many of the people on this board, thought last year he should have tossed in the towel and built the team for the future instead of go for the playoffs when things looked bleak around July. Obviously, I was very wrong about that, and his trade for Maddux was great.

Gonzo may be the real problem if he struggles. Ned promised him being the starting left fielder. Not sure if he will let Little sit him easily. Right now, I don't know why we would have Gonzo out there against lefties at all.

Does anyone here also see Saenz spending a lot of time at 3rd against lefties? With Loney not on the team, that is looking less likely. Betemit is just bad against lefties and we already have a problem hitting lefties in the outfield.

2007-04-01 19:29:36
170.   Gen3Blue
168 I hope I hallucinated Barry's two homers.
2007-04-01 19:49:34
171.   Marty
I'll be in Vegas Thursday and Friday. Will the 51's be in town?
2007-04-01 19:51:48
172.   CanuckDodger
164 -- Billingsley's slider better than his curve? I don't think so -- unless his curve has been a little off this spring.
2007-04-01 19:52:36
173.   Andrew Shimmin
171- Nope. They'll be in Salt Lake City.
2007-04-01 19:56:48
174.   Marty
Not even James Loney is going to get me to go to Salt Lake City.
2007-04-01 19:57:06
175.   Robert Fiore
Think we should have a pool on what day Loney, Kemp, LaRoche and Billingsley are in the same lineup? I guess it might have happened at the end of last year, but this time it might be for keeps.
2007-04-01 20:02:54
176.   capdodger
Well... It took me about six seconds to mute the Sunday Night Baseball crew....

As soon as Joe started dissing on those of us who use, gasp, our computers to watch baseball. click

2007-04-01 20:12:37
177.   Eric Enders
175 It didn't happen last year because LaRoche has never played in a major league game.

I'll take Sept. 8.

2007-04-01 20:24:02
178.   Gen3Blue
Sept. 7 I know/i'm a grub.
2007-04-01 20:26:03
179.   Robert Fiore
I'm going to get semi-optimistic and say it's going to happen before the late season call-ups, but after the All Star break. August 15.
2007-04-01 20:28:11
180.   Andrew Shimmin
04/04/2008
2007-04-01 20:29:09
181.   FirstMohican
I think Bills > Tomko for sure, but is it possible Ned agrees but thinks that Billingsley might not have the stamina to finish the season? Given Tomko's hot start and not so hot finish, if you're going to spell Bills with someone at sometime, why not Tomko now.
2007-04-01 20:30:35
182.   Gen3Blue
For a minute I thought you said 2007--that would be courage Andrew, but 2008 makes sense.
2007-04-01 20:41:06
183.   gpellamjr
Wow, I am ready for this season to start!

I have felt very pessimistic about this team throughout the off season (mostly D4P's fault). The quick back-to-back acquisitions of JP and LuGo got me down on Ned and the Dodgers quickly. But I am ready now. I am as optimistic as I've ever been for an opening day. Maybe Gonzalez will hit 30 homeruns this year!

Anyway, I'm stoked and ready to go. I'll make my first serious prediction of the year: Juan up Juan down Pierre will lead off the season with a walk tomorrow... and it will be his last until mid-May.

One day at a time. I think the Dodgers will win the division this year.

2007-04-01 20:42:50
184.   PlayTwo
160=BH, Great stuff on Brito. Thanks. Being sent to the minors is not so bad these days. With so many objective medical tests, more and more players are finding their way to the DL when, in the past, they would have played through it. Just about any tear, strain, etc. can be found and measured triggering a medical opinion taking the player out. Loney should buy a round trip ticket. He'll be back.
2007-04-01 20:56:27
185.   D4P
mostly D4P's fault

"fault" makes it sound like a bad thing...

2007-04-01 20:56:58
186.   Daniel Zappala
174 Hey!

I'll be going to the game ... I think. I just went online to Ticketmaster and it cost $34 to buy 2 tickets that are face value of $21. So I'll head up to the park on Thursday evening and see what I can do.

2007-04-01 21:06:17
187.   JoeyP
Think we should have a pool on what day Loney, Kemp, LaRoche and Billingsley are in the same lineup?

Never.

LaRoche/Loney are dealt mid-season.
Nomar got a 2yr deal right?
He aint moving off first base.
The Dodgers arent going to wait till 2009 to start Loney either.

LaRoche has already been branded with the 'bat attitude' label. Plus, Betemit is a Colletti guy. LaRoche isnt.

Billingsley/Kemp are the only two that I just cant see even Ned trading.

2007-04-01 21:06:36
188.   Frank Wright
Why hasnt there been an official announcement from the dodgers or dodgers.com yet?
2007-04-01 21:17:07
189.   Bob Timmermann
188
Are you referring to the roster moves?

I think there may be some delays with all the moves being done by all the teams combined with traveling to Cream City.

2007-04-01 21:19:39
190.   bigcpa
Sorry if this has been posted already. Diamond Mind's annual projected standings.
http://tinyurl.com/3a25o8

They come within 2 wins of the Baseball Prospectus Dodger projection. I agree with their proj of 769 runs but 785 against is a bit odd- 5% worse than last year.

2007-04-01 21:20:19
191.   gpellamjr
185 By definition, I fing "fault" with everything you do, and "glory" in everything Andrew does. It's the nature of things. I must choose a side.
2007-04-01 21:22:40
192.   JoeyP
*Jordan Farmar got into the game for the Lakers in the fourth quarter to complete a personal doubleheader. The rookie guard, who had been struggling and had his playing time cut, played for the Lakers' Development League affiliate in the afternoon, then immediately was recalled by the Lakers.

He had four points in seven minutes for the Lakers after scoring 18, with six assists and three steals in 41 minutes of the D-Fenders' 109-101 loss to the Anaheim Arsenal on the same court.*

Thats pretty cool.
From the D-League to the NBA in one afternoon/evening.

2007-04-01 21:30:23
193.   D4P
191
Sometimes I feel like Al Gore. Or John Kerry.
2007-04-01 21:31:08
194.   Daniel Zappala
191 All right, then I'm with D4P. Us academics need to stick together.
2007-04-01 21:35:06
195.   gpellamjr
194 2nd year grad student in ancient history, about to finish his thesis does not count as academic? Sheesh.
2007-04-01 21:36:46
196.   Daniel Zappala
OK, OK, I've just always preferred D4P to Andrew. Happy now?
2007-04-01 21:37:59
197.   D4P
Happy now?

I am!

2007-04-01 21:39:09
198.   D4P
Someday, I'm going to cut off Andrew's hand, and then reach out to him and ask him to join me with the intention of ruling the galaxy together and ending the senseless conflict and all that jazz.
2007-04-01 21:39:46
199.   Jon Weisman
Short update to this post above.
2007-04-01 21:43:33
200.   gpellamjr
196 I will not be happy until D4P and all his minions are dead... or at least expelled from academia and Dodgerthoughts!
Show/Hide Comments 201-250
2007-04-01 21:44:43
201.   D4P
I gots minions...?
2007-04-01 21:46:48
202.   Bob Timmermann
In the future, all Dodger players will be required to prove that they can play shortstop.

Even ones who throw lefthanded.

2007-04-01 21:49:17
203.   Bob Timmermann
Coming up at random on my iPod now, the Harry Simeone Singers rendition of "It's a Beautiful Day for a Ballgame."
2007-04-01 21:52:37
204.   Daniel Zappala
200 Yikes, I'd be helpless without academia and DodgerThoughts. I'd have to go get employed by MLB, programming a better Gameday that works only on Macs so that Bob will let me continue posting on the Griddle.
2007-04-01 21:53:59
205.   underdog
Re: the update above, given Tony Jackson is wrong as often as he is "fairly sure about" something, I'm also going to assume that's a false assumption. Or at least, I'd assume Valdez would be more likely to be lost when Furcal comes off DL.
2007-04-01 22:00:26
206.   dzzrtRatt
Jon, re: your last update. I don't see why Tony Jackson has any credibility on this. He's guessing, and I'm guessing he's guessing wrong.

Ned and Grady are saying what they think Gonzo needs to hear. Your analysis of Ethier being closer to the bubble is intriguing, but it's probably not what's going through Gonzo's agent's mind when they see a guy like Kemp waiting in the wings.

I don't mind that Colletti favors some veterans. The problem is, he favors all of them, and he doesn't really let young players play themselves into the lineup unless there is no veteran available (i.e. third base, catcher.)

2007-04-01 22:01:44
207.   Andrew Shimmin
On the bright side, if he sits on the bench, he's not being showcased for a trade.
2007-04-01 22:10:18
208.   KAYVMON
Anybody else gonna have a tough time sleeping tonight? I've already written out exactly what I am going to tell my boss to explain to her why I am not going to make it into work tomorrow morning.
2007-04-01 22:16:36
209.   gpellamjr
201 What? Zappala isn't minion enough for you? If I were him, I'd leave you and join us over here on Andrew's side. There's plenty of academics going on over here, Zappala.
2007-04-01 22:21:05
210.   D4P
209
Do you guys meet at the coffee shop in San Dimas...?
2007-04-01 22:22:14
211.   Bob Timmermann
Some of us aren't scheduled to work tomorrow because they had to work the weekend.

I could tell you that I had this planned, but I didn't. And I get to make my own schedule for the most part.

2007-04-01 22:32:34
212.   Michael D
I have school tomorrow at 2:30. I really wish I could ditch to watch baseball all day but that can't happen. Might be a little late if the Dodger game runs all the way til 2 though.
2007-04-01 22:33:40
213.   KAYVMON
211- Thats fortunate, I volunteer at the courthouse on Mondays so there is no problem getting out of that kind of work except for the guilt.
2007-04-01 22:40:55
214.   Bob Timmermann
The 2005 season opener lasted 2:28, but the 2006 season opener lasted 3:10.

The only starters from the 2006 season opener who will start tomorrow are Kent and Lowe.

The same two also started the season opener in 2005.

2007-04-01 22:46:39
215.   Andrew Shimmin
There's an 80% chance of rain in Milwaukee on Tuesday. And a chance of snow on Wednesday. But tomorrow looks like it should be nice.
2007-04-01 22:50:47
216.   D4P
The weather for A Tradition Unlike Any Other looks great: not a drop of rain in the forecast
2007-04-01 23:01:53
217.   JoeyP
How can the Marlins not draw more fans?

http://tinyurl.com/2y9bxt

2007-04-01 23:08:23
218.   Andrew Shimmin
Baseball and cheerleaders: two great tastes that taste horrible together.
2007-04-01 23:08:49
219.   underdog
The retractable roof over Miller Park makes it less important, at least we'll be getting games in no matter what - but it would be nice to have them outdoors. See you all tomorrow mid-day!
2007-04-01 23:15:22
220.   Andrew Shimmin
I didn't remember Miller had a retractable roof. That's good news. The BOB has one, too, right? And SafeCo and whatever the Astros' stadium is called. Any others?
2007-04-01 23:21:45
221.   berkowit28
Olympic Stadium (Montreal). So there's one fewer now. I'd guess that Toronto (Rogers Center) might have something to cope with its only slightly less inclement weather. Yes, just checked its mlb site and found this:

"The Toronto Blue Jays is one of 5 teams (Seattle, Arizona, Milwaukee, Houston) in the Major League that play in a stadium with a retractable roof."

2007-04-01 23:26:41
222.   Andrew Shimmin
SkyDome is retractable? Huh. I just assumed Dome meant stationarily roofed. Well, there you go.
2007-04-01 23:31:05
223.   Bob Timmermann
It's Rogers Centre now

And it had the first retractable dome in baseball that worked.
Montreal's dome was, in theory, retractable, but it never worked properly.

I've been in Rogers Centre when the roof closed in the middle of an event (it was a CFL game). It was very loud as I was sitting right next to the top of the stadium. Also, the stadium isn't air conditioned (since it's Canada) and it became really stuffy inside.

2007-04-01 23:35:35
224.   Andrew Shimmin
SkyDome (Rogers didn't pay me to call it something wrong) is artificially turfed. As are Tropicana Field, the MetroDome.
2007-04-01 23:43:58
225.   bhsportsguy
Something to ponder for all of us Southern California baseball fans.

If the Fremont A's (Sorry Ken) build their Cisco Field by 2010-2012, the two oldest ballparks outside of Wrigley and Fenway, will be Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

At present, there are no plans for any new ballparks for either club, the McCourts have done their share of renovations with more to come next year regarding concourses and rest rooms while I believe the earliest Arte can bolt out of Anaheim is around 2016.

While I love Dodger Stadium, should they consider a new facility in the next 5-10 years?

I really don't think they would unless they decided to build a downtown stadium but if there was an NFL team pending, hmmm.

2007-04-02 00:06:15
226.   Eric Enders
Re Jon's second update above...
206 "I don't see why Tony Jackson has any credibility on this. He's guessing, and I'm guessing he's guessing wrong."

He's not guessing. He's reporting what Colletti has explicitly said. The Daily Breeze has a direct quote from Flanders:

"The last two or three days (Kemp) really played well," General Manager Ned Colletti said. "He can play all three outfield spots and he gives us balance on our bench because he's right handed. Clark was our only other right-handed hitter. Plus he's got power."

http://www.dailybreeze.com/sports/articles/6815757.html

2007-04-02 00:33:29
227.   Andrew Shimmin
That's weird. Unless Saenz decided to hit left handed.
2007-04-02 00:37:40
228.   Eric Enders
Martinez and Lieberthal too.
2007-04-02 00:40:28
229.   Bob Timmermann
225
If the Dodgers were planning a Downtown stadium, I would think the McCourts wouldn't be spending as much on Dodger Stadium renovations.

Getting Dodger Stadium built was one of the bigger political and sociological upheavals in the city of L.A. until the Watts Riots of 1965.

Do the fans of the Dodgers want to go Downtown?

2007-04-02 00:51:18
230.   bhsportsguy
229 Not me, I just want better options of transportation to and from the game.
2007-04-02 01:14:23
231.   Dodgers49
>>> Clark was our only other right-handed hitter. <<<

I think he meant to say, "right-handed hitting outfielder."

2007-04-02 01:29:39
232.   dzzrtRatt
226 Where's the "going to the minors" part? That's what I believe Jackson's guessing about. I don't think Ned has promised Valdez a job or told Kemp to keep his bags packed. He's just saying his starters are Gonzo, Pierre, Ethier. That, we already knew.

Not saying Kemp won't go down when Furcal returns. I'm just saying it's a guess; I don't think it's a clear implication from what Colletti's said.

2007-04-02 01:36:45
233.   Jon Weisman
Game thread is open!
2007-04-02 01:44:43
234.   Andrew Shimmin
How many right handed hitting reserve out fielders are the right number to have on a roster? If Kemp isn't going to start, Merlin is the only LH bat off the bench. Seems like a LH bat would be more useful, OF or not, given Clark and Merlin.
2007-04-02 02:29:00
235.   Andrew Shimmin
Not to mention the entire reason we've got five years of a certain someone staring us in the face is that Kemp can't play CF, as has been patiently explained to us. So what's this plays all three OF positions business about?
2007-04-02 05:30:25
236.   paranoidandroid
Loney and Betemit for Miguel Cabrera?

I wish... or for A Rod? I'd give up Broxton too, if we could get MC or ARod locked up into a long term deal.

Kemp over Loney amazed me, I thought Bigbie would get the nod over both of them for now. I actually think that Brady Clark can be the odd man out when Furcal returns if Kemp earns some playing time. Valdez got a few looks in the outfield and I think the Dodgers want a right handed bat on the bench.

I think Ethier's lack of power will have him moving to the bench unless Gonzo gets hurt or falters. How can we have start three outfielders who hit 27 homers between them last year?

I feel for Loney. I remember when Eric Karros couldn't make the team and then when given a chance, didn't move for a long time. He had more power than Loney, but Loney is an on base machine, drives the ball, and is a gold glove at first. How do you keep a guy like that in Vegas? Who played better against the Mets in October other than Kent? Loney has stepped up each spring and even in October. Find a way to let him play. Shove a glove on his left hand and play him at third! He can kick the ball to Nomar.

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