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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Kuo Grabs Rotation Spot
2008-04-12 01:00
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

As Friday's loss was hashed out long into the night, we learned in the wee hours from Ken Gurnick at MLB.com that Hong-Chih Kuo would start for the Dodgers on Tuesday in place of Esteban Loaiza.

Gurnick also speculates that the team is biding time for a Clayton Kershaw callup in a month or so.

Update: Robert Daeley at The Trolley Dodger reports on Friday's Dodger Blogger Night at Dodger Stadium, which I was unable to get to.

Comments (191)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-04-12 01:46:45
1.   Eric Enders
Pittsburgh is 3-2 against righty starters and 1-4 against lefty ones this year.
2008-04-12 02:00:44
2.   whodat807
If Torre was going to give up on Loiaza after handing him the rotation spot for only one start, why did he give him the spot in the first place? Why not give it to Kuo or Park from the get go? Maybe Loaiza hurt something, because it seems a bit too early to give up hope that Loaiza will turn it on and miraculously become a decent starting pitcher if you had confidence only 10 days ago.
2008-04-12 02:04:00
3.   Marty
Hmmm...I happen to be going to Tuesday's game, so good for me to see Kuo.
2008-04-12 02:14:06
4.   Gilberto Reyes
I have a problem with Gurnick's speculation about bringing Kershaw up so early in his career. Let's give Kuo and Park a chance to pitch themselves out of the rotation before we bring up the Minotaur. In fact, it would be safer to give James McDonald a shot as the number 5 starter before risking any damage to Kershaw. I would love to see Kershaw up right now as much as anyone, but let's not risk rushing the kid for a few short term gains.
2008-04-12 02:37:31
5.   Marty
It looks like Tuesday is Jackie Robinson night too, so everyone will be wearing 42. You won't be able to tell the players with a program.
2008-04-12 02:52:29
6.   dsfan
4-
Agreed. Would love to see Kershaw showing that he can throw a ton of strikes in Double-A. Manage the workload there, keep him there until he shows he can wear out the strikezone. Would love to see McDonald grab that job and run with it.
2008-04-12 03:01:56
7.   dzzrtRatt
Torre is no Grady.

What he is, is a manager who is still learning the team and the league. This part of the season feels like extended spring training. What's apparent to some of us is still tentative in Torre's mind.

I wonder how much he misses Donnie?

2008-04-12 03:20:20
8.   Benjamin Miracord
As Andruw Jones struggles to get his batting average above the Mendoza Line, I just discovered that legendary Dodger catcher Jeff Torborg had a lower lifetime average than Mario Mendoza. (Sorry if this was already mentioned today.)
2008-04-12 04:23:38
9.   Dodger Jack
Kershaw and McDonald are not the only options. Meloan pitched a terrific six innings for LV this week. Don't forget him.
2008-04-12 05:43:07
10.   D4P
Torre is no Grady

I'm not seeing much difference yet, and certainly not anything that's worth the difference in salary.

2008-04-12 05:52:10
11.   Yu-Hsing Chen
GO KUO!!!!!!
2008-04-12 05:53:25
12.   D4P
I don't completely buy the "Torre is different from Grittle because Torre benches Pierre on occasion" argument. Grittle didn't have an $18 million dollar centerfielder to accommodate the way Torre does.

Once you move Pierre out of center and he's competing with Kemp and Ethier for playing time, I think most managers (including Grittle) would use some kinda 3-way platoon.

2008-04-12 05:57:45
13.   D4P
I see that Kemp and Pierre have combined for a grand total of zero walks thus far.
2008-04-12 06:20:40
14.   dzzrtRatt
Whay I'm saying is Torre's decisions regarding the Dodgers show a deliberative mind at work on a multidimensional problem, with final decisions on many of the matters before him still pending.

Little just rolled with the tides, basically letting the GM and veteran players tell him his lineup and many pitching decisions.

Torre's disrespect for Pierre's streak was a declaration of independence. As was his benching of Jones, and his devotion to Ethier. Kershaw impressed him in spring so he's greasing the path for him. Kemp he likes a lot but still sees as raw in a way Loney is not.

One can disagree about every one of his decisions; what I'm saying is the process feels very different. What's frustrating is that Torre seems so tentative. But you can hardly blame him. He had half a spring training with a new team, with a lot of (to him) unknown players. It might take him half the season to figure it all out to where he can make decisions he can stick by.

That's also why I'm thinking the loss of Mattingly was a blow. His job was going to be helping Joe figure out all these strange new players, and translate Joe's expectations. So that's made Joe even more tentative.

2008-04-12 06:21:24
15.   old dodger fan
Before we totally panic about Andruw we should remember that he has slumps. In 2007 from 6/10 - 6/23 (11 games) he managed 2 singles. In the middle of it he struck out 10 times in 5 games (3 times each in consecutive games).
2008-04-12 06:27:06
16.   Izzy
14. Excellent post.
2008-04-12 06:33:32
17.   D4P
Little just rolled with the tides, basically letting the GM and veteran players tell him his lineup and many pitching decisions

But Torre doesn't have many veterans to accommodate. There's no LuGo to whine about being benched, and Nomar's been hurt. The only veterans are either guys like Kent (whom every manager would start at 2B), or Sweeney (whom every manager would use off the bench).

I see this as more of a roster issue than a managerial decision-making issue. If, for example, Nomar had been healthy, I feel comfortable assuming that he'd be playing instead of DeWitt.

I do agree that Torre doesn't appear to be Ned's puppet regarding lineup decisions, but I don't agree that he's ultimately making decisions that are much different from the ones Grittle made.

2008-04-12 06:34:35
18.   D4P
That's also why I'm thinking the loss of Mattingly was a blow. His job was going to be helping Joe figure out all these strange new players, and translate Joe's expectations

Torre's $4 million salary doesn't come with an expectation that he can figure out the new players...? Sheesh.

2008-04-12 06:51:51
19.   dzzrtRatt
I don't care how much you pay a guy, it doesn't accelerate how quickly he can learn a player's tendencies. That's a game to game thing. Torre has to learn the veterans as well as the younger players. How many of them went on the China junket with him? Not enough of them.

I have to say, I hated that PR stunt. Bud, Frank, stop screwing around with Spring Training! That's not a time for barnstorming tours. Especially when you just hired a new manager.

2008-04-12 07:40:50
20.   Ken Noe
Yahoo Sports now campaigning for "Slappy McPopup": http://tinyurl.com/5txv8n
2008-04-12 08:06:09
21.   Suffering Bruin
I like D4P. I like dzzrtRatt.

I'm with the Rattman on this one. 14 should be required reading for Torre bashers.

2008-04-12 08:08:27
22.   Bumsrap
So far this season, the Dodgers have a very unbalanced offense. The left side is hitting/walking and the right side is not.
2008-04-12 08:17:02
23.   Jon Weisman
2 - I think they were in part surprised to find Kuo was healthy, at least for now, more than any change of heart about Loaiza.
2008-04-12 08:23:52
24.   Jon Weisman
The Trolley Dodger reports on Dodger Blogger Night:

http://www.trolleydodger.com/2008/04/12/dodger-bloggers-are-made-to-feel-like-they-belong/

2008-04-12 08:24:17
25.   Ken Noe
So what does the team do with Troncoso? No discussion in our outfield-centered world, but another bad night for him.
2008-04-12 08:27:07
26.   fordprefect
5
Powerful number, that.
2008-04-12 08:38:58
27.   Tangled Up in Blue
25 - Call up Eric Hull...

Good to see Kuo in the rotation. Smart move.

Right now Torre appears to be playing the hot hand (with the exception being Jones). Ethier went from a potential 4th outfielder to the #3 hitter in the lineup. Kemp struggled early so he put in Pierre to see if he would get hot. Now Kuo is in the rotation after a good outing.

14 was a great post on Torre.

2008-04-12 08:46:35
28.   KG16
On Kuo, let's also keep in mind that Torre hinted at this a while ago, mentioning that he didn't really like having 5 northpaws in the rotation.
2008-04-12 09:00:59
29.   Disabled List
From the Jokes That Cut Too Close to the Bone file:

"Brad Penny is calling me Wally Pipp," LaRoche said, referring to the former New York Yankee star who sat out a game in 1925, then watched Lou Gehrig start the next 2,130 in his place. "But obviously it wasn't my job to lose."

Penny was referring to DeWitt, but I just hope Nomar wasn't around to hear that.

2008-04-12 09:07:33
30.   KG16
29 - Nomar is going to be spending at least a week with the 51s, as of today. I'm wondering if he's going to be able to give the Dodgers more than The Solution has thus far.
2008-04-12 09:10:26
31.   overkill94
25 He looked fine last night, he was just victimized by some seeing-eye hits and a bout of wildness. I'd rather see him in less pressure-filled situations, but there's not much you can do when your pitchers don't go deep into games.
2008-04-12 09:14:36
32.   CodyS
14 I agree. It was very frustrating to watch a bunch of people with no chance at even making the roster get the bulk of playing time when you knew Torre needed to see the actual people on the roster play. And as soon as I heard about the China trip, I knew it would exacerbate this problem as well as get everyone that went discombobulated for weeks. Which is exactly what happened.

That said, we're not losing games because of playing this guy or that. We're losing games because 2/3 of the lineup is not hitting at all this week. But the hitters will come around. Billingsley will come around. And the team will contend for the playoffs all year long.

2008-04-12 09:15:16
33.   regfairfield
There was a Dodger blogger night?
2008-04-12 09:27:43
34.   Marty
33 You must have been in your basement
2008-04-12 09:36:13
35.   Daniel Zappala
I made a 10-hour drive yesterday that started in snow, 33 degrees, and ended in sunshine, 81 degrees. I can't help but be optimistic and excited to see Kuo Tuesday night.
2008-04-12 09:37:46
36.   Xeifrank
33. Yeah, how do you get on the mailing list?
vr, Xei
2008-04-12 09:42:35
37.   Xeifrank
For health reasons, I don't see Guo in the rotation for the whole season. I hope I am wrong. I am a little worried this is too early in the season for him to be in the rotation. But a good game of musical chairs for the 5th spot might be underway.
vr, Xei
2008-04-12 09:43:15
38.   delias man
So, who leaves when Nomar is activated? If it is DeWitt, Nomar plays EVERY day? I dont like where this is going.
2008-04-12 09:47:25
39.   Xeifrank
38. DeWitt or Hu right? Hu plays multiple positions. Eventually it's all moot if/when LaRoche and Abreu also are healthy.
vr, Xei
2008-04-12 09:51:42
40.   Marty
I'm actually happy Nomar may come back soon. Yeah, Dewitt has been a nice surprise in the field and has a good walk rate, but his slugging is horrible and that's what we need at the moment. Nomar may be just as bad, but I'm willing to give him a shot.
2008-04-12 09:52:00
41.   Jon Weisman
I thought you guys were on the mailing list.
2008-04-12 10:02:45
42.   still bevens
I think moving Kuo to the rotation has everything to do with him a. being healthy and b. being left handed. Gotta have a lefty in the rotation. Its MLB orthodoxy.
2008-04-12 10:14:34
43.   silverwidow
38 DeWitt will go to LV (not Jax, because they need him close by just in case).
2008-04-12 10:20:59
44.   underdog
2 Count your blessings.

14 is spot on.

Wanna something either cool or pathetic? I actually had a dream with the Minotaur last night. Now it wasn't anything direct; he was on TV and I got excited that he was pitching for the Dodgers but then had to go somewhere. The dream wasn't really about baseball. I think there was a car chase in it, though. And my seventh grade art teacher. Er, anyway, I sensed a prophecy about to be foretold in that dream.

Happy Saturday all!

2008-04-12 10:23:44
45.   ToyCannon
33
I just figured you were anti-social and decided not to tell anyone when I heard about it. Did they have a suite large enough for the SOSG group?
2008-04-12 10:30:34
46.   regfairfield
45 I guess the first part probably is true.
2008-04-12 11:04:40
47.   immouch
14
Agree that it's a great post. That said, I think Torre's problem isn't judgement - it's Jones' gut. The man shouldn't be this much slower, at 30/31, than he was in his mid-20s. A step slower? Sure, but not this much slower. He's such a huge improvement over Pierre that we're failing to notice he's an average CF right now. And his work at the plate isn't a slump, it's scary bad. He's an $18 million chunk of zero right now, and I'm guessing he's keeping Torre awake at night more than any other issue on the team.
On another note, I'm stoked that Kuo/Guo is in the rotation. I think two months of him, healthy, will remind the world how good he can be. Eventually, though, my guess is the No. 5 slot is gonna be a carousel. A little Kuo/Guo, a little McDonald, a little Kershaw... Not a horrible way to go, all things considered.
2008-04-12 11:31:14
48.   Indiana Jon
47
He's such a huge improvement over Pierre that we're failing to notice he's an average CF

I would say it this way. He's such an average CF right now that we are failing to notice he's a huge improvement over Pierre.

14
Kemp he likes a lot but still sees as raw in a way Loney is not.

This is exactly the reason I would think he would be playing Kemp every night. Kemp is as good a hitter as Loney is now AND he's still very raw. The sky is the limit for Matt Kemp. Loney is closer to reaching his full potential. That's why I have said all along that Matt is the better player here. Why can't Joe see that Kemp is good NOW, just like he does with Loney?

2008-04-12 11:35:13
49.   22 Gallons
I was at the game last night and witnessed first hand the albatross that is Andruw Jones. Right now the guy has no clue at the plate. Torre isn't helping by batting him 7th in the lineup ahead of DeWitt and Pitcher. Basically, the 7,8, & 9 spots were easy outs (save Penny's single). Torre needs to shuffle the lineup around so Jones is batting in front of Eithier, Kemp or Martin.
2008-04-12 11:37:39
50.   Reddog
Torre is a proven manager. The real problem is Colletti. We need to get rid of him. We never should have hired him. He signs vets past their prime for big contracts. Or guys that are overrated or mediocre..That is what the guy does. Schmidt. Loaiza. Jones. Pierre. Re-signing Nomar. Tomko. Hendrickson. Roberto Hernandez. On and on...

Meanwhile we have the top-rated farm system. Look at Arizona and Colorado. Using their kids and they're getting really good.

McCourt made a big mistake when he latched onto Coletti, and the team and the fans are paying the price.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-04-12 11:39:09
51.   Eric Enders
"Basically, the 7,8, & 9 spots were easy outs (save Penny's single). Torre needs to shuffle the lineup around so Jones is batting in front of Eithier, Kemp or Martin."

Didn't he start the season that way and it didn't work?

One would think, if batting orders actually mattered, which they don't, that putting your three automatic outs in a row is a pretty good idea because then you have a legitimate chance to score in two out of every three innings.

2008-04-12 11:40:27
52.   D4P
Torre is a proven manager

Winning percentages:

w/Mets: .405
w/Braves: .529
w/Cards: .498
w/Yanks: .605

What does that prove?

2008-04-12 11:42:00
53.   Eric Enders
It proves that he's gotten (essentially) fired four times and that each time he got re-hired. That's gotta be worth something, right?
2008-04-12 11:50:25
54.   D4P
That's gotta be worth something, right?

Apparently, somewhere around $4 million a year.

2008-04-12 11:51:15
55.   Bob Timmermann
The game in Chicago is no longer interesting.
2008-04-12 11:51:30
56.   Ken Noe
50 Given McCourt's track record, it's difficult imagining the LADs not winning the west this year and NedCo surviving. The only question will be whether Torre has bonded with White or Ng, or wants to handpick a GM from elsewhere.
2008-04-12 11:54:28
57.   KG16
51 - I disagree about "putting three automatic outs in a row" - let's say you start the inning with your 4-5-6 hitters, two of them get on, so you have two on and one out, then you have three automatic outs? Now you're looking at being in the next inning with one out and your leadoff guy at the plate. Also, I will continue to point out that DeWitt's .385 OBP is not an automatic out. The only starters with a better OBP are Furcal and Loney.

The Dodgers problem thus far is they've been unable to get hits with runners on base. The team is a whopping .225 with runners in scoring position. I don't know how they fix that, other than putting the bat on the ball

2008-04-12 11:55:18
58.   Dodger Jack
Posters here last winter were almost unanimous in wanting Colletti to sign Fat Jones, despite his fading batting average and home run count. Any poster brazen enough to suggest that Colletti sign a Hunter or a Rowand to play CF was roundly disapproved here. Now posters want to fire Colletti for signing Fat Jones. Go figure.
2008-04-12 11:56:16
59.   D4P
Posters here last winter were almost unanimous in wanting Colletti to sign Fat Jones

Wrong.

2008-04-12 11:58:29
60.   KG16
58 - I'd have been happy with an outfield of Ethier-Repko-Kemp, this year and last year. Or better yet Ethier-Werth-Kemp.
2008-04-12 12:09:18
61.   Eric Enders
57 That sounds reasonable. However, there's not much need to discuss this issue in depth, since:
a) Batting orders don't really matter, and
b) To the degree that they do matter, a batting order simulator could answer the question definitively, rendering both your opinion and mine irrelevant.
2008-04-12 12:10:00
62.   Eric Enders
59 Actually, that's right, since he put the word "almost" in there.
2008-04-12 12:10:08
63.   underdog
I was in favor of signing a Non-Fat Jones. A Fat Jones, I'm less in favor of.

If there was a Soy Jones, I'd be even more comfortable.

I still say the guy's gonna come around, but it may be another month.

Fortunately, people here are really patient so that should be fine.

2008-04-12 12:12:09
64.   underdog
52 I have this feeling, and I could be wrong, it's just a gut feeling, that D4P really isn't a fan of Joe Torre.

Fortunately, there are many other great, more successful managers out there the Dodgers could've hired. Like, f'rinstance, well, there's, and then... what's that guy's name? And that other one? Well, I'm sure there was someone out there that would've been perfect. Can't remember their name at the moment, but that guy.

2008-04-12 12:16:40
65.   fanerman
Fortunately, people here are really patient so that should be fine.

You bet.

2008-04-12 12:17:27
66.   D4P
62
Mine eyes missed the "almost".

64
I don't have anything against Joe Torre. I just think his salary, "winning ways", etc. are a sham. I also have yet to feel like he's much different from his predecessor.

2008-04-12 12:18:11
67.   Ricardo
I was in favor of signing Jones but I did not think that would mean less playing for Matt Kemp. My problem with Colletti are those trades with Tampa Bay, if he traded Edwin Jackson, Dioner Navarro and Joel Guzman at the same time, he could have gotten much more.
2008-04-12 12:24:28
68.   jtrichey
64 The guy you are trying to remember is Larry Dierker.
2008-04-12 12:28:00
69.   Michael D
There is no spot in the lineup that will help out Jones right now. The guy keeps swinging away at sliders way down and outside. Christ against Peavy last night I remember one of his AB's the count is 1-0 and Peavy throws a slider that started out of the zone Jones still chased it. How hard can it be to say to yourself ok I'm slumping a bit and they think I can't hit the slider and I'm ahead in the count, if I see a pitch start down and away out of the zone it's probably a slider and I should spit on it?

It's a basic pitch recognition problem right now. He's swinging at balls that end up in the dirt. Ok that doesn't solve the problem that he can't catch up to a fastball right now either but still, at the very least there is no reason for him to be chasing all these sliders out of the zone.

As for all of us wanting Jones, I think the only reason anybody around here wanted Jones was to force the issue with Pierre, which he has. Pierre has started more than we'd like but without Jones he would have started 162. Nobody imagined Jones being this bad.

2008-04-12 12:31:38
70.   D4P
How hard can it be to say to yourself ok I'm slumping a bit and they think I can't hit the slider and I'm ahead in the count, if I see a pitch start down and away out of the zone it's probably a slider and I should spit on it?

I don't get the impression he really cares much about his performance. He already got his big contract, right after a terrible season.

2008-04-12 12:32:04
71.   fanerman
Nobody imagined Jones being this bad.

Cue up D4P in 3, 2, 1...

2008-04-12 12:35:31
72.   D4P
71
I saw that, but let it slide. I didn't want to start another ".700 OPS is better than .300 OPS" discussion.
2008-04-12 12:39:41
73.   Bob Timmermann
68
Larry Dierker is an interesting guy and he's unconvential.

He also would have been hated by the Dodger players, young and old. He just doesn't garner a lot of respect.

2008-04-12 12:44:14
74.   jasonungar07
I think the consensus in these parts was that signing Jones only made sense if it meant that the OF was Jones/Ethier/Kemp. Most pointed out that Ethier had a better OPS+ last year than Jones (as example) and the idea of paying Jones, not to play Ethier would be a very bad one. Most thought the dodgers wouldn't be that stupid (and others pointed out they would be) and they weren't, no worries, problem solved they just won't pay Kemp.

Doh.

2008-04-12 12:45:17
75.   berkowit28
69 Christ against Peavy last night

Actually, that was Penny on the mound. He could have done with a few miracles.

2008-04-12 12:46:21
76.   silverwidow
Higher ceiling: Hanley Ramirez or Justin Upton?
2008-04-12 12:46:30
77.   berkowit28
...Or some punctuation...
2008-04-12 12:54:43
78.   Ken Noe
I supported Jones at two years because we needed power, and if he turned out to be a bust, we weren't tied to him long-term like JP. I think everyone realized at first that he was a gamble. He may still work out for all we know. My simple gripe on this score is Torre not playing Kemp.
2008-04-12 12:58:11
79.   MJW101
You can now add Jones $36 million to the $$$ wasted by Ned. That total is now up to $200 million+ over 2+ years for the Ned. It is a good thing Frank has a big fat checkbook.
2008-04-12 12:58:57
80.   Chiron Brown
66 I've yet to see Torre call for a sac bunt from his #3 hitter or with two on and no outs in the second inning. In fact, although I haven't seen every inning, I can't recall any sac bunts except from a pitcher. I'm pretty neutral on Torre but if that trend continues I'll throw the man a party.
2008-04-12 13:04:47
81.   fanerman
79 Yes. On April 12th of the first season of his contract, we can already declare Jones to be a complete loss.
2008-04-12 13:05:49
82.   D4P
80
In 2007, we had 57 "sacrifice hits" in 162 games, or an average of 0.36 per game.

In 2008, we have 4 in 10 games, or (duh) an average of 0.40 per game.

But, maybe our pitchers are bunting more successfully so far this year. I don't know.

2008-04-12 13:20:02
83.   Andrew Shimmin
14 - Is it reasonable for a professional baseball manager to need half a season, plus a however futzed with Spring, to figure out that Matt Kemp is better at baseball than Juan Pierre?
2008-04-12 13:27:03
84.   Sam PHL
82. It's far too early to draw conclusions about this, but so far in 2008 only one of the four bunts was by a position player. In 2007, 27 of the 58 bunts (47%) were by position players. Granted, 20 of those in 2007 and the only one in 2008 were by JP. Data from B-R.
2008-04-12 13:27:17
85.   Indiana Jon
83 No it's not. My daughter knows it and she won't turn six until next month.
2008-04-12 13:30:43
86.   Indiana Jon
Am I the only one left on this site that still likes Jones, doesn't think he's a bust, and thinks Colletti has done a good job for the most part? I think I am. If Laroche and Kemp are starters by June, then I don't see a position on the field where we have had a better option in the last three years. The problem is Torre won't make the right people starters.
2008-04-12 13:37:17
87.   Disabled List
I think there ought to be less teeth-gnashing about Joe Torre. We all know that Xeifrank could write a program in 30 minutes that would implement game strategy better than most ML managers. That's not the point. With the way the Dodgers are hitting right now, our record would probably be 4-6 no matter what lineup Torre (or Xeifrank's program) sends out there.

The #1 goal of a major league baseball franchise is not winning championships. That's the #2 goal. The #1 goal is to make money. Most of the time, steps towards both of these goals are equal strides; sometimes, a step toward the first goal is not as big of a step towards the second goal. Hiring Joe Torre to be manager is an example of that. Torre brings with him cachet and star power that the Dodgers have not had since the days of Lasorda and Piazza, and it makes the Dodgers relevant again on the national level. That's important for the Dodgers to achieve their #1 goal in 2008.

As for their #2 goal, well... Torre might not be any better than Xeifrank's computer at game management, but the best thing a manager can do is not screw up a good thing. This is where Grady Little failed and Torre has a reputation for succeeding. It's not Torre's fault that Martin and Fat Jones have started the season ice cold.

Lineup shenanigans aside, 10 games is too early to early to proclaim Torre the second coming of Grady Little. Let's see what happens when Martin and Jones heat up and LaRoche comes back.

2008-04-12 13:41:12
88.   dzzrtRatt
I wrote 14 and its progeny at JFK, having missed a coonection from Boston due to that connection being cancelled. Now, I'm in Las Vegas waiting for my flight to resume to Long Beach. Maybe two hours sleep before this adventure started.

I think we can't ignore how much mediocre baseball is being played by teams expected to contend, and how many desirable players are off to lousy starts.

All conclusions, charitable or harsh, are premature.

However, I do think the Dodgers come into the early weeks of the season at a peculiar disadvantage. Boston, Oakland and SD also went on wacky Asian tours, but all of them are led by last year's manager.

on to home!

2008-04-12 13:52:49
89.   Suffering Bruin
Not to cross promote but if you haven't checked out FJM's takedown of Jim Armstrong... well, it's great stuff.
2008-04-12 13:58:43
90.   Andrew Shimmin
The San Francisco menace of having kids play at being the PA announcer at baseball games has come to Arizona. Ch-i save us all.
2008-04-12 14:05:44
91.   Frip
90 I think it's great. And I'm never wrong.
2008-04-12 14:07:00
92.   dsfan
14-

Just an excellent post.

The disjointed spring schedule did Torre no favors, either. Easler's presence should also be taken into account. He probably knows Kemp and Loney pretty wel. If his input is factored into the Kemp decisions, I think it's a more informed decision.

As for Jones, I strongly advocated a two-year deal and though it would boost the team's defense (in turn the pitching) and its power. Was very disappointing to see him appear so bloated. Still early, of course, but is there any franchise that has worse luck with big-contract free agents? Or maybe luck isn't significant, maybe it just comes down to failed evaluations. (again, too early for me to reach that conclusion on Jones)

2008-04-12 14:16:56
93.   Chiron Brown
90 Those two teams seem to share a penchant for bad ideas. Senior citizens as ballboys comes to mind.
2008-04-12 14:18:23
94.   Indiana Jon
87 I think there should be less teeth gnashing about Jones also. I use his career as my only exhibit. It's been a half century since the Dodgers had a CF with a career as good as Jones and the guy is still young.
2008-04-12 14:27:17
95.   regfairfield
Have we really had bad luck on free agent signings? The only ones that come to mind of late are Odalis, Schmidt, and Nomar part two. The rest of them were either boneheaded to begin with (Pierre, Gonzalez which turned out better than we could have hoped) or turned out pretty well (Kent, Drew, Lowe, Nomar part one). That seems comparable to how other teams do.
2008-04-12 14:27:22
96.   Eric Enders
"Still early, of course, but is there any franchise that has worse luck with big-contract free agents?"

Teams in general have bad luck with big-money free agent contracts, because signing free agents to patch your holes is, by and large, a sucker's game.

The Yankees come to mind. From Steve Kemp to Jason Giambi to Jaret Wright to Carl Pavano to Johnny Damon, they've done themselves relatively few favors in that area.

2008-04-12 14:29:43
97.   Suffering Bruin
94 How about teeth grinding? Chewing the lips? I'm just sayin', I'm not jumping over a cliff yet but I am concerned.
2008-04-12 14:30:41
98.   Baly79
Great game on tv now. NY @ Bos
2008-04-12 14:31:31
99.   Chiron Brown
95 And Furcal was a great pick-up, even with the bad ankle last year.
2008-04-12 14:32:13
100.   schoffle
92

Dsfan, do you know for what period Easler was Kemp's coach?

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-04-12 14:32:45
101.   Indiana Jon
96 Giambi may be overpaid, but I don't know if I would call him a bust. He has played 4 full seasons (not including the two injury shortened ones) in New York. His lowest OPS in those 4 years is .939. That's a pretty good bust. Not many current Dodgers have ever OPSed .939 for a full season.
2008-04-12 14:33:28
102.   Indiana Jon
97 I would agree with concerned, just as I am very concerned with Torre.
2008-04-12 14:35:33
103.   Baly79
Easler coached Kemp in 2006 @ Jacksonville and 2007 at Vegas
2008-04-12 14:35:48
104.   ToyCannon
I expect Andruw Jones still has plenty of support here, we just don't post every time someone writes that he's washed up.
2008-04-12 14:36:31
105.   Vishal
matt cain just hit a home run in san francisco... and he's uh, pitching pretty well today too.
2008-04-12 14:37:49
106.   natepurcell
Justin Upton is ridiculous.

boo.

2008-04-12 14:37:53
107.   ToyCannon
Justin Upton is very very good. Joining Mel Ott and Willie Mays in the record books.
2008-04-12 14:38:22
108.   ToyCannon
Jinx
2008-04-12 14:41:02
109.   Suffering Bruin
I love watching the Yankees-Red Sox on Fox. Every player in every instance gets described thusly: "No player (linking verb)(adjective and/or progressive tense verb) at (skill) in all of baseball than (name of New York-Boston player)."

I think I'm going to send Fox a resume.

2008-04-12 14:41:30
110.   natepurcell
I expect Andruw Jones still has plenty of support here, we just don't post every time D4P writes that he's washed up.
2008-04-12 14:44:38
111.   The Trolley Dodger
98 It's nice the national networks give those small market teams some face time. Makes you proud.
2008-04-12 14:46:58
112.   Indiana Jon
107 What did he do?
2008-04-12 14:48:07
113.   natepurcell
112

He plays baseball really, really well.

2008-04-12 14:50:14
114.   silverwidow
113 So does Hanley Ramirez. The question is who will have a better career?
2008-04-12 14:51:41
115.   Eric Enders
101 Point taken. However, the injury-plagued seasons can't be written off. They were part of the contract too. And the contract ain't over yet.

It also needs to be taken into consideration that having Jason Giambi's bat in the lineup also requires having his stone glove in the field. (He's one of those weird guys, Frank Thomas is another, who whenever you put him at DH suddenly starts hitting like Doug Mientkiewicz.)

2008-04-12 14:52:14
116.   Marty
96 Steve Kemp was in my little league. He was easily the best player back then. And I was not.
2008-04-12 14:52:59
117.   Lexinthedena
Does Upton remind anyone else of Ron Gant?
2008-04-12 14:53:36
118.   Eric Enders
Upton will have a better career, if for no other reason than he's not going to have to spend the latter half of it as a DH like Hanley will. I'd take either one of 'em, though.
2008-04-12 14:54:21
119.   Lexinthedena
A pre-leg injury Gant of course.
2008-04-12 14:54:33
120.   JoeyP
Ned might go down the worst spender out of any Dodger GM.

Andruw Jones--36mils
Schmidt--48mils
Pierre--45 mils
Nomar--
Loaiza--
Gonzo--

The top two are forgiveable offenses, though Jones was awful in 2007, and Schmidt was old.

The bottom 4 is what really hurts. Spending money on useless PVL.

If there's a positive from the Dodgers not doing well this year, it'll be Ned being gone. Just too much wasted money on the books. Not enough return on investment to keep him IMO.. Hopefully Frank agrees.

2008-04-12 14:54:37
121.   D4P
Tiger just finished a bogey-free 68. Currently in 5th, 4 shots back. Missed a ton of makeable putts on the front nine too.
2008-04-12 14:54:48
122.   natepurcell
118

Hanley's too athletic to become a DH.

2008-04-12 15:01:22
123.   Eric Enders
122 But even athletic guys have to be able to operate that leather thingy they wear on their hand. Pedro Guerrero was pretty athletic too, and he was a born DH if ever there was one.
2008-04-12 15:02:03
124.   Indiana Jon
113 That's obvious, but you said he joined the record books with Mays and Ott. What record?
2008-04-12 15:02:19
125.   Marty
If the leaders don't go crazy on the par 5s Tiger has a shot to be 4 or 5 down. That's a chance for him.
2008-04-12 15:04:25
126.   Eric Enders
Cain lost his no-hitter and almost immediately got knocked out of the game.
2008-04-12 15:09:23
127.   Indiana Jon
125 It would be the greatest weekend comeback since Jack, but I agree anything is possible with this guy.
2008-04-12 15:10:17
128.   JoeyP
Just noticed that Jeff Weaver is out of baseball this year.

Crappy pitcher to World Series Hero to Crappy pitcher to out of baseball. All at age 32.

2008-04-12 15:11:12
129.   D4P
128
Meanwhile, Esteban Loaiza is getting paid $7 million.
2008-04-12 15:12:00
130.   Marty
Now only 3 back .And with the leaders never having won anything, Tiger could be in a good spot.
2008-04-12 15:12:25
131.   natepurcell
123

you don't think he can handle any outfield spots?

2008-04-12 15:13:55
132.   Eric Enders
131 Right now, sure. In 2022, I have my doubts.
2008-04-12 15:14:46
133.   Indiana Jon
128 For some strange reason it just occurred to me that if you replace the second "crappy" with "great" you could be talking about Koufax. That may be the only time anyone ever talked about these two in the same post.
2008-04-12 15:18:45
134.   Eric Enders
The Cardinals tie it up on an Ankiel homer. Not a good day for Matt Cain fantasy owners, of which I am one.
2008-04-12 15:31:01
135.   JoeyP
Ankiel's an amazing story.
Best pitcher/hitter since Babe Ruth.
2008-04-12 15:34:36
136.   D4P
135
How does he do it...?
2008-04-12 15:36:03
137.   Baly79
Ankiel sure is amazing (With HGH)
2008-04-12 15:37:00
138.   JoeyP
HGH wont be tested for per the new drug policy announced on Friday.
2008-04-12 15:38:06
139.   Marty
Ankiel wasn't a good pitcher for long. I'm thinking for being good at both, he doesn't measure up to Drysdale, or Newcomb
2008-04-12 15:38:51
140.   D4P
HGH wont be tested for per the new drug policy announced on Friday

Makes sense to me.

2008-04-12 15:43:25
141.   Eric Enders
People can criticize the HGH non-testing all they want, but I'd never take any job where one of the requirements was that they have to draw blood from me once a month.
2008-04-12 15:43:47
142.   Andrew Shimmin
They also won't be testing for fairy dust, voodoo spells, or the use of magical monkey paws that grant the owner three wishes. They'll say it's because there isn't a test that works for those things, either, but I know it's really cowardice and venality.
2008-04-12 15:44:17
143.   Indiana Jon
135 Josh Hamilton is a more amazing story to me.
2008-04-12 15:46:47
144.   808Bears
I'm sure glad Fox switched to the end of the D'Backs rout of the Rockies instead of the Cards coming back against the Giants. Thanks, Fox!
2008-04-12 15:47:58
145.   D4P
I just find it amusing that MLB spent $100 million (or whatever) to produce a list of players who used HGH, and then will not be testing for it. Maybe they can spend another $100 million (in 2007 dollars) on a new HGH report 10 years or so from now.
2008-04-12 15:49:06
146.   Vishal
143 but does it really matter which is more amazing? both are pretty awesome stories.
2008-04-12 15:50:15
147.   Ranma
I have a tendency to link to articles after-the-fact, but I didn't notice this one from my scan of today and yesterday's posts:

Cashman knew that if he signed Williams, Torre would eventually show his allegiance to the veteran and play him over youngsters such as Melky Cabrera. There would be no youth movement under Torre's watch, and the manager's track record of "overplaying" oldies but goodies who have leadership and intangibles (Raul Mondesi, Darryl Strawberry, Ruben Sierra, David Justice, Scott Brosius ... even Joe Girardi) proved it.

Pierre is Torre's type of player, plain and simple, and it doesn't hurt that Pierre has never been on the DL in his career (in fact, he had played five straight seasons without missing a game coming into this season), is fairly consistent month-to-month and season-to-season, hits lefties and righties about equally, hits at home and on the road. Oh yeah, he is a downright nuisance on the base paths, another Torre fascination. Pierre has his faults, with low OBP and a lack of power being chief among them, but I'm not sure those are big faults in Torre's mind.

http://tinyurl.com/6clfwa

Granted it's from a fantasy perspective but serves as more fodder towards the Torre decision-making debate.

2008-04-12 15:50:16
148.   gpellamjr
Is there any lineup news? I haven't found any yet.
2008-04-12 15:53:53
149.   Andrew Shimmin
145- Only if it works the way steroids do. Which, it sure looks like it doesn't. There's a good chance, too, that a hundred million baby boomers are going to be using HGH, ten years from now. Think any of them will be interested in hearing people call HGH users names?
2008-04-12 15:57:35
150.   Ranma
I've gotten to the point now where I'm hopeful that once the lineup is announced, Juan Pierre is actually in it...in place of Andruw "automatic strike-out" Jones. Can we please just make it a steadfast rule to avoid all Boras clients to alleviate some of the thought-process burden for Colletti to carry out his GM duties?
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2008-04-12 15:59:22
151.   Disabled List
I'm in the group that thinks HGH - when used strictly for therapeutic purposes - shouldn't be illegal at all.
2008-04-12 15:59:27
152.   Eric Enders
There is a word for teams that have a policy of avoiding Boras clients. Actually, two words. "Second division."
2008-04-12 16:02:10
153.   Eric Enders
Pujols just pulled a Bill Buckner and the Giants tied the game with two outs in the ninth.
2008-04-12 16:04:30
154.   Ranma
152 Still, I'd rather take my chances in rooting for the DeWitt's in the world than to continually be screwed over by the Drew and Jones's(?).
2008-04-12 16:05:51
155.   JoeyP
149--HGH will in the future be sold over the counter?

I'm thinking that if the Olympics test for it, why cant baseball?

Either test for everything, or make everything legal.

2008-04-12 16:08:45
156.   Doctor
We have to give jones a little more time... yea he is fat, looks terrible at the plate, maybe declining, and hit .222 last year, but he is somewhat streaky and might well end up with 30HRs and his defense still looks pretty good to me. I mean lets at least get out of April.
2008-04-12 16:09:52
157.   Andrew Shimmin
155- Probably not OTC--prescription drugs are covered by medicare, OTC drugs aren't. Baby boomers would rather that other people paid for their fountains of youth.
2008-04-12 16:13:29
158.   Eric Enders
155 HGH can't be detected through a urine test, only through a blood test. The Olympics test for it because they're extraordinarily fanatical about doping (thanks to Dick Pound, a truly despicable human being) and they've thrown all worries about privacy rights and/or invasive medical procedures out the window. Baseball's union is still powerful enough to prevent such trampling of its members.
2008-04-12 16:15:21
159.   Doctor
There isn't a very good test for it now. You have to draw blood and its very lab work intensive. There's no doubt it could be done, but the players union must be defanged to push it through. Some how knowing if players are cheating is an invasion of privacy.
2008-04-12 16:17:09
160.   Ranma
156 Sure for over $36 million dollars we HAVE to invest some more patience with him despite how pathetically he performs. Therein lies the problem. The investment in resources continues where we sacrifice developmental time for youngsters (Kemp), goodwill among fans, and even wins. It goes beyond just the monetary. Speaking of which, Torii Hunter doesn't look so bad now when we're paying $27 million a year into our centerfield position.
2008-04-12 16:18:27
161.   JoeyP
After Marion Jones, I think the Olympics doping agency is well within their rights.

The only doping agency that I think over stepped their bounds was when the French tried to discredit Lance Armstrong. That was despicable.

2008-04-12 16:22:17
162.   Eric Enders
Torii Hunter has played 10 of 810 games under his contract. That's roughly one-tenth of one percent. Just a wee bit early to judge it a success.
2008-04-12 16:25:00
163.   Doctor
Couldn't help but notice old friend Izturis batting 9th for the red birds (insert Pierre comment here).
2008-04-12 16:26:42
164.   Eric Enders
The Cardinals score two in the seventh, three in the eighth, two in the ninth, and one in the tenth to finally beat the Giants 8-7. What a weird game.
2008-04-12 16:28:16
165.   JoeyP
Brewers and Cards are both doing the pitcher bats 8th thing.
2008-04-12 16:29:13
166.   Ranma
162 I'm not saying it was necessarily a wise move to invest that much money and many years into a contract for Hunter, but it is very likely given the amount of information available since just before last season that he is and will be the better option than either Pierre or Jones. I say this while also noting that I like both Hunter and Pierre as people and players in a vacuum.
2008-04-12 16:34:40
167.   immouch
i don't think jones is cooked, per se. i do think he was slower last year than the year before and chose the unusual comeback strategy of gaining 20 lbs to regain his fast-twitch speed. i've read that he claims to "feel better" at that weight. maybe, in a comfort food kinda way, he does. but in a pro athlete/perform physical acts for money kinda way (relax, folks, i'm talking baseball) the extra weight is a mistake. he's fat. he's slow. and, his career HR numbers notwithstanding, he's not a major league player right now. the reason i think jones keeps torre up at night is that torre is, in fact, a professional baseball talent evaluator and what he's seeing jones' play is indicative of something deeper than a slump. it's only april, so i'm holding out hope jones regains what he had two/three years ago.... but my b.s. (bad sign) meter is on high alert.
2008-04-12 16:35:36
168.   immouch
oh, i forgot to add, i woulda picked jones over hunter last year. i was wrong, but that's what i would have done.
2008-04-12 16:37:30
169.   dzzrtRatt
You might like to put Hunter and Pierre in a vacuum, but they'd probably prefer a little atmosphere.
2008-04-12 16:37:49
170.   JoeyP
Immelman at -11 going into Sunday.
2008-04-12 16:38:24
171.   Eric Enders
If Pierre was in a vacuum, we could just refuse to empty the bag and the outfield problem would be solved.
2008-04-12 16:43:12
172.   cargill06
if randy johnson has 20+ starts this year, arizona is the best team in the NL... maybe baseball.
2008-04-12 16:47:33
173.   Ranma
168 I will concede that given the length between the two contracts and their respective ages, the Jones contract can definitely be argued as being the more reasonable option at the time. I just happened to be partial to Hunter and I'm arguing more against Ned and Co.'s continued squandering of resources into past-their-prime (performance-wise) personnel when we have a plethora of young talent currently capable of performing at least as well as the PVL's we've chosen to steward the ship. If we're going to overpay for veteran leadership, we better well be sure it's going to contribute--and not hinder--the youth movement. I will give props to Ned for the Furcal signing as that has actually fulfilled the expectations he laid out at the time. At least for the moment, we have Kuo taking over for Loaiza. I'm going to try to focus on the positives for the remainder of the day (Kuo, DeWitt, Loney, Either, Martin, and the thought of the Minotaur's arrival some time this season).
2008-04-12 16:49:55
174.   Ranma
I can't believe I forgot to include Furcal and Hu into my list of positive thoughts.
2008-04-12 16:54:06
175.   Doctor
Waiting for todays lineup (tough righty and all) feels like getting a mid term back that I know I didn't do well on.

Ok, so lets have it, show me the C-

2008-04-12 17:07:45
176.   immouch
positives?
logan white will be a way better gm than ned... for the dodgers. or the owner who shall not be named will give theo epstien an ownership stake in the dodgers to be gm here instead of boston...

the 2010 lineup of abreu, hu, loney, kemp, laroche, martin, lambo, ethier, kershaw/bills/mcdonald/elbert/meloan sounds exciting....

dodger dogs will still be 12 inches

vin, on hgh, could last another 10 years (though, sadly, his hairpiece is a goner)

2008-04-12 17:11:28
177.   PalmdaleSteve1
167

No Andruw is not cooked...yet...but he is doing a darn good imitation of Jabba the Hut or Larry the Lobster before he hit the pot (Old SNL reference). Come memorial day and Andruw is not hitting, put a fork in him, put him back on the bench and give little JP back Center field.

Besides sitting on the bench will give Andruw a faster move to the after game spread in the club house...he's waisting away now.

2008-04-12 17:12:01
178.   cargill06
el fausto is having a hard time locating 3.1 ip 8 BB
2008-04-12 17:12:26
179.   heato
Man, that Chris Young is a tough pitcher...

Furcal, SS
Pierre, LF
Ethier, RF
Loney, 1B
Martin, C
Jones, CF
DeWitt, 3B
Hu, 2B
Lowe, P

2008-04-12 17:17:06
180.   Doctor
179

Dude?!

2008-04-12 17:18:05
181.   Eric Enders
Okay, this is officially insane. Torre's not Grady Little -- he's worse. I feel like renouncing the Dodgers right now. Any team that shoots itself in the foot so willingly and repeatedly deserves all the misery it has coming.

Hey Shimmin, wanna go to a DBacks game?

2008-04-12 17:18:55
182.   gpellamjr
179 This is not worth staying up till 1am for. I think the Indians could use a fan who appreciates a well-managed franchise. And I won't have to pay $150 per year to watch their games.
2008-04-12 17:20:43
183.   cargill06
181 torre didn't sign pierre and jones to awful contracts
2008-04-12 17:21:23
184.   gpellamjr
183 But he has chosen to play them both over Kemp.
2008-04-12 17:21:24
185.   oshea2002
181, 182 - this just made up my mind for me to go watch the Cotto fight tonight instead.
2008-04-12 17:21:27
186.   Jon Weisman
NPUT
2008-04-12 17:23:40
187.   PalmdaleSteve1
181

Mike's boys from Anaheim are looking pretty good, and start an hour earlier than the Blue tonight. I feel a need to channel surf.

2008-04-12 17:24:08
188.   LAT
Is Kent hurt? Is Torre planning on playing him tomorrow? Why Hu tonight? Add this to the list of things I don't understand.
2008-04-12 17:49:09
189.   Andrew Shimmin
181- Yes! One down, and a high profile one. Really, if we can get Jon, I think the others will fall in line.

This is what happens, Dodgers! This is what happens when you find a stranger in the alps! Do you see what happens?!

2008-04-12 18:13:13
190.   Michael D
Juan Pierre is really starting to tick me off. There shouldn't be a member of my favorite team that I actively root against.
2008-04-12 18:16:35
191.   Joe Pierre
Kuo taking over the 5th spot is good news to me. He's an upgrade from Loaiza, who did nothing to show he deserved the honor.
Chan Ho Park also earn a shot at it with his performance in ST.
It would be better for Kershaw if they wait a little on him so he can get work in in the minors. Of course if they need him that's a different story.

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