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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Why Tampa Bay? Why Not L.A.?
2008-07-01 10:41
by Jon Weisman

Not everything has gone right for the Tampa Bay Undeviled Rays this season. The OPS+ of first baseman Carlos Pena has tumbled from 172 in 2007 to 105 so far this season. Except for a 16-of-19 run on stolen bases, they're getting little from shortstop Jason Bartlett (59 OPS+, .238 EQA). Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton are not matching their 2007 numbers. Their best pitcher, Scott Kazmir, missed more than a month of the season, and Rocco Baldelli has been completely sidelined.

Yet the Rays, who lost 16 more games than the Dodgers last season, have already won 12 more games than Los Angeles this season. And they've done so without a single major acquisition during the past offseason except for grabbing Eric Hinske off waivers for $800,000 and a trade for pitcher Matt Garza and the aforementioned underperforming Bartlett.

The Dodgers actually have had better pitching this year, with an ERA+ of 117 to Tampa Bay's 110, although you can probably call it about even because Rays pitchers face a designated hitter almost every game. Conversely, the Rays' offense, with an OPS+ of 106, runs roughshod over the Dodgers' 87 - though of course it helps that Tampa Bay usually has Cliff Floyd (119 OPS+, .302 EQA), Hinske (136 OPS+, .319 EQA) or Jonny Gomes (94 OPS+, .276 EQA) batting instead of the pitcher.

Dioner Navarro (118 OPS+, .298 EQA) has blossomed this season at catcher, but he's still not better than Russell Martin. Thanks to his recent surge, James Loney is outhitting Pena by a slim margin. Despite the bottom-of-the-barrel work that Dodger shortstops have done in place of the injured Rafael Furcal, Los Angeles has still been stronger overall at that position than Tampa Bay.

But there are a few positions where the Rays clobber the Dodgers. Third baseman Evan Longoria, 22, has a .523 slugging percentage, 131 OPS+ and .317 EQA. Upton, 23, has a .397 on-base percentage, 123 OPS+ and .316 EQA. Gabe Gross and Hinske have also been a plus combo in right field. Conversely, Andre Ethier, Andy LaRoche and Blake DeWitt are all sub-par at this moment, and Matt Kemp (99 OPS+, .278 EQA) hasn't set the world on fire.

Tampa Bay is winning despite not having a single regular in the field older than Hinske, who turns 31 next month. (Designated hitter Floyd is 35.) At age 26, James Shields is the oldest starting pitcher. Three hugely important position-player starters are under 25. The construction of the surging Rays and the struggling Dodgers, at least in terms of who isn't on the disabled list, isn't all that different. What's different is that on offense, their young players are doing better than those of the Dodgers. It's not that the ship has sailed on Either, LaRoche or anyone else, not at all. It's that right now, they haven't been good enough.

Having a collection of good players gel at the right time does require some fortuitous timing. Look no further than the 2007-08 Colorado Rockies for a comparison. The Dodgers are hoping that the 30-year-old Furcal and 31-year-old Andruw Jones can return this month from the disabled list and revive the team in the second half of this season. If they do, stories will get written that it was a veteran infusion that saved the Dodgers. But if there's a lesson, it's not that you need veterans to win, any more than you don't need them. It's that you need good players to win, regardless of how old they are or how much money they make.

Update: At, Rob Neyer highlights the Rays' dramatic improvement on defense. The Dodger defense has not been nearly as good. Either way, both teams keep runs off the scoreboard.

* * *

Update 2: Josh Wilker of Cardboard Gods takes a stab at picking the Dodgers' all-time best players at each position.

Update 3: You can get seats on the field level for $18 and on the reserved level for as low as $3 for Dodger home games from July 7-13 through this Travel Zoo promotion.

Comments (99)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-07-01 10:48:07
1.   kylepetterson
Yeah, but you guys have to deal w/ the NL west while the Rays get to vacation in the AL east. Bunch of slackers.
2008-07-01 10:49:25
2.   blue22
It's the defense too: Tampa Bay has gone from last in the majors in defensive efficiency to just a tick below first.

LA is 21st this year, 20th last year.

2008-07-01 10:53:37
3.   Xeifrank
2. Yes, you nailed it. The Rays are saving/preventing a lot of runs with their defense. Go $$ Rays $$.
$$ vr, Xei $$
2008-07-01 10:53:58
4.   Jon Weisman
2 - Ah, that's a good point. Though it would be reflected ultimately in the runs allowed totals.
2008-07-01 10:54:28
5.   Jon Weisman
Meaning, if the Dodgers have a lousy defense, it must mean their pitching is that much better.
2008-07-01 10:54:36
6.   The Mootz
I'm sure FOX has their fingers crossed for a Tampa Bay/Florida World Series.
2008-07-01 10:56:59
7.   blue22
4 - Absolutely, but the staggering improvement in that ranking year-over-year goes a long way to explaining their success this year, I think.

Now is Bartlett/Longoria really that good (the only noticeable change in their defense, I think)? Or are the Rays just simply "catching 'em where they are"?

2008-07-01 10:57:45
8.   D4P
But if there's a lesson, it's not that you need veterans to win, any more than you don't need them. It's that you need good players to win, regardless of how old they are or how much money they make

Exactly. Good players make good teams.

2008-07-01 10:58:07
9.   Neal Pollack
Send this to Joe Morgan!
2008-07-01 10:59:59
10.   dodgers24
Power, power and power

Rays have 3 guys with more than 10 hrs.
and 6 guys with more than 30 rbi. The Dodgers built a team with old banged up vets while the Rays built a team with youth and vets. While our vets are on the DL year after year, what 88 million, this year. The Rays are just young and good. The Dodgers lack a power hitter or 2 and it's been a while since we can find a guy who can hit 40hrs. Gone are the day of baseball game where 2-1, is a normal score. Todays players hit for power and workout a lot more. Just the Dodgers management is thinking it's 1980's and not 2008. When Logan white drafts power hitters and not power pitchers we will be good. We also need a good GM who can be creative and not think evey deal will be a steal.

2008-07-01 11:00:54
11.   Johnny Nucleo
So much for Canada Day Thoughts :(

(from previous thread) Thanks, Bob - I was in denial that there was such thing as a Canadian accent until I spent some time in some small-town Ontario Tim Hortons. Then it really hit me. The Maritimers also have strong accents, with the Newfs being right off the scale.

2008-07-01 11:01:18
12.   scareduck
And of course the real lessons we learn from Evan Longoria are that it is

1) important to draft and rapidly promote ex-Dirtbags,
2) especially if their name sounds like a sexy TV actress.
3) It doesn't hurt if they can clobber the ball, too.

2008-07-01 11:01:20
13.   Xeifrank
150:1 baby!
vr, Xei
2008-07-01 11:01:45
14.   Terry A
Good fences make good neighbors.
2008-07-01 11:03:53
15.   El Lay Dave
Tampa Bay has a manager that doesn't "belly full of guts" as his first and foremost metric.
2008-07-01 11:05:29
16.   Johnny Nucleo
Hinske has been a steal. To get a guy with an OPS+ of 130 for $800K is the kind of move that makes a GM look like a genius. But there was no predicting that, was there?
2008-07-01 11:07:00
17.   bhsportsguy
THe Dodgers have 22-20 record at home despite allowing a major league low of 140 runs (3.3/game), their record is 2 games under what it should base on their run differential

The Rays are 31-13, 190/148 run differential, and they are 4 games over what their run differential represents.

I was looking at the Rays' stats last night and if you are looking for positives, they ae winning despite not hitting much with RISP. One thing that did stand out though is in every hitting comparison, their opponents hit less. It doesn't matter if they don't hit if the other team doesn't hit either.

2008-07-01 11:09:02
18.   Xeifrank
17. Where did you get that data/results from?
Just curious. vr, Xei
2008-07-01 11:09:38
19.   herchyzer
This is in response to #506 of the last post in which the poster known as "Silverwidow" made the prediction:
Furcal activated; LaRoche optioned to Las Vegas.

My response is: If the D's were to do that I would assume that to mean that they DON'T see DeWitt as their second baseman of the future. Would that be a correct assumption?

I'm one of those who's desperate for DeWitt and LaRoche to develop in the same Dodger's infield. I still see LaRoche, with his supposed power and patience, as making a good major-league third baseman, despite some early bad luck. I'm excited about DeWitt, as well. The all around moxie that he demonstrated at the plate earlier in the season gave me great hopes that the Dodgers had found somebody.

The way I envision keeping both players is by switching DeWitt to second (I know. It's not a particularly original idea). I only think that he'd be best for the position switch because he's been described as the more agile of the two. With that idea in mind, if it were me, I'd have DeWitt down at AAA already, practicing.

Anyway, I can see why, with Nomar out, the D's would want to keep DeWitt up, even if they were entertaining the idea of moving him to second, eventually. The questions I have are: Is this just silly, wishful thinking on my part (and others) caused by an attachment to two players who have come up through the Dodgers system?. IF, upon the return of Nomar, the Dodgers should send LaRoche down, would that indicate that they're not entertaining the notion of making a 2nd bagger out of DeWitt? He played second at one time in the mines, I guess. Did they decide then that, whatever else he was, he wasn't a second-baseman?

So many questions and I have to go back to work. Hope I'm not boring.

2008-07-01 11:15:01
20.   bhsportsguy
18 I just did it myself.

The Dodgers have scored 166 runs at home and have given up 140. The projected winning pct. is .584 times 42 games played comes to 24-18 (22-20 actual)

The Rays have scored 190 runs at home and have given up 148. The projected winning pct. is .622 for a 27-17 (31-13 actual).

The Rays have scored

2008-07-01 11:16:30
21.   The Trolley Dodger
I refuse to refer to them as anything but the Devil Rays as a matter of principle. Just like the Washington Bullets. ;)
2008-07-01 11:16:51
22.   herchyzer
0 . You know how the youngsters (and Kent) on the D's are kind of stinking up the joint at the plate right now? That can change any moment, I think, either tonight, or late next season. I think that's what's happened with the Rays. The stupid cliche about the young players getting "it" has some truth in that a step up to the next level of performance can happen suddenly and dramatically, and happen as a team. I have no way to prove this, nor wish to.
2008-07-01 11:19:59
23.   D4P
And the Trolley Dodg...

Oh, never mind.

2008-07-01 11:20:34
24.   Greg Brock
But if there's a lesson, it's not that you need veterans to win, any more than you don't need them. It's that you need good players to win, regardless of how old they are or how much money they make.

That's just silly talk.

2008-07-01 11:23:14
25.   Jon Weisman
From the Dodger press notes:

Despite going 11-16 in June, the Dodgers had a run differential of only –12, scoring 84 and allowing 96. The 96 runs allowed are the club's lowest total for a calendar month since surrendering just 81 runs in 26 games in April 2002.

2008-07-01 11:23:38
26.   Bluebleeder87
So much good stuff on the toaster, Josh Wilker has a very nice read as well.
2008-07-01 11:23:55
27.   Ken Noe
-What I Did on My Summer Vacation (a brief report)_

Thursday: flew into Orange County for wife's conference. Saw many librarians, but not Bob, who was in Cleveland.
Friday: Disneyland. Dodger cap mysteriously disappears on Twilight Zone Hollywood Tower of Terror.
Saturday: Collected many free pens and pencils from library vendors. "Shot up the 5" to DS. The 5 surprised me, I was expecting those 18 lane wide things we see back east on TV. Drove up into Chavez Ravine. I had read about the topography but it did surprise me. Waited for the parking lot gates to open (?). Saw DS for the first time. Marveled. Bought new cap. Son got Kershaw's autograph. Met up with bhsportsguy (thanks again!). Watched game. The crowd around us was pretty raucous--kid said it reminded him of the Auburn student section. Compared to Auburn and Atlanta, security struck me as tight--I saw three people hauled off, all Angels fans. But by and large, folks were pleasant. (Favorite cheer: "Go back to Splash Mountain!) Dodgers win without hits. Got out of park easily, compared to Atlanta.
Sunday: Back to DS. It was funny, on Saturday I felt like I was entering the Vatican, but Sunday I just felt at home. Bought more stuff. Kid got autographs from Saito and Wade. I stood with him a few minutes before some kids came down, and thus stood on field. Felt like a kid. Crowd down as compared to previous night; more like a Braves crowd. Security guard complemented me on my Davey Lopes T-shirt. Drove home, out easily again. Unless parking was somehow really good this weekend, I'm sorry, DS is a breeze compared to Turner Field.
Monday: Flew home. Tuesday: Back to work.

2008-07-01 11:24:11
28.   Xeifrank
20. I am just curious as to which formula you used, because if you use the basic formula it will be skewed because the Rays win so many home games they will have one less at-bat and thus score fewer runs per game they normally would. You have to make sure you are using runs scored per 9 innings, not total runs scored and use the dynamic exponent. It might not be too far off from what you came up with, but I'm too lazy to do the extra work and figure it out. :)
vr, Xei
2008-07-01 11:24:55
29.   ryu
Anyone excited about Baron Davis possibly coming to L.A.?
2008-07-01 11:27:12
30.   Xeifrank
29. UCLA needs a point guard? :)
vr, Xei
2008-07-01 11:27:14
31.   bhsportsguy
28 Well I just compared home records anyway for both teams so if the data is skewed, it is skewed equally for both teams.
2008-07-01 11:27:56
32.   underdog
19 Good post, and not boring!

And yes, do check out the new Cardboard Gods!

OT but... oooo, Mad Men season 1 is on DVD today. To buy or not to buy, that is the question.

2008-07-01 11:28:22
33.   bhsportsguy
27 It was nice meeting you and your family, next time we will try to get at least double digit hits for you.
2008-07-01 11:28:29
34.   D4P
Despite going 11-16 in June, the Dodgers had a run differential of only –12, scoring 84 and allowing 96

Scoring 84 runs and allowing 96 in 27 games yields a Pythagorean record of 11.7 wins and 15.3 losses, so the Dodgers were unlucky by 0.7 games.

2008-07-01 11:32:25
35.   wronghanded
10 I agree with your statement about White, I think he gets a free pass when addressing team needs. We have obviously needed a power stick for years yet draft after draft we seem to stock up on power arms. I know that pitching is important but we need some thump in the middle of our line-up. Look at the current young hitters on our squad, Ethier (trade, 2nd rounder), Loney (converted pitcher, 1st rounder), Martin (much better than any scouts projected, 17th rounder), Kemp (raw athlete, 6th rounder) were all seemingly afterthoughts rather than cornerstone prospects. It is okay to put a premium on pitching but White seems to totally ignore sluggers (high average and slugging). Let me know if I have missed anybody (because I'm sure I have) but it seems to me that we need to start drafting some blue-chip offensive prospects.
2008-07-01 11:35:02
36.   Xeifrank
31. Not to be picky, but it's skewed differently since the Rays won 9 more home games than the Dodgers (they missed 9 more times to bat = 1 full game). But it probably doesn't make that much of a difference for what you were trying to say. :)
vr, Xei
2008-07-01 11:37:06
37.   Jon Weisman
34 - I was more interested in simply having such a great pitching month and still having a losing record.
2008-07-01 11:37:56
38.   ToyCannon
Simply because Tampa Bay does not have 4 holes in their lineup from 7 thru 1. Our record before Furcal went out, DeWitt slumped, and Pierre became an everyday outfielder was right in line with expectations.

When Joe Torre failed to recognize the automatic out that DeWitt had become and had better options, when he failed to realize that Juan Pierre had stopped getting on base thus neutralizing his speed and had better options, when he failed to realize that Angel Berroa is the worse hitter in the major leagues, he basically put us on this path. Ned deserves some blame for giving him Berroa to play instead of a real major leaguer so management put us in this pickle.

Bad choices are one reason why we are not Tampa Bay. How can LaRoche do a Longoria imitation in June by sitting on the bench? LaRoche may have done nothing but when your offense is sputtering you usually try other options. DeWitt gave us more then we had any right to expect, the problem is that Joe is still expecting something DeWitt cannot give us at this time.

It would have been nice if Kemp, Loney, or Ethier had really stepped up when we needed them but it isn't happening. Longoria stepped up when Pena went out, very impressive for a guy getting his first trial in a pennant run in the AL East.

2008-07-01 11:39:47
39.   bhsportsguy
35 Unfortunately, you usually need to be in the top part of the draft to get those guys, the highest pick they have had in the White era was 7th in 2006, Longoria was picked 3rd, the Dodgers picked Kershaw.
2008-07-01 11:40:51
40.   Xeifrank
Even as poorly as the Dodgers have been playing and as great as the Rays have been playing, it all comes down to making the playoffs and then rolling the dice. Pecota has the Rays with an 89% chance of making the playoffs and the Dodgers a 28% chance. That's good news for the Dodgers, considering that the Rays have the best record in baseball and the Dodgers are 38-44.
It helps playing in the NL West.
vr, Xei
2008-07-01 11:42:02
41.   Jon Weisman
38 - Well said. Although the hole we have at No. 9 is the same hole everyone in the NL has.
2008-07-01 11:44:01
42.   bhsportsguy
Vinny's favorite D-Back outside of O-Dog is apparently going back to the DL. Too bad for the pride of UCLA.
2008-07-01 11:46:18
43.   bhsportsguy
38 I think its obvious that if Nomar and Furcal can play, they will start at 3B and SS.

I think DeWitt goes down only because he needs to play everyday. LaRoche will become Nomar's caddy probably playing 1-2 times a week maybe even going in for defense just to rest Nomar.

2008-07-01 11:47:07
44.   bhsportsguy
43 That does give LaRoche the almost sure thing of more playing time by the middle of August.
2008-07-01 11:49:00
45.   BlueCrew Bruin
Then the question becomes, if DeWittt goes down to Vegas does he play 2B there? I would hope so.
2008-07-01 11:51:03
46.   Xeifrank
My guess is that Nomar will shortly become a non-factor... or more of a non-factor than he is right now. My guess is that upon returning, he will get re-injured and miss the rest of the season and then likely go into retirement at the end of the year. He may then come back as some sort of coach, ala-Bill Mueller.
vr, Xei
2008-07-01 11:51:53
47.   Bob Timmermann
Since when did Troy Glaus join Arizona?
2008-07-01 11:52:14
48.   blue22
45 - I would hope so too, but that would imply that the organization views LaRoche as the 3B of the future. I'm not sure they do.
2008-07-01 11:55:07
49.   bhsportsguy
47 Every Bruin is the pride of UCLA when they play the Dodgers. If Dave Roberts plays this weekend, he'll be the pride of UCLA.
2008-07-01 11:55:46
50.   bhsportsguy
45 He may play a little bit of everything.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-07-01 11:57:05
51.   Bob Timmermann
Pride is a deadly sin.
2008-07-01 11:57:39
52.   Jon Weisman
You can get seats on the field level for $18 and on the reserved level for as low as $3 for Dodger home games from July 7-13 through this Travel Zoo promotion.

2008-07-01 11:58:46
53.   underdog
I can't see Nomar playing full time when he comes back -- certainly can't see him staying healthy if he does. My guess is Nomar and LaRoche platoon at third, or I guess DeWitt and Nomar if they are still thinking DeWitt can contribute. But either way the best thing would be for Nomar to replace Sweeney and be a super sub/PH.
2008-07-01 11:59:20
54.   The Trolley Dodger
29 Well, unless they trade off Odom and make some other moves...

{eyes narrow}

I see what you did there...

2008-07-01 12:10:18
55.   Jon Weisman
DeWitt being a lefty gives him a good shot at staying on the roster as Nomar's caddy. Then if Nomar goes on the DL again, LaRoche would come back.

On the other hand, it also depends on who the Dodgers see as their backup to Kent going forward.

2008-07-01 12:10:32
56.   cargill06
In case you don't have ESPN insider.

2. Kershaw trying to find off-speed touch
Clayton Kershaw, 20, still is looking for his first win as he prepares to face the Astros on Tuesday. The hard-throwing lefty dominated high school opponents with his mid-90s fastball, but Dodgers coaches emphasized development of his off-speed stuff in the minor leagues. He has worked hard on a changeup to go along with his hammer curve.

Kershaw's struggles have been tied to mixing speeds. When he relies too much on his mid-90s heater, opponents' batting averages soar. But he has kept hitters in check when he changes speeds on 30 to 35 percent of his pitches (league batting average against left-handed pitching is .261):

Kershaw starts
Date BA against Fastball pct.
May 25 .227 65.7
May 30 .333 79.5
June 4 .278 80.8
June 10 .300 79.3
June 15 .154 69.2
June 20 .222 69.4
June 26 .375 59.4

Control has been a problem, as Kershaw has walked an average of six batters per nine innings since his first start. He's thrown 62 percent of fastballs and 60 percent of curves for strikes this season, about league average, but he has gotten just 44 percent of changeups over for strikes, well below the 62 percent league average for lefties. When Kershaw misses with his change, he tends to miss badly. Hitters have chased only 17 percent of his changeups out of the zone, half the average chase rate. He's also predictably thrown 44 percent of curves in two-strike counts; they've been hit for a .364 average.

The Astros will be ready for Kershaw's heat. Houston's .354 batting average against 92-plus mph left-handed fastballs is the best in the league by a wide margin.

2008-07-01 12:12:38
57.   Dodgers49
From previous thread:

508. The Dodgers led the NL in homers that year with 25 with powerful Tim Jordan smacking 12 to lead the league.

This year powerful Jeff Kent may lead the team by smacking 12. Unfortunately, he won't lead the league.

2008-07-01 12:14:55
58.   CodyS
I may not understand fully, but I thought ERA+ and OPS+ could be used to directly compare teams in the AL & NL, as the comparisons are AL team to all of AL & NL team to all of NL. So if the NL sends a pitcher up and the AL sends a DH up, you can't directly compare team OPS and ERA, but you can compare team OPS+ and ERA+
2008-07-01 12:19:26
59.   ToyCannon
It is not very simple. Here is an excellent breakdown on how much we can offer Baron and it probably is not enough.
2008-07-01 12:24:12
60.   dodgers24
Look at all the contacts we are still paying for. Only Repko is back.
WoW we could have a good powerhitter for that. Ned and company what a problem. Schmidt and Jones so far have been a bust. Maybe he can read this post and I could have told him during schmidt last year word was on the message board his fastball was 85-89 range. Hmmm That's an easy pitch to hit as a major leaguer. Jones was over weight in Atlanta and cost him big time.

Also Paying ...
$1,000,000 Brett Tomko
$750,000 Odalis Perez
$540,000 Yhency Brazoban
$500,000 Randy Wolf
$487,500 Jason Repko
$135,225 Rudy Seanez
$100,000 Mike Lieberthal
$50,000 Ramon Martinez
Total: $3,562,725

2008-07-01 12:32:10
61.   JoeyP
Friedman did a terrific job with the Rays overall, but I think a couple moves were stellar:

#1. He let Dioner Navarro work through his problems last year. Navarro was really bad the 1st half of 2007, but he stuck with him. You could also say he did the same with Edwin Jackson.

#2. Trading the toolsy, yet unproductive free swinging Delmon Young for a solid young pitcher in Matt Garza.

#3. Finding low cost, high upside players like Carlos Pena, Eric Hinske, etc. Even finding average players like Willy Aybar, Ruggiano, Gross,etc..were nice moves to fill out a roster.

#4. Drafting: Quite a bit is luck no doubt--but they definitely hit on Longoria.

#5. The only move he hasnt made that I'm surprised about is dealing Carl Crawford. Figured he would have moved him but didnt.

2008-07-01 12:50:25
62.   silverwidow
Add David Price to the mix and they could be World Series bound.
2008-07-01 12:55:42
63.   The Trolley Dodger
Via MLB Trade Rumors:

"Rosenthal believes Matt Stairs would be a nice addition for the Dodgers, and notes that the Dodgers and Blue Jays have spoken. The Jays' direction for '08 is still uncertain though."

That Rosenthal, such a kidder.

2008-07-01 12:57:07
64.   Bob Timmermann
Matt Stairs would be better than Mark Sweeney, but he probably expects to do stuff.

You know.

Like play semi-regularly.

2008-07-01 12:57:41
65.   underdog
Matt Stairs would be a nice DH for us.

Oh wait, we don't have a DH. Actually, I'd take him as a bench/PH guy over Sweeney. But not for whatever it would probably cost.

2008-07-01 12:58:50
66.   GMac In The 909
65 Stairs for Sweeney. Done.
2008-07-01 12:58:55
67.   ToyCannon
Going into the spring a dream rotation for Ray fans in 2010 was Kazmir, Shields, Garza, Price, and Wade Davis with McGee as the closer.

Davis and McGee have hit some roadblocks for the 1st time in their prospect career but that future rotation has to be scaring the crap out of the elite teams in the East.

2008-07-01 13:00:47
68.   blue22
62 - Maybe not this year for Price, but add CC Sabathia or Erik Bedard and things might get very interesting in Tampa.
2008-07-01 13:04:29
69.   Dodgers49
Dodgers' Furcal a hit in Triple-A debut

>> "If these four games go good, I think I'll be ready to play Friday or Saturday (for the Dodgers)." <<

2008-07-01 13:05:50
70.   LogikReader
2008-07-01 13:06:11
71.   The Trolley Dodger
I'm pretty sure I would be better than Mark Sweeney right now, and I haven't played for reals since... let's see, carry the one... the early 80s.

They could pay me in Dodger Dogs, and I'd promise not to move any trash cans.

2008-07-01 13:06:55
72.   D4P
If these four games go good, I think I'll be ready to play Friday or Saturday (for the Dodgers)

But not ready to teach English.

2008-07-01 13:07:59
73.   old dodger fan
Speaking of UCLA, Ben Howland just got a 7 year deal.
2008-07-01 13:09:12
74.   Alex41592
Stairs has a career OPS of .925 as a pinch hitter. He's 40 but he's better than Sweeney. He's under contract for next season for one million so that's not an issue. Plus, he does have some pop in his bat. But, the Jays also don't have a reason to trade him but it probably wouldn't take much to get him.
2008-07-01 13:13:31
75.   Bluebleeder87
56 .354 BA against lefties.


2008-07-01 13:16:32
76.   El Lay Dave
69 I like the way Diamond Leung wrote his paragraph about the rehabbers in Vegas, in last night's game article:

"The only good news for the Dodgers came from players in Las Vegas, where Andruw Jones homered, Rafael Furcal doubled and Nomar Garciaparra didn't appear to re-strain his calf in four innings."

2008-07-01 13:18:24
77.   El Lay Dave
74 Owing a 40-year old $1M for next year is a bit of a negative point for someone wishing to acquire him.
2008-07-01 13:20:27
78.   Alex41592
77 - How much are we paying Esteban Loaiza this season?
2008-07-01 13:20:48
79.   silverwidow
C Martin 1B Loney 2B Kent SS Furcal 3B Nomar

LF Ethier CF Jones RF Kemp

This is what Torre will run with soon.

2008-07-01 13:22:35
80.   Jon Weisman
"When they drop that big 'C' on you, I don't know too many people who don't start thinking about things," said Lopes, whose condition was discovered during a routine physical. "It's scary. I don't care who you are, you realize how short of time you have on Earth. We take a lot for granted. I was lucky that they caught it early and cleaned me out good."

Nearly two months after doctors at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Fla., performed the procedure, Lopes only has to contend with occasional fatigue that comes with recovery. He spent three weeks in Florida recovering, then rejoined the Phillies in April.

He's still too tired to return to the coaching box, but Lopes plans to clear that hurdle soon. He'll have another checkup in July, and again after the season. He's confident that he has it beat.

2008-07-01 13:24:41
81.   D4P
If these four games go good
cleaned me out good

It's an epidemic!

2008-07-01 13:25:59
82.   El Lay Dave
75 That short porch in LF has to help.
2008-07-01 13:29:49
83.   Eric Stephen
That's great news for Lopes. I have lost both parents to The Big C, so any time someone can kick cancer in the short hairs, I'm a happy man.
2008-07-01 13:31:44
84.   old dodger fan
80 I think if you repeated that entry as the beginning of a thread you would get a lot of responses. I suspect just about everybody here has a family member effected.
2008-07-01 13:34:17
85.   D4P
I suspect just about everybody here has a family member effected

I've had at least 2.

2008-07-01 13:34:25
86.   Alex41592
Brett Myers optioned to AAA.
2008-07-01 13:35:53
87.   Eric Stephen
Brett Myers optioned to AAA

I hope the Phillies didn't have his wife deliver the news.

2008-07-01 13:36:48
88.   bhsportsguy
80 Steve Garvey saluted Lopes during the luncheon on Saturday, and most of the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
2008-07-01 13:43:55
89.   scareduck
35 - do wake me when the Dodgers are drafting third overall, which I believe is where the Rays picked Longoria (highest draft pick ever in Long Beach State's history, by the way!).
2008-07-01 14:00:10
90.   El Lay Dave
The only draft picks that Logan White has had in the top half of the first round have been Ethan Martin this year (barely - 15th overall), and Kershaw. Before the Minotaur, the last top half of the first round pick was in 1994 (Konerko, 13th), and the last top-10 was the year before (Dreifort, 2nd).

BTW, I'd forgotten that Blake DeWitt was drafted with the Yankees 1st round pick in 2004, which was part of the compensation for NY signing Paul Quantrill, the other part being a supplemental pick (Justin Orenduff).

2008-07-01 14:03:55
91.   Eric Stephen
The Rays have a lot of 1st round picks that have played their club in 2008, although a lot are from other clubs:

Cliff Floyd (1991 #14 overall, Mon)
Carlos Peña (1998 #10, Tex)
Gabe Gross (2001 #15, Tor)
B.J. Upton (2002 #1)
Scott Kazmir (2002 #15, NYM)
Jeff Niemann (2004 #4)
Matt Garza (2005 #25, Min) (traded #1 overall Delmon Young to get him)
Evan Longoria (2006 #3)

Supplemental picks (not quite 1st round)
Trever Miller (1991 #41, Det)
Nathan Haynes (1997 #32, Oak)
J.P. Howell (2004 #31, KC)

2008-07-01 14:06:15
92.   Eric Stephen
DeWitt & Orenduff are thus linked all the way back to DT favorite Pedro Astacio!
2008-07-01 14:13:49
93.   dzzrtRatt
The Rays' success from the draft will not sit well with the player's association. The loss of draft picks is becoming more of an obstacle to the kind of robust free agent market they could once take for granted.

When I see what the Rays are doing this year, looking at our team I just think it's all about being patient, being willing to let them fail until these young fellers finally get it, and keep on drafting a mix of solid prospects to come up behind the ones who don't work out. Strangely enough, I think that's McCourt's plan, though how long he'll stick to it is another question.

2008-07-01 14:24:24
94.   bhsportsguy
93 This was not even a long drawned out plan like Colorado where their core group played a few years before coming up with their 2007 season.

The strange thing is, outside a few guys like Carl Crawford and their pitching staff (Kazmir, Shields, etc.), the Rays didn't really commit to this until they had to when both Young and Upton's options were just about up and they had to keep them on the 25-man roster. They were not adding big money free agents, but they would play the Greg Nortons, etc. to just keep the arb clock down on some of their prospects. They did play Navarro but that was more due to the fact that they had no catching depth and they could afford to let him play through whatever difficulties they had.

2008-07-01 14:26:40
95.   underdog
Video of yesterday's bench-clearing brawl involving the Raptors is now up on Diamond's blog if you're morbidly curious:

Hope that wasn't Kyle Russell who looked like he got hurt in the fight at some point.

2008-07-01 14:26:58
96.   natepurcell
Short term, the Rays are getting the better end of the Young/Garza trade right now but I still think over the long haul, Young is going to become a superior player than Garza.
2008-07-01 14:28:21
97.   natepurcell

wow, it looked like that pitcher was looking for a fight.

2008-07-01 14:28:21
98.   Jon Weisman
2008-07-01 14:30:43
99.   wronghanded
89 I never mentioned Longoria specifically but how can you expect our long-term offense to improve when you do nothing but draft pitchers in the first round? A prime example would be when the Mets took David Wright with the 38th pick in 2001. Sure your going to miss out on the big-hype Longoria types but by waiting until the 2nd or 3rd round to draft an offensive player, you are certainly losing out on potential draft picks that could fit that "slugger" mold.

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