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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Primed for a Tough May
2005-05-02 09:00
by Jon Weisman

So, the top four batters in the Dodger lineup Sunday went 4 for 10 with five walks and a sacrifice fly, and people are worried that the Dodgers can't hit?

Six regulars started for the Dodgers. Two of them went 0 for 4 - one, Jason Phillips, has been solid all season. The other, Jose Valentin, has been red hot and blue cold. But take the lineup and add Milton Bradley and the recuperating Jayson Werth to it, and things look a lot better, even before you deal with Valentin.

Some days the Dodgers are going to get the big hit to break the game open when the bases are loaded, and other days the Dodgers are going to strand runners and stress out fans. But the hard part is getting on base in the first place, and as long as they maintain their current ability to do so (and it's not just against Colorado - the Dodgers are first in the National League in on-base percentage and tied for first in walks per game) - the Dodgers will remain a tough pack of mutts for any opposing pitching staff to tame.

On top of that, the Dodgers are second in the league in at-bats per home run and slugging percentage. Not bad, ma.

The May schedule will test the Dodgers' ability to maintain these numbers. According to, the Dodgers have played the 20th-hardest schedule in baseball so far. But except for a three-game series with Cincinnati this weekend, every game the Dodgers will play in May is against a team with a current record of .500 or better:

May 2-4 vs. Washington
May 6-8 at Cincinnati
May 9-12 at St. Louis
May 13-15 vs. Atlanta
May 16-18 vs. Florida
May 20-22 vs. Angels
May 24-26 at San Francisco
May 27-29 at Arizona
May 30-31 vs. Chicago Cubs

It's up to the Dodgers to prove whether they or most of these opponents are the pretenders.

* * *

Scott Erickson makes his fifth start tonight.

Wilson Alvarez will be activated any hour now, expected to take the place at least temporarily of Buddy Carlyle. On deck to return from the disabled list are Antonio Perez, Eric Gagne, Jayson Werth and Elmer Dessens. And Edwin Jackson has been on the rebound in Las Vegas.

So on the 25-man roster bubble, barring an onslaught of new injuries, are Norihiro Nakamura, Jason Grabowski, Jason Repko ... and Steve Schmoll or Erickson. Schmoll has pitched well so far but could temporarily be stashed in Las Vegas if Erickson were to show a last gasp. But Erickson needs to prove that he can do better than a combination of Alvarez, Dessens, Jackson and D.J. Houlton to man those No. 5 starter innings. At most, Erickson has a month to prove it, though it shouldn't take that much time for the truth to become apparent.

Even if Erickson were to be released this month, presumably when Dessens is activated (though no recent health reports on Dessens have emerged), Schmoll could return to the minors when Gagne returns, and Repko when Werth returns. That leaves the question of who goes when to make room for Perez: Nakamura or Grabowski.


When Werth returns, Ledee as the fourth outfielder arguably makes Grabowski irrelevant, whereas the Dodger uncertainty at third base means that Nakamura, even if he doesn't hit, has value as a late-inning replacement. But perhaps not that much value - and four outfielders, with the health history of the three starters, is pretty slim.

You could contend that Repko has more to offer, as a right-handed reserve outfielder with some power and a lot of speed and defense, than either Grabowski or Nakamura.

Comments (115)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-05-02 10:43:26
1.   jan10
Grabowski doesn't have options, meaning the dodgers can't send him to AAA without first exposing him to waivers...meaning any other team could take him, therefore risk losing him and getting nothing in return. doesn't sound like a good option to me. if your going to get rid of a good player, at least get something for them.

Both Repko and Nori have options, so if you send them to AAA, they can't be swiped by another team.

on another note, grabowski's got power, i like that.

2005-05-02 10:48:25
2.   Jon Weisman
Grabowski will turn 29 this month, and has a career slugging average of .368 and OPS of .664. Repko may never be a great player, but it seems more likely that he's the better player. And while I'm all for getting something in return for Grabowski, I don't know that Grabowski, by any definition, is a "good" player.

That being said, the fact that Repko has options is what makes him the most obvious choice to go to Las Vegas in the first place (followed by Nakamura). It's a long season, and the Dodgers will need more than 25 guys even after May.

2005-05-02 10:52:19
3.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
So on the 25-man roster bubble, barring an onslaught of new injuries, are Norihiro Nakamura, Jason Grabowski, Jason Repko ... and Steve Schmoll or Erickson.

Erickson - $525,000
Nakamura - $500,000
Grabby - $327,000
Repko - $316,000
Schmoll - $316,000
Total - $1,984,000

This exercise in addition was to show that fiscal sanity has returned to Chavez Ravine. These five men are replacable, and are being paid as such.

2005-05-02 10:54:59
4.   Jon Weisman
Nice, Goldy. It's even less when you consider how little of that money is guaranteed.
2005-05-02 11:03:30
5.   Steve
It seems I've waited forever to wake up in the morning and find out that Grabowski was out of options. Today was finally that day.

If four homeruns in April doesn't suggest some kind of power, I can't imagine what kind of power you're looking for. The Grabowski kind, I suppose.

I say can Grabowski, keep Repko, so that two years later we can say all the same things about Repko then as we're saying about Grabowski now.

2005-05-02 11:06:06
6.   Fearing Blue
Hey Jon, there's one more thing to think about. Most of your reasoning assumes that the Dodgers decide to stick with a 12-man pitching staff. Once the starters settle in and Alvarez and Gagne come back, 11 would make a lot more sense. I'm pretty confident that Carlyle and Schmoll will go down to make room for Alvarez and Gagne, but what happens when Dessens comes back is a big question mark, though often these things work themselves out (i.e. Penny and Dessens).
2005-05-02 11:07:29
7.   Jon Weisman
Your last sentence is funny, Steve - that may be how it all plays out.

In any case, Grabowski hit four home runs in May 2004, so now he and Repko can both make that claim. If those months cancel each other out, whom do you like?

2005-05-02 11:07:45
8.   Colorado Blue
You could easily make the argument that Repko has more to offer, as a right-handed reserve outfielder with some power, than either Grabowski or Nakamura.

I prefer this scenario, even though jan10 is correct about Grabs, I see losing him as not a big deal...

I honestly believe that, given the time and opportunity, Repko has the potential to perform as well as Werth; and may be less injury-prone. Is it not true that other teams have expressed interest in Werth? Might be able to strengthen the left side of the infield with Werth as trade bait.

Don't get me wrong, I like Werth, but he seems fragile to me.

Here's their lines:
JW: .255/.329/.461 .790
JG: .208/.296/.368 .664
JR: .229/.339/.500 .839

Granted, JR's sample size is about a 1/4 of JG's and about 1/8 JW's, but none of the samples are huge... JG's OBS is lower than the other 2... thought he struck out more or walked less, but that is not really the case: the problem is he can't hit.

2005-05-02 11:11:14
9.   FR Fan
I am not schooled in moneyball, I only go with my gut. My gut says Repko.
2005-05-02 11:11:49
10.   Jon Weisman
I've felt all year they were headed for 11 guys on the pitching staff, Fearing Blue. And it could still go that way. But the fact that they seem to have so much more talent in pitching than on the bench may keep them at 12. Ultimately, you should be keeping your top 25 players, whatever position they play.

Right now, it's just tough to name four pitchers whom you would cut to make room for Alvarez, Gagne, Dessens and an extra position player. Perhaps Kelly Wunsch, but that seems unlikely to happen. Houlton, Carrara, Sanchez and of course Brazoban aren't going anywhere for now.

2005-05-02 11:15:04
11.   Jon Weisman
Going off what Colorado Blue is saying ... someone want to figure out what two-player combo forms the best left-field platoon? I'd do it myself but I've tarried too much already.
2005-05-02 11:16:01
12.   Colorado Blue
I should have added to #8:
1) I think Werth may just be more unfortunate than fragile.
2) I don't know what the supply of productive 3rd basemen looks like, so dangling Werth might be "Werth-less".
2005-05-02 11:16:26
13.   Fearing Blue
Re Repko & Grabowski: I would lean toward sending Repko down, certainly not because he's a worse player. Repko is only 24 and probably still has starter potential long-term. If we sit him on the bench most of the season, which is what he would do backing up Werth, he's likely never to reach that potential. Bring him back up if there's another injury in the outfield, which would allow him to play regularly, but otherwise let the kid play every day in AAA.

How about we can / trade Grabowski and bring up Chen? I imagine their projections are fairly similar, and Chen's never going to be a major league starter since he's already 27 in AAA. They both have power and play fairly poor defense in left field. In my mind they'd provide almost exactly the same (lack of?) value, but at least I would get to see a new guy strike out for our pitchers.

Here are Chen's stats in Las Vegas:

.338/.409/.597 77AB 26H 42B 43B 4HR 3SB

2005-05-02 11:19:44
14.   Marty
I agree with Steve. We should 86 Grabowski with extreme prejudice. I also agree with Colorado Blue that Repko may end up as a better option than Werth. He's also a better fielder than Werth if memory serves, though I don't have the stats to back that up.
2005-05-02 11:21:17
15.   Jon Weisman
I'd love to see Chen succeed, but I don't know how you can make the case for keeping him over Repko right now when Chen has the same number of homers in Las Vegas, in more playing time, that Repko has in Los Angeles, while lacking Repko's baserunning and defensive skills. I'm all for letting Repko develop, but - especially if the Dodgers keep a five-man bench - he'll get enough at-bats in the majors to keep learning.
2005-05-02 11:23:16
16.   Colorado Blue
My gut says Ledee and Werth or Repko, but I have not the skills to perform the analysis you ask Jon. (Rather, I do not know HOW to perform the analysis.)
Ledee is really the 4th guy... plays all 3 doesn't he?
I see no reason having 2 RH leftfielder-onlys.
2005-05-02 11:26:50
17.   Colorado Blue
RE #13:
How about we can / trade Grabowski and bring up Chen?

I doubt Grabowski has much trade value at all being a 28 year old career JM with a .208 AVG.

Also, I agree with Jon in regards to Chen vs. Repko in post #15.

2005-05-02 11:26:53
18.   DodgerJoe
When Werth comes back, we should keep Repko and release Grab.I just like the fact that Repko adds a speed dimension.

When Perez comes back, send Nakamura down. He needs at-bats.

Pitching is a little more difficult. We all know Carlyle will go down, but who else? I like Schmoll too much to send him down. But there might not be a choice.

2005-05-02 11:28:23
19.   Icaros
I'd like to see Repko hit more than 7 home runs in 302 Las Vegas at-bats (Coors Field South) before I'd say he'll be as good as Jayson Werth. Antonio Perez hit 22 there last season (476 ABs). Chin-Feng Chen has been hitting 20-plus HRs there the past three or four years and no team in baseball would even claim him off waivers this winter.

As for the fragile argument, Repko has missed a lot of time due to injury in his minor league career, from what I've read. And while Werth has missed some time the last two seasons, I think some of it has just been bad luck. Anyone who takes an A.J. Burnett fastball off the wrist would likely miss some time.

2005-05-02 11:30:21
20.   Mark
Per the crazed VORP heads, this is an easy decision. Grabowski is a negative VORP, Repko a positive one. (albeit both are fairly close to 0)
2005-05-02 11:31:31
21.   LetsGoDodgers
I like the schedule for May more than the schedule for June. May's got a lot of home games against some stiff competition, while June brings some very tough American League opponents. The 5/13 - 5/22 home stretch is going to be brutal and the 16 straight games between May and June is insane. July is no picnic either. Things won't get any "easier" until September.
2005-05-02 11:32:17
22.   Eric Enders
I've seen conflicting reports on this... does anyone have the definitive answer on whether Carlyle has to clear waivers if we try to send him down?

It's a somewhat tough choice between Repko and Grabowski, but I'd definitely keep Grabowski -- at least for now. This lets Repko play full time in AAA. Also, Grabowski should be in the middle of his peak years at age 28. Let's get what we can out of him while the getting's good.

Repko, minor lg career: .268/.320/.422 (mostly in low minors)
Grabowski, minor lg career: .290/.392/.478 (mostly in high minors)

2005-05-02 11:34:44
23.   LetsGoDodgers
In 6 starts, Dessens and Erickson have combined to give up 30 hits in 29 innings (7 of which became souvenirs), to go along with 12 walks and 5 strikeouts. 6 starts, 1 victory.

The lack of off-days is going to scratch at the scab that is the 5th starter in the rotation. DePo took a gamble on Erickson and it hasn't panned out; they all can't be gems. At this point, I'd rather see Edwin Jackson or Heath Totten take their lumps at the major league level and win 1 out of 6.

2005-05-02 11:34:49
24.   Eric Enders
Per the crazed VORP heads, this is an easy decision.

I seriously doubt it. Crazed VORP-heads are usually in the habit of wanting more than, oh, 48 at bats before reaching such conclusions.

2005-05-02 11:37:49
25.   Eric Enders
Also, I agree that Nakamura should be sent down when Perez comes back. His sole value right now is as late-inning 3B defense, which is not really enough to keep him on the team. (Expecially since, with Valentin, Kent, Saenz, and Perez, we already have four guys who can play 3B, albeit all of them badly.)
2005-05-02 11:38:31
26.   Icaros
He's also a better fielder than Werth if memory serves, though I don't have the stats to back that up.

Werth was damn good on defense last season. He can cover enough ground to play center field, and has the arm of a catcher (which he was drafted as).

Repko has looked great out there defensively, but remember that one of Werth's injuries last season was cracking his ribs while making that game-saving HR steal in Colorado. I don't think it's fair to label him a defensive downgrade.

2005-05-02 11:40:23
27.   jan10
While I agree with all of you that Repko and Werth are better outfielders than Grabowski and Chen, I don't think either of them are so bad as back up.

Grabowski has a great arm, and obivously can't hone his skills at one position when he plays them all. I like that he can catch, play 1st. Also, dodgers traded David Ross this year for money, they can do that with Grabowski or throw him in a package.

And I disagree with Colorado Blue that he can't hit. If you look at his numbers as a starter last year, it's obvious he can hit, he just needs more time to adjust to being a pinch hitter. Look at guys with the same amount of ml time he has on other teams and their numbers are fairly the same. Pinch hitting is one of the hardest jobs in baseball

2005-05-02 11:51:54
28.   bigcpa
On a sidenote- I think Joel Guzman has caught the OBP fever: .277/.380/.542

He's walked 14 times in 97 pa's or 14%. His walk rate was 4% in 2003 and 6% in 2004. But he's still whiffing a Dunn-like 28% of the time.

2005-05-02 11:58:15
29.   Jon Weisman
If those walks are for real, I'll live with the strikeouts. But are they just pitching around him? Who's batting behind Guzman in the Jacksonville lineup?
2005-05-02 12:00:39
30.   the OZ
RE Outfielders, it's worth noting that because of our short bench (a result of the 12-man pitching staff), Tracy hasn't had a decent RH bench bat against lefties because of his platoon obsession.

Case in point: against Arizona, when Bob Melvin used a LOOGY to get all three outs in the ninth inning of a 6-3 game (the Weaver game) - the only RH bat Tracy had left was Nakamura; he sent Valentin up to hit right-handed after that. Not exactly putting the players in a position to succeed, was it? We've got solid lefties, but an extra RH bat would be great. Hence, trade or cut Grabs and keep Repko.

PS - There is no way that Repko outproduces Werth over a full season. Repko's gotten some good hacks on fastballs down, but Werth has power to burn: in half a season last year, his numbers compared very favorably to Steve Finley's career averages. Repko is a solid bench player on this team, but has nowehere near the starter and power potential of Werth.

2005-05-02 12:02:02
31.   the OZ
BTW, the first part of the above comment relates to our current lineups against starting LHP. That wasn't made clear enough.
2005-05-02 12:03:01
32.   DougS
From the team offense numbers that Jon cites, I'd say this team is working pretty much as it was designed, yes?

As to the strength of schedule figures, how much do they really mean at this time of year? You've only played 4 or 5 different teams, so the logic is actually tautological: The Dodgers have done well because they've played teams with weak records, but they have weak records in large part because the Dodgers were good enough to whup 'em. Maybe the teams that they'll play in May have better records than the April opponents because they haven't played the Dodgers yet!

2005-05-02 12:08:23
33.   scareduck
So, the top four batters in the Dodger lineup Sunday went 4 for 10 with five walks and a sacrifice fly, and people are worried that the Dodgers can't hit?

Otherwise known as the Oakland A's disease: walking won't score you runs unless you get very, very lucky. Against the Cards' pitching staff, this game will not work and the offense will stall. Heck, against any credible pitching staff that doesn't give up league-trailing numbers of walks, this offense won't work, which was a topic of my game summary Sunday.

2005-05-02 12:09:32
34.   jtshoe
"Chen's never going to be a major league starter since he's already 27 in AAA"

Wasn't Loduca about 27 when he came up and 29 when he broke out? There is still a glimmer of hope for Chen.

2005-05-02 12:12:03
35.   Eric Enders
Data point in favor of the theory that Grabowski is a good player unless coming off the bench:

Jason Grabowski, MLB career as pinch hitter (93 PA): .159/.255/.293
Jason Grabowski, all other MLB appearances (126 PA): .248/.325/.451

Obviously former is putrid; the latter is quite good for a fifth outfielder. In general, most bench players peform better as everyday players -- but not that much better. Maybe this is just something that's inherent in Grabowski.

As for Guzman's position in the batting order, this is the usual Jacksonville lineup:

3. Martin
4. Guzman
5. Loney
6. Meadows
7. Young

Any guesses as to how long the Dodgers can continue to justify playing Valentin at 3B, when Guzman is clearly already a better major league hitter?

2005-05-02 12:17:55
36.   bigcpa
Guzman took 34 BB in 545 PA last year. It's not like he wasn't a feared hitter already. I think he's catching on.

Still I think it's more likely Antonio Perez starts against some RHP before Guzman gets an early callup.

2005-05-02 12:19:12
37.   Jon Weisman
#30 - I agree. Almost made the same points but ran out of time.

Rob (#33) - Your point is valid, although there's a danger of making the assumption that all those walks, against a better pitching staff, would be converted into outs. The Dodgers shouldn't be negatively evaluated for not swinging at bad pitches. Certainly, things will be tougher as they face better pitching, but it doesn't mean that they won't be able to put strikes into play. The team batting average and slugging percentage is high, despite what happened this weekend.

2005-05-02 12:20:36
38.   Jon Weisman
Jacksonville's a fun team, huh? When does Chuck Tiffany join them - or am I getting ahead of myself?

What's the word on Guzman's defense?

2005-05-02 12:21:02
39.   Icaros
I'll take whatever disease the Oakland A's have had the past five years, except the one where they can't afford to keep any of their star players.
2005-05-02 12:23:46
40.   Eric Enders
Guzman took 34 BB in 545 PA last year. It's not like he wasn't a feared hitter already. I think he's catching on.

You joke, but actually that statement is absolutely true -- Guzman wasn't a feared hitter before 2004. In 2003 he batted .241 with 13 homers and a sub-.300 OBP. So there was no particular reason for pitchers to fear him last year.

This year, all of a sudden they're facing the supposed #5 best prospect in baseball. So I can see why they might be a little more wary.

Put me in the camp that's thus far skeptical of Guzman's transformation into a walk machine.

2005-05-02 12:24:08
41.   dzzrtRatt
Grabowski was DePodesta's first acquistion as Dodger GM (I think). So he might want to keep him around a little while, like the restaurant owner who keeps the first dollar he earned in a frame on the wall.

If Erickson flames out, as it sounds like everyone expects, I wish they'd give Jackson a long look, rather than playing mix and match with Dessens, Alvarez, etc. Is Jackson part of their future or not? I think the Dodgers can afford to give him a real chance, given the dependability of Perez, Lowe, and Penny.

If Jackson performs, then the Dodgers can consider offering gifted/flaky Jeff Weaver in a trade to a team that might be able to help us fill a hole, like how about a backup for Izturis?

2005-05-02 12:27:08
42.   Rick A
RE: #41, a back up for Izturis?
Are we giving up on Perez and Guzman already? :)

Anyone read this interesting little tidbit in Gammon's latest:
"Mike Sweeney would love to go to the Dodgers."

2005-05-02 12:32:40
43.   Eric L
Call me crazy, but I wouldn't mind seeing Jackson actually pitch a full (healthy) season at AAA. He's only been a full-time pitcher for 4 seasons now (including high school).

Let's say that Jackson does come up and serve as a decent 5th starter (at least better than Erickson). Wouldn't a trade invovling Weaver create the same problem they have now (4 competent starters with a black hole at 5)?

If Perez comes back healthy, they have a back up for Izzy. If worse comes to worse, they can always take a gamble on Oscar Robles.

2005-05-02 12:38:28
44.   Fearing Blue

Here are the PECOTA projections for Valentin and Guzman:

Valentin: .235/.312/.445 EqA .266 (-2 SS)
Guzman: .239/.278/.410 EqA .241 (-7 SS)

So, offensively and defensively, Baseball Prospectus put Valentin ahead to begin the season. I think we need to wait (at least) another year before we see Guzman at 3B, especially since he only started playing there this season, and so far has only played there sporadically.

2005-05-02 12:38:53
45.   Eric Enders
The quote was actually even more telling than that: "Mike Sweeney would love to go to the Dodgers." (emphasis original)

Alas, Sweeney is exactly the wrong kind of player for the Dodgers to acquire: An aging, injury-prone 1B with fading offense -- see Vaughn, Mo, and Giambi, Jason. But if KC agrees to pay most of his contract, I suppose a Sweeney rental could possibly turn out to be non-disastrous.

2005-05-02 12:42:10
46.   scareduck
Icaros: I'll take whatever disease the Oakland A's have had the past five years, except the one where they can't afford to keep any of their star players.

You mean, the one-and-done disease where they never advance past the first round of the playoffs? That disease?

I'll keep looking for a cure, thanks. "My sh*t doesn't work in the postseason", indeed.

2005-05-02 12:44:25
47.   Rick A
I agree Eric, I just found it interesting to note that there are players who are interested in coming to L.A. After all that was said and written in the off-season, it is encouraging to read that there are players who like what the front office is doing.
2005-05-02 12:54:16
48.   Fearing Blue
Trying to find a list of potential free agents for 2005-2006 and I found this site:

Not sure how accurate it is, but it's a start. Unfortunately, there aren't any interesting 3B coming up for free agency that we could pick up at the trade deadline.

2005-05-02 12:56:43
49.   Eric Enders
"Here are the PECOTA projections for Valentin and Guzman ... So, offensively and defensively, Baseball Prospectus put Valentin ahead to begin the season."

That's only if you trust their projections, and even then the defense part is only relevant if you expect both to play SS.

If you trust actual performance, however, Guzman has outperformed Valentin by a mile with the bat in both 2004 and 2005. The reason Valentin's projection was better is because BP expected Guzman to take a huge nosedive offensively in 2005 (which obviously hasn't happened -- yet).

In 2004, Valentin's VORP was 14.9; Guzman's was 28.7. (Note that these numbers have already been adjusted for major league competition, and Guzman still ranks as twice as good a player.)

According to BPro, last year Valentin's translated offense, adjusted for context, was: .214/.290/.474. Guzman's offense, had be been in the majors, would have been .261/.300/.479 -- identical except for batting 50 points higher.

And 2005, obviously, has been the same so far. Guzman has been better, even adjusting for context.

Basically, Guzman is already a better major league hitter than Valentin. To find any data points that suggest otherwise, you have to go back to the 2003 season, when Guzman was 18 years old.

Neither of them is familiar with playing third base, so defense should be a wash. Note that I'm not necessarily suggesting we call up Guzman immediately -- let the kid grow up a little -- but I think it's very clear that he's a better MLB player right now than Jose Valentin is.

2005-05-02 12:59:21
50.   dzzrtRatt
Re: #42 and #43

I guess I haven't seen enough of Perez to believe he's someone who could pick up for Izturis in the event of a stay on the DL. Plus, by the time we might think of him as a backup SS, he could already have a job, platooning with Valentin at 3B. I'm thinking a veteran is more what we need.

As for trading Weaver creating a hole--yes, true, but that's a hole we can fill with the Alvarez and Dessens type of options. Meanwhile, we'll have gotten some value for a guy who's almost sure to leave the team after this season, and who doesn't seem to have the emotional IQ to pitch for a contender. (I found his diva act during his last start disturbingly self-indulgent.)

We can always find an $8 million pitcher, as this offseason showed, but now's the time to find out if we've got someone we can use from the farm system. (If Jackson shows us he isn't ready, then we keep Weaver thru the year).

Two years ago, I would've loved to get Sweeney. But he's a DH now, at best. Sad, his career with the Royals. "He shoulda been (on) a contenda."

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-05-02 13:00:00
51.   Icaros

Your mighty Angels were one and done last season. What was their excuse?

2005-05-02 13:00:32
52.   FirstMohican
Re: 28.

I wonder if Guzman is actually swinging, or if he's being more patient and walking and striking out looking as a result of that.

Sort of like... Milton Bradley.

2005-05-02 13:05:35
53.   bigcpa
Pondering the team's astounding walk rate of 10.4%. Shawn Green led the 2003 team with a 9.8% walk rate. His team leading .355 OBP would rank 8th among this year's regulars.

Somehow Bradley has the team's lowest walk rate this year at 5.1%, actually lower than Izturis! Bradley's walked 13% of the time since 2003. So he and Valentin should meet in the middle and the team could stay at 10%.

2005-05-02 13:08:57
54.   Eric Enders
IMO Bradley's lower walk rate is probably mostly a reflection of his position in the batting order. Last year if you pitched around him you got to face Adrian Beltre; this year you get to face Jose Valentin.
2005-05-02 13:10:40
55.   Icaros
Say, I haven't taken a ride on "It's a Schmoll World" lately. What's new, Eric?
2005-05-02 13:12:16
56.   prestonian4
Did anyone catch the comment by Peter Radvich on baseball tonight on Sunday? He was once again slamming the Dodgers, but this time it was there so called bullpen in shambles because of no Gagne. This is the second time he has made a negative comment about the Dodgers, the first was at the tail end of a TV segment when he quickly counted the Dodgers as a 3rd or 4th place team at best "because the traded away a division winner. Don't they check out stats before making such stupid blanket staements, wasn't the Dodger bullpen one of the better in the first month? During the last couple weeks wasn't it the starters that were responsible for runs scored in those games, where we had to play catch up?
Bob Nightengale Called Odalis Perez the biggest free agent bust, Gagne the most disapointing player, & the Dodgers the most disapointing team. I would love to see him eat crow.
To bad they won't comment and say they were wrong after the Dodgers have a great season and repeat as division champs.
2005-05-02 13:14:10
57.   Eric Enders
Yeah, I haven't made a Schmoll post the last few days. Combination of not enough time, plus I'm starting to run out of material. But here goes...
2005-05-02 13:15:34
58.   Steve
Yeah, that was my point, Jon. Repko now looks almost exactly like Grabowski then. Gets the same pitch half a dozen times, proves he can hit it, major league pitchers finally figure it out after six weeks, and the guy's never heard from again.

Repko = hypothetical, likely to be unfulfilled upside.

Grabowski = Grabowski.

All of that being a typically long way of saying I'll take the devil I don't know.

2005-05-02 13:16:12
59.   Eric Enders

Steve Schmoll spent the off-season prior to the 2004 baseball season working as an HIV researcher at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Founded in 1887, the NIH is the steward of medical and behavioral research for the United States. A total of 106 NIH scientists have won the Nobel Prize over the years. This includes such famous names as James Watson, who won the 1962 prize for co-discovering DNA, and Thomas H. Weller, who, along with his partner John Franklin Enders (my distant relative), won the 1954 prize for their research on the cultivation of the poliomyelitis viruses.

The NIC's Office of AIDS Research was established in 1988. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any further details about the nature of Schmoll's work there.

2005-05-02 13:17:11
60.   Jon Weisman
You can keep the chat going here, but I did a quick post about an SI link above.
2005-05-02 13:18:21
61.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
Pretty soon, I'll break out the Bill James 1985 Abstract and read the Tigers comment for knowledge of hot starts and if/how they can predict a quality team. One of the most alarming facts I've recently learned is that the Dodgers' 15-8 record in April was their best for that month since... 1984. And that team was no great shakes.
2005-05-02 13:20:20
62.   SMY
#56 -- I heard that BBTN line too, but I just dismissed it as yet another example of the BBTN morons saying what they believed to be true, rather than what reality actually is. But what is that Bob Nightengale stuff? I haven't seen that anywhere and I'd be interested to.
2005-05-02 13:22:40
63.   Jacob L
I, for one, am kind of hoping that Erickson walks the plank sooner rather than later. I don't need another game tonight like the one last week where all of the outs he got were absolutely drilled, and then Tracy says he pitched pretty well. Visions of Nomo. We have a lot of options for 5, all of which I like better than Erickson, starting with Alvarez.

If Erickson's ever gonna pitch well, though, it will be tonight, given that the Nats will be coming straight from baggage claim.

If Erickson wants to spend a summer in Las Vegas, comped by the Dodgers, I'll book a table at Picasso for him, Nori, and one of the Ja(y)sons.

2005-05-02 13:23:48
64.   FirstMohican
I'm not necessarily a huge fan of a Weaver trade... I'd extend him before I traded him. Of course, his agent being Boras (If memory serves), an extension isn't likely.

Although, if DePo decides to consider trading Weaver, I hear the Yankees are looking to get younger =)

Offensively, what hole do the Dodgers have? If Choi can't continue his "outburst," Werth gets injured (again), or Valentine goes 0-48 with 30 walks.

I doubt DePo would take on Helton's contract, and if I were the Rockies, there's no way in hell I'm subsidizing him like the Dodgers are Green. Doubtful to me.

Who's available at 3B from a non-contender? Randa? Is that really an upgrade? That makes Valentin a pretty expensive backup.

It would seem that we could get a pretty decent #5 starter easily, but with our defensive options, it seems tough to figure out where to place an offensive upgrde. But... if the offense isn't upgraded, the pitching is going to have to be pretty damned stellar in the offseason to advance in the playoffs.

2005-05-02 13:24:06
65.   fernandomania
Quoting Eric: "IMO Bradley's lower walk rate is probably mostly a reflection of his position in the batting order. Last year if you pitched around him you got to face Adrian Beltre; this year you get to face Jose Valentin."

Shouldn't he have more walks hitting in front of Valentin than in front of Beltre? I guess I don't get it.

2005-05-02 13:29:13
66.   DougS
Seconding Icaros' comments: Yeah, if Beane's approach in Oakland is a 'disease,' well, what's the formula for health? It seems to me that anyone who dismisses the so-called 'Moneyball' approach with a wave of the hand is obligated, for the sake of making a convincing argument, to offer a viable alternative. How do you build a team that is guaranteed to make the playoffs and win the World Series in any given year? I think Beane's point is that, because the playoffs represent a small sample size, luck can always screw up even the best-laid plans. That doesn't strike me as an unreasonable point of view.

Besides, scareduck doesn't negate Jon's point about the Dodgers doing relatively well in terms of runs scored, OBP and slugging %. Those numbers don't lie. And IIRC, Branch Rickey put a lot of faith in OBP as an important stat, too, so isn't a Dodgers team with a good OBP just following tradition?

2005-05-02 13:29:56
67.   Eric Enders
65 -- Yeah, just forget I made that post. Transposed the two things in my head -- in fact, you're right, Bradley's walks should've been expected to rise, not fall, now that he's not hitting in from of Beltre.
2005-05-02 13:36:25
68.   LetsGoDodgers
RE: #49

Saying Guzman is a better hitter than Valentin isn't much of an argument. I'm sure Valentin would be putting up Ruthian numbers against minor league pitching.

It is heartening to see Guzman progressing nicely, but he's got a ways to go before being ready for the majors.

Tangentially, it is great to see so many youngsters off to a good start in the mid/upper minors; we'll need them come 7/31.

2005-05-02 13:38:56
69.   Fearing Blue
Hey Eric,

I see what you're saying. Trying to boil things down to make the comparison a little simpler, Valentin had an EqA of .256 last year and Guzman had an EqA of .260. Thus, Guzman would have been the better offensive performer at the major league level.

Though, once you factor in defense, I think Valentin would have had the edge in overall value (11 SS vs. 4/-4 SS). Being a better shortstop should definitely translate to being a better 3B.

Additionally, Valentin's EqA is still at .285 after the slump. Assuming we continue to use him in a strict platoon, I'm guessing he should be able to keep it up, since his three-year OPS is .838 left-handed and .776 overall, a ratio of 1.08, which is roughly the ratio between his .285 EqA and his .265 projected EqA.

2005-05-02 13:41:25
70.   Eric Enders
I'm not necessarily a huge fan of a Weaver trade... I'd extend him before I traded him. Of course, his agent being Boras (If memory serves), an extension isn't likely.

I don't quite understand your thinking there, Mohican. It strikes me that the Dodgers are far more likely to sign a Boras client than a client of another agent. Consider:

1. Because Scott Boras is so disagreeable/good at his job, some teams are clearly reluctant to deal with him, and have publicly said so. And some small-budget teams, like say, Milwaukee, are simply not in a position to be able to afford most of his clients. This increases the chances for all the other teams.

2. The Dodgers are definitely NOT one of these teams that deals poorly with Boras. In fact, Boras's relationship with the Dodgers is probably better than his relationship with any major league team. Exhibit A: The recent signing of Boras client J.D. Drew. Exhibit B: The recent signing of Boras client Derek Lowe. Exhibit C: Long Dodger history of having other Boras clients on team, including Eric Gagne, Adrian Beltre, Jeff Weaver, Kevin Brown, Darren Dreifort, etc etc.

3. If you accept both "1" and "2" to be true, then it must follow that a Boras client is infinitely more likely to sign with the Dodgers than most teams. Both because (a) the Dodgers have previously shown an inordinate interest in Boras clients, and (b) because some other teams will remove themselves from the equation, increasing the chances for those teams who do not.

2005-05-02 13:41:37
71.   Bob Timmermann
During the time Jackie Robinson played for the Dodgers (1947-1956), the Dodgers led the NL in OBP every year except one (1954) and in 1954 the Dodgers were just .002 behind St. Louis.

In 1954, Roy Campanella disappeared off the face of the earth and put up a .285 OBP.

2005-05-02 13:42:38
72.   Eric Enders
The .285 is said to be an MLB record for players not located within earth's orbit.
2005-05-02 13:46:58
73.   Blue in SF
2005-05-02 13:50:23
74.   fernandomania
For context: Bill "Spaceman" Lee had a career .212 OBP.
2005-05-02 13:50:26
75.   Eric Enders
#73 -- wow. Most boring ever, indeed. But it takes a real man to admit his favorite kind of music is Christian contemporary.
2005-05-02 13:51:48
76.   Eric Enders
For further context: Terry Forster, the fat tub of goo, had a career .412 OBP.

OK, so I lied, I guess I'm really screwing with the context, not adding to it. ;)

2005-05-02 13:53:38
77.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
Drew was aggressively boring.
You can almost hear the writer, Scoop Malinowski, muttering under his breath, "Work with me, man."
2005-05-02 13:53:50
78.   fernandomania
I can not stop laughing at this JD Drew quote. Seriously.

Funny Baseball Memory: "There's some funny things that have happened sometimes. It's just hard to ... I don't think that I laughed about 'em at the time ... you have to look back and laugh on them. Kind of tough, you don't want to laugh at your own teammates sometimes ... sometimes you want to, though."

JD "Bumpkin" Drew

2005-05-02 13:56:30
79.   the OZ
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: "Not an ice cream guy either."

Not even Vanilla, JD?

2005-05-02 14:03:21
80.   Fearing Blue
I don't think the Dodgers should try too hard to resign Weaver. I think he's been a prime beneficiary of both Dodger stadium and the infield defense. Between those factors and the always evasive "high potential", I think he's going to end up getting overpaid this offseason.

I do hope that the Dodgers are able to resign Penny. He's only 26, so he should still have a couple years until his peak. A.J. Burnett will also be a free-agent, but he's already 28, though I wouldn't have a problem if the Dodgers signed him either.

2005-05-02 14:04:44
81.   Icaros
Maybe this is where he gets his amazing plate discipline from. Most pitches just don't excite him.
2005-05-02 14:05:23
82.   Fearing Blue
Mr. Grumpy, a.k.a Kevin Brown, is also going to be a free agent after this season. Maybe we can bring him back :).
2005-05-02 14:07:53
83.   Eric Enders
If Penny pitches well for his next 5 starts or so, the Dodgers might be well-served to re-sign him immediately instead of letting him become a FA after the season. That way they might still get a little bit of an injury-uncertainty-discount, even if the uncertainty is mostly gone.
2005-05-02 14:11:25
84.   Bob Timmermann
I tried to explain at lunch today to a friend who doesn't follow baseball at all about how I came up with "Ghame Over". That was a lot of explanation to just end up getting an extraordinarily baffled look.
2005-05-02 14:14:09
85.   dzzrtRatt
#64 and #70: I guess I'm just anticipating that the guy we'll want to extend is Brad Penny, and that will take some hellacious dollars to do. The choice between a healthy Penny and Weaver, is the choice between a young pitcher who managed to win two WS games, vs. a young pitcher who fell apart in the postseason. One way or another, I don't expect to see Weaver as a Dodger in 2006.

As for holes? Am I wrong? Our two most solid infielders, Kent and Izturis have no obvious replacements ready in case either one gets hurt. There's no "utility" player on the bench. We have a surplus of first basemen and third basemen (and left fielders), mostly because the team doesn't have any idea which combination will work over the long haul, if any. While that situation has worked sometimes in the Dodgers' favor, overall it's not a strength.

2005-05-02 14:14:41
86.   Icaros

Are you still trying to talk to people in the real world? Haven't you realized yet how pointless that endeavor truly is?

2005-05-02 14:17:41
87.   Fearing Blue
#85: How about bringing up Robles from the Mexican League? He can't prove any worse than Nakamura, right?
2005-05-02 14:19:39
88.   dzzrtRatt
re: #73

With answers like that, J.D. Drew could run for Mayor of Los Angeles.

2005-05-02 14:27:14
89.   prestonian4
Hey SMY,
The Bob Nightengale comment was in the Sports Weekly March 30-April 5th with Lowe on the cover.
It's the one that has all the USA Today pundits give their predictions. It also
included Steve DiMeglio predicting Jeff Kent as the biggest free agent bust & Scott Zucker has Jimm Tracy as the first manager to be fired.
2005-05-02 14:29:49
90.   Eric Enders
Hey Tracy! Jimy Williams wants his 'm' back.
2005-05-02 14:32:33
91.   Steve
From Scott Zucker's lips to God's ears.
2005-05-02 14:34:02
92.   Jon Weisman
I can't hear the word "Zucker" without thinking of Airplane.
2005-05-02 14:45:25
93.   Eric Enders
BTW, going back to the Guzman issue, he apparently played his first game of the season at 3B yesterday.
2005-05-02 14:47:06
94.   Ben P
Re #64's question about what 3B might be available later in the year, Gammons repeated in his column what most writers have been saying -- everyone's waiting for TB to make Aubrey Huff available. I don't know that anyone else could offer a better package of prospects than the Dodgers could. I've always been a big Huff fan and would like to see what he could do with more protection around him. He's not known as a defensive wizard but he is credible at 3B, 1B and OF.
2005-05-02 14:52:15
95.   FirstMohican
Re: 70

I don't quite understand your thinking there, Mohican. It strikes me that the Dodgers are far more likely to sign a Boras client than a client of another agent.

Eric, you misunderstood me a little. I said an extension wasn't likely. From what I remember, not many Boras clients bother with extensions, especially young ones.

I'm guessing Boras believes that with extensions, the agent has to argue against what he or she thinks the market value is based on similar players' contracts, whereas with typical FA situations, the agent can add to the table actual offers from other teams.

I wasn't saying an extension was unlikely because of a supposed rocky relationship with Boras. Actually, I agree with you, especially considering the fact that the Dodgers and Boras agreed on a contract after the Beltre fallout supports your feeling even more.

2005-05-02 14:57:31
96.   FirstMohican
Re: 73

Fav. Music: Christian Contemporary, Country.

I don't think this guy spent his younger years wanting to be a Dodger =)

I've seen a couple Dodger games this season, but I don't remember what song the Dodgers play when J.D. comes to bat. Anyone know?

2005-05-02 14:57:56
97.   Sushirabbit
Funny Baseball Memory: "There's some funny things that have happened sometimes. It's just hard to ... I don't think that I laughed about 'em at the time ... you have to look back and laugh on them. Kind of tough, you don't want to laugh at your own teammates sometimes ... sometimes you want to, though."

That would be even funnier if he was with LA last year (thinking, Milton Bradley). I don't know, but he almost sounded as evasive as Bonds can be...

Has Chicago got a lock on Polanco? Not that I'm sure he's all that. I think Valentin is great till we get the up'an'comer. But that's an excellent point about no real back ups for Kent/Izturis.

2005-05-02 15:00:14
98.   Jon Weisman
Don't understand this mystery. Antonio Perez is the backup for Kent/Izturis. If he's needed there, the Dodgers fill third base the way they have been, or acquire someone new, or call up Guzman.
2005-05-02 15:00:45
99.   Sushirabbit
RE: 96
I've seen a couple Dodger games this season, but I don't remember what song the Dodgers play when J.D. comes to bat. Anyone know?

What about DC Talk or Switchfoot? I mean, come on it's not like there's an absolute wasteland of Christian music... he just wasn't very specific, was he? Maybe he didn't want to say that he really like's Pat Boone.

2005-05-02 15:01:33
100.   Jon Weisman
I should add Valentin is a backup middle infielder as well. In other words, if Kent or Izturis needs to sit, the Dodgers have no shortage of infielders on the roster for the short term - while they consider long-term options.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2005-05-02 15:04:29
101.   Eric Enders
Also don't forget Jason Repko, ex-minor league shortstop.
2005-05-02 15:50:07
102.   KAYVMON
Just out of curiosity, other than Bradley, Valentin, Weaver, and Penny, which major Dodger players are going to be free agents after this year? What about our pitchers in the bullpen?
2005-05-02 15:58:30
103.   the OZ
Elmer Dessens is the only impending free agent, i think - no one else has enough service time, and Gagne is on a 2-year extension through 2006.
2005-05-02 16:02:03
104.   bigcpa
I think Jon needs a sidebar tracking our former "heart of the order."

Finley .149 .227 .322
Beltre .248 .274 .347
Green .271 .339 .417

How about the free pass the Angels have gotten for committing $14M to Finley?

2005-05-02 16:02:45
105.   the OZ
Consensus seems to be that Bradley won't be a FA until after 2006, either. Add Bako to the post-2005 FA list to go with the Weave, Valentin, and Penny.

Pretty good core, no? Remember that only Ishii was under contact for 2006 when DePodesta took over. For all the instability in the short term, he's really solidified the long-term outlook.

2005-05-02 16:12:20
106.   FirstMohican
I agree... DePo performs the general manager's duties the way the general manager's duties were supposed to be performed.

When is Dontrelle Willis going to be too expensive for Florida??

2005-05-02 16:17:24
107.   Fearing Blue
Bradley should be under the Dodgers' control for 2006, though he will be arbitration-eligible. He's listed as a 2006-2007 Free Agent on the following webpage (

A good site for salary information by team is Unfortunately, it does not list which players are expected to be arbitration-eligible.

Other Dodgers I found listed on the 2005-2006 free agency list ( besides Valentin, Weaver, and Penny are: Bako, Dreifort, Dessens (mutual option), and Erickson.

Carrara and Saenz seem like they'll be free agents as well, for the following reasons:
1) They'll each have 6 or more years of major league experience after this year.
2) They do not appear to be under contract for next year.

I'm not sure what the status is with Wunsch. I found the arbitration rules at After reading them, I'm still not sure which category he would fall into.

2005-05-02 16:25:42
108.   Steve
Arte's press team (Tim Brown, Bill Plaschke, et. al) will brook no dissent.
2005-05-02 17:31:43
109.   GoBears
Like a lot of Dodger fans, I've always been a casual Angels fan (since the early 70s) because there never seemed to be any reason not to. Different leagues, generally mediocre to bad teams. Some likeable characters. Why not root for them? I have a good friend who has been a die-hard Angels fan since they arrived in Anaheim (he grew up there, had season tickets), and basically felt similarly about rooting for the Dodgers (why not?).

Nonetheless, when the Angels signed Finley, I called him up and laughed quite obnoxiously. And, being SABR-savvy himself, he could only grouse in agreement. Tee hee.

2005-05-02 17:33:32
110.   dzzrtRatt
Carrara seems to need a Dodger uniform to excel. But Saenz seems like the kind of guy who will get a lot of offers in the $2 million range.

Jon, I guess I still don't see what you're seeing in terms of bench depth. Maybe I'm not giving enough credit to Antonio Perez, but he seems like an unknown quantity in terms of being a major leaguer. I like him, but I wouldn't bet the season on him if we lost Izzy or Kent for an extended period.

My main point is really only this: We need to find out soon whether Edwin Jackson is a viable option. If he is, that gives us the flexibility to consider dealing Weaver for a player that fills a hole--probably a role player, but if we say our prayers, maybe a third baseman.

It's all moot if Jackson can't do the job, but either way, we should find out now, and not at the trading deadline.

2005-05-02 17:51:33
111.   Icaros
I don't understand why we have to make or break Jackson right now. He's still super young (21-years-old), and has never even pitched a full season at AAA. If the Dodgers can keep him in Vegas all of 2005, that'd be ideal. Pushing him when he wasn't ready is what led to his problems in the first place.

Trading away Weaver for a back-up so we can rush a young prospect into the rotation seems odd to me.

2005-05-02 18:29:55
112.   GoBears
I'm with Icaros on this. And same for Guzman. Let the kids grow up, learn stuff, and play regularly in Vegas before throwing them into the fire. The expected marginal gains don't seem to outweigh the downside risks. Plus, I think the team wins the West, and Jackson would not be used in the playoffs anyway, so why rush?
2005-05-02 19:16:18
113.   LetsGoDodgers
For the most part, Boras encourages his clients to become free agents rather than sign contract extensions. It is unlikely he's going to buck his own trend and give the Dodgers a break.
2005-05-02 19:19:56
114.   LetsGoDodgers
And why does everyone want to ship out Weaver so early in the season??? He's quite serviceable in the rotation. Sure, his attitude could use an overhaul, but he's not all that bad.
2005-05-02 19:39:55
115.   tjshere
Although it's much too early to begin considering mid-season moves, I guess it's never too soon to start thinking about them. IMHO, although we may not be thrilled with the production we're getting from either of the infield corners, it may be another starting pitcher that becomes our biggest need. I don't think Erickson is gonna cut it in the long run, nor can Dessens. Alvarez simply isn't physically capable of withstanding the rigors of starting every 5th day. As I recall, he removed himself from the rotation last year after 2 magnificent starts because his hip just couldn't take it. Jackson is better off playing the season out in Vegas. That leaves us 3 solid starters, plus the unpredictable Weaver. It's possible a dependable middle-of-rotation pitcher may turn out to be #1 on Depo's wish list by the time we reach the all-star break.

Any suggestions?

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