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About Jon
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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
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Sunday, September 30, Bottom of the Fourth
2007-09-11 23:00
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Hu, SS
Young, LF
Kemp, CF
Loney, 1B
Ethier, RF
Martin, C
LaRoche, 3B
Abreu, 2B
Stults, P

Comments (242)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-09-11 23:06:50
1.   max power
No way. We've gotta rest Martin!
2007-09-11 23:07:13
2.   Eric Stephen
Curious, Jon. Any reason you choose bottom of the 4th rather than starting lineup? My guess is Pierre starts to protect the streak, but comes out early.

Either way, thank God the Dodgers will have clinched the wild card on September 29, to allow them the freedom to play such a lineup! :)

2007-09-11 23:08:02
3.   xaphor
Do we really want to be risking our best players in a potentially meaningless game. :)

Enjoyed a couple of firsts tonight, Hu's dinger and cheering for Tomko. I could get used to them both.

2007-09-11 23:08:11
4.   Jon Weisman
2 - And Martin comes out in the fifth.
2007-09-11 23:09:59
5.   Eric Stephen
Jon, also upon further review, I agree Kent will be at 2B tomorrow. I forgot he got a game off last Thursday in Chicago. My revised 9/12 lineup:

SS Furcal
CF Pierre
RF Kemp
2B Kent
1B Loney
C Martin
LF Ethier
3B LaRoche
P Lowe

2007-09-11 23:13:10
6.   Bob Timmermann
If Olmedo Saenz announces his retirement, he might start the final day of the season.
2007-09-11 23:14:18
7.   KG16
Even though he said we'll see a different line up tomorrow, Grady still doesn't strike me as being in panic mode. Nor does he seem to be certain that the season is lost.

I keep running through the possibilities of what changes he would make, and all I can think is, Kemp in for Ethier, Nomar moved up to the 5 hole.

2007-09-11 23:17:07
8.   KG16
6 - I would have no problem a starting line up that included Gonzo, Nomar, Kent, Saenz, and Shea on the 30th, so long as it was the last game for each of them. Heck, I'd even let Hernandez start...
2007-09-11 23:17:48
9.   Eric Stephen
7 I don't know about tomorrow's lineup just yet, but let's hope we see this in the top half of each inning:

http://tinyurl.com/yov2w4

2007-09-11 23:19:32
10.   Eric Stephen
6 Bob, I hope I didn't draw your ire regarding Roberto Alomar earlier. Was I that far off base in calling him a smart player?
2007-09-11 23:19:55
11.   NorCal-Dodger
13-5 to equal last years record.
14-4 to tie for a WC spot.
15-3 we're in!

Kool-Aid served on the way out.

2007-09-11 23:23:39
12.   King of the Hobos
Denny Bautista is starting for the Rockies tomorrow despite not starting a game all season. Dessens is hurt, so they figure to go to a new pitcher every inning or two. Something tells me the Phillies will have a field day.
2007-09-11 23:39:07
13.   Bob Timmermann
10
No, I wasn't upset at all. I just REALLY hate head first sliding into first and when I see it, I assume the worst of the player.
2007-09-11 23:45:55
14.   Linkmeister
Can we take it as read that the only way to ensure good starting pitching is to grow it on your farm? It seems like the pitchers who become available mid-season (Hendrickson last year, Loaiza this year, and hey, we coulda gotten Ponson, too!) are available for a reason, and it ain't good.
2007-09-11 23:46:35
15.   scooplew
9 Looking at the picture in which Garciaparra seems forlorn made me feel sympathy for him. Think what must be going through his mind at this point in his career. This was once a superb player and, even last year, a very good one who has basically fallen off the table. As frustrated as we are about his performance, this can't be easy for him.
2007-09-11 23:59:28
16.   Eric Stephen
14 I look at it like you can never ensure good starting pitching. You just keep throwing [stuff] at the wall until it sticks.

I liked the philosophy this past offseason of having great depth of starters. I just wish Tomko and Hendrickson weren't part of that depth.

2007-09-12 00:04:06
17.   King of the Hobos
14 You can't ensure good starting pitching through the farm (the Devil Rays are a good example of this). However, it is probably by far the best way to get good starting pitching.

Most readily available pitchers during the year are guys that weak teams don't want to pay, like your examples. There is the occasional Penny available, but this is rare, and usually the other team wants too much (Even in Penny's case, a lot of people thought the Marlins got too much).

As for free agency, really good pitchers rarely get to free agency during their prime because their teams realize how good that pitcher is and offer a lot of money (see Oswalt and Zambrano recently). Boras clients are exceptions, which explains why the top free agent pitchers are almost always Boras clients. There are the occasional Chris Carpenters, but again, these aren't common. Really, free agency is best used for acquiring guys who will pitch a lot of innings, albeit not particularly well (Lilly, Suppan, Eaton, etc.)

Looking at the top 30 VORPers, 20 are players that their team either drafted or acquired before their big league debut. 5 were acquired in blockbuster trades (Penny, Beckett, Haren, Hudson, Young) and 4 were acquired in free agency (Escobar, Lilly, Maddux, Pettitte) and the 30th is Smoltz, who I have no idea how to classify (he's arguably all 3 categories). Of the 4 free agents, only Escobar at 8th is higher than 23rd best VORP.

2007-09-12 00:43:33
18.   Eric Stephen
Bill Shaiklin takes the Dodgers to task in the LA Times for their OF roulette:

"The outfield overload reflects the Dodgers' approach under General Manager Ned Colletti: We won't trade our best prospects, but we won't necessarily play them. We'll import veterans and let the kids play when an opportunity arises. We won't hand a kid a job at any time, for any length of time"

http://tinyurl.com/3as5hv

2007-09-12 00:58:16
19.   Zak
Exactly what I was saying in the last thread... the approach from Grady seems to be let's play everybody instead of finding a best team and sticking to it. The past three months have been one big "let's give everyone on our club a turn". The only constants are Pierre, Furcal, Kent and Martin.
2007-09-12 01:03:14
20.   Reddog
Next year, Gonzo's gone, so it'll be Kemp, Ethier and Pierre. Unless of course Ned brings in another grizzled veteran.

Plus we get to look forward to another season of Nomar. And one more year of the worst-fielding 2nd baseman in the league.

It's hard to visualize the Dodgers being much better next season than what we see now, unless a miracle happens and we can field the lineup Jon posted up top. That would be exciting!

2007-09-12 01:08:36
21.   King of the Hobos
Little's quotes did not impress me in that article. He seems to focus too much on matchups, which are only relevant when there are sufficiently large samples (such as stats verse handedness, whereas individual hitter vs pitcher rarely are indicative of anything). He really should develop a primary lineup and go with that regardless (or even select two primary lineups dependent on pitcher handedness to take advantage of platoon splits).

I did like that Ethier knows exactly how Ned and Grady operate though. "It's pretty obvious they like getting proven veterans."

2007-09-12 01:11:33
22.   SgtWyatt
As a true fan I'm trying to stay positive about final games of the season. Still, I'm enjoying watching these games less and less, not because the team isn't gaining any ground but because it looks like they've thrown in the towel.

Based on Grady's piss-poor management this year I'm half expecting to see this as the tomorrow's starting lineup:

Furcal, SS
Gonzalez, LF
Perre, CF
Saenz, 1B
Young, RF
Lieberthal, C
Hellenbrand, 3B
Kent, 2B
Hernandez, P

2007-09-12 04:02:52
23.   bhsportsguy
Again, the issue isn't that the Dodgers rotate 3 for 2 starting OF spots, it is that they don't rotate 4 for 3 OF spots.

Pretty much since Loney took over at 1B, 5 guys can pretty much count on starting everyday, Pierre, Furcal, Kent, Martin and Loney. Apparently, when healthy, Nomar will start at 3B.

That leaves only the 3 outfielders for 2 spots.

This issue probably doesn't even stand out if it wasn't for Kemp continuing to hit well despite his inconsistent time and the fact that lately when he plays, he bats third.

But to write that article and to concede that it wouldn't have helped the situation if Pierre could have jst sat a game or three a month, is missing a big point.

2007-09-12 04:19:29
24.   bhsportsguy
I thought about this yesterday and we will know in November/December but looking at the free agent market and the fact that the Dodgers have kept all the kids, I don't see a lot of changes to the main players for next year's team.

Sure, they could find a new home for Nomar and give Andy LaRoche the job prior to Spring Training. I think it helps LaRoche chances if Kent comes back, meaning that he would be the only rookie to try and break in the lineup since next year, Martin and Ethier would have been here for almost 2 years and Loney and Kemp would have been for almost a full season combined in these last 2 years.

So, with Rafael Furcal fully recovered and in a walk year of his contract, Pierre returning for year 2 and Kent in his probable last year, here is the most likely lineup,

SS Furcal
CF Pierre
1B Loney
RF Kemp
2B Kent
C Martin
RF Ethier
3B LaRoche

SP Penny, Lowe, Billingsly, Loiaza, Schmidt
RP Saito, Broxton, Proctor
Other candidates include Beimel, Meloan, McDonald, Hull, Stults

Reserves Sweeney, Abreu, D. Young, W. Valdez, Lieberthal

I would thank Nomar for being the "Face of the Dodgers" in 2006-2007. He helped the team recover from 2005 and gave the fans someone they knew before the kids settled in. I would try to find him a new home and even if means paying some of his salary, so you can give a little pre-Spring Training confidence to LaRoche.

But short of A-Rod (which I cannot see happening at all) and some type of exchange of bad contracts (I wondered if the Dodgers could trade Pierre to the Giants for Zito), I don't see a lot of movement.

2007-09-12 04:23:03
25.   D4P
Looking at the picture in which Garciaparra seems forlorn made me feel sympathy for him. Think what must be going through his mind at this point in his career

"Let's see, what should I do with all this money..."

2007-09-12 04:39:43
26.   D4P
Vin's call of Blum's HR is pretty funny.
2007-09-12 06:28:01
27.   dzzrtRatt
The curious thing I've noticed about Little is that when he is backed against the wall and playing a must-win game, he plays the younger players.

You'd think if he had so much faith in the proven veterans, he'd be more likely to play them at crunch time, but generally it's the opposite. If I'm right, he'll sit Gonzo tonight for sure, and possibly Nomar, too.

Which leads me to believe his decisions to play the veterans is more about politics and soothing expensive egos than it is about winning. Winning is a luxury to this manager. His real job is keeping his divas happy.

2007-09-12 06:39:39
28.   D4P
Winning is a luxury to this manager. His real job is keeping his divas happy

And winning is a luxury to this GM. His real job is acquiring the divas in the first place, in part to satisfy his ego and in part to show other True Baseball Guys that he knows how to play their game.

2007-09-12 07:02:04
29.   dzzrtRatt
Maybe so.

I wonder if McCourt's "same page" philosophy in practice means "every page" because of his overwhelming emphasis on PR. Ned tries to cover all the bases. We're a veteran team that knows how to win. We're a young team that nurtures homegrown talent. We're a floor wax. We're a dessert topping.

If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there. Or so the saying goes.

2007-09-12 07:03:20
30.   Sam DC
Any guesses who our fearless leader was talking about when he wrote this: (He wouldn't seem entirely out of place as a commentator on "The Daily Show.")

Answer at Season Pass.

(Great line/thought, Jon.)

2007-09-12 07:18:55
31.   JoeyP
Nomar's due 10mils next year, and Pierre's due 9mils.

I have to believe both of those guys will be in the lineup, and thats a killer.

The slappy combination of Furcal/Pierre this year has not been fun. Hopefully, Furcal is a little less "slappy" next year, and Pierre is just, well.....4 more years of this crap?!

Steve will come back when Pierre is gone. That has to be worth getting rid of Juan right?

2007-09-12 07:26:51
32.   JoeyP
"We're not on a team or in a market or an environment where you're just given a job," Ethier said. "It's pretty obvious they like getting proven veterans."

Doesnt seem like a good environment for young players.

2007-09-12 07:30:17
33.   D4P
But once Pierre's gone, Steve's presence won't be nearly as valuable. I just feel like a golden opportunity is being missed here.
2007-09-12 07:48:04
34.   Wilbert Robinson
13 I think there is a difference between sliding and diving into first. Diving into first I believe would have to get you there faster.
2007-09-12 08:15:43
35.   Nagman
Here is what Tall Chris Young had to say about the Dodgers prized prospect who ended the year in Jacksonville, in the SD paper under the heading "Young dazzled":

"Padres pitcher Chris Young has insights into highly touted pitching prospect Clayton Kershaw, a 19-year-old left-hander who reached Double-A with the Dodgers this summer. Young and Kershaw attended the same high school in Dallas, and this past offseason they played catch regularly with one another.
"You learn more from playing catch with somebody than you do from watching him pitch from the side," Young said. "His arm is literally electric."

Young has played catch regularly with major leaguer pitchers, but he said of Kershaw: "I have never played catch with anybody whose arm is as fast and flowing as his. That's amazing. I wish he was in our organization. I think we'll see him next year."

Young said Kershaw's drive to succeed also impressed him. "He is all questions with me," Young said. "It was fun. He just wants to learn and cares about getting better.""

2007-09-12 08:22:16
36.   Nagman
Sorry, guess I should've linked. Here is a link to the above quote, from the SD Union Tribune.

http://tinyurl.com/yoqo3g

Wow, Young said his arm was "literally electric". Bolts of lightning must flash as he throws the ball.

2007-09-12 08:35:49
37.   D4P
"His arm is literally electric."

I have a friend who has a relevant pet peeve. He hates it when people use "literally" when they don't mean literally.

2007-09-12 08:38:52
38.   Gen3Blue
Wow, Young said his arm was "literally electric". Bolts of lightning must flash as he throws the ball.

Now if we can find a way to put an opposite charge on opposing bats.

2007-09-12 08:40:54
39.   bearlurker
37 It just begs the follow up--As opposed to figuratively electric?
2007-09-12 08:41:54
40.   D4P
39
Exactly. Just say "electric". People will know what you mean.
2007-09-12 08:43:43
41.   CarlosDeC
Jon,

Any thoughts on JP's streak, and the dodgers "responsibility" to keep it in tact. We can compain all we want about JP's value or non value, but the fact that Grady HAS to play him everyday just to keep a meaningless streak alive seems absurd. He should be given days off just like the rest of the players, why does he get a pass?

2007-09-12 08:53:50
42.   Gagne55
I guess Kershaw's arm is battery powered then. It would be tough to plug him in from the pitchers mound.
2007-09-12 08:54:28
43.   screwballin
41 I don't think they consider Ethier or Kemp to be viable centerfielders. I think that has as much to do with this as the streak does.

I know Kemp has played CF, but there's also been a lot of acknowledgement here that he doesn't take optimal routes, etc. I think his increased offense over Pierre would make up for that, but apparently they don't agree.

2007-09-12 08:55:21
44.   Gagne55
"Now if we can find a way to put an opposite charge on opposing bats. "

Wouldn't you want the same charge on the bats, so that they couldn't make contact with the ball. Pretty hard to get Ks when the bat moves straight to the ball.

2007-09-12 08:58:11
45.   kinbote
35 - thanks for posting that. at this point, hope for the future is about all we have. the one thought i continually have about this year is that, ideally, players like kemp & loney & even ethier would be entering the stretch run with a full year's worth of experience under their belts, not a strange on-and-off pattern of playing time.

i don't think the team lacks unity or drive; i think it suffers from some confusion about why certain players get playing time over others. pierre can play every day--no questions asked--but laroche is given no leash? it's frustrating and depressing, and it really makes me wonder about our supposed "window" of competitiveness. yes, san diego owns us, but we can't even sneak in as a wild card this year?

what exactly will be better about this team next year?

2007-09-12 09:00:20
46.   regfairfield
Do you mean electric as in the Shockmaster, or as in misusing the word literally?
2007-09-12 09:02:28
47.   regfairfield
45 A vastly improved defense, and having Kemp, Ethier and Loney both making strides forward and playing everyday, plus having McDonald, Kershaw and maybe Elbert as plan C instead of Stults and Houlton.
2007-09-12 09:05:00
48.   Sam DC
Joel Hanrahan v. Byung Hyun-Kim in South Fl this afternoon/(morning to you).
2007-09-12 09:09:41
49.   JoeyP
How will the defense be vastly improved if Kent comes back at 2nd base and Nomar's at 3b?
2007-09-12 09:11:19
50.   JoeyP
43--I'm not sure either why management doesnt let Kemp or Ethier try CF. With Kemp, I think the more he plays CF the better his instincts would get. His speed allows him to misjudge balls but still make up for those mistakes.

With Ethier, they must think the guy just isnt fast enough to play CF, which could be right. He looks slow, although it might just be my imagination.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-09-12 09:12:47
51.   LogikReader
2008 should have a healthy Furcal, let's not forget that too. That alone should improve the team somewhat.
2007-09-12 09:13:26
52.   regfairfield
49 No Kemp is swapped with Gonzalez, Loney replaces Betemit. The only holes in that defense are Kent and Nomar, and I'm sure the Nomar situation eventually work itself out.
2007-09-12 09:14:26
53.   Jon Weisman
41 - I've said countless times Pierre should not play every day.
2007-09-12 09:18:33
54.   LogikReader
Let's take a look. I guessed fairly early on that the consecutive games streak was the reason why Pierre plays every day (in my head).

Pretty much everyone else in the lineup has had a day off here and there. Ergo, there must be a specific reason for keeping Pierre in for every game.

Honest to Qbert, why would anyone think this guy was an asset??

2007-09-12 09:18:58
55.   LogikReader
Besides the steals.
2007-09-12 09:26:37
56.   regfairfield
54 I think the only CFs left at that point in the offseason were Pierre and Roberts, since Roberts is old, Pierre looked like the only person able to fill the Dodgers center field hole if you have absolutely no imagination.

Also, Ned is on record saying that he would rather have a bunch of guys that hustle than more talented players, for what it's worth.

2007-09-12 09:27:34
57.   Sam DC
D'Angelo Jimenez starts at short for the Nationals today -- can he show Bob Timmermann that his 3 RBI game was no fluke?
2007-09-12 09:33:05
58.   D4P
Ned is on record saying that he would rather have a bunch of guys that hustle than more talented players

I wonder if he meant that the hustle would be reflected in the stats, such that hustlers with less talent would have better stats than loafers with more talent, or if he didn't care about stats and would prefer hustlers with worse stats over loafers with better stats.

2007-09-12 09:33:12
59.   KG16
I know that Nomar is signed for next year, but what are the odds that he retires? He's obviously lost a step, he got a ring from Boston, and now has a couple of little ones at home with Mia. Or is the fact that he's only 34 too much?

It really is a shame about Nomar, the guy was once a lock for the Hall. Now, well, Qbert said it best...

2007-09-12 09:34:11
60.   KG16
58 - I would hope he meant that hustle would be reflected in the stats.
2007-09-12 09:34:26
61.   still bevens
51 Little did we know it, but I think that Furcal injury during spring training ruined our season. Furcal was amazing last year and if we had his obp and power from 06 we would be having a very different season.
2007-09-12 09:36:14
62.   LogikReader
Hustle is pointless without talent. If all you wanted was a team full of talentless hustlers, you'd get the late 90's New York Knicks.
2007-09-12 09:36:41
63.   D4P
I would hope he meant that hustle would be reflected in the stats

If hustle is reflected in the stats, why not just look at the stats then? Why do we even need concepts like "hustle" and "grit"?

2007-09-12 09:37:21
64.   regfairfield
59 It wouldn't shock me if he did after this season, but he's still pretty much guaranteed a job and 7.5 million next year (plus 2.5 in the following two years) and I can't see him giving that up.
2007-09-12 09:38:07
65.   LogikReader
You know, guys, I think there is a viable solution to the NedCo "problem". Let's sign him up for fantasy baseball!
2007-09-12 09:38:37
66.   regfairfield
Here's the exact quote:

"I have a lot of respect for players who bust their tail every day, who at the end of the day, you know they've given everything they can give," Colletti says. "That's the kind of guys I want. I'll take a team full of those, that's a little less talented because they'll win as many games, if not more, than the team that has the talent but not the heart."

2007-09-12 09:42:38
67.   delias man
{61} not to sound like a know-it all, but i did know it all along. that is why i hate repko, and do not want him back. ever.
2007-09-12 09:45:35
68.   LogikReader
66

It's a very interesting quote.

That's the sort of thing I used to say back before I enrolled in Yahoo Baseball last year. It's dumb, but I think that year helped me see just how important statistics were, and not just any statistics but the right ones. For instance, I shouldn't have focused so much on batting average, but more on slugging percentage and RBIs. Later I signed on w/ Dodger Thoughts and pretty much confirmed my own theory.

Now I know where Ned was going with that, and he's right that chemistry is an important factor, but only to a point. It can't be the only deciding factor.

2007-09-12 09:47:04
69.   KG16
66 - can't say that I would argue with that perspective, in principle.
2007-09-12 09:49:04
70.   JoeyP
How many games do you think the Dodgers win next year if no free agents are brought in?

I'd predict 84 or less wins again, even for next year.

I dont think the improvement in defense would amount to many actual wins. I think the only way the team can signifantly improve is through McDonald/Kershaw being given legit shots to dominate.

With Loaiza, a declining Lowe, and injured Schmidt--the back end of the rotation just doesnt reason much hope for significant improvement.

I also dont really see Loney/Ethier being difference making players, so any improvements they make may be overall inconsequential.

The Dodgers have to hope that Furcal is much much better next year, and that Kemp becomes a superstar. Kershaw/Mcdonald are allowed to help the team.

Are those things likely to happen?

Not sure.

2007-09-12 09:50:59
71.   Jon Weisman
But the quote in 66 is ultimately phony. Of course anyone would want hustlers over non-hustlers. But in the end, the hustle will show up in the players' or the team's statistics, as extra hits or runs created, and be evaluated as talent. The big lie is that you can't measure hustle.
2007-09-12 09:52:40
72.   D4P
The big lie is that you can't measure hustle

In other words, hustle is a tangible that does show up in the box score.

2007-09-12 09:56:17
73.   KG16
71 - hustle is anecdotal, which means it's likely to show up in scouting reports. Hustle is stretching a double into a triple, a base hit into a double, it's laying out for a dropping fly ball rather than letting it bounce. Hustle is one of those things that you know it when you see it.
2007-09-12 09:56:45
74.   Wilbert Robinson
71 I've always thougbt that quote by Ned rather ironic given that he comes from the Giants who built there team around a notorious non hustler who has some of the best statistics in baseball history.
2007-09-12 09:56:54
75.   Jon Weisman
72 - Not necessarily the everyday box score, but it shows up in advanced statistics. That's the crazy part - some these people who are so into hustle eschew the very means of capturing it.
2007-09-12 09:58:27
76.   Sam DC
Hustle is stretching a double into a triple, a base hit into a double, it's laying out for a dropping fly ball rather than letting it bounce.

But these things show up as: (1) triples, (2) doubles, (3) outs made.

2007-09-12 09:58:50
77.   Wilbert Robinson
72 "Sometimes people think stats don't always tell the truth, and that's true. There are some players where stats don't do them justice. You'll see a player who has great instincts, who does the little things that don't show up in box scores like taking the extra base." from Kim Ng BP interview
2007-09-12 09:59:21
78.   ToyCannon
You can measure hustle baby, and it measures 67 inches and is found in St Louis. Usually on the training table.
2007-09-12 10:01:23
79.   Jon Weisman
73 - The effectiveness of almost all of those things is measurable in individual or team statistics.
2007-09-12 10:02:07
80.   regfairfield
77 But anyone with a subscription to Baseball Prospectus or the Bill James handbook can measure those things. I don't have it with me, but I could tell you exactly how many times Juan Pierre went from first to third last year.

76 Exactly.

2007-09-12 10:03:04
81.   Wilbert Robinson
what baseball player wouldn't try to stretch a double into a triple if he honestly felt he could make it? I find it hard to believe that someone in major league baseball would just stay at 2nd while the ball is being fished from the corner just because he doesn't feel like running anymore.
2007-09-12 10:03:48
82.   KG16
76 - my point is only that one has to look at how a player achieves those things. The liner that drops in front of a guy playing deep that goes for a double looks the same in the box score as a shot that hits the bottom of the fence.
2007-09-12 10:03:51
83.   fanerman
78 Just to make sure.... you're talking about Mr. Eckstein?
2007-09-12 10:04:39
84.   ToyCannon
74
In my memory when Barry Bonds was healthy I never saw him not hustle unless you count watching home runs not hustling. He was one of the best base runners I've ever seen. One of the best left fielders I've ever seen.
Barry Bonds had 77 triples.
Ricky Henderson had 66.
2007-09-12 10:05:06
85.   jasonungar07
77 or opposite. See Juan Pierre. His stats (totals) look pretty decent to me.
2007-09-12 10:05:42
86.   regfairfield
82 Why does it make a difference? A double is a double. In fact, I'd say that the "hustle hits" are worse because they're less likely to advance the other runners. No one is going from first to third on an infield single.
2007-09-12 10:09:20
87.   Sam DC
82 I understand what you're saying, and I think this is what Jon meant in 75 , but for example advanced defensive metrics do try and tell you which guys get to those short bloops and which can't get there.
2007-09-12 10:10:26
88.   ToyCannon
86
True, but a triple as opposed to a double will alter the odds of scoring a run with less then 2 outs.
2007-09-12 10:12:14
89.   still bevens
Does anyone think that having a less defensively crippled outfield will garner any wins next year? It seems like any ball hit to 2/3ds of the outfield could be stretched into extra bases at will. Granted Pierre isn't going anywhere, but if we get 2 OF's who can actually throw will that make a significant difference?
2007-09-12 10:12:33
90.   ToyCannon
85
Unless you care about OB% and Slug%.

My poor friend went last night and sat 4 rows behind McCourt. He sat next to a drunk bimbo who insisted:
1. Dodger Stadium holds 65,000 fans
2. Juan Pierre is the best YOUNG player on the Dodgers
3. Nomar is the best player on the team

2007-09-12 10:13:14
91.   regfairfield
88 True, but then it will be a triple and not a double. I was comparing the double to the "hustle double". Similarly, a triple and a hustle triple are exactly the same thing.
2007-09-12 10:13:47
92.   ToyCannon
89
As much as we made fun of Gonzo's arm I thought he did a great job of getting the ball quickly into Furcal.
2007-09-12 10:14:41
93.   KG16
86 - in the aggregate, it doesn't make a difference. But, again, anecdotally (or if you will, situationally) it matters.

As much scorn is heaped on the infield single around here, how many want one with two outs instead of a line drive to the right fielder?

Stretching a hit early in an inning is also a good way to get a rally going.

2007-09-12 10:14:57
94.   regfairfield
89 Very unlikely. Unless the outfield was truly, historically bad, the absolute worst case scenario is Gonzalez/Pierre cost us one win. The absolute worst outfield arms (like Pierre) will only cost you about five runs in a season.
2007-09-12 10:15:00
95.   Wilbert Robinson
84 Yes I agree with that. My point would be that this whole idea of hustle v. non-hustle is preposterous. It is only label that people use arbitrarily. If Barry Bonds was as much a non hustler as people claim then it would obviously be reflected in his numbers.
2007-09-12 10:17:51
96.   ToyCannon
As a fan I love aggressive baserunning which is not the same thing as stealing alot of bases. Going from 1st to 3rd, 2nd to home, hustle doubles, hustle triples that is what I like to see. Infield singles, stolen bases not so much.
2007-09-12 10:19:03
97.   D4P
As much scorn is heaped on the infield single around here, how many want one with two outs instead of a line drive to the right fielder?

But hitting an infield single rather than a line drive out results in a higher BA, OBP, SLG, etc. If Player A gets all infield singles and Player B makes all outs, Player A will have much better stats.

A separate issue: players who only hit ground balls and have to rely on their speed to make it safely to first are probably going to have worse stats that players who only hit line drives.

2007-09-12 10:19:38
98.   kinbote
maybe when people say that pierre hustles, they actually mean he runs fast. similarly, maybe pete rose only got his reputation by sliding awkwardly into players and bases. i don't buy this whole concept of hustle--in basketball, maybe, but not in the grand old game. if you're not hustling in baseball, you shouldn't be playing.
2007-09-12 10:20:26
99.   regfairfield
93 I don't really care about infield single versus real single, a single is a single is a single and these things show up in the box score equally as, well, singles. It doesn't make a difference how you produce the hit, all that matters is you did. Just because you ran hard to get one doesn't make it count for more.
2007-09-12 10:23:34
100.   BlueCrew Bruin
If you're trying to predict a player's performance as they age, would it stand to reason that a player with a better work ethic (a "hustler") would age better than a relatively lazy player? As a player's skills decline with age, wouldn't the hustler be more likely to put in the extra work to make adjustments to their game or maybe even stay in better condition than a lazy player and thus retain more of their skill, eventually surpassing the player that relies on raw talent? That would still show up in future stats but if one is trying to predict today what a player will do 5 years from now, the hustle factor might have a role to play in that.

I know there are statistical methods of predicting future performance out there that I'm not very familiar with so they might account for this already.

On the other hand, I could just be using a poorly thought-out theory to rationale the warm and fuzzy feeling one gets from knowing players on their team are hard workers. Probably the latter.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-09-12 10:24:12
101.   ToyCannon
99
Can't agree. The infield single or the player who gets alot of infield singles never advances a runner a point you just made earlier in the thread. They are not equal, give me the hard line drive to the gap any day.
2007-09-12 10:24:51
102.   BlueCrew Bruin
100 Ugh... "rationalize".
2007-09-12 10:26:14
103.   regfairfield
101 I was just trying to illustrate a point there. Namely that running hard doesn't make things count more.
2007-09-12 10:26:56
104.   D4P
Question: Are players who hustle, bust their tails, give it their all, get dirty, etc. etc. etc. more likely to get injured than players who don't give 100%?
2007-09-12 10:28:14
105.   silverwidow
Kershaw having a literally electric arm just adds to his Minotaur persona. He is a power charged, mythological beast.
2007-09-12 10:28:58
106.   fanerman
100 But, just because somebody is talented doesn't mean they're not hardworking. It's the big leagues. I think no matter how talented a player is, just to get there requires a lot of hard work. Praising less-talented players who show off their work ethic seems a lot like discounting the efforts of everybody else.
2007-09-12 10:29:10
107.   RELX
62. You mean the New York Knicks of Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley and John Starks, who made it to within one game of winning the NBA championship in 1994, and made it to the finals again in 1999, and made at least the second round of the playoffs every year for a decade?
2007-09-12 10:29:29
108.   ToyCannon
Still have 3 tickets available to tonights game. They are free and are located in the Loge next to the Dodger bullpen. Tickets will be emailed, so no need to meet.

Email
molokai at yahoo dot com.
Subject Dodger Game
if interested.

2007-09-12 10:34:48
109.   Sam DC
He is a power charged, mythological beast.

I want that on a T-Shirt, ideally on the back, with a small picture of an electric minotaur on the front pocket.

2007-09-12 10:35:19
110.   ToyCannon
106
At every level of every job someone will be working harder then someone else. How is it wrong to recognize them? Right now many people are working harder then us.
2007-09-12 10:37:08
111.   BlueCrew Bruin
106 Good point and very true. Also, after reading the latest posts, I think in post 100 I may be talking more about work ethic off the field (staying in shape and things like that) while this conversation is more geared toward hustle on the field (legging out an infield single or stretching a double into a triple). I'm not sure they would be considered the same thing.
2007-09-12 10:41:01
112.   D4P
I'd like to see Ned present evidence that hustlers with less talent win >= the number of games won by loafers with more talent.
2007-09-12 10:41:59
113.   regfairfield
110 But if I produce better work in the end, who should get paid more?
2007-09-12 10:42:23
114.   LogikReader
107

Notice I said late 90's. The Early 90's Knicks were one of those "what could have been" teams. By the late 90's, they were hanging on to a hobbled Larry Johnson, Marcus Camby, and Allan Houston whose career was basically one shot in the first round at the buzzer.

As for the '99 finals. Nobody thought they belonged there and they were lucky to even win one game, plus it was a lockout shortened season.

2007-09-12 10:47:00
115.   blue22
112 - You don't need to prove it if it feels like it's true.

Or in the words of George Costanza: "It's not a lie if you believe it".

2007-09-12 10:50:23
116.   Humma Kavula
I would like to see Ned identify, by name, these supposed loafers.

Of course, that would never happen.

But the press conference would be entertaining. "I hold in my hand a piece of paper naming 57 loafers with great talent in major league baseball."

2007-09-12 10:50:53
117.   FirstMohican
104 - I'd probably say intuitively yes, but then there's Juan Pierre who has that rep. and has never been injured.
2007-09-12 10:52:18
118.   FirstMohican
116 - Maybe we're lucky that we haven't had to deal with the phrase "True Dodger"... yet?
2007-09-12 10:53:51
119.   Sam DC
Yeesh. Hanrahan has thrown 63 pitches through two innings -- 32 strikes and 32 balls. Game is still tied 0-0.
2007-09-12 10:55:04
120.   blue22
118 - Maybe not. When I think of being a True Dodger, or alternatively the Dodger Way, I think of starting pitching and developing young talent from within.

I can get behind that. Martin, Kemp, Loney, Billingsley and Broxton are the only "True Dodgers" I see right now (Ethier still has the stink of Oakland on him :) )

2007-09-12 10:56:22
121.   Wilbert Robinson
When I was younger I had this job making sandwiches. I was terrible at it. I couldn't make a sandwich to save my life...in the time it took me to make 1 sandwich my co-worker Jed would make 4. I'd be dripping sweat after 4 sandwiches. Moreover the sandwiches I made looked disgusting. If I had my choice I would eat half of one of Jed's sandwhiches over 2 of mine. Sometimes Jed's girlfriend would come into the shop and he would talk to her as he casually rattled off glorious sandwich after glorious sandwich. I never saw Jed sweat. If Ned Colletti were the manager of the shop I would have been making much more money. In fact there would have been more of me slowly making terrible sandwiches.
2007-09-12 10:56:52
122.   El Lay Dave
Just to be slightly extreme and ridiculous, I imagine Juan Pierre would be considered a much harder worker than Mickey Mantle. I think I know who everyone would want as their CF.

The problem is what the meaning of "harder worker" is. What it truly important are "valuable workers"; those who have skills and apply them efficiently to efforts that benefit the team/company as a whole.

2007-09-12 10:57:38
123.   El Lay Dave
118 Isn't the "Big Blue Dodger in the Sky" enough??
2007-09-12 10:58:07
124.   FirstMohican
120 - Well in that case, I support the use of the phrase in the sense you've described, before the phrase takes on a more abstract way to describe players who the media enjoy watching.
2007-09-12 10:58:45
125.   fanerman
121 That's like a parable you hear at Church. Except it's for baseball.
2007-09-12 10:59:01
126.   El Lay Dave
The concept: 122
The anecdote: 121

Together we could produce presentations!

2007-09-12 10:59:06
127.   kinbote
104 - i don't know the answer to your question, but it made me immediately think of devon white. his "hustle" was questioned to the point where he basically injured himself trying to prove the point that he hustled. in the end, he neither proved anything nor disproved anything. and to this day, in formal logic classes throughout this country, attempting to prove or disprove a popular theory through foolish physical action is called "unnecessarius divo devonus."
2007-09-12 10:59:55
128.   D4P
Hard work is neither necessary nor sufficient for good performance.

That being said, hard work generally makes a positive contribution to performance, and laziness generally makes a negative contribution.

Hard work is a means to an end, where that end is performance.

2007-09-12 11:00:26
129.   GoBears
I was at the game last night, so didn't read the comments. Was there discussion of Pierre's poor baserunning? I counted at least two instances - once when he didn't score from 2nd on Loney's single, when there was no chance it would be caught (didn't matter, because Kent drove him in anyway). A second was when he doubled. He was NOT running hard to first, and only turned it on when he realized it would be close. It should not have been close. Again, it didn't matter, because he was called safe. There might have been a third time, but I wasn't keeping score, and don't remember clearly.

My general impression of Pierre, since his Florida days, is that he's an atrocious baserunner. Breaks the wrong way all the time - gets less out of his only real asset (his speed) than he should. He's stealing bases at a nice clip this year (good percentage), but he appears to have terrible instincts. Compare him to, say, Drew, who while not nearly as fast, was a terrific baserunner. Or Furcal, who is both.

I thought he also misplayed a ball in the OF, stopping and starting twice before letting it drop in front of him for a single.

If all of this was covered last night, just let me know, and I apologize for the rehash.

2007-09-12 11:02:48
130.   Daniel Zappala
I was a fine sandwich maker in my days doing that. I now make good sandwiches for my kids. I feel just a little like Nolan Ryan teaching his kids to pitch.
2007-09-12 11:04:23
131.   El Lay Dave
129 The double was criticized, but from the perspective of the Dodgers were far behind and JP shouldn't be trying that if the play is close.

On Loney's single, I assumed Donnelly threw up a stop sign since the Dodgers were still far behind and there were no out. I recall no discussion on that, nor the misplay you describe.

But perhaps I've blacked part of last night out.

2007-09-12 11:05:10
132.   FirstMohican
129 "A second was when he doubled. He was NOT running hard to first, and only turned it on when he realized it would be close."

I was at the game too, 1B side, and noticed the same thing and couldn't believe he hesitated so much on what seemed like a routine play. Not sure what he was waiting for. I thought he was out, but haven't seen the replay.

2007-09-12 11:05:31
133.   El Lay Dave
130 You efficiency pays off now when making them for the eighteen kids with all the accompanying distractions. ;)
2007-09-12 11:05:48
134.   El Lay Dave
133 Your ...
2007-09-12 11:13:26
135.   El Lay Dave
We hear frequently from the Dodgers that Juan Pierre is a hard worker, first guy to show up and all that, but do they ever say on what he works? All I know is, I continue to see too many rolled-over grounders to the 2B; I have been noticing where NL 2B position themselves when JP is up and it is disappointingly too far to their left. Does Juan work on "staying back on the ball" and perform batting drills designed to enhance the frequency of hitting up the middle and the other way? He has a shot at beating out grounders to the right of the SS, or knocking them past the drawn-in 3B, but no shot on the easy ones to 2B. He clearly has hand-eye coordination skills, but is he working hard to deploy them in order to achieve the best results?
2007-09-12 11:16:36
136.   Wilbert Robinson
130 Jed?

125 Let's do it! except let's only rely on our raw talent and not work too hard at it.

2007-09-12 11:17:58
137.   D4P
335
Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?
2007-09-12 11:20:45
138.   GoBears
128. Pierre broke back to the bag. At that point, Donnelly would have been right to stop him at 3rd. But he should have been around third by the time that ball hit the ground.

On defense, that contrast with Cameron was so noticeable. Cameron made a terrific play, sprinting to the wall to rob someone of a double. He got a great jump and took a perfect route. Actually I just remembered a 2nd Pierre miscue in the OF. There was another play, late in the game, when he played an out into a single by running back and to his right, to the LCF gap, to cut off a ball that he could have caught by running forward and to his right (or just laterally). CFs are suppose to gamble in the gaps, because they have corner IFers to back them up. My guess is that he just didn't pick the ball up very quickly, and played it safe.

These all too frequent mistakes are not reason enough to call the guy a bad player. What gets me is that these (fielding and baserunning) are waived in front of our faces as the two things Pierre is supposedly great at, and as the sorts of intangibles he brings that you have to see to appreciate. My observation (and, I promise, this goes back to way before he was a Dodger) is that he's lousy at these things, despite his speed. Since he also can't hit or throw, I don't care how hard he works, he takes too long and makes lousy, overpriced sandwiches (thanks Wilbert).

2007-09-12 11:21:05
139.   Sam DC
Joel H. with an RBI single -- all he needs is a home run to get the season cycle.
2007-09-12 11:23:26
140.   Wilbert Robinson
136 I mean 126 not 125 . I have no desire to be a lazy priest.
2007-09-12 11:27:08
141.   rockmrete
105

Kershaw = Flash?

2007-09-12 11:27:16
142.   jasonungar07
What I find funny (and I am guilty) is that here we are 135 comments in and were talking about a comment a used car saleman type would say to justify his used cars. Like most of what Coletti says I think it was all off the cuff.

sorta like:

I would rather have these used accords who drive their tails off for you than the Porsche but thats just because the Porsche isn't on our team.

2007-09-12 11:36:17
143.   StolenMonkey86
70
How many games do you think the Dodgers win next year if no free agents are brought in?

I'd predict 84 or less wins again, even for next year.

Consider no Tomko, a full year of Billingsley in the rotation, full years of Kemp and Ethier. Underachievers Furcal, Pierre, Schmidt, and Nomar will likely fare better, while Lowe and Penny may drop off a bit.

Loney is an unknown, as I could see him OPSing anywhere from .750 to .900. Also unknown are how much time Kent and Nomar spend on the DL, as well as when LaRoche and Abreu come up and how they will do. But even then, it stands to reason that the team will be better off even without a free agent signing, and that they will probably win something around 85 games this year.

The whole question strikes me as academic, though, because Colletti has to do something, and unfortunately, it does not bother him if it is something stupid as long as it is something.

2007-09-12 11:36:57
144.   KG16
135 - I don't know what is that he works on, but after noticing that he drops his left elbow before he swings last night, I would hope that would be something that a hitting coach notices and attempts to fix. My guess is that because he drops his elbow, he handcuffs himself and thus ends up pulling grounders to the right side. But I only saw one at bat of his where he didn't swing at the first pitch, so I'm not sure yet if this is a common occurrence.
2007-09-12 11:38:27
145.   kinbote
can we at least all agree that olmedo saenz does not hustle?
2007-09-12 11:38:43
146.   Bluebleeder87
I keep running through the possibilities of what changes he would make, and all I can think is, Kemp in for Ethier, Nomar moved up to the 5 hole.

Nomar looked totally over matched yesterday against Peavy, you gotta hope Grady Little saw that & inks in La Roche.

2007-09-12 11:41:29
147.   KG16
146 - hope for the best, plan for the worst. I would very much prefer to see Kemp, Ethier and LaRoche all in the line up tonight, I just don't expect that from Grady.
2007-09-12 11:47:10
148.   Bluebleeder87
Nice post from Joshua Worley over at DodgerRama [ http://dodgerama.blogspot.com/ ] It's basically how I feel about the OVERALL PICTURE.
2007-09-12 11:49:01
149.   old dodger fan
How serious is Lowe's injury? Dodger website still shows him as starting.
2007-09-12 11:49:57
150.   Daniel Zappala
140 You don't want to be a lazy priest, but an energetic, hard-working priest fills the pews every time.
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2007-09-12 11:50:54
151.   still bevens
143 I think Loney will be a solid contributor next season. I also think his late season power surge is keeping him locked in at 1B for next year.
2007-09-12 11:53:59
152.   GoBears
145. No, I can't agree or disagree. Some things are just too hard to see with the naked eye. It's hard to detect the rotation of the Earth as well. Perhaps that IS Olmedo hustling.

143. You had me til the last sentence. Its not obvious to me that Colletti ought to do something, but I am positive that he WILL do something. He's hyperactive. Reminds me of one of John Wooden's chestnuts: "never mistake activity for achievement." I might have screwed up the quote, but it's something like that. I think the best we can hope for with Colletti is that his moves are mostly inconsequential. If he doesn't re-sign Gonzales (sounds likely), he'll get another proven vet for the OF. Just hope that it's a guy willing to play the 4th role, so that Ethier and Kemp can start every night. Maybe Sweeney will be enough to replace Saenz, but I wouldn't hold my breath. If Seanez and Hernandez and Hendrickson and their ilk are cut loose, they will be replaced by clones.

2007-09-12 11:56:23
153.   Reddog
Arizona is a young team and figures to be better next year.

Next year, thanks to Ned we will have Nomar at third as well as the slowest 2nd baseman in the league. Plus, in year two of his FIVE YEAR contract, a guy who has no arm, takes bad routes in the outfield, and who basically only hits ground balls and pop-ups.

Not to mention the likelihood Colletti will go and sign some more over-the-hill vets this winter to add to the team.

And we're stuck with a dumb manager to boot. Sorry to depress everyone with these thoughts.

2007-09-12 11:57:00
154.   LogikReader
Is there an index someplace online of upcoming free agents for the 2007-08 offseason? I'm going to compile a spreadsheet of best choices and most likely choices for NedCo.
2007-09-12 11:57:41
155.   jasonungar07
Vinny about snapped last night when he said, sure you would figure there would be some rust after missing 19 games but still after 20 at bats Nomar can't catch up with the fastball and he is a fastball hitter.
2007-09-12 11:59:33
156.   Kevin Lewis
90

That sounds like purgatory to me.

132

From the tv perspective, Pierre was safe on the double, but he definitely hesitated on the extra base. After he slid in to second base he looked at Duncan to acknowledge his mistake and to take all the blame for even making it a close play. (he tapped his chest and said, "my fault, my fault")

2007-09-12 12:00:03
157.   GoBears
146. Nomar looked totally over matched yesterday against Peavy, you gotta hope Grady Little saw that & inks in La Roche.

I caught the tail end of the replay late last night (wanted to see Hu's homer again), and even Vinny mentioned something on the order of "Nomar hasn't caught up to a fastball since he returned to the lineup."

How can that be? Is his PVL so valuable that you stick him in there, despite his horrid defense and his lack of power or patience when his one remaining skill (his ability to get base hits on fastballs) is out of commission? I guess they couldn't send him down for minor league rehab this late, but couldn't they at least wait until he's back to 2007 pre-injury Nomar before wasting 4 ABs per game on him?

And still, he gets the loudest applause of any Dodger when he comes to bat. The mob loves him!

2007-09-12 12:00:09
158.   Jon Weisman
154 - Check BaseballAnalysts.com
2007-09-12 12:02:20
159.   still bevens
157 In our case both money talks and b.s. walks.
2007-09-12 12:03:23
160.   Curtis Lowe
Thursday - Derek Lowe Bats in the 6th with Loney on 2nd. He is then taken out immediately in the 7th.

Friday - Billingsley bats in the 6th. Is immediately taken out in the 7th.

Saturday - Wells bats in the 6th and is allowed to finish the 7th even though he allowed men on base.

Sunday - Penny hits in the 7th and is taken out upon first sign of struggle in the eighth.

Tuesday - Loaiza is allowed to hit in the 2nd with the bases loaded after throwing 50 pitches. Gives up 2 more runs in the third and is pulled for Houlton in the 4th.

What has Little been thinking?

2007-09-12 12:03:28
161.   Bluebleeder87
153

It's cool I'll just pretend I didn't read that.

2007-09-12 12:09:31
162.   GoBears
Yeah, I'm way less enamored of Grady Little than I used to be. After Tracy, his down-to-Earth, self-deprecating humor was refreshing. But he's at least as complicit as Colletti in his management of the team. Colletti has not assembled the best team he might have, but unless Little is under direct orders to play the over-the-hill gang, it is GL who is to blame for not getting the most out of the players he does have.
2007-09-12 12:13:21
163.   underdog
143 To my mind, there's no question the Dodgers should be better next year, even before we know fully how this one will officially wind up. Besides all the reasons you cite, they also should have more go-to options in the minors when it comes to pitching. (Whereas this year they had some good options to turn to for position players.) With those position players with more experience under their belts, but still some question marks about pitching, that's where the Dodgers will likely need to turn next year. Assuming Lowe, Penny and Billingsley are solid givens, who knows about Schmidt's quality when he comes back, dunno if they'll resign Wolf (doubt it), Loiaza will be an okay #5 guy, but then they have guys like McDonald, possibly Elbert, possibly even Kershaw by mid next year, and maybe they'll bring in someone else.

You add to that the likelihood that Furcal, if healthy and Jason Repko is kept away from him, should have a much better season - and he really makes the offense go (or, heck, maybe Hu will come in), plus Abreu subbing for Kent more often... And I see a team that should be better. And if Colletti feels the need to bring someone in, which he will, I just pray it's someone that actually fits into the puzzle.

Gone will hopefully be a lot of pieces that no longer fit anywhere, like Saenz, Hernandez, Hillenbrand, Tomko's already gone, Hendrickson (maybe, although as a long reliever I still don't mind him), and GONZO.

Yours,
Pollyanna

2007-09-12 12:16:03
164.   underdog
160 I really do feel like Grady's burned out or lost his mind in some way over the past week, because his decision-making has gotten overtly worse. It's really possible, he's human, getting older, the season's long, he's prone to make mistakes - just not as often as he has the past 5 days or so. I was fine with Grady the first 75% of his regime, imperfect at times but liked him -- but the last 25% he really seems like someone who's prone to brain farts more often.
2007-09-12 12:16:05
165.   Bluebleeder87
162

& the proof was in the pudding yesterday (exhibit A, R. Hernandez &...) It's within my nature to like people that have been around for a few years but I have to admit, I can do with out the windmill® & Rick Honeycutt I mean seriously what is Honeycutts job anyway? Grady does everything for him.

ps By the way I like Grady Little, just for the record.

2007-09-12 12:19:14
166.   silverwidow
Rotation next year:

Penny
Lowe
Bills
Loaiza
Kuo (Schmidt will not return anytime soon)

2007-09-12 12:19:37
167.   dzzrtRatt
152 I disagree with the idea that Ned will find a PVL to play OF next season. I firmly believe he envisions a Kemp-Pierre-Ethier outfield next season. The problem is...why wait?

Likewise at 3B. Unless there is some A-Rod or Miggy Cabrera deal, I think LaRoche will get the job next year. So give it to him now. He is the best option now.

I'm with Vinny. Nomar deserved a chance after coming back from injury. Especially since LaRoche's numbers weren't like Loney's when Loney played himself onto the starting lineup. But it's clear Nomar's not capable of contributing now, which lowers the bar for LaRoche. How much worse could he be than Nomar? But how much better could he be -- a lot.

2007-09-12 12:19:38
168.   Curtis Lowe
164 - Yeh. Those loses in SF are in my mind on Grady Little and those loses crushed my playoff hopes and thursday night high, now I really dislike Little's ability to properly manage a ballgame.
2007-09-12 12:21:27
169.   Kevin Lewis
160

This weekend drove me insane with the decisions made regarding pitching. I know very little about the Boston fiasco, but I wonder if the Pedro decision in the playoffs was one of many irritating decisions made near the end of the season that broke the last straw. I like Grady's personality, but I am liking his managing skills less and less after this week.

2007-09-12 12:21:45
170.   Bluebleeder87
Hopefully with a Dodger victory today, our more positive selves will emerge, with key games against our #1 rivals the ball is in our court, let's see how we play it.
2007-09-12 12:27:58
171.   KG16
So, I'm looking at a list of free agents this year at mlb4u.com and am wondering if anyone knows anything about Fukudome, Japanese player, looks like he could play center. Anyone know anything about him?
2007-09-12 12:31:28
172.   silverwidow
171 -- Fukudome would be a great pickup. I believe he's a high OBP guy with power and speed.
2007-09-12 12:33:07
173.   Jon Weisman
166 - I've said this before, but I've still read nothing to indicate that Schmidt won't pitch in April. His overall effectiveness won't be what it was, but his timetable for recovery does not extend into the season, according to anything I've seen.
2007-09-12 12:33:31
174.   bhsportsguy
Let's review the weekend.

Friday: Regardless taking Chad out, if Furcal fields the ball cleanly and makes a good throw, even to get one out, the Giants don't score at all and the Dodgers win the game.

Sunday: Did not watch the game, I would have skipped over Broxton and gone to Sammy to get the 4 out save.

I was just looking at the second half pitching stats and they are not pretty. The losses of Kuo, Schmidt and Wolf really become evident when you add Lowe's ineffectiveness due to his aggravitated hip and while Chad and Brad average 6 innings plus per start, the rest of the starters barely get through 5 innings if that. Broxton and Beimel have been 30 of the 55 games apiece and that is not counting how many times they warmed up.

The advantage that Arizona has had this season is that they either play a close game or a blowout. And because they don't tend to comeback, their so-so middle relievers are not expected to keep them in the game. But like the Dodgers, when they have a lead, they usually keep it.

But in the second half, a combination of too many poor starts by pitchers 4th/5th starters and incredibly bad hitting with runners in scoring position, doomed this team.

So while you can collectively blame a lot of people, not sure you can totally blame Grady for what has happened this season.

2007-09-12 12:39:02
175.   JoeyP
160--Good observation Curtis.

Not sure what Little's been thinking this year. Last year he was pretty cool. This year, not so much.

2007-09-12 12:41:10
176.   bhsportsguy
167 There was a time this season when I thought the Angels were fortunate that Garrett Anderson was hurt and Reggie Willits was able to play instead of him and I wondered what Scioscia would do with Garrett when he came back.

I'm not saying that Gonzalez is better than Anderson (he was in the first half of the year) but Scioscia stuck with his veterans. The Angels are not dissimilar to their treatment of young players, Kendrick needed Kennedy to leave town to play, Kotchman has no real competition but what will they do with Wood next year?

2007-09-12 12:41:58
177.   JoeyP
incredibly bad hitting with runners in scoring position, doomed this team

If you're counting on hitting with RISP, you're already doomed.

2007-09-12 12:42:11
178.   underdog
174 - Oh there's no question the erratic pitching, along with the snowball effects of losing two starters for the season, is still the biggest problem, especially lately when a usually very solid Lowe has been erratic, when Broxton starts giving up long balls, and even Penny's had a few bad starts (though he's still been mostly great). It's just, under the microscope of a pennant race, alongside the erratic pitching some of Grady's decisions the past week have compounded the fracture, as it were.
2007-09-12 12:45:50
179.   bhsportsguy
160 You know what he was thinking, can a starter make it through one more inning though they might be on fumes.

I have already pointed out that the usage of the bullpen in the second half.

One thing this team did not get a lot of this year was dominant pitching performances or blowout wins where you can have you 5th/6th guys close it out.

And you can't continually roll out Broxton and Saito. One note is that Saito has only 21 appearances in the second half so not too many save opportunities.

2007-09-12 12:51:58
180.   LogikReader
Hey guys,

Update on my free agents spreadsheet.

I might just focus on 3B and outfielders. I am going to have a heck of a time trying to compile a similar chart for pitchers. For instance, is there an equivalent Pitching stat for OPS+?

2007-09-12 12:52:43
181.   underdog
179 That's true - though it brings up the point of, do you always have to use your closer solely in save opportunities? While it's true you don't want Saito wasted in blowout wins or losses, what about using him a little more in tie games or down a run late situations? I can think of one instance recently where he did come in in those circumstances, but he's their best reliever... At least we know he'll be back next year!

All I know is if I have to see Hernandez again this season and it's not in a game that's already got a 8+ run differential, I'm going to throw something. My cats better not be in the same room.

2007-09-12 12:53:53
182.   JoeyP
179--A tired bullpen shouldnt be an excuse for trying to get an extra inning out of your starter at the expense of giving up a scoring chance by allowing said starter to hit.

And really, a tired bullpen in September should be no excuse, since rosters are expanded and there should be more than enough pitchers to handle those innings.

Has Meloan even pitched since he walked a couple guys that one game in Chicago? Does Hull get used very much? Houlton, Stults, etc..

We got guys in the pen that can pitch. Maybe not well, but probably as well as a completely gassed starter or a gassed Broxton.

Its like Little wont commit to one thing: If he thinks a starter is gassed, then pinch hit. 1 batter getting on base should not be the determining factor as to whether the starter is either effective or not effective.

If he thinks the starter is fine, and can go additional innings, ok then. Let the pitcher hit, but then committ to that pitcher in the bottom half and let him pitch the entire inning (or attempt to).

Pulling him so soon after letting him hit is just craziness.

2007-09-12 12:54:45
183.   Benaiah
180 - ERA+
2007-09-12 12:56:17
184.   silverwidow
Did Chuck Tiffany have a career-ending shoulder injury?
2007-09-12 12:56:53
185.   LogikReader
Just a bit off topic, but I am really surprised at this: Barry Bonds this year still has 28 HR, and an slg pct of .571 . I got the impression that he was "finished".
2007-09-12 13:00:52
186.   Curtis Lowe
179 - Letting Lowe hit after he was in the upper 90's was short sighted. Removing Billz after allowing Bonds a single BONDS and only throwing 92 pitches was short sighted. Removing Penny after 82 pitches and after letting him hit the previous inning was short sighted. I like Grady Little of 06 but Little 07 is really starting to wear thin.

Seems very wishy washy to me and I really dislike wishy washy.

2007-09-12 13:01:05
187.   D4P
185
Bonds's 2007 OPS: 1.053
Bonds's career OPS: 1.051
2007-09-12 13:01:09
188.   El Lay Dave
174 Friday: Regardless taking Chad out, if Furcal fields the ball cleanly and makes a good throw, even to get one out, the Giants don't score at all and the Dodgers win the game.

Danger of rule 8 violations in continuing to discuss Friday's debacle, but while the above statement is true, AFTER Furcal's error, it was 1st and 2nd, nobody out and Dodgers leading 3-1. Grady's poor management (not playing infield in on Vizquel, having Beimel pitch to Winn) exacerbated the situation - the Dodgers would have had better chances to survive the error and remain ahead or tied.

2007-09-12 13:03:30
189.   El Lay Dave
186 Penny hit in the top of the 7th and was pulled in the bottom of the 8th. He should have stayed in, but the pinch-hitting issue is a red herring. Not hitting for him was the right decision there. (He threw single-digit or 10 pitches in the 7th).
2007-09-12 13:06:12
190.   Curtis Lowe
189 - I understand that and that is why I'm getting frustrated with these latest situations. If he's going to let Penny bat because he didn't throw many pitches then why pull him after allowing the first runner to reach?
2007-09-12 13:07:08
191.   bhsportsguy
177 BTW, the Dodgers are second in the NL with RISP (.279) and lead the NL in batting with runners on (.289)

And the number of at bats indicate that its not for lack of opportunities either.

One striking stat, despite doing so well with runners on base, the Dodgers rank last in the NL with the bases loaded, hefting a mighty .584 OPS with a .219 average (league average is .275 with a .745 OPS)

2007-09-12 13:10:50
192.   underdog
At least you guys weren't there Friday in person! If I wasn't with fellow DT-ers I probably would've cried into my Orlando Cepeda Caribbean Unhappy Meal©
2007-09-12 13:12:57
193.   JoeyP
That further illustrates the need for power on the team.

You can hit well with RISP, steal bases, and yet still not score as many runs as the other teams with more power.

Dodgers OPS is #22 in the league.
Amazingly, Arizona and San Diego are still worse.

2007-09-12 13:15:44
194.   fanerman
192 Yeah that was painful. Especially listening to the taunts from the Giants fans.
2007-09-12 13:17:44
195.   ToyCannon
"And the number of at bats indicate that its not for lack of opportunities either", said Bhsportsguy, a frequent poster on Dodger Thoughts, who goes by only one name.
2007-09-12 13:18:53
196.   dzzrtRatt
One thing this team did not get a lot of this year was dominant pitching performances or blowout wins

Few blowout wins, but I seem to recall lots of dominant pitching performances. It's just that we didn't always win.

It's in the Dodger tradition to have dominant pitching performances, and lose. There's that famous anecdote with Drysdale asking a teammate what happened at that day's game. "Koufax pitched a shutout." "Did we win?"

LA must lead the league in "quality start" losses this season. The back-to-back Billingsley 1-0 losses, several Lowe losses in which he pitched extremely well, a few by Penny. I think I even recall a Hendrickson start where he pitched well and lost.

2007-09-12 13:19:05
197.   bhsportsguy
193 And despite more power, Arizona and San Diego have scored less runs.

Certainly having power helps, it is not the cure all Milwaukee is leading their division but they are not playing much above .500 baseball, the Phillies, Braves and Marlins have good offenses but have not pitched well consistently.

2007-09-12 13:24:19
198.   bhsportsguy
195 I had a train of thought there but I deleted it. My point was that the Dodgers are in the top 5 in the league with scoring opportunities and they do a good job of getting a hit but often as others point out, not a homer or a double or something that breaks the game open.

196 I think that was in the period of the batting less than .100 with RISP. But by dominant, I mean 7+ innings, leaving the game with 4+ run lead, where you are not having a lot of high leverage situations.

2007-09-12 13:26:26
199.   ToyCannon
196
Funny how the tradition that is 42 years old, trumps the offensive tradition established by the kids of 74. I guess because they won 2 World Championships while the kids only won one at the tail end of their run.
Still it bothers me when people say the Dodger tradition is great pitching and great defense considering I've been watching the Dodgers for 39 years and I've never seen that combo win for me.
2007-09-12 13:28:02
200.   Wilbert Robinson
Upcoming FA's via Baseball Analysts

http://tinyurl.com/2r4qy2 - Hitters

http://tinyurl.com/3ey9r8 - Pitchers

Show/Hide Comments 201-250
2007-09-12 13:28:03
201.   Curtis Lowe
ToyCannon has a really good read/vent over at True Blue LA which puts what I've been yelling and muttering into understandable coherent words.
2007-09-12 13:28:08
202.   ToyCannon
198
Nothing to do with your train of thought. I randomly took a quote of yours and applied it to a strange quote I read regarding the earthquake in Indonesia today.

From AP
"It was followed by a series of aftershocks, the strongest of which registered at a magnitude of 6.6 and triggered a second tsunami alert for Indonesia, which was lifted about an hour later, said Suhardjono, an official with Indonesia's meteorological agency, who goes by only one name."

2007-09-12 13:29:30
203.   ToyCannon
201
Thanks
2007-09-12 13:32:56
204.   Howard Fox
173 Jon, my sources at Dodger Stadium tell me Schmidt was more surprised than anyone that he was tendered the contract he was, that he is nowhere near what he used to be, and wasn't sure he would ever be 100% again...but what do they know...
2007-09-12 13:33:13
205.   bigcpa
203 Love the new tagline at True Blue.
2007-09-12 13:37:46
206.   ToyCannon
204
That sounds ludicrous. Why would a source for the Dodgers know how Schmidt felt regarding a contract offer?
What they gave him an offer, and then he bragged to people who work for the Dodgers that he couldn't believe the Dodgers gave him so much money because he wasn't any good anymore?
2007-09-12 13:39:39
207.   Howard Fox
I'm telling you what I heard from those who know him personally...not making any judgments here
2007-09-12 13:40:29
208.   trainwreck
TC also had a good writeup at John Sickel's blog about our 2002/2003 drafts and international signings.
2007-09-12 13:42:53
209.   trainwreck
Which, he also wrote on True Blue.
2007-09-12 13:53:30
210.   bhsportsguy
Again, this is all via press reports but at the time the Dodgers signed Schmidt, the 3-year 45 million figure was being tossed out with the Cubs and the Cardinals and Mariners were also in the mix along with the Dodgers.

I think the last part, where Schmidt doesn't think he will be 100% sounds strange, does he now feel he won't recover or was it last year?

And, what was the context in which he made these comments. The general consensus among baseball media types was that the deal was a good one, both money and length of contract.

So I am just not sure the motivation of Schmidt saying these things without some knowledge of whom he said it to and why.

2007-09-12 13:57:46
211.   Icaros
Orlando Cepeda Caribbean Unhappy Meal©

LOL.

2007-09-12 14:04:35
212.   underdog
199 "Still it bothers me when people say the Dodger tradition is great pitching and great defense considering I've been watching the Dodgers for 39 years and I've never seen that combo win for me." Not even 1988's world champs? I just remember how pitiful their world series line-up looks today, or even then, but they had some famously timely hitting then that's for sure. Still, some Orel Hershiser will take you a long way.

Not sure how good their defense was that year, but I assume pretty good.

2007-09-12 14:08:06
213.   Howard Fox
the comments were made last year, at the time of the contract negotiations...

I'm more concerned about the physical taken and the results thereof, than any comments, by the way...if he wasn't 100%, if his fastball numbers were decreasing yearly, why does he even pass a physical?

2007-09-12 14:09:16
214.   regfairfield
212 It was mediocre at best.
2007-09-12 14:12:42
215.   Icaros
214

If that's a veiled putdown of Jeff Hamilton, you and I are going to have to step outside.

2007-09-12 14:14:17
216.   fanerman
214 215 Ooooh a Dodger Thoughts commenter fight. I'd pay to see that.
2007-09-12 14:14:18
217.   underdog
214 You're right, just looked it up - was basically league average, a little below at some positions, a little above at others. Looking at their line-up again (compare it to this year's Dodgers even) and it shows you how strong their pitching was, plus some clutch hitting.
2007-09-12 14:17:01
218.   underdog
I used to love Jeff Hamilton, had high hopes - I really thought he was gonna be the next Graig Nettles at least. Instead he was, what, the next Tom O'Malley? He played solid 3rd though, and could hit doubles. And pitched 1.7 innings too!
2007-09-12 14:20:27
219.   King of the Hobos
Interesting interview with Tal Smith at the Biz of Baseball site. His response to one question in particular caught my attention, and is at least somewhat relevant. Sorry if it's a bit long:

Bizball: Without getting into specifics, what is the ideal profile you and Mr. McLane are looking for in a general manager? Where, if at all, does an understanding or use of statistical analysis fit into that profile?
Smith: I guess it's like asking about a player … you would like a 5 Tool player. You want a 5 Tool general manager, as well. Obviously that is a question we have asked because Drayton and I both think that sabermetrics and statistical analysis is a tool – it is a resource that should be employed in conjunction with the normal scouting activities. I think you use everything at your disposal. I think we want somebody that is comfortable and conversant with that; they don't have to do the crunching of the numbers or understand all of the formulas and what-not, but I think they have to be receptive to that. Ideally you would like somebody that has a good sense from an evaluation standpoint; but again, I have to make the distinction that a good scout and the GM position is not the same thing. A GM gets to evaluate his own talent and the rest of the job is managing and directing, and I think some people confuse that and look at people who are successful talent evaluators and believe that is the key ingredient. It is a part that you would like to have in a GM, but not all great talent evaluators are going to become competent GMs.

http://tinyurl.com/383c7t

2007-09-12 14:21:29
220.   ToyCannon
217
It has been talked about before here on DT but 1988 was a bizarre year. I know the team was more then Kirk Gibson but even though his stats don't show it, I swear this guy was involved in a win everytime I went to a game.
His home run wasn't just magical because of how and when he it, it was the capper to a season I'll never see again. I know Sheffield, Beltre, Green, and Pedro make his numbers look Eckstein like compared to their's but you just had to see it to believe it.
And if none of it is true, just keep the truth to yourselves.
2007-09-12 14:22:44
221.   underdog
220 Yah, that season is a bit like an X-Files mystery. Maybe we should bring Gibson back as a PH, since he's like a lucky rabbit foot.
2007-09-12 14:23:05
222.   ToyCannon
218
That team was full of failed promises.
Jeff Hamilton
Dave Anderson
Mike Marshall
Franklin Stubbs

It would be like La Roche, Hu, Kemp, and Loney all went on to be pedestrian.

2007-09-12 14:29:13
223.   Curtis Lowe
221 - Yeh he's busy rabbit footing AZ's pythag.
2007-09-12 14:41:56
224.   Terry A
To those of us who are sabremetrically challenged, 223 reads a little dirty.
2007-09-12 14:43:33
225.   underdog
you keep your rabbit foot outta my pythag!
2007-09-12 14:44:25
226.   fanerman
I suppose it is a bit nerdy to use the slang abbreviation "pythag" in everyday commenting.
2007-09-12 14:46:05
227.   silverwidow
ItD:

Furcal, SS
Pierre, CF
Kemp, RF
Kent, 2B
Loney, 1B
Martin, C
Ethier, LF
Abreu, 3B
Billingsley, P

2007-09-12 14:47:24
228.   bhsportsguy
213 I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. I thought over the last weekend of the season, Schmidt threw pretty well with good velocity and Conte was the trainer of the Giants at that time.

Pretty sure that short of opening up Schmidt's shoulder, they could not have detected the damange even with an MRI.

2007-09-12 14:47:32
229.   fanerman
So... Abreu over LaRoche, eh? At least Nomar sits down.
2007-09-12 14:48:20
230.   silverwidow
229 -- LaRoche had trouble with Germano last time.
2007-09-12 14:48:49
231.   delias man
Andy must be hurt, I can't believe this.
2007-09-12 14:50:12
232.   LogikReader
I'm going to finish that FA spreadsheet soon and I'll spend some more time adding FA pitchers later tonight. Can't wait to show you the results :)
2007-09-12 14:50:26
233.   ToyCannon
La Roche better be having back problems or some other type of ailment. I evidently care to much for this team, my head feels like it is going to go toon town.
2007-09-12 14:50:34
234.   Curtis Lowe
227 - Wow flipping Billz and Lowe, I hope Lowe isn't hurt too bad. Dang Broxton is on a roll right now.

3 run shot to Soriano, walkoff to Ortmeir, 3 run shot to Durham, break Derek Lowes hand.

2007-09-12 14:51:23
235.   Bluebleeder87
Here are Mike Marshall #'s for '88

At Bats - 542
Hits - 150
Home Runs - 20
Runs Batted In - 82
Batting Average - .277
OBP - .314
SLG - .445
OPS - 759
OPS+ - 119 (To be honest, I don't know what Ops+ is/creates or what ever, but there it is)

He wasn't THAT BAD, but if I remember correctly he was supposed to be GREAT.

2007-09-12 14:53:29
236.   underdog
Hopefully Lowe just needs an extra day of rest and can go tomorrow. Hope Bills can pitch all right with one less day of rest. And on the bright side, I'll take Abreu over Nomar or Shea at this point.

Maybe Andy is hurting again - maybe sprained his pythag?

Either that he's in der hundhaus?

2007-09-12 14:54:48
237.   Jon Weisman
New post up top.
2007-09-12 14:56:10
238.   LogikReader
Question: which stat would be a better reflection of offensive ability: OPS+ or just OPS?
2007-09-12 14:56:21
239.   KG16
227 - that's not too bad, definitely much better than what I was prepared for.
2007-09-12 14:56:47
240.   Bluebleeder87
Well if anything at least it's Bills pitching tonight. It can't be a good omen that our pitchers our dropping like flies
2007-09-12 14:57:05
241.   fanerman
According to Baseball Reference, OPS+ is "Essentially OPS normalized to the league. Think of it as a rate above the league average expressed as a percentage."

Russell Martin's OPS+ this season is 118.

2007-09-12 14:59:22
242.   underdog
The party's shifted!
New.
Post.
Above.

Yeah Broxton's becoming like the Jason Repko of the pitching staff...

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