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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

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

2007-09-14 09:03
by Jon Weisman

Whether we're talking about the final 16 games of the 2007 season or the first 162 of the 2008 season, Andy LaRoche is going to have to convince the Dodgers of his resiliency – physically and mentally

From Diamond Leung of the Press-Enterprise:

LaRoche joked on his 24th birthday (Thursday) that he felt old. The way his bad back has acted up of late would seem to support that notion.
LaRoche blamed the latest flareup on a day off. He said he spent Monday "laying around" and neglecting to do the 30 minutes of exercises his back requires every day. He aggravated it Tuesday fielding grounders in batting practice.

The third baseman has resumed taking ground balls.

"I don't feel anything at all," he said.

The Dodgers are a team that will use any excuse, real or invented, to reduce the playing time of any player not named Juan. Baseball doesn't offer many days off, so I understand the whole lying around thing, but to not muster the energy for half an hour of physical effort, with so much on the line for himself and the team, is worthy of some concern. If there is work to be done at this time of year and you can do it, you should do it.

LaRoche made a mistake. Moving forward, the key question is whether the Dodgers will compound that mistake. If LaRoche does do the work moving forward, if he makes amends, how quickly will the team respond by getting him back in the lineup? Will they be slow to use him, then regret not going to him sooner – the same regrets they should have with a number of younger players whom we were told earlier this year, incorrectly, weren't ready.

This goes back to the fundamental question I asked earlier this month, which I still don't think has been answered:

Is the way the Dodgers limit the playing time of their young players at the outset of their careers an actual contributor to their ultimate success? Or are the Dodgers just missing out on opportunities to cash in on their prospect fortune?
Please let me emphasize that no one is saying that LaRoche is the second coming of Alex Rodriguez. The point right now, with a playoff spot still within reach but an uphill fight, is nothing more than to get the best available players on the field, and even though LaRoche has looked overeager at times at the plate, there's still nothing to indicate that he isn't the best option at third base on the current Dodger roster. In his brief appearances, LaRoche has looked less overmatched on the field than Nomar Garciaparra, Tony Abreu, Shea Hillenbrand and Ramon Martinez, and for the next 16 games, that's all that matters.

LaRoche has to do his part, and the Dodgers have to do theirs. And then, either way, we'll start all over after the season.

* * *

It's exciting to see the Dodgers get off the mat. But this weekend, they play a first-place team while the Padres play a last-place team. The pitching matchups might actually favor the Dodgers, but you know that looking good on paper doesn't mean much in any given moment. You need to perform, and you need luck.

Comments (138)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-09-14 09:38:31
1.   jasonungar07
I taped what Vin said last night and want to write it for you guys...I am capitalizing his emphisis (You guys know how Vin talks. Always positive but also if you read between the lines...) It is somehwhat appropriate for this thread.

"Were talking about James Loney standing on 2nd base, what kind of a series has James had, he is now 8 for 11 with 7 rbi. James Loney, he was the fella who had a GREAT last year in the minors, had a GREAT spring training, after hitting .380 the year before in Vegas and they STILL decided to send him back and when they FINALLY decided to bring him up, he has been and INCREDIBLE contributor. Don't forget he is now hitting .322...."

2007-09-14 09:41:13
2.   LogikReader
Someone on here predicted the Dodgers would play well this week but then struggle during the weekend. He's got half of the prophecy right so far...
2007-09-14 09:42:55
3.   Eric Stephen
1 Vin must not have been checking Dodger Thoughts for the up to the minute Loney OPS tracker! :)

Loney peaked at .330 last night, but ended up at .329.

2007-09-14 09:48:14
4.   Daniel Zappala
I still don't get why Nomar didn't start the year at 3B, since he said he was willing to be there all along. I consider that a major mistake.
2007-09-14 09:50:09
5.   Bluebleeder87
the peace on La Roche kind of bums you out, I'll still hold back judgment until we "get to know him better" but it still kind of rubs you the wrong way. It's the old adage what would he be doing if he wasn't a major leaguer, maybe I'm way of this only time will tell.
2007-09-14 09:53:21
6.   Bluebleeder87

Don't forget Daniel, the Dodgers had high hopes for Betemit but it just didn't pan out, I remember listening to a Ned Colletti interview were he said Betemit was his biggest disappointment.

2007-09-14 09:55:31
7.   Wilbert Robinson
I have a feeling we will be seeing way more of Mike Lowell than Andy LaRoche next year.
2007-09-14 09:56:31
8.   BlueCrew Bruin
Wow, this is disheartening:

"In four career starts against the Dodgers, Davis is 3-1 with a 0.00 ERA. He has not allowed an earned run against L.A. in 30 innings pitched, while striking out 22."

I guess you could say (and I will) that the Dodgers are due.

2007-09-14 09:57:39
9.   Bluebleeder87
I wouldn't touch that guy with a ten foot poll, he's older & even though he's having a descent year his #'s are bound to go down, his D is pretty solid though, but even then...
2007-09-14 09:58:30
10.   jasonungar07
The Nomar signing may have cost us the Pennant IMO.
2007-09-14 10:00:06
11.   sbdrew
Is it wishful thinking that this is our 25 next year?

Brad Penny
Derek Lowe
Chad Billingsley
Esteban Loaiza
Jason Schmidt

Takashi Saito
Jonathan Broxton
Scott Proctor
Joe Beimel
Mark Hendrickson
Eric Hull

Russ Martin
Mike Leiberthal/Equivalent

James Loney
Rafael Furcal
Tony Abreu
Andy Laroche
Nomar Garciaparra
Jeff Kent
Mark Sweeney

Andre Ethier
Juan Pierre
Matt Kemp
Delwyn Young
Jason Repko/Equivalent

Batting order:

1) Furcal
2) Martin
3) Loney
4) Kemp
5) Kent
6) Ethier
7) Garciaparra
8) Pierre
9) SP

Minor Leaguers ready to help when/if needed:

Jonathan Meloan
Hung-Chi Kuo
James McDonald
Clayton Kershaw
Chin Lung Hu
Wilson Valdez
Xavier Paul

2007-09-14 10:01:13
12.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
10 But not the two outfield signings? Imagine a whole year of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, instead of partials.
2007-09-14 10:01:35
13.   fanerman
10 I don't think you can really just blame that. Sure it hurt us, but so does playing Juan Pierre every day, not throwing Furcal on the DL for a month, pitching Tomko so often...
2007-09-14 10:02:22
14.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
11 Looks like a contender to me.
2007-09-14 10:02:59
15.   silverwidow
I have a feeling we will be seeing way more of Mike Lowell than Andy LaRoche next year.

I don't see how that's possible. Nomar is still under contract for a ton of money and Loney sure isn't losing his starting spot. How exactly would Mike Lowell fit in?

2007-09-14 10:07:40
16.   Sushirabbit
8, Never fear Davis is on my fantasy team! :-)

On the back exercise thing, well, let's just say doing that stuff everyday sometimes gets very old. I suspect that it was something different than "laying around". The two absolute worst for me are sitting at a computer and reading 400+ comments, or playing video games. I had't put it together before, but my wife noticed that after every gaming session I would end up worse the next day. For me personally the disc stuff is maddening in part because it is so un-predictable, I have lost 20 lbs and can walk and do the exercises and I still might get a gallon of milk out of the fridge wrong.

I was a big Betemit believer, too, but I think part of the blame falls on him not just Nomar. (oh, and Repko)

2007-09-14 10:08:09
17.   paranoidandroid
Since coming off the DL, Nomar started Friday and Sunday and Tuesday. We lost all three games. He has struck out a lot when he hasn't made a quick one pitch out. His timing looks way off. TOMKO struck him out!

We have won all the games started by Abreu in the past week.

Therefore, Nomar will start tonight against Doug Davis. I would hope that Abreu would be seen as part of the little momentum we have built the last two nights, but I think Grady will start Nomar.

If he does, I hope he is due. The whole team is due to hit Davis. We'll likely load up the right handed hitters so that means Nomar or Shea or LaRoche. They seem to favor Abreu from the left side.

Will be interesting to see if Loney settles into the 3 slot in the future. I predict he will with Kemp our future #4 hitter.

My ideal top five in 2009 would be Furcal, Martin, Loney, Kemp, Ethier. This is assuming we keep Furcal and Kent retires. And that Pierre hits 8th where I think he fits in best.

2007-09-14 10:10:37
18.   regfairfield
11 I mostly agree except that I think we'll have a Ramon Martinez equivalent instead of Abreu, another reliever instead of LaRoche and someone more veterany than Hull in the pen.
2007-09-14 10:10:42
19.   LogikReader
I wouldn't be surprised to see Lowell at 3B next year.

LaRoche may be claimed to "not have worked out his back injury"

Nomar could be traded, not likely, but possible

What if Kent retires anyway? Again very unlikely, but they might consider Nomar at 2B.

-- and Lowell's numbers have been good: He's OPS'd over .800 for 5 of the last 6 years

I still would prefer to see LaRoche, assuming he's healthy.

2007-09-14 10:11:39
20.   regfairfield
11 Oh, and I'm pretty sure Kuo's out of options so he needs to be on the club.

Actually, I could see Kuo getting waived because he's not going to start and he's terrible out of the bullpen.

2007-09-14 10:11:56
21.   Humma Kavula
11 Sad to say, but I think it's wishful thinking. One has to wonder if Colletti will be feeling the pressure to do something big on the free agent market. I don't see a place for a free agent, but I also thought Colletti would stick Kemp in center field, pass on Nomar, and give Loney the 1B job out of spring training...

...that SHOULD be the roster next year, but I fear that it won't.

2007-09-14 10:12:02
22.   Wilbert Robinson
I can't see Ned standing pat this offseason. 3B has been a problem all year. He has some money to play with. Who else does he sign besides another PVLish corner outfielder. I hope it doesn't happen but I could see it happening pretty easily.
2007-09-14 10:14:13
23.   LogikReader
Actually, knowing NedCo, Russell Branyan is more of a possibility, or (hilariously) Greg Norton
2007-09-14 10:15:42
24.   Humma Kavula
23 Doesn't Branyan strike out too much to be a Neddite?
2007-09-14 10:16:46
25.   regfairfield
23 I would love if Ned got Branyan to fill the professional pinch hitter role, but he's the last person in the world he would sign. A guy who hits .200 and can't play D with walks and home runs? Who needs that?
2007-09-14 10:19:24
26.   LogikReader

Well after compiling some numbers I predicted the following:

first what I think he should do (if he has to do anything):

3b: get Alex Rodrigues
OF: Get Adam Dunn, Torii Hunter, or (my favorite bang for the buck candidate) Aaron Rowand as a Pierre Replacement/4th OF

Pitchers: Pick up SP's Shawn Chacon, Kyle Lohse or Paul Byrd.

Now here's what I think NedCo will actually do:

3B: Get Branyan or Corey Koskie
OF: Pick up Moises Alou (!), Reggie Sanders, or perhaps Torii Hunter
SPs: Take a chance on Kenny Rogers, Pick up Livan Hernandez, or perhaps Julian Tavarez and Brian Lawrence

2007-09-14 10:20:08
27.   LogikReader
Rodriguez not Rodrigues... sorry folks
2007-09-14 10:20:23
28.   silverwidow
Unless the Red Sox sign A-Rod, the chances of Lowell coming here are slim to none.
2007-09-14 10:25:59
29.   regfairfield
26 The Dodgers do have a budget. Your plan would push the payroll up to about 140 million.
2007-09-14 10:26:06
30.   old dodger fan
I think the Yankees will offer A-Rod an extension. That way they get to keep the Rangers contribution to his contract for the next 3 years and keep him. Unless he has a horrible post season and the Yankee fans and NY press rip into him I think he will take the extension. Having said that, he sure would look good in Dodger Blue.
2007-09-14 10:28:13
31.   silverwidow
I think A-Rod will get at least 6/180. That might be conservative, though.
2007-09-14 10:33:03
32.   bhsportsguy
25 In his last 4 seasons, Branyan has 69 plate appearances as a pinch hitter, his line is .138/.275/.207 with 1 HR, 11 BB, 30 K.

Now prior to this season, he did not have a lot pinch hitting opportunites, this season represents almost half of those appearances, so for this year he his .214/.371/.357 with 1 HR, 6 BB, and 12 K.

Branyan may be a lot of things but a pinch hitter he is not.

2007-09-14 10:33:30
33.   LogikReader

Hey do you want to win or do you want to play nice? ;)

2007-09-14 10:33:39
34.   KG16
11 - from the talk yesterday, I'm not sure Schmidt will be ready to go at the beginning of the season; so expect Kuo or a free agent signing to round out the starting rotation (hopefully Kuo).

As far as moves in the off season, I think it all depends on what Kent and Nomar decide about their futures. If they both decide to retire, then I expect a lot of movement. If not, I don't see the Dodgers doing too much with the starting line up.

I would hope that they make a run for A-Rod, regardless of what happens. I would also hope that they look at packaging Pierre with some second tier prospects to get a new centerfielder.

2007-09-14 10:36:36
35.   LogikReader
btw I am really leaning towards getting Rowand and somehow, some way ditching Pierre. Man that would do so much, but I think the Phils will just find a way to retain him. He wouldn't command more than 5-7 mil.
2007-09-14 10:37:07
36.   Wilbert Robinson
After the Red Sox, the next-most sensible destination for Rodriguez is with the Los Angeles Dodgers. They're as rich as any team outside the American League East, they have real money to throw around, and they have a productive farm system that will allow them to replace their free agents from within. Simply letting veterans Randy Wolf, Jeff Kent, and Luis Gonzalez go this fall would free up enough to pay Rodriguez, and after next year, Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra, and Derek Lowe will be off their books, freeing up another $30 million. Money, glamour, and freedom from the crushing pressure of the East Coast all make the Dodgers a favorite.

2007-09-14 10:38:19
37.   screwballin
"I don't feel anything at all," he said.

Apparently that includes not feeling motivated. I mean, he can count on 3 hours of rest every game. He's not exactly being overworked right now. Does he want this job or what?

2007-09-14 10:39:24
38.   fanerman
34 At this point, I'd be thrilled if the Dodgers traded Pierre for a dozen donuts and swallow his salary (or a large chunk of it). Sure they'd have to pay him but at least he wouldn't hurt the team on the field.
2007-09-14 10:40:31
39.   Jim Hitchcock
Wow. What a game last night.

On a more somber note, a third and fourth pilot
were killed today at the Reno Air Races after one plane flew up the tail of the other.

2007-09-14 10:41:57
40.   snydes
It's interesting Diamond mentioned LaRoche neglected to do the "30 minutes of exercise his back requires every day." I have problems with my back but I'll be the first to tell you taking care of it is as simple as lying down on the floor and holding your knees to your chest.

Sounds like the kid is lazy. Since the Dodgers are paying his salary they should mandate he show up and stretch with a trainer every day.

2007-09-14 10:43:04
41.   blue22
I think the Yankees and Red Sox keep their current third basemen, and Nomar under contract still means he's probably the default starter in LA. LaRoche probably starts the year in Vegas again.

I can see Ned trying to package Ethier for a starter (or more likely a reliever), allowing him the opportunity to bring in a big name for the outfield. He's been one of the rotating starters all year, yet only has 11 homers. I think Ned thinks he can get more production from that spot, and it's arguably the only place that is open for a change, even if it doesn't end up being an upgrade.

2007-09-14 10:46:59
42.   blue22
Rowand was an average to below average player for the bulk of his career, but has magically turned it on this year. And in a contract year playing in a hitter's park too! What are the odds?

But, he's gritty and hard-nosed, so a 5 yr/$65M offer from Ned wouldn't be out of the question to replace Ethier. I don't see how Rowand goes for only $5-7M though.

2007-09-14 10:47:40
43.   Humma Kavula
41 even if it doesn't end up being an upgrade

"Batting seventh, in left field, number sixteen, Darrrrrrrin Errrrrrrstaaaaaaaad!"

2007-09-14 10:50:03
44.   regfairfield
42 Exactly. Here's how I'm thinking this offseason goes:

A-Rod: 7/200
Jones: 7/90
Dunn (if available): 6/80
Hunter: 5/70
Rowand: 5/65

2007-09-14 10:50:19
45.   blue22
43 - Erstad would bring a lunchpail work ethic to the park each day though, and that doesn't show up in boxscores and "stats".

Did you know he played football too?

2007-09-14 10:50:35
46.   Bluebleeder87

At this point I hope we at least showcase him for other clubs, maybe nag our selves a quality arm or bat.

2007-09-14 10:51:38
47.   Humma Kavula
45 But does he get on base an awful lot? I only want players that get on base an awful lot!
2007-09-14 10:53:38
48.   MollyKnight
I'm not defending La Roche, but maybe he neglected to do his back work because he was told he wouldn't really be playing this week. Not saying he shouldn't be busting his but to help the team no matter what, but I doubt that if Ned and Grady went to him and said, "Hey: you're our guy at third the rest of the way," that he would have neglected to care for himself.
2007-09-14 10:53:53
49.   Sushirabbit
I'm not very good at making points. I think this is worth noting though:

Just because he skipped the exercises does NOT mean skipping exercises caused the flare up. Yes, it may seem stupid to skip given the possible outcome. However, I've done the exercises religiously and still had what I call the "100,000 volts of searing pain". And it's not like he's gone all soft like I have.

It is just as likely that he bent over wrong brushing his teeth or picking up something he dropped.

2007-09-14 10:55:00
50.   Wilbert Robinson
More than anything I think this Andy LaRoche story proves that he is young and doesn't know how to talk to the media.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-09-14 10:57:09
51.   Jonny6
In a medium where banal comments and tired platitudes are standard order, he wields cliches like Conan swinging a broadsword.

In a city where few bother to read the news, he exacerbates the downward spiral of a dying industry.

And in a world where talent and creativity have taken a backseat to fawning compliance, he has risen pointless drivel to an art form.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. I guess that's my parody for the day. Wow, I realize that criticizing Plascke's columns is old, old news around here, but today's column stunk up the place more than usual. Really, what are the requirements for sportswriters these days? I think once they get entrenched, they would have to call a player a racial slur or grab the secretary's butt to actually get fired.

On another newspaper note, did anyone see the USA Today full page article on Saito a few days ago? I ran it across it this morning in a waiting room. Vizquel made some mildly disparaging remarks about Saito's success even though he is 0-7 against him. How dare a Giant question the devastating force of Saito? It sounds like it's time for Omar to get plunked! Of course, Saito's control is far too pinpoint for that to happen, so I guess we will just have to settle for an ordinary strikeout.

2007-09-14 10:57:59
52.   Jon Weisman
48 - I'm a bleeding heart on this stuff, but I don't think that flies. He can't look at the situation and decide not to be ready. Just because he isn't starting doesn't mean he was being told he wouldn't get into any games.

I don't disagree with 49, though.

2007-09-14 10:58:37
53.   kinbote
11 et al -- i think we'll see a nomar/laroche competition at 3b during spring training this year, but like the nomar/loney one, i'm not sure there's any way the younger player can win.

that being said, i don't think keeping laroche on the bench helps us or him very much. i expect him to begin 2008 in AAA.

as for the bullpen & bench, we know there are extra players ned will bring in [he always does]. i don't see any way hendrickson is back, and hull has to be considered a true longshot. i'm basically inking abreu in for a roster spot--it's a perfect situation for him to get some experience before taking over for kent in 2009. (i haven't seen enough of sweeney to consider bringing him back.)

2007-09-14 11:00:55
54.   bhsportsguy
48 So a rookie, needs the motivation of playing everyday to be prepared to play in order to make sure he does his daily workout?

I'm sorry but I would not give a pass to a ten-time All-Star for that type of attitude and I certainly don't think Andy LaRoche, who has already missed time this year due to these flare ups, needs to be promised anything to be ready to play.

2007-09-14 11:00:58
55.   Jon Weisman
51 - The Plaschke column, and Josh's concurrence with it on ITD, are just another example of the importance of answering my question:

Is the way the Dodgers limit the playing time of their young players at the outset of their careers an actual contributor to their ultimate success? Or are the Dodgers just missing out on opportunities to cash in on their prospect fortune?

2007-09-14 11:00:59
56.   MollyKnight
52- Right. I just meant that maybe he didn't take it seriously because he didn't feel like he was a big part of the team's plans this week. Not defending him, there. I feel the same way you do, and I wish the Dodgers WOULD make him the guy.
2007-09-14 11:01:05
57.   Bluebleeder87
Sounds like the kid is lazy. Since the Dodgers are paying his salary they should mandate he show up and stretch with a trainer every day.

I like your style Snydes, not to dimer the mood on the La Roche family any further but I remember the Braves had some issues with his older brother as well, I think there was ESPN highlights on how casual La Roche (elder) would walk/run to the bag to barely get the hustling runners out.

2007-09-14 11:01:14
58.   blue22
50 - Fortunately, I don't see how the club can afford to lose him this offseason. His back is probably deflating his trade value (not that that matters much to Ned). But even moreso, with Nomar still hanging around I just can't see a big name 3B coming in, but you have to think that even Ned isn't going to feel real secure about Nomar's outlook for next year. Best to keep LaRoche around as Plan B.

Well, Geoff Blum is probably Plan B. But LaRoche will definitely be in the first few letters of the alphabet.

2007-09-14 11:02:57
59.   El Lay Dave
LATed from the last thread:
487. Ricardo
How much of Wells´ success can be credited to Russell Martin? Russ is a very smart catcher and I believe he has a lot to do with it.

Didn't help Tomko though.

2007-09-14 11:06:04
60.   LogikReader

Yep, stupidly enough, Erstad is available too.

Here's a review of the "bottom 5" FA OF's (Min 50 games played):


Andruw Jones, .222/.315/.416/24/90
Rob Mackowiak, .265/.339/.388/6/90
Corey Patterson, .269/.304/.386/8/81
Darin Erstad, .256/.318/.342/3/72
Orlando Palmiero, .240/.342/.271/0/61

2007-09-14 11:07:52
61.   Joshua Worley

The Dodgers can't just let Kent go, though. He has an option for next year as long as he gets about 20 more PA.

2007-09-14 11:10:04
62.   blue22
61 - Even detail-freak Keith Law made a similar mistake yesterday:

Charlie (Pasadena CA): Kent - pick up his option? $8 mill I believe...

SportsNation Keith Law: No. He's a 1b now, and that job should be Loney's for the next 5-6 years.

2007-09-14 11:14:07
63.   Ricardo
59. Nor Hendrickson, El Lay Dave. The Darren Dreifort Wealthbuilding System:
2007-09-14 11:14:48
64.   regfairfield
62 Even if Kent weren't locked in, can we really afford to lose, at worst, our second best hitter?
2007-09-14 11:14:54
65.   kngoworld
61 Corey Patterson as Juan Pierre's insurance plan would be wonderfully delightful.
2007-09-14 11:15:29
66.   old dodger fan
36 Kent's 2008 contract at $9M is guaranteed if he gets 550 PA's this year. He has 529. Baring injury this week he is locked in for '08.

Gonzo, Hendy, Saenz, Seanez, Sweeney and Moeller are FA's at the end of the season. They made $17,675,000 in '07.

Wolf, Lieberthal, Hernandez, Hillenbrand and Martinez have '08 contracts totaling $21,600,000 that can be bought out for $1,350,000.

I hope I got those numbers right. Feel free to audit and correct as needed.

Dodgers have a lot of decisions to make. I think the Wolf decision is the toughest. If we are convinced he is healthy and it was my call I would exercise the option.

I think the Mueller and Perez obligations will be finished this year saving an additional $12,000,000.

2007-09-14 11:15:44
67.   Joshua Worley
From the Plaschke article:

With barely two weeks left in the season, his team is in a race despite fielding a lineup sometimes containing five guys who have never played a full major league season.




2007-09-14 11:15:58
68.   Wilbert Robinson
I don't think its common practice among lazy people to go around admitting how lazy they are. Usually its the reverse. Its sounds to me that LaRoche made an awkward attempt at making himself accountable for his injury. He should have said nothing about it all.
2007-09-14 11:16:09
69.   bhsportsguy
And on Jon's point of whether or not these guys should have been here from the beginning of the year, Loney probably was closer since he had so much more experience than Kemp, don't forget that he played 2 years at AA and almost a full year at AAA while Kemp played barely 2 months in AA, then a month or so last year in AAA and then just 2 more months in AAA this year.

You can examine lots of sample sizes on this issue, the D-Back kids are a mixed lot, Young and Drew have played the entire year and while Chris Young has done very well at some aspects of his game, Drew really hasn't progressed that much at all aside of getting a few more walks. He has not approached his OPS from last year at any point this season.

And the Diamondbacks still have issues, Chad Tracy is signed for 3 more years though now they have Reynolds at 3B (a youngster brought in due to injury not due to his prospect status), Byrnes' extension has been discussed and where does that leave the two Carlos, Quentin and Gonzalez.

The Rockies handed shortstop to Troy Tulowizski and that has paid off well for them.

Going back to the Dodgers, should Chad had started the season as a starter, again, after he got adjusted, he was very good in his role in the bullpen and once he started again, it appears that he really getting a handle on it and certainly become one of the guys I look forward to watching every 5th day.

So to answer Jon's question, I don't know, but then I don't think there really is a right answer, in the end, I think the Dodgers would rather have it work out this way, where even if the kids could have been doing this a little earlier, they would rather have them succeed and stay than have some of the years some of their comtemporaries are having around the league.

2007-09-14 11:16:29
70.   KG16
61/62 - Kent's recent moves on the basepaths suggest he's doing everything possible to not get those 20 PAs. On his 1st to 3rd run last night I thought he was going to blow out a knee. And sliding head first into home, is not exactly the smartest of moves.

But yeah, I fully expect Kent to be back, I doubt the Player's Association would go for the old moves of benching a player as he gets close to an incentive trigger.

2007-09-14 11:16:35
71.   Joshua Worley

I thought they already said they weren't picking up Wolf's option?

2007-09-14 11:18:40
72.   Gen3Blue
I'm very reluctant to ascribe any aspect of attitude or personality to LaRoche especially when it has been set up by remarks from the current front office and certain writers.
I think he is young and many of the comments hold some sense, including him not knowing how to use the media.
I sure hope this injury passes, and at that point playing time would be extremely
beneficial for everyone IMO.
I'm pretty sure the org. knows they are under the spotlight for missusing there young talent at this point and I put what they say through a BS filter.
2007-09-14 11:19:28
73.   regfairfield
71 I think we just assumed that was the case when we got Loaiza.
2007-09-14 11:24:05
74.   shmolnick
11 - Not enough power in that lineup. Sorry.
2007-09-14 11:25:17
75.   BlueMamma
67 "Despite", because they're only there sometimes. If they were there all the time, we wouldn't be racing, we'd be coasting by now.
2007-09-14 11:25:18
76.   Joshua Worley

I thought someone told me that the Dodgers said they weren't going to pick it up, but I can't find anything like that.

There was an article in the Times two days ago where Wolf said he doesn't expect the Dodgers to pick up his option, but that he'd still like to return to them.

I'd like to see him back.

2007-09-14 11:25:46
77.   silverwidow
Hillenbrand and Hernandez were bought out when they were DFA'd by their former clubs.
2007-09-14 11:26:40
78.   Bluebleeder87
Dodgers have a lot of decisions to make. I think the Wolf decision is the toughest. If we are convinced he is healthy and it was my call I would exercise the option.

I don't know if you & me are on the minority on this, but I have agree with your sentiment, I'd ink him for another year with an option.

2007-09-14 11:26:58
79.   Humma Kavula
What is the option on Wolf for next year? $8 million? Nine?

That's low enough that I think you have to gamble. Even if you have no plans to put him in the starting rotation, that's a hell of a trading chit.

2007-09-14 11:29:34
80.   Jon Weisman
I don't think there's any chance the Dodgers will pick up the option. I think there is a chance they will buy out the option and perhaps offer to resign Wolf at a lower price.
2007-09-14 11:31:23
81.   shmolnick
Loaiza = the new Wolf. Bank on it.
2007-09-14 11:31:32
82.   silverwidow
If Wolf costs Billingsley his rotation spot, I'm done with this team.
2007-09-14 11:31:48
83.   Eric Enders
Why on earth would you exercise the option when Wolf has already said publicly that he'd be willing to sign for a lower price if the option were declined?
2007-09-14 11:33:00
84.   KG16
Taking another flyer on Wolf probably isn't a bad idea, I think this year has shown us (again) that you should probably have 6 starters on your 25 man roster, with one having the role of "spot starter/long reliever". And of course, you should have another two or three ready hands on the farm.

Penny, Lowe, Billingsly, Kou, Schimdt, Loaiza, and Wolf. Assuming Schimdt is able to go at the beginning of the season, someone is the odd man out. Especially when Kershaw goes crazy in Jacksonville and/or Las Vegas.

2007-09-14 11:33:58
85.   Eric Enders
82 There is justified paranoia, and then there is unjustified paranoia. That post falls into the latter category, I think. There is zero chance Billingsley loses his rotation spot from this point forward, especially to the likes of Randy Wolf. Even the Dodgers are not that self-defeating.
2007-09-14 11:34:24
86.   Jon Weisman
82 - Don't worry. It won't happen.
2007-09-14 11:35:03
87.   rockmrete
No way Bills is comming out of the rotation.
2007-09-14 11:37:15
88.   fanerman
Bills is well on his way to entering the pantheon of Golden Gods. He's not coming out of the rotation.
2007-09-14 11:38:50
89.   Wilbert Robinson
I really don't like this idea that we are set for next year with Loiaza in the rotation.
2007-09-14 11:38:56
90.   silverwidow
Wolf (?)

Somebody will go to the pen, and I don't think it'll be one of the millionaires. At least not at first.

2007-09-14 11:40:25
91.   JoeyP
69--I dont really understand that point that you are trying to make.

If Kemp/Loney/Billingsley were better than their major league counterparts at the beginning of the season, then they should have been playing from the beginning of the year in LA.

Billingsley was one of the top 5 Dodger starters at the beginning of the year. He should have been starting.

Was Loney better than Betemit/Nomar at the beginning of the year? I dont think it could have been argued he'd be worse.

Kemp has to have a place in an Of has enough room for Pierre/Gonzo to start.

There's really no defending the Dodgers on this one. They didnt play the best players available at the beginning of the year, and it might have cost them a playoff spot and quite of bit of money in wasted veteran salaries.

2007-09-14 11:40:32
92.   Bob Timmermann
I am certain that Billingsley will be in the rotation now for as long as he is healthy.

Billingsley is an above average pitcher with even more potential who is very cheap. Finding a pitcher like that is like hitting the lottery.

Although for some it's not like hitting the Hughes/Chamberlain/Kennedy trifecta. Or even coming up with the better Buchholz.

Such things only happen because other teams are so incredibly awesome that the rest of us who root for the other teams should give up hope.

2007-09-14 11:44:02
93.   old dodger fan
83 I did not know he said that.
2007-09-14 11:44:17
94.   fanerman
90 I dunno. Little can be dumb sometimes, but not that dumb (or am I thinking wishfully?). It's not like Billingsley is struggling in readily accepted stats. He has the 4th best ERA on the team after Saito, Broxton, and Penny. I don't think Little would throw him in the bullpen just the millionaire's feelings would get hurt.
2007-09-14 11:45:11
95.   fanerman
94 "just because the millionaires'"...
2007-09-14 11:45:37
96.   rockmrete
Schmidt, Wolf, and Kguo will all be returning from injury. You could even put Loiza in that group, and the Ds can't be certain that any of them wil hold up for the long haul.
2007-09-14 11:45:52
97.   Wilbert Robinson
2007-09-14 11:46:34
98.   underdog
90 I'll bet you a lot of money - if I had a lot of money that is - against that happening. But you're welcome to your paranoia. I'd be shocked if Wolf and Schmidt are both ready to start the season and be effective. Bills is a known quantity at this point and the Dodgers most consistent starter over the past 2 months. While I think you can never have too much starting pitching, I also wouldn't be surprised to see someone like Loaiza traded or a 6th starter, or for the Dodgers to not bring Wolf back in any capacity.

Anyway, I'm not thinking much about next year right now; I'm on the one day at a time, there's still a chance this year plan. Plenty of time to muse about next season in the long off season.

2007-09-14 11:47:37
99.   bhsportsguy
51 Right now, when you look at the top NL rookies, you have Ryan Braun, Chris Young (power/speed) and then you have Hunter Pence, James Loney and Troy Tulowitzki with Troy getting in edge in terms of his position.

At the start of this season, Braun, Pence and Loney were at AAA, while the other two have been with their MLB club all year. Pence had a pretty good April and was called up but Braun had a monster April and early May and really just hit his way into Milwaukee and has kept on hitting. James didn't hit as well but he did plugging away but it wasn't as if he forced his way back here. But to his credit, he has done well since and is now among the Rookie leaders.

Matt Kemp did go back down and handled himself quite nicely, .914 OPS and only 26 strikeouts in 171 PA. And since he came up in June, he has done well too.

Did they need that time to be better players when they came up this year, I don't know but Matt Kemp certainly became better at strike recognition during his time in AAA. Loney is harder to read since he probably was very disappointed not to make the club out of spring but again to his credit, he has made the most of this opportunity.

That all said, what Martin, Loney, Kemp, Billingsley and Broxton have done in their time up with the club is pretty remarkable.

An All-Star catcher, two very good young players that may be among the best in the league down the road in Loney and Kemp, a top starter and set-up/closer. If not unprecedented, certainly beyond anyone's reasonable expectations.

I omit Ethier only because he was developed in the A's system and while his playing time is sometimes jerked around, he has stayed with the big club since his call up last May.

In the end, the make up of the roster before the season started pretty much set in motion what happened (though had Kemp not gotten hurt, it would have been interesting to see if he would have started the 3 for 2 rotation much earlier (more likely it would have been a strange non-platoon of Ethier and Kemp.)

2007-09-14 11:47:39
100.   Reddog
I agree.

Signing Nomar for 2007 probably cost us the pennant.

Not only has Nomar stunk, and personally probably lost at least 4 or 5 games this season for us, but he blocked Loney for 2 months.

Plus, we're stuck with him for next year too.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-09-14 11:48:39
101.   Eric Enders
90 There's pretty much no way Schmidt will be in the Opening Day rotation. If he does come back, it'll be midseason sometime.
2007-09-14 11:48:51
102.   Wilbert Robinson
98 Well we have to find something to gripe about don't we? Especially after the alluringly positive events which transpired last night.
2007-09-14 11:49:23
103.   El Lay Dave
83 et al.: If there is any lesson that Colletti has learned, it is that what players say, or may have said now, has no meaning at contract negotiation time. Isn't that his perception on J. D. Drew?
2007-09-14 11:52:40
104.   Eric Enders
99 "If not unprecedented, certainly beyond anyone's reasonable expectations."

I don't know if I agree with that. Martin is beyond anyone's wildest expectations, and has outperformed his projection significantly. The other four have performed exactly as one would have expected them to. The biggest thing to be pleasantly surprised about is that none of them have had (serious) injury concerns yet.

2007-09-14 11:53:32
105.   regfairfield
92 I'd be amazed if any of those guys have a better first ~220 innings than Billingsley had. 3.46 ERA in what amounts to a little more than a full season is a stunning debut and should qualify Bills as a legit ace (peripherals keep this from actually happening, but it's still nice to think about) .
2007-09-14 11:55:13
106.   screwballin
91 OK, I'll take a whack at defending them, but don't expect me to wear the "Ned apologist" hat too often:

As young as Billingsley is, you can make the argument that they were protecting his future by limiting his innings (a point I know has been made here before). If he were near 200 innings now, would he still be this effective? We'll never know, but the Dodgers aren't the only team taking this approach with their young starters.

As for Loney, he didn't show this kind of power in an extreme AAA hitter's environment. So it wasn't unreasonable, given Nomar's heroics last year, to see if he had anything left in the tank. But two awful months were enough to give us that answer.

As for the outfield, I've got nothing. Ethier and Kemp should have been regulars all along. If Kemp hadn't gotten hurt, maybe he never would have lost the job.

2007-09-14 11:55:14
107.   Eric Enders
103 That's a good point. However:
1) Wolf has already taken less money to sign with the Dodgers once before.
2) Wolf's agent is not Scott Boras.
3) Losing Wolf wouldn't be as harmful to the Dodgers as losing our best hitter from 2006 was.
2007-09-14 11:56:28
108.   bhsportsguy
91 My point is Nomar and Gonzalez were here, Betemit was here, I don't think they thought it was in their best interest for the kids to be here and not play all the time, that said Kemp was on the opening roster so who knows.

Also, I don't know how much working out of the pen helped Chad work on some things, he certainly became more agressive in terms of going after hitters, he never had a better K/BB ratio and now he is certainly not tired heading down the stretch.

I wish I could predict the future, I wish I knew how things would turn out but I don't. There is no question that the ceiling was high with the Dodger youngsters but the question remains what gives them the most optimal chance to begin to reach it. Some might say roll them out and let's see how it plays out. But as I said earlier this week, that is not how it has been done with the Dodgers going back in the last ten years and certainly not unless there is no other option.

This year the Dodgers at options, whether or not you liked them is another issue, but they had options, and they took them.

2007-09-14 11:56:47
109.   regfairfield
106 While I agree in principle to limiting Bills' innings, we went too far this year. He's going to end up throwing about 15 less innings this year than last year, and if we barely miss the playoffs, the six extra starts that we could have gotten out of Bills than we gave to Tomdrickson could very well end up being the reason why.
2007-09-14 11:57:54
110.   Kevin Lewis

Every interview I have read with Wolf seems like he will be willing to come back for less money, knowing he did not "earn" his salary this year. I like that kind of character.

I really like Ethier's glove and hitting, and I wish he could be given a chance to play a full year. I think we would see closer to 20-25 homers from him, but I will not be surprised to see him traded for a pitcher and then another OF signed in his place. I won't be surprised, but I will be mildly disappointed.

2007-09-14 11:58:58
111.   Jon Weisman
I could easily see Lowe going to the bullpen before Billingsley.

101 - The latest discussion of Schmidt, in today's papers, once more contradicts this statement. Everyone expects him to be pitching by Spring Training (with questionable effectiveness). He may not be what he was, but I don't know how you can say there's no way he'll be in the rotation.

2007-09-14 12:00:38
112.   screwballin
109 I don't disagree at all.
2007-09-14 12:04:14
113.   screwballin
111 I could easily see Lowe going to the bullpen before Billingsley.

Really? I can't see them passing up the chance to have three very effective starters in Lowe, Penny and Bills, with the possibility of Schmidt as a complement.

Did you mean Loaiza? That seems more likely to me.

2007-09-14 12:08:40
114.   Eric Enders
111 Let's just say that I am not in the habit of believing self-diagnoses of Dodger pitchers. Has there ever been a case where such a diagnosis was not wildly overoptimistic?

If he does come back that soon, it seems to me, that will be because he's rushing things and will likely break down all over again. But I wouldn't count on him being ready for Opening Day. And I hope the Dodgers don't count on it either.

2007-09-14 12:10:22
115.   fracule
91 I agree. No point in having Loney at the Show if he's not going to play everyday. The exeprience he got in AAA at the beginning of the season was valuable, and I would challenge that he would not be having the success he's having now without it. Besides, why not take a chance on Nomar succeeding, he hasn't exactly been a slouch in his career.
2007-09-14 12:10:27
116.   Eric Enders
Actually, I guess Schmidt's words at this stage are more of a self-prognosis than self-diagnosis. Whatever the case, I believe it about as much as I believe in the Easter Bunny.
2007-09-14 12:11:44
117.   fracule
Sorry, I agree with 108 in reference to 91
new at this, and I'm lazy.
2007-09-14 12:12:48
118.   CanuckDodger
111 -- A manager that will bench Ethier and Kemp but not Pierre wouldn't think of doing that.
2007-09-14 12:14:50
119.   Wilbert Robinson
It looks like Milton Bradley is going to miss the Giants series as well.

2007-09-14 12:18:17
120.   CanuckDodger
115 -- Loney gained NOTHING from going to Triple A this year, except a chip on his shoulder that might have cost him his future with the Dodgers, which would have been the Dodgers' loss. Loney completely tanked his game while in Vegas, after destroying the PCL last year. Some will say he shouldn't have been so discouraged, but he's not a robot.
2007-09-14 12:19:42
121.   Bob Timmermann
The San Diego Padres are pleased to announce their new line of "Appointment Only" players, featuring Milton Bradley!
2007-09-14 12:20:00
122.   Jon Weisman
113 - You misunderstood me. I didn't say Billingsley or Lowe was going to the bullpen. I don't think either will.

However, someone earlier thought that Billingsley would go to the bullpen before a veteran starter would. I responded by saying that if it came to that, I could see Lowe going before Billingsley. Lowe, remember, was once a great reliever. And next year, he figures to be a less effective starter than Billingsley. That's all.

2007-09-14 12:20:41
123.   Jon Weisman
122 - But of course, I could see Loaiza going to the bullpen before either of them.
2007-09-14 12:22:10
124.   Jon Weisman
114 - I'm not relying on Schmidt's diagnosis, or the Dodgers'.
2007-09-14 12:25:39
125.   Bluebleeder87
If Wolf costs Billingsley his rotation spot, I'm done with this team.

I think everybody agrees, Bills has earned his spot on the rotation for '08 management would look foolish if they didn't start him.

2007-09-14 12:27:08
126.   LogikReader

Sorry, Bob, I don't get it.

2007-09-14 12:29:07
127.   Bob Timmermann
Sorry wasn't trying for subtlety there. Just saying that Bradley's starts are so infrequent that you have to make an appointment to see him.
2007-09-14 12:30:21
128.   Bob Timmermann
I gave up trying to count the typos in Tom Hoffarth's latest post to his blog:

2007-09-14 12:30:58
129.   Dodgers49
19. Nomar could be traded, not likely, but possible

Doesn't Nomar have a full no trade clause? Or was it only for this year? Or are you expecting him to waive it?

2007-09-14 12:31:38
130.   caseybarker
120 I completely agree. Overly long training periods are just as damaging to a career as overly short periods.
2007-09-14 12:31:57
131.   regfairfield
129 Full no trade. He's not going anywhere.
2007-09-14 12:33:05
132.   Jon Weisman
New post coming up top.
2007-09-14 12:49:34
133.   Paul Scott
With LaRoche, it seems the most likely answer can be found in being risk-averse. No one is likely to get fired for playing Nomar or even Shea and seeing them finish the last sixteen games with a .500 OPS. It is possible that if Grady (or Ned pressuring Grady) plays LaRoche and LaRoche OPS's .500 while Nomar rides the pine, someone's job could be in trouble. Never mind that in fact LaRoche is less likely to have a bad sixteen games...
2007-09-14 12:50:56
134.   fracule
120 Either argument is subjective, there is no way to know what he may have gained or lost from his stint in AAA. My point was there is always another way to look at it. By the way in Loney's 58 games for the 51's this year I would not really characterize his performance as tanking, but he certainly was not James Loney of 2006. Your point is well taken.
2007-09-14 12:53:06
135.   jasonungar07
So I have a baby on the way in Nov..if it is a boy I get to choose..How does Russell Martin Ungar sound? Not bad, better than Matthew Kemp Ungar or James Loney
2007-09-14 12:53:58
136.   goofus
129 Yes but if a player is told flat out that he is riding the bench all year (just before Free Agency) unless he agrees to a trade, I'd think he'd agree rather than watch his value, and future, circle the drain.
2007-09-14 12:59:42
137.   fracule
136 It's funny, but I've always thought of Nomar as someone who doesn't really need baseball. He just seems to be above the desperation of a veteran trying to hang on. I don't see him playing beyond LA. How that bodes for us I don't know. A healthy Nomar is a good option to have, but based on this year's performance we don't want him stealing games away from an up and comer.
2007-09-14 13:29:21
138.   NoHoDodger
135 How about Russell Matthew James Ungar?

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