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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

Gray Skies Are Gonna Clear Up
2008-01-16 16:05
by Jon Weisman

Fog is often considered an ill omen, but there was something strangely soothing about finding Dodger Stadium this morning in deep cloud cover and 50-degree temperatures. After all, January is a little early for things to be heating up, literally or figuratively.

The Dodgers opened their rookie minicamp to the media today, and tantalized by the prospect of a winter's visit to the ballpark, I carved out the opportunity (at the expense of having to make up my work at some pretty odd hours this week) to grab an early taste of 2008.

Several young Dodgers - some candidates for the team coming out of Spring Training, others further down the line - worked out in relative anonymity. Not all their faces are familiar (to me, at least), and none wore names or numbers on their workout gear. For example, though I'm sure their mothers could tell them apart, there was much talk about how Andy LaRoche and (I think) Blake DeWitt looked like each other. So if you're looking for a scouting report on how everyone's swing looked, look elsewhere.

But general manager Ned Colletti, assistant general manager of player development De Jon Watson, head trainer Stan Conte and some of the prospects gave interviews today, and those of us in attendance came away with something of a status report.

  • The Dodgers are not pursuing a third baseman from outside the organization. LaRoche and Nomar Garciaparra will compete for the starting job.

    "Andy and Nomar give us two good options at third base," Colletti said. "We're gonna let them figure it out. I think (Andy) is on the verge of being where (James) Loney and (Matt) Kemp were a year ago, where (Andre) Ethier and (Russell) Martin were two years ago. It's time to give him an opportunity to stick with the club and play as much as he earns."

    "I think it's unfair to either player to have any preconceived notions of how it's gonna turn out. There'll be ample opportunity for both. Nomar's got the versatility to play some first base as well. James is gonna need a day off here or there.

    "It's probably the first Spring Training where (Andy) has had more than a legitimate chance to make this club. Most of the time a player has to make the club. He's almost gonna have to not make the club. It's a pretty good spot to be in."

    Further, LaRoche could very well remain on the team even if he's not in the lineup every day.

    "You have to really look at the composition of your roster," Colletti said. "You're gonna need availability as well. I think in LaRoche's case, if he can be productive even part-time, I'd be willing to give him an opportunity to stay. Abreu, due to his versatility in the infield, perhaps the same. … I think both players may have an opportunity to be here less than full-time.

    "You try to manage the needs of the club with the player's place and time, too. We need somebody with Abreu's versatility. We need somebody with (Chin-Lung) Hu's versatility – at least one or the other, if not both (though later Colletti downplayed the idea of Abreu and Hu both starting the season in Los Angeles). If Andy can produce power, even if it's once in a while, or if Nomar takes the job, that's okay too."

    "That said, if the roster shakes out and he has a great spring and we start the season and he doesn't make the club out of the camp, but he's had a great spring, that doesn't mean he's down in Las Vegas the entire year. As we say every year during the Freeway Series, our roster locked in for a day."

  • Reflecting on 2007, LaRoche pleaded guilty to trying to do too much during his first taste of the majors.

    "I struggled pretty bigtime up here at the plate," he said. "We looked back at my swing and it was a completely different swing than what I had in the minor leagues. I think I was trying to prove too much, too quickly. Instead of just staying relaxed, I think I was trying to hit too many home runs, and I was pulling off the ball, and a lot of things like that, instead of just staying relaxed, taking the same approach, just trying to get a line-drive base hit. You know, the home runs will come,"

    He added that he has already begun working with new Dodger hitting coach Don Mattingly – a process accelerated by the January minicamp – to get his swing back the way it should be.

    Neither Colletti nor LaRoche currently view his back as a concern.

    "He seems to be doing fine," Colletti said, "and it's our understanding if he stays in proper condition and works out, it ceases to be any detriment whatsoever."

    LaRoche said his back feels "great," and that he needs to do exercises a few times a week, 10 to 15 minutes a day.

    "The last time I got hurt during the season, the last time I missed any games because of my back, that's the last time it's hurt me at all," he said. "Coming in, I wasn't sure how taking all these grounders was going to feel last week, but it's been fine."

  • There very well could be days in 2008 – don't know how many - where the Dodger starting outfield will be Ethier, Andruw Jones and Kemp.

    "It's a Joe Torre question, but it's not out of the realm of possibility," Colletti said.

    "I'm fine with the outfield as it is. I like the versatility of it. I like the depth of it. I like the competition of it. Nothing wrong with competition. When you have competition, you have a chance to be a better club. Just like at third base. Let the players decide who's gonna play and how often they're gonna play."

  • There have been no rehabilitation setbacks for starting pitcher Jason Schmidt, but Colletti and Conte emphasized that there was a lot of work to do between now and the regular season.

    "We'll see how everybody pitches," Colletti said. "If he continues to progress, there's a great chance he'll be ready to go. But there's still a long way to go, and a lot of different tests that he has to pass, so to speak. But we've had nothing to discourage us. He's been throwing a while now. He's throwing off a mound. As of about two weeks ago, he was throwing every other day, on flat ground, about 100 throws a day, and now he's off the mound. Again, not 100 percent throwing, not everything-he's-got throwing, but … continuing to (build) his arm strength."

    Conte will visit Schmidt later this month, aiming to smooth his transition to Spring Training.

    "We've been really concerned in developing a lot of strength and flexibility at each phase of this," Conte said, "and making sure we don't have any setbacks. We're going to continue to do the same thing — not based on the calendar. As far as where he's going to be in Spring Training, I'll tell you guys the same thing I tell Ned Colletti when he asks me: 'We won't really know what he's going to do the first day of Spring Training until about a week before, depending on how he does the next three or four weeks.' "

    Of course, this depends in part on Schmidt being forthcoming about any problems.

    "We've told him that if he doesn't tell us, we're gonna beat him with a stick to a pulp," Conte said. "Jason knows exactly what's at stake here. … There's no reason for him to lie to me yet."

    Conte has hopes Schmidt will be 100 percent for the season, but it wasn't any kind of guarantee. Conte also didn't want to be pigeonholed as to what "100 percent" meant, other than health – as opposed to quality of performance.

  • Hong-Chih Kuo and Greg Miller haven't gotten much offseason attention, but they haven't been forgotten.

    "Hopefully, Kuo's healthy," Colletti said. "We had the same hope a year ago, after how he pitched at the end of the '06 season. He's another one that feels fine right now, but we'll have to wait and see. We could use him. We don't have many left-handed pitchers. Greg Miller's another one, another lefthander that's got a chance to make this club. We're not at appoint yet where we know if we're going to go with 11 or 12 pitchers, but you do the math, we don't have or 11 or 12 that we can lock in today."

    Watson also commented positively about Miller, who will be competing for a bullpen job.

    "He was healthy all of 2007," Watson said. "We worked on the command. He was in Arizona Fall League, and he's healthy. The velocity was back last year – he was anywhere from 92 to 97 (mph) the entire year. The command was the thing we were really trying to harness through the course of the year."

    Watson said the Dodgers do plan to convert 2007 minor-league relief ace Jonathan Meloan to a starting pitching role, and that's how he'll begin the season (one would think in Las Vegas).

  • Clayton Kershaw might see Los Angeles in 2008.

    "He's not somebody that we're going to delay his arrival," Colletti said. "He'll be here when he's ready. He may be here before he's completely ready, depending on injuries. But there's still some refinement for him, still some of the finer points of the art of pitching that he's still learning. He's not 20 years old yet. But he's got tremendous ability."

    Watson seemed open-minded about the idea of promoting young players, be they Kershaw, James McDonald or someone else. One of the purposes of the current minicamp is to prepare for that, by letting the Dodgers become more acquainted with the prospect and by letting the prospect become more acquainted with Los Angeles.

    "I think you really need to look at the player," Watson said. "The player's character and makeup, how he handles situations, the amount of innings he's had through the minor leagues to get himself prepared to come and perform at the major league level. His overall tool set and how does it fit and how it will play against some of the better players at the major-league level – against any player at the major league level. There's no league higher than the big leagues.

    "As they're progressing through the minor-league system, they start separating themselves. They're showing you their attributes, and what they can or can't do, and our job on the player development side is to close that gap on the things they can't do, so that they are a well-rounded major-league player, whether it be a pitcher or a position player. Getting them comfortable in the environment so that they can have that sense of "I've been here, I've done this before.'

    "Can you rush a kid? Sure, some kids can get rushed. But for us, we want to make sure that we've done everything possible to prepare that player for coming to the major leagues, and we wouldn't recommend him to be ready if we didn't think he was ready to come here and handle it – the entire aspects on the field, off the field."

    And that includes keeping tabs on the player after his debut, to guide him through the on-field setbacks.

  • Kershaw has certainly been made aware of the possibility of a 2008 callup but is trying to keep it in perspective.

    "I try not to (think about it)," said the lefty, who turns 20 on March 19, "but I kind of figure if I have a good start every time I go out, and if I pitch well, then I've got the opportunity to maybe get up here later in the year and help them out. If that happens, that'll be a dream come true for me, and if it doesn't, I'll have next year too. So I'm really not worried about it."

    Kershaw had a productive offseason, but didn't work too hard. He said he felt well-rested, noting that he took a month off at the end of the season, then pitched lightly in instructional league. He is eager to improve.

    "Next season I'm really going to start working on my changeup, really start trying to perfect that, making it a pitch that I can throw in any count. And really overall just more strikes – I know that's pretty much what every pitcher tries to do, but at the same time, it's really going to help me if I can just attack the zone a little bit more and cut down on my walks."

    Kershaw said his control wasn't a mental thing … although the more he talked about it, the more it seemed like a mental thing.

    "It's a lot of things pitching-wise, as far as really being aggressive, really not lapsing in any concentration things. You've got to focus on every hitter, and I learned that when I got up to Double-A."

    Kershaw said he has benefited from this month's minicamp.

    "Marty Reed is the pitching coordinator, and he always works with me. He's always a real big help for me. And it's really good whenever I get to work with him. And (pitching coach) Rick Honeycutt was out here for my first bullpen (session), and that was a great experience for me, just to see what he expects from his pitchers."

    Colletti said it was too soon to discuss whether Kershaw could come up in a bullpen role. Kershaw said he had never pitched out of the bullpen, but added that "as long as you can condition your arm to get ready a little faster … I think I could do it."

  • The bench and bullpen should still see some tinkering.

    "Our bench right now on a given day would be a young bench," Colletti said. "We can improve that with a veteran. There's not a team in baseball that wouldn't add another pitcher, so if that opportunity presents itself, we'll follow that as well.

    The Dodgers have been talking to free agents Mark Sweeney and Rudy Seanez from the 2007 team, but nothing concrete has developed, and they might move forward without one or both.

    Colletti said that Delwyn Young is definitely in consideration to be a key pinch-hitter off the bench, despite his youth. And even though Hu is a longer shot to make the team in April, Colletti had high praise for him.

    "Obviously, he played up here last September and did pretty well," Colletti said. "I think he's on the verge of being a big-league player. He may be somebody that is where Andy LaRoche was a year ago, where maybe barring an injury, it may be tougher for him to make the big-league club out of camp. Doesn't mean he won't. He may come in and he may end up beating out Abreu. Tough to say.

    "But (Hu) can play both sides of the bag, he's become a stronger player, and he's probably made us think about twice more than anybody lately, and he's also advanced from two years ago to last year probably more than anybody."

  • Watson said that even if some young players spend time on the major-league bench, they still have something to gain from the experience.

    "The one thing you can't duplicate at the minor-league level is the pace of the game and the flow of the game," Watson said. "The quality of pitching that they're going to see up here or the players on the other side of the baseball on the defensive end. These guys are all – Abreu, DY, Chin-Lung Hu – they're seem to be ready to play here."

    "Delwyn … he's shown that he can hit, and the ability to make adjustments off the bench. Well, the pitchers that he's going to face here, I can't get those guys to perform or play or match up against us every time in Vegas. So for him, he's ready to see (the best). When he came here last year, we looked at his performance at Vegas as well as what he did at the major-league level. He's ready."

  • Finally, Colletti talked about how Spring Training plays an important decision-making role for him – regardless of the different levels of competition players face.

    "Spring Training for me, instead of a movie, it's almost slide by slide," he said. "Whenever I see a hitter's at-bat, I see how they handle whoever's pitching pitch-to-pitch. Spring Training to me is a lot of chapters, a lot of individual chapters to where a player's at.

    "How a young player handles himself in Spring Training really sets the tone for the thought process for a season, because there'll be some players every spring, probably three or four, that have great springs. They're not quite ready to play in the big leagues, or you've got somebody that's more established already playing, but teams go through so many players in the course of a year, the impression a player leaves in Spring Training lasts a long time. … Invariably, the ones who had the solid spring are the ones who come to mind, even if there's somebody in the minor leagues that's perhaps got more experience than they do.

    "It gives us all an indication to a lot of things, including their work ethic, including their ability to adjust to a different situation."

    We talked a little about players like Wilson Valdez, players whose springs seem to belie their true ability. Colletti acknowledged that in those cases, he's trying to ride the crest of what might be a soon-to-collapse wave.

    "You're hoping he's made a leap," Colletti said. "When any player that's in his late 20s and been around a little bit, you have a pretty good idea of who he is, and you think that perhaps he's made a leap. And even if he hasn't made the full complete leap – at this point in the season, at this point in time, he's pretty good and deserves a chance to make a big league club."

    By the time the session was ending, the fog was long gone, and I could feel the warm sun on my face full-stop. You can hide, but you can't run. The 2008 season is coming, faster than you know.

  • Comments (232)
    Show/Hide Comments 1-50
    2008-01-16 16:15:11
    1.   Suffering Bruin
    What's stronger than "thanks?" There's gotta be a stronger way to express my gratitude for this post than just "thanks."

    Start selling the tees again, Jon. Put me down for three.

    2008-01-16 16:17:31
    2.   Xeifrank
    Great post Jon. Did Colletti or anybody for that matter talk about
    1) The spring trip to China
    2) The move to Arizona
    3) The game at the Colliseum
    vr, Xei
    2008-01-16 16:17:58
    3.   Jon Weisman
    Just seeing the SB name in the comments is thanks enough :)
    2008-01-16 16:18:25
    4.   bhsportsguy
    And I was hoping for an exclusive post. :)

    Nice job Jon but you really shouldn't use up all that space on some fictional 19 year-old who might pitch for the Dodgers this year.

    2008-01-16 16:18:58
    5.   Jim Hitchcock
    What SB & XF said.

    One line i liked......against any player at the major league level. There's no league higher in the big leagues.

    Uh, okay.

    2008-01-16 16:19:00
    6.   Jon Weisman
    2 - China is still on track but not officially finalized. The Coliseum game is on, but I don't think a starting time has been set for the 29th. I didn't hear anything about Arizona.
    2008-01-16 16:19:58
    7.   Jon Weisman
    5 - Sorry - my typo there. "There's no league higher than the big leagues."
    2008-01-16 16:21:07
    8.   Slikk
    Thanks Jon. Very fun read and also VERY encouraging to hear these things.
    2008-01-16 16:22:18
    9.   bhsportsguy
    And Jon, can you clear up one thing, is Andy a little chubby or was that just a bad photo of what happens when you wear 3-4 shirts at a time.
    2008-01-16 16:23:18
    10.   Jim Hitchcock
    6 Oops. Sorry, Jon, I thought that was a quote. You remain above criticism :)
    2008-01-16 16:24:45
    11.   Jon Weisman
    10 - It was an accidental misquote. But it wasn't as if he thought he was saying something profound.
    2008-01-16 16:26:15
    12.   El Lay Dave
    It may be ten minutes later, but this is a much better writeup - thanks Jon.

    Sometimes Ned doesn't let go of his old ways of thinking:
    "Our bench right now on a given day would be a young bench," Colletti said. "We can improve that with a veteran...."
    Well, yeah, if he's a good veteran who's better than the young player....

    2008-01-16 16:28:47
    13.   Jon Weisman
    12 - I'm wanting to think that's implied.
    2008-01-16 16:30:25
    14.   bhsportsguy
    12 I think this goes right back to the question of either Abreu, Hu or a veteran filling that b/u infield spot. If Furcal and Kent are healthy, you are not going to get a lot of time and should both those guys play everyday in Vegas?

    I think you have to throw that in to the equation, just being better than younger player is not the end all of deciding who makes the 25-man roster or not.

    2008-01-16 16:32:18
    15.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
    Awesome report, Jon.

    Bring on 2008! I'm getting excited.

    2008-01-16 16:36:17
    16.   underdog
    Thanks much, Jon! I'm excited for you that you got to attend today and get the full report. And have to say that this post gives me great cheer, more, perhaps, than any other over the past year. They may be just saying all the right things but hopefully they mean it, too. Plus there's something about knowing that Don Mattingly is giving instruction to Andy LaRoche that makes me really excited.

    Despite what CHONE's projection says! ;-)

    2008-01-16 16:36:17
    17.   jasonungar07
    Great info Jon. As much of the interview that I heard and from what I have read today, I am very please with Coletti right now. Go Blue.
    2008-01-16 16:37:11
    18.   El Lay Dave
    12 I'm in the Abreu as backup IF camp, although I wouldn't mind seeing Hu/Abreu working together in Vegas honing their play together. As a 40-year 2B, Kent is going to need a fair number of pre-planned days off, and coming off injury, Furcal ought to be rested some. I can imagine Abreu getting ten starts at SS, seventeen or more at 2B (without Kent ever going on the DL), and plenty of defensive replacement work. Is 25 or so starts, plus late-inning work, plus injury-replacement work enough for Abreu's continued development? I suspect it will be.
    2008-01-16 16:38:43
    19.   SG6
    Thanks Jon!
    - from a dedicated reader, infrequent poster.
    2008-01-16 16:38:45
    20.   bhsportsguy
    Just wondering where Jason Repko fits in to the equation.

    Does anyone else see Jason running around the vast Las Vegas outfield in his future?

    2008-01-16 16:42:30
    21.   El Lay Dave
    P.S. The only time in the last five seasons that Kent has started over 140 games was 2005, his first year in L.A., when he started 148.
    2008-01-16 16:43:21
    22.   El Lay Dave
    20 Rafael Furcal.
    2008-01-16 16:47:34
    23.   Joe Pierre
    We got HIGH HOPES High Apple Pie in the SKY HOPES. Everything looks great especially ETHIER over Pierre Hopes. Well it wont be long, before we really find out.
    2008-01-16 16:47:51
    24.   Xeifrank
    16. CHONE projections seem down all across the board, but they have LaRoche with an OPS of .811 2nd highest on the team behind only Russell Martin. vr, Xei
    2008-01-16 16:50:14
    25.   Zak
    How a young player handles himself in Spring Training really sets the tone for the thought process for a season....

    That whole paragraph made me cringe a little. But plenty of positives overall. Liked a lot of what Kershaw had to say. And not convinced by anything said about Schmidt.

    Excellent write up Jon. Thank you for your hard work.

    2008-01-16 16:58:39
    26.   Jon Weisman
    25 - I don't know why you're not convinced about the Schmidt talk, since they basically said not to count on him for April. They were more conservative about him than I would be.

    It's not so hard to believe that he's healthy enough to do soft tossing. The problem is that's only the tip of the iceberg.

    2008-01-16 16:59:02
    27.   Jon Weisman
    25 - But thanks to you and everyone for their nice comments.
    2008-01-16 17:06:03
    28.   Ken Noe
    Thanks Jon. That made my day.
    2008-01-16 17:06:40
    29.   philmc78
    Jon...can you come up with someone to compare Clay Kershaw with? Is he an Erik Bedard/Cole Hamels type guy?
    2008-01-16 17:09:54
    30.   Jon Weisman
    29 - I've never seen him pitch, if your looking for a scout's assessment.
    2008-01-16 17:10:04
    31.   Jon Weisman
    Yikes ... "you're"
    2008-01-16 17:10:07
    32.   Jon Weisman
    Yikes ... "you're"
    2008-01-16 17:11:17
    33.   El Lay Dave
    30 I know it's not much to go on, but how did Kershaw come across as a person? Did he seem comfortable? After all, he's still just a teenager.
    2008-01-16 17:11:46
    34.   underdog
    24 Righto. I was thinking more about his projections for the DBacks over the Dodgers, teamwide projections vs. individual players.

    Anyway, I'm just happy to hear what they think about thirdbase. That it sounds like we can be done with any talk of bringing in a veteran 3b to compete, that he has a good chance of beating out Nomar, and that Nomar (whom I do still like, as a spot starter) will still get a fair shair of playing time. I also like that they're at least considering DY as a bench player/PH role. If they don't sign Sweeney he'll have an even better chance I'd think.

    2008-01-16 17:21:01
    35.   bhsportsguy
    I know Jon went back to Bye Bye Birdie for his title. At least he did not go to that old stand by from The Man From La Mancha.
    2008-01-16 17:21:54
    36.   underdog
    29 He doesn't exist. He's the Minotaur. Thus, comparisons are scientifically impossible.
    2008-01-16 17:22:06
    37.   Eric Enders
    Incredible post, Jon.

    I don't think Andy LaRoche and Blake DeWitt particularly look alike. Hmm.

    Anyway, this quote...

    "How a young player handles himself in Spring Training really sets the tone for the thought process for a season... the impression a player leaves in Spring Training lasts a long time."

    ...makes me think of a ST game I attended in Vero last spring. LaRoche, playing left field, caught the last out of an inning and as he jogged back to the dugout, he feinted as if he was going to throw the ball into the stands several times. Then, when he reached the bench, he kept the ball. Didn't give it to anybody. This got him a rousing round of boos from the fans. I thought he was just goofing around, but some people seemed to think there was actual malice involved. Anyway, I sometimes wonder if LaRoche's propensity for things like this is one reason that he seemed to be treated worse by the Dodgers last year than his performance dictated he should be.

    2008-01-16 17:24:04
    38.   bhsportsguy
    2008-01-16 17:26:29
    39.   Eric Enders
    Oh, and by the way:
    Weisman 1, Gurnick 0.
    2008-01-16 17:29:14
    40.   Jacob L
    Fantastic post, Jon. I marvel at how you've managed to keep this place hopping through the off-season.

    On a related note, I drove by the Stadium this past weekend to ask if the rookie workouts were open to the public. The guy at the security booth said they are not, but you if you just tell them you're going to the gift shop, you can actually watch from the top deck. That might be worthwhile, assuming today wasn't the last day.

    On the other hand, you could say that my interest in watching minor leaguers work out from the top deck of Dodger Stadium is a sign that something is very wrong with me. I'll blame January.

    2008-01-16 17:31:35
    41.   Jon Weisman
    40 - Today was not the last day.
    2008-01-16 17:44:51
    42.   Gagne55
    36 Not just a minotaur, but one whose arm is literally electric. He's a bullheaded shockballer.
    2008-01-16 17:46:50
    43.   Icaros
    Awesome article. Sounds like these guys actually know what they're doing now.
    2008-01-16 17:54:46
    44.   dkminnick
    Wow. I've been jonesing for meaty Dodger news like this. Thanks, Jon, for brightening the darkest month.
    2008-01-16 17:58:55
    45.   trainwreck
    Great report, Jon.

    This is probably the most anticipated Dodger season in a long time. I just want spring training to start.

    2008-01-16 17:59:43
    46.   underdog
    39 Gurnick's busy running the report through the anti-LaRoche-inizer first.
    2008-01-16 18:07:55
    47.   KevinP78
    Jon- that's a whole lot of writing there. Thanks for doing this for us. I've gotta go home and finish... I'm not even close. Wasn't able to fake working long enough today.
    2008-01-16 18:13:21
    48.   Dave G
    Outstanding reporting, Jon. Thanks so much for giving us a great insight into management's thinking on these questions that we've never really had answered before.
    2008-01-16 18:42:03
    49.   Peanuts in My Shoes
    Thank you so much, Jon.

    Will the team be holding camp on Friday? I think I just might be feeling a cold coming on (cough, cough).

    2008-01-16 19:11:07
    50.   Zach the Ripper
    Good read, good sir. Interesting info and as always, I'm impressed with your "rico, suave" ability to set up the quotes.

    Regarding said PVL at 3rd, I'm in the camp where if he's swinging hard come April, let Andy pry the job from his "cold" dead fingers. Put their lockers right next door to eachother during the season, and give them both a real clear goal to shoot for every at bat.
    Of course I'm also assuming Andy still makes the roster if he's not a starter, and picks up some ab's at third, second and left.

    Show/Hide Comments 51-100
    2008-01-16 19:32:15
    51.   Shotupthemiddle
    Jon, nothing in this write-up gives me pause. Smiles from ear to ear in the Shotup household- we can't wait to see all these youngsters report to camp and show their stuff.

    Again, thanks for what you do for us here.

    2008-01-16 19:33:54
    52.   natepurcell
    a couple of thoughts.

    -AMAZING post/article/write-up Jon. Time and time again, you outdo yourself to make this the best, most close knit online community I have ever been apart of.

    -I don't know if it's just me but I am really impressed with De Jon Watson. His statements are logical and provide good amount of information; especially on the topics that interest me the most :). I can definitely see him becoming a GM candidate down the road. Colletti has really surrounded himself with quality assistants.

    Jon...can you come up with someone to compare Clay Kershaw with? Is he an Erik Bedard/Cole Hamels type guy?

    Well right now, as you read in Jon's post, he still really needs to work on his change up. It is plus at times, but he wants it to be plus...all the time!

    I think Kershaw's ability is a cross between CC Sabathia and Erik Bedard. He has the excellent moving fastball, hoss like innings eating ability, and tilted cap action of CC combined with that rare plus plus slow bender of a curveball of a Bedard.

    Whoever said this is one of the most anticipated seasons in a while, I fully agree. I can't wait!

    2008-01-16 19:38:23
    53.   dzzrtRatt
    Wow. Thank you Jon. What a magnificent piece of reporting and writing. And what a megachunk of encouraging observations.
    2008-01-16 19:41:56
    54.   natepurcell
    I'm just excited for all the arms i get to follow next year in the minors!

    Kershaw, Mcdonald, Elbert, Morris, Withrow, Meloan, Adkins, Sexton....OH MY!!!

    2008-01-16 19:50:28
    55.   Indiana Jon
    29 I'm no scout, but I did get a chance to see Kershaw last year, including a pretty close seat near where he was warming up before the game. To me, he doesn't a typical left handers style, if you know what I mean. He pitches more like a right hander from the left side. As Nate said above, he does appear to have a real nice curveball, again that just my uneducated observations. I'm not real good with comparison, but if I had to name a name, I would say he reminds me a little but of Billingsley from the other side. One other thing I noticed is that he throws hard very easily. Although it just looked like he was throwing at an average level, his pitches registered quite well on the stadium gun.
    2008-01-16 19:52:57
    56.   das411
    Man oh man, posts like this are why we all love ya Jon!

    (although I seriously would've spread this out into like a week's worth of individual stories if any of the interviews I get to do now were this rich in material...geez!)

    One minor Q though, does the outfield "as it is" include Ethier and Kemp OR one of those two and Pierre in LF?

    2008-01-16 19:55:25
    57.   Sam DC
    A fun read, and a nice open and close. Thanks a lot for taking the time to haul out there Jon.

    I understand why folks found this so encouraging, and I did in a lot of ways too, but I wonder if it just speaks of something wrong in me that my first two reactions were:

    1. Of course, I'm glad he's praising the young players and saying he'd go to Opening Day with La Roche and Nomar, but he'd say that stuff (or at least he should) even if he hated this roster and was just steaming that he missed out on Scott Rolen. In other words, when I don't like the news from team officials, I remind myself that they have a lot of audiences and motivations behind what they say, and that should hold too if I like what they say.

    2. In talking about the players, both Colletti and Watson talk so much about makeup, and handling the situation, and tone and so much totally subjective stuff. I understand they are talking about stuff that is hard to describe, and I realize this sort of media event just naturally calls for that kind of talk, but I find it offputting after a point. I mean, at some point, actual performance of these players over there minor league careers could be referenced too, no?

    2008-01-16 19:56:14
    58.   Sam DC
    Well, just reading back, I guess this comment refers to measured performance: "When he came here last year, we looked at his performance at Vegas as well as what he did at the major-league level. He's ready."
    2008-01-16 20:07:05
    59.   Bluebleeder87
    I don't know if this was posted yet if it was my apologies>>>He said he's "fine with the outfield as it is," meaning Juan Pierre and Andre Ethier are more likely to open camp with Andruw Jones and Matt Kemp than one of them to be traded away. He said it wasn't out of "the realm of possibility" that Ethier could start ahead of Pierre. New manager Joe Torre gets to figure out who plays and who doesn't and gets to dodge that question when he appears at the minicamp on Thursday.

    I am buying into the idea that Torre WILL play the better player (Ethier versus Pierre) I don't know if it's wishful thinking from my part but I do hope he plays Ethier a lot more than Pierre.

    2008-01-16 20:09:45
    60.   Jon Weisman
    58 - I still think your comments in 57 are very valid, at least to consider.
    2008-01-16 20:10:17
    61.   Jon Weisman
    56 - The outfield "as it is" means he's not looking to acquire or trade an outfielder.
    2008-01-16 20:10:44
    62.   Humma Kavula
    I have nothing original to say, so instead:

    (1) This is amazing work, Jon. This is the perfect thing to get excited for the season. Maybe I'll wear my Matt Kemp 27 shirt to work tomorrow.

    (2) There is no bad news here. I used to get a little skeptical when somebody would tell me exactly what I want to hear, but now, I think I'll take it at face value.

    (3) CHONE be damned. Bring on the D-Backs!

    2008-01-16 20:30:35
    63.   El Lay Dave
    52 I don't know if it's just me but I am really impressed with De Jon Watson.
    No, it's not just you. I react similarly when I see statements of his quoted.

    58 But in this day and age we all have access to the numbers. What the Dodger officials can provide like no other is the subjective stuff. The fact that these kids are the cream of the minor-league crop - Mario Alvarez notwithstanding - means, I think, that their actual performance is already understood to be of sufficient quality.

    2008-01-16 20:39:01
    64.   Sam DC
    63 Sure, and I really don't want to overblow this, but my point was about what these comments tell us about Ned Colletti and DeJon Watson and how they think about things, not what the comments tell us about the Dodger Rookies.
    2008-01-16 20:47:05
    65.   Sam DC
    I haven't been around as much lately, so I guess I missed the discussion of NRI Gary Burghoff and Jon's sidebar link thereon.
    2008-01-16 20:49:08
    66.   underdog
    More good vibes:

    iTunes now offers WKRP in Cincy episodes for download (minus some of the songs, alas), including the one I just purchased: Turkey Drop!

    2008-01-16 20:59:07
    67.   Bluebleeder87
    Reading 9 TO ME this answers the question LaRoche said his back feels "great," and that he needs to do exercises a few times a week, 10 to 15 minutes a day.

    Awesome read Jon.

    2008-01-16 20:59:38
    68.   ET90210
    Came across an All Juice-Team article, pretty funny, and in-depth. Good read. Site also has a breakdown of Colletti's coments on the team for the upcoming season...

    2008-01-16 21:01:27
    69.   arbfuldodger
    66 "As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly" - Arthur Carlson

    I will echo all the other posters here when I say excellent article Jon, I dont post here much but I check on DT religiously/multiple times everyday. Thanks for great site.

    2008-01-16 21:06:24
    70.   Daniel Zappala
    Jon, amazing. You made me excited for baseball to get here soon, on a day when I was planning a trip for this weekend to take my scouts camping in the snow.
    2008-01-16 21:13:50
    71.   immouch
    two points:
    first... jon, wow... spectacular report. asked a lot of questions i wish i had the brains to ask. much, much appreciated.
    second... does ned come with a translator? i got lost in the whole "chapters" thing...
    2008-01-16 21:25:40
    72.   immouch
    hey, dumb question:
    i happened to look at another site and learned that travis denker is now a property of the... i hate to even write this, but it's tough to avoid... the giants. he's kinda below the radar, but if you look at stats, he's looks about the same as blake dewitt, a guy who seems to get a lot of buzz... what did we get in return for denker? if we gave him away, why? he turns 23 this season...
    2008-01-16 21:27:34
    73.   Bluebleeder87
    I'm speaking only for my self but if one had a condition like La Roche where my baseball dreams could potentially be de-railed, I think I'd do a little more but maybe his doctor doesn't want him to do more, I don't know, I do know that he has a golden opportunity to win a job for the Los Angeles Dodgers & if I were him I would definitely have my body in peak condition.
    2008-01-16 21:54:58
    74.   Dodgers49
    Finally, an explanation as to why Juan Pierre seemed afraid of striking out last season:

    In Baseball, Fear Bats at the Top of the Order

    >> I remember learning on my first trip to Dodger Stadium that "no one wants to strike out here because it is a long walk to the dugout." <<

    2008-01-16 22:09:31
    75.   Icaros

    The Dodgers received 2 months of Mark Sweeney for Travis Denker.

    2008-01-16 22:10:25
    76.   Da Dodge
    Awesome reporting Jon. Many thanks. Makes a very cold Missouri (misery!) January day a little warmer.
    2008-01-16 22:30:32
    77.   Dodgers49
    A Growing Epidemic, a Gnawing Suspicion

    >> I do not mean to make light of the condition, certainly not for the people who genuinely have it. But considering the newly discovered prevelance of A.D.D. in baseball, I am highly skeptical of the claims.

    Players now claim they have it so they can receive therapeutic-use exemptions from the ban on the use of stimulants. Amphetamines, for half a century or more the stimulant of choice in baseball, are banned, so players have turned to other stimulants, although they are banned as well without a prescription.

    By receiving an exemption, a player can use stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall, which are prescribed for people who really have the disorder. <<

    2008-01-16 23:16:54
    78.   KG16
    I especially like this part from Andy:

    I think I was trying to prove too much, too quickly. Instead of just staying relaxed, I think I was trying to hit too many home runs, and I was pulling off the ball, and a lot of things like that, instead of just staying relaxed, taking the same approach, just trying to get a line-drive base hit. You know, the home runs will come

    Just put the ball in play, that's all I ask. Given that the Lakers are currently sitting with the best record in the west, it's hard for me to get too interested in the Dodgers, but I have a feeling that might change come March...

    2008-01-16 23:35:28
    79.   Bob Timmermann
    The Czech Republic gets much less pretty once you leave Prague. You would have thought Communists designed much of the country.

    This is an unscientific sample.

    2008-01-16 23:48:24
    80.   Lexinthedena
    79- I had a very similar experience in Poland once I left Krakow...
    2008-01-17 00:00:01
    81.   GoBears
    79. Where'd ya go, Bob? There are some great places outside Prague. We took the train out to Olomouc, near the Slovakian border. Great little college town.

    Plzen is a little bleak, but it's the home of Pilsner Urquell, and the bottled (even tap) version of that beer that we get here in the states is a pale pale shadow of the stuff at the source. Karlovy Vary, Ceske Budejovice, Cesky Krumlov, Brno... Mmm, I'm getting thirsty.

    2008-01-17 00:11:03
    82.   GoBears
    Thanks for this, Jon.

    I too liked much of what I read from Colletti. I really do think he's learned something on the job. Or at least he's been convinced by others of the right path, even if he doesn't understand why it's right. I thought last October that the best thing that could happen to the Dodgers was the Rockies and DBax advancing to the NLCS. I wonder if that woke him up to the notion that young players can get it done.

    I actually don't mind the blather about makeup and character -- I just think those are shortcuts for subjective evaluations of whether a player WILL be able to produce in the big leagues. This goofy stuff about chapters and slide-by-slide views during Spring Training, however, shows that Colletti still doesn't have any clue about sample size, and about the danger of drawing inferences from anecdotes. "Well, I saw that LaRoche had a little trouble with a good slider that pitcher X threw." Does that mean he can't handle good sliders in general, or just that one pitch fooled him? That's the whole point of statistics - to let us see the forest for the trees.

    Whatever. Frankly, I've given up caring whether or not Colletti "gets it." He can make correct decisions for the wrong reasons all year long, as long as he makes correct decisions. If Watson and White and Ng are making the calls and Colletti is just the media-friendly talking toupee, that's fine too. Just keep the likes of Ramon II, Hillebrand, Pierre, Hendrickson, and Tomko far away from the field, and I don't care how you justify it to yourself and your Plaschke.

    2008-01-17 00:16:41
    83.   eekrock
    John, thanks for the great, in-depth article. Too much good stuff in here. Being somebody who is still talking Dodgers everyday, this'll stoke the fire pretty brightly for the next few days...oh yes.
    2008-01-17 00:39:26
    84.   Neal Pollack
    Nothing could possibly go wrong now!

    Go Blue!

    2008-01-17 01:32:22
    85.   Bob Timmermann
    I didn't go anywhere besides Prague. I'm just going by what I see outside the train window.

    I did see Plzen play hockey though.

    2008-01-17 01:37:34
    86.   Sagehen
    It's nice to see LaRoche finally get some positive comments from the mainstream press. Helene Elliott's L.A. Times column this morning is about him. No, it's not as good as Jon's (duh -- that would be pretty near impossible -- let me add to the chorus of praise here), but it's still good to see. My favorite part is where LaRoche talks about working with Mattingly: "It was great getting to know him and just listen to him. Everything he said sunk in." My goodness -- a rookie who listens to an old-timer??? Take that Jeff Kent!
    2008-01-17 01:42:35
    87.   Sagehen
    66 Perhaps it's been posted here before, but clips of the "turkey's can fly" episode have been up on youtube. Good to hear it's possible to purchase just the one episode now though.

    67 Re: LaRoche's back exercises. Perhaps LaRoche and Lowe should get together and stretch together. Someone has to make sure Lowe keeps doing his hip exercises!

    72 As I recall, the excuse for trading Denker at the time was that with DeWitt in the system, there was plenty of depth at his position. He was blocked, so he was expendable. Or so the story goes. Personally, I'd rather keep the depth until a really good trade comes up ...

    2008-01-17 03:09:23
    88.   bhsportsguy
    Travis Denker would have had to been put on the 40-man roster or risked being lost in the Rule V draft (okay, maybe that is not a high risk but it is what it is).

    With Abreu and Hu ahead of him, Dewitt, DeJesus, Mattingly, Pedroza, among others in the mix behind him, I don't think Travis was in the plans. And even if it was just 2 months, I think it was a fair trade at that time.

    2008-01-17 04:32:43
    89.   bhsportsguy
    Nice MLB produced video on 3 minutes) on the mini-camp, featuring Watson, LaRoche (who looks like he is in pretty good shape), McDonald, Young, and some 19 year old pitcher talking about meeting Coach Wooden.

    If memory serves, Joe Torre and John Wooden have a relationship that maybe dates to Joe's years as an Angel broadcaster.

    Also, the video notes that youngsters worked out with current Dodgers, Andruw Jones, Matt Kemp and James Loney.

    2008-01-17 05:40:44
    90.   D4P
    the video notes that youngsters worked out with current Dodgers, Andruw Jones, Matt Kemp and James Loney

    Kemp and Loney = PVL...?

    2008-01-17 06:57:18
    91.   Sushirabbit
    79, guess you didn't have time to catch a cheap seat to Split. (it's the new Prague)(Not really I just said that for the Eric Enders of the world).
    2008-01-17 07:01:19
    92.   Bumsrap
    I enjoy picking out a couple of young players and root for them to make the Dodgers and do well. One of my players is Miller and I was encouraged to read that he actually might make the club in 08.

    A couple of years ago I was rooting for Loney and Abreu and that carried over to last year. This year it is going to be Hu, Miller, and Meloan. Kershaw is too much a given.

    2008-01-17 07:13:33
    93.   Bumsrap
    One of the things that I like about Dodger Thoughts is that so many people base their "thoughts" on players differently than I do. I enjoy the statistics but not so much that I am willing to research them myself. I find myself more of an intuitive type and root for players based on what I see or feel more than anything else.

    I felt Meloan was a starter and we will soon find out if I felt correctly. I didn't need statistics to back up or make my case for what I felt about Martin needing more rest going into the second half last year. And, I think Dewitt will have a better career than LaRoche.

    2008-01-17 07:22:23
    94.   Terry A
    Colletti said, " do the math."


    2008-01-17 07:30:11
    95.   Disabled List
    What a terrific post. I just wish this could've come after the Super Bowl, when I'm stuck in the post-football season doldrums.

    In any case, now I'm fired up for baseball season to start! Less than a month to go until pitchers and catchers report!

    2008-01-17 07:45:53
    96.   Hythloday
    95 - You'll still have the Pro Bowl to keep you warm.
    2008-01-17 07:54:10
    97.   chumsferd
    Fantastic post, Jon.

    The thing that shines thru for me is how committed Coletti is to building thru youth. Like many dodger fans I worry about Ned doing something really stupid. After looking at his body of work as a dodger we see that:
    1. he really is committed to building thru youth (which I like).
    2. For the most part he has avoided making monumental blunders (a la dreifort for example)*

    * obviously pierre was a blunder, but I wouldn't call it monumental. The guy he's blocking is ethier, who is basically league average. It's not like he's blocking the next Ken Griffey Jr. that being said, it seems as the the pierre situation will be decided by Torre. Let's hope juan pierre doesn't become our bernie williams (at the end)

    2008-01-17 08:05:25
    98.   D4P
    Pierre is a much bigger blunder than Dreifort.

    Dreifort was a decent pitcher signed to a bloated contract.

    Pierre was a very poor hitter signed to a bloated contract.

    The problem with Dreifort is that he got hurt: the problem with Pierre is that he hasn't.

    2008-01-17 08:14:09
    99.   Benaiah
    98 - Moreover, the Dodgers needed a healthy Driefort, while they had several in house options that were better than Pierre.

    Thanks for the write up Jon, nice to see that things are humming along just fine. Colletti must have found Jesus this offseason because I am having trouble reconciling the Dodgerthoughts approved offseason with the guy who signed Schmidt and Pierre, extended Nomar and Kent and sent James Loney down to start 2007. Oh well, don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

    2008-01-17 08:25:34
    100.   cargill06
    will march 1st ever get here???
    Show/Hide Comments 101-150
    2008-01-17 08:30:10
    101.   regfairfield
    In defense of Pierre at least his contract was something resembling market value, and arguably worse player got signed to a bigger contract. Also, who didn't think that Dreifort was going to get hurt? The guy was a known huge injury risk and pretty much had only one good half a season, then got a huge deal.
    2008-01-17 08:40:33
    102.   D4P
    There is always risk associated with signing a player. Such risk has at least two primary components:

    1. Player's potential
    2. Likelihood of reaching that potential

    With respect to #1, Dreifort has a clear advantage over Pierre. Dreifort had "upside", whereas Pierre did not.

    with respect to #2, Pierre has a clear advantage over Dreifort. Pierre never gets hurt, whereas Dreifort could reasonably have been expected to miss time due to injury.

    Neither "signing injury-prone player with upside to big contract" nor "signing healthy player who sucks to big contract" seem like good ideas to me, but there's pretty much no way the latter will work out in your favor.

    2008-01-17 08:41:58
    103.   overkill94
    93 You keep fighting the good fight on Dewitt Bumsrap. If your intuition turns out to be true, either it means LaRoche was a bust or Dewitt turned into a superstar. Either way, I would buy you a beer for fearless prediction.
    2008-01-17 08:44:15
    104.   regfairfield
    102 Very true. Also consider the payroll situations both teams are in too. The late 90s Dodgers had no farm system, and had to build entirely through free agency. It makes a gigantic contract a much bigger burden when you can't just swap in a league minimum player at almost every position.

    Dreifort at least had some chance at living up to his contract, but I think it hurt us more than Pierre's.

    2008-01-17 08:46:07
    105.   D4P
    Dreifort at least had some chance at living up to his contract, but I think it hurt us more than Pierre's

    I agree, though Dreifort's contract hurt more in hindsight while Pierre's was guaranteed to hurt.

    2008-01-17 08:48:27
    106.   Paul Scott
    Off topic: The LoC put up a ton of pictures on Flikr, including this one of Cy Young.

    I think it's worth perusing.

    Back on topic:

    Both Pierre and Driefort were bad signings. The former because the risks were simply too high (both injury and production absent injury), the later because the risks were nothing but the player you knew you were getting was bad and the Dodgers had internal options that were clearly no worse.

    Overall, if one is forced to rank the two, I have to put the Pierre as the worse of the two simply because with Dreifort there was significant upside and the most significant risk was mitigated with insurance - which in fact did mitigate our risk and made the contract considerably cheaper.

    There is, of course, an upside to Pierre too, that mitigates our risk. He can provide something in trade and he can be one of the best 4th OFs in baseball. As things stand, however, he is hurting the Dodgers. At least with Dreifort all we lost was money (he was on the 60-day so much that he didn't even really cost us the roster spot).

    2008-01-17 08:54:52
    107.   Jim57
    98. D4P
    Pierre is a much bigger blunder than Dreifort.

    Dreifort was a decent pitcher signed to a bloated contract.

    Pierre was a very poor hitter signed to a bloated contract.

    The problem with Dreifort is that he got hurt: the problem with Pierre is that he hasn't.

    LMAO, well said D4P!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2008-01-17 08:54:56
    108.   underdog
    Oh man, this oughta be interesting (also from the Times:)
    >>Colletti will be among the participants in a charity soccer game that Nomar Garciaparra and his wife, Mia Hamm, will play host to at the Home Depot Center on Jan. 26. Colletti said he was a left-sided midfielder for Triton College in Illinois and later for a semi-pro team in Chicago {!!}, but hasn't played in a competitive game in about 25 years {ah}.

    "I just got some new shoes and I know that there's either two goals in those shoes or a torn ACL," said Colletti, who will share the field with present and former soccer stars such as Landon Donovan and Eric Wynalda.<<

    2008-01-17 09:00:36
    109.   D4P
    Ned might want to invest:

    2008-01-17 09:05:05
    110.   Gen3Blue
    In Gurnick's piece(not as good as Jons) he mentions that the D's seem to be realizing they have depth in the youth movement. About time!!

    It seems impossible that as recently as two months ago trades were rumored in which the D's would give up Kemp, LaRoche, Kershaw and another player for one player. And the fear around here seemed real, probably for good reason. Things seem to have really improved, but I won't take anything for granted until the season starts.

    84 Shame on you :o)

    2008-01-17 09:05:23
    111.   GoBears
    Sorry if I missed this yesterday, but I just saw that Mark Hendrickson now qualifies as an old friend. He signed with the Marlins.

    Heh heh heh.

    2008-01-17 09:06:30
    112.   Andrew Shimmin
    Over under on Bluebleeder's questioning Cy Young's dedication and conditioning is set at thirty minutes.
    2008-01-17 09:11:31
    113.   LogikReader
    Hello again everyone,

    I haven't been to DT in a while. Has anyone made the Grady Little to Wade Phillips comparison. To me they have a lot of similarities, but most of all, they were both very "nice, easygoing" coaches who eventually lost control of the team.

    They kinda look similar, but my buddy told me Phillips looks like Chris Matthews. Hardball!!!

    2008-01-17 09:13:52
    114.   Gen3Blue
    Now that Ned seems to have come around, we don't want him chasing a heart attack. I hope he runs regularly because soccer is rigorous for older guys.

    109 is it more dangerous playing on a rug or under one?

    2008-01-17 09:18:18
    115.   Andrew Shimmin
    Usually I'm with Bob, but tell me baseball wouldn't be a little bit cooler if the managers were all dressed like this:

    There'd have to be a special memo sent to Terry Francona telling him that a tuxedo t-shirt was not an acceptable alternative.

    2008-01-17 09:49:25
    116.   Ken Noe
    This is what my Magic 8-ball says:

    1. Ethier and JP share left field out of spring training.
    2. Ethier emerges as Torre's regular by May.
    3. JP gets moved at the deadline for a middle reliever.
    4. NedCo joins the LA Galaxy as a striker.

    2008-01-17 09:57:10
    117.   Ken Noe
    115 Dodger managers would have to dress like Burt Shotton.

    2008-01-17 10:06:04
    118.   GoBears
    Uh, yeah. Just read through yesterday's thread. Sorry about 111 . See, I had meetings all afternoon yesterday, and when I sat down to finish off the Brazoban thread, I see Jon's new monster post just waiting to be read, and I gave in to temptation, and failed to read things in order.

    So my day-late-and-dollar-short Hendrickson post is all Jon's fault. Yeah, that's the ticket.

    2008-01-17 10:07:46
    119.   oklahomadodger
    Hopefully Ned doesn't go all Brandi Chastain on us during the soccer events.
    2008-01-17 10:11:20
    120.   GoBears
    119. Nice.
    2008-01-17 10:30:42
    121.   Bumsrap
    Dewitt is one of those guys that may not ever be more than a role player and I don't root for him like I have for others. But I think he has an ability to contribute even if his contribution will end up like Von Joshua's. I am very pleased that most DTers believe in LaRoche more than I do because he could be an exciting player to watch.

    Dewitt might grade out to be a B and LaRoche might grade out to be an A. I just feel that history will show Dewitt made grade B and LaRoche will not have gotten that high. I might need nothing more than a hot start from LaRoche to humbly jump on his bandwagon.

    2008-01-17 10:44:38
    122.   Xeifrank
    A quick congrats to Thousand Oaks native Sam Querrey and his 2nd round straight set win in the Australian Open today. He is shooting up in the rankings and is now at #62. He has a tough challenge in the third round against the #3 seed. vr, Xei
    2008-01-17 10:45:20
    123.   underdog
    119 Well, hopefully he, too, will be wearing a sports bra. Okay, that's enough Ned-mockery outta me. I'm impressed that he (thinks he) can still play soccer. Hopefully he won't hurt himself, but if he does, we'll just call up DeJon Watson to replace him on the roster.
    2008-01-17 10:50:06
    124.   D4P
    Well, hopefully he, too, will be wearing a sports bra

    I believe the correct term is "sports bro".

    Or "sports mansiere", if you prefer.

    2008-01-17 10:50:43
    125.   Xeifrank
    123. Hopefully, Ned plays a few pickup games before the charity game. His pretty much gauranteed a foot full of blisters, especially with new shoes. Hopefully the blisters are the worst injury he gets out of this. If he's smart, he only plays 20 minutes. vr, Xei
    2008-01-17 10:51:18
    126.   Benaiah
    121 - I am having trouble deciphering what you are saying, you don't expect greatness from Dewitt, just a role player or a "B". Meanwhile, you don't even think Laroche will be that good, even if he has the potential to be an "A"?
    2008-01-17 11:16:48
    127.   underdog
    124 "Bro's no good. Too ethnic."


    Yah, speaking of 125 - I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new soccer shoes made specifically for playing on sport turf, which will hopefully cut down on my plantar fasciatis and heel problems. If I can't play on Sunday, I'll give Ned a call.

    2008-01-17 11:31:13
    128.   Kevin Lewis

    I am predicting shin splints or a pulled groin. Either way he will wake up very sore the next day, unless he "Pierre's" himself and sits on the bench for a better player

    2008-01-17 11:35:36
    129.   cargill06
    any idea why Kershaw wasn't put on the 40-man roster?
    2008-01-17 11:38:32
    130.   paranoidandroid
    The bench I would be intrigued by but wouldn't expect to actually break camp with (assuming we go with 11 pitchers):


    This bench would give us speed, power, versatility and keep us from giving away Delwyn or Repko. Abreu will get at least one start a week at second base, and he'd be a defensive replacement for Kent in late innings. I think this switch hitter with some pop in his bat will stick with the team regardless of what veterans or Angel Chavezes are brought in to compete. I believe Hu should be starting everyday at short in AAA to give us a good idea about what to do about Furcal for 09 and beyond.

    This proposed bench is too young for the Nedster though. I think he'll bring back Sweeney which makes Repko and/or Young the odd man out. Sweeney can play a little first base and perhaps left field in a pinch, but he isn't an interchangeable piece like Delwyn, who is also a switch hitter.

    The player who still intrigues me is Piazza. If we moved Nomar to another team, Piazza could get a few starts at first, be our third string catcher, and let us spell Martin during late innings of a lopsided game. He'd give us power off the bench.

    I also think we could see Ethier or Pierre moved if the right deal comes along.

    2008-01-17 11:40:37
    131.   regfairfield
    129 Why would you burn up one of his option years for nothing? They can put him on when he's needed.
    2008-01-17 11:40:45
    132.   paranoidandroid
    129 He wasn't exposed to rule 5, no need to put him on the 40 man to protect him yet.
    2008-01-17 11:43:06
    133.   paranoidandroid
    124 Does anyone know when the first day of Festivas is this year?
    2008-01-17 11:43:38
    134.   cargill06
    130 i couldn't imagine using 6 OF's

    131 , 132 i'm pretty uneducated on player options and rule 5 and other roster moves. If anyone could give me some info on how everything works it would be greatly appreciated

    2008-01-17 11:45:39
    135.   silverwidow
    134 Basically, Kershaw doesn't need to be protected (40-man) until 5 years after being drafted.
    2008-01-17 11:45:46
    136.   bhsportsguy
    130 I don't see anyway the Dodgers have 6 outfielders on the roster. I mean when is Repko going to play? He is not the hitter that Young is and he is not going to go in for defense over Jones, Ethier, Kemp and probably even Pierre if he Juan is in LF.

    Repko is either destined to Las Vegas as the first callup if something happens to one of the other outfielders or he will be dealt for a minor league mid-prospect or yet another middle reliever.

    I think all the love that Young is getting both from his being on the USA team last fall and from Watson during this minicamp plus his option status gives him the advantage over Repko for the 25-man roster.

    The Dodgers acquisition of Jones made Repko's defense much less valuable and made having a strong bat a more valuable ingredient to the team.

    2008-01-17 11:47:36
    137.   bhsportsguy
    134 This is as good a breakdown as there is on the web.

    2008-01-17 11:48:19
    138.   Jacob L
    Joe Torre appeared on Sesame Street this morning, on a segment filmed while he was still with the Yankees.

    -The good: He really helped Telly get over a mental block in catching a ball. I found that very encouraging viz a viz his coaching abilities.

    -The less good: He apparently felt that Telly's problem was important enough to leave the Stadium during the 9th inning of a tight ballgame. Tough to imagine that this sort of thing won't be an issue in celebrity-obsessed L.A. Priorities, Joe.

    2008-01-17 11:48:33
    139.   Jon Weisman
    130 - I see a veteran joining the bench, and Repko taking his final option to the minors for insurance. Otherwise, I think you've got it.
    2008-01-17 11:48:41
    140.   bhsportsguy
    135 His contract will be purchased by the Dodgers (and thus put on the 40-man) well before that deadline comes up.
    2008-01-17 11:50:47
    141.   paranoidandroid
    134 Young and Repko both started out in the infield. Young played a little second base last year in the bigs, but I've yet to see Repko in there when he was healthy. We also need an emergency catcher now that Lucielle II is gone, that could put a guy over the hump unless Kemp is being considered or we sign Piazza.

    I said I was intrigued by my proposed bench, I wouldn't expect to see it.

    2008-01-17 11:51:12
    142.   bhsportsguy
    138 Perhaps Joe was giving a tribute to HOF Phil Rizzuto.

    (Rizzuto, who was a longtime Yankee broadcaster, would leave the games before they were over in his later years)

    2008-01-17 11:51:34
    143.   silverwidow
    140 True, I was just pointing out the deadline.
    2008-01-17 11:55:09
    144.   paranoidandroid
    138 That episode is rerun. I have a three year old. I've seen it a couple times. It actually helped my daughter learn to catch a ball. I'm a big fan of Sesame Street. Great work on that show and from that group of writers.
    2008-01-17 11:58:17
    145.   paranoidandroid
    136 I simply liked the idea of all the young kids breaking camp. I hope you're right about Delwyn. I'm still concerned he'll never get a legit shot with us.

    What makes this bench possible is if we moved Ethier or Pierre.

    2008-01-17 12:00:13
    146.   Xeifrank
    138. Oh man, can't believe we missed it this morning. Sesame Street is a great show and probably the best written TV show there is.
    vr, Xei
    2008-01-17 12:06:28
    147.   paranoidandroid
    139 Jon, great post today. Got my juices flowing.

    Any word in your inner circles on Piazza? He doesn't seem to have a DH job in the works, and if he doesn't retire, we'd be a logical fit for him to play one more year.

    I sure liked Gary Carter's final years.

    2008-01-17 12:11:15
    148.   bhsportsguy
    145 Interestingly, the 4 for 3 outfield spots will be watched by many folks outside of DT as a indication of how Joe will manage this team. It seems unlike the LaRoche/Nomar battle that will be won more or less on the field, I don't believe how good or bad Ethier, Kemp or Pierre play in ST is going to influence what happens when the season starts on March 31st.

    Secured Roster Spots As Of January 17th (20)

    1. Pitchers (9): Brad Penny, Chad Billingsley, Derek Lowe, Hiroki Kurada, Estaban Loiaza, Joe Beimel, Scott Proctor, Jonathan Broxton, Takeshi Saito.
    2. Catchers (2): Russell Martin, Gary Bennett
    3. IF (5): James Loney, Jeff Kent, Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra, Andy LaRoche
    4. OF (4): Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier

    If Healthy, Will Be On The Roster
    Jason Schmidt

    Battling for Spots
    Greg Miller, NRIs, Delwyn Young (I think he has one but not sure enough to move on the first list), Jason Repko, Tony Abreu, Chin-Lung Hu, Hong Chi Kuo

    2008-01-17 12:15:35
    149.   bryanf
    Thank you Jon, as always, for a great post and your insight. This more than anything I've read or heard in months has me really excited about the upcoming season. I am more than ready for baseball to begin.
    2008-01-17 12:15:40
    150.   cargill06
    137 thanks a lot

    147 i think the focus right now is more on the Seanez' and Dotel's of the world. Once a middle reliever is signed than if he feels the need for anohter utility player than he'll explore that option. Personally, I don't see a need for Piazza espicially since he'll be asking for some decent coin

    Show/Hide Comments 151-200
    2008-01-17 12:17:59
    151.   kinbote
    Unbelievable stuff, Jon. Many thanks.

    Related to the bench talk, I've been assuming all along we'll carry 12 pitchers, but maybe we won't even be able to find 12 pitchers worth carrying!

    2008-01-17 12:18:16
    152.   CanuckDodger
    Unless Pierre is traded, Repko has no shot at making the team. Almost all of his value lies in being able to play CF. Young is a dead certainty to make the team. Bank on it.
    2008-01-17 12:21:22
    153.   D4P
    "Almost all of his value lies in being able to play CF" >>> "You can say about Juan Pierre"
    2008-01-17 12:23:13
    154.   CanuckDodger
    Why am I starting to feel like the president of the Eric Hull Fan Club? Nobody else is even mentioning the guy. C'mon, people! He conquered Vegas. As a pitcher.
    2008-01-17 12:23:25
    155.   bhsportsguy
    147 Carter played one year with the Dodgers, 1991, he turned 37 just as the season began, it was his second to last season before returning to Montreal to close out his HOF career.

    Piazza turned 39 in September, he did not catch a single game last year though he did catch in 99 games for the Padres in 2006. The other thing is that Mike, being a starter for his entire career, does not have a good track record of pinch hitting, in 2006 he only had 18 plate appearances as a PH, he got 3 hits, one a home run and walked 4 times.

    If Mike plays in 2008, the AL with the DH would be a more likely spot as it was he only appeared in 83 games last year.

    2008-01-17 12:25:27
    156.   bhsportsguy
    154 I would have mentioned him in my battling for a roster spot area but a lot depends on Schmidt, Kuo and Brazoban's health. It may also still be a situation where Hull still has options and he will pitch more regularly in Las Vegas anyway.
    2008-01-17 12:25:28
    157.   paranoidandroid
    152 I sure hope you and bh are correct. I really want to see Delwyn play in the bigs.
    2008-01-17 12:26:58
    158.   D4P
    Why am I starting to feel like the president of the Eric Hull Fan Club?

    Canadians and their Hulls...

    2008-01-17 12:30:12
    159.   regfairfield
    154 Even if you think Hull deserves the slot (it's close), I think it still makes sense to pick up another middle reliver. Right now, I think the bullpen is Broxton, Saito, Proctor, Beimel, Kuo, Loaiza and maybe Brazoban. With the shear amount of pitchers we have that will probably get hurt quickly (Schmidt, Kuo, Loaiza, Yhency) and the lack of big league ready relievers elsewhere on the 40 man (only Hull and Meloan), bringing in another guy as depth couldn't hurt, or we'll end up being forced to keep Roberto Herndandez on the roster way longer than we should.
    2008-01-17 12:31:21
    160.   bhsportsguy
    157 Being on the roster is one thing, seeing him play is another. I think his ratio of pinch hitting vs. spot starts/double switches will be at least 3 to 1.
    2008-01-17 12:32:29
    161.   Jim57
    148. bhsportsguy
    145 Interestingly, the 4 for 3 outfield spots will be watched by many folks outside of DT as a indication of how Joe will manage this team. It seems unlike the LaRoche/Nomar battle that will be won more or less on the field, I don't believe how good or bad Ethier, Kemp or Pierre play in ST is going to influence what happens when the season starts on March 31st.

    I am not sure exactly what you are saying here. I do believe Nomar and LaRoche will battle for the 3rd base job in the spring. Also, from all indications, Pierre will have to win the left field spot and not just be handed it because he has a big contract. I can understand where you are coming from, and it sounds like you believe that Nomar and Pierre will get these positions because they are veterans and overpaid on bad contracts that were stupid to begin with. Please clarify.

    2008-01-17 12:32:48
    162.   bhsportsguy
    159 There goes Repko. More likely its one of NRI guys.
    2008-01-17 12:40:57
    163.   cargill06
    I just read the AP report when we signed Pierre, it claims SF was close to signing him to a 4 year 34 million dollar deal... how nice would that be if he signed with SF instead, one can dream
    2008-01-17 12:42:27
    164.   Dark Horse
    162-The sooner we lose Repko, the better. He's my next-to-least favorite Dodger at this point, and it ups the odds of our hanging on to Delwyn.
    2008-01-17 12:43:14
    165.   bhsportsguy
    161 Here is an example of what I was talking about, today's BP chat with Christina Kahrl (which is free story on the site).

    Roger (Pasadena): any thoughts on how Joe Torre handles the dodgers OF situation? Is he the kind of man who will let some stupid conseq. games streak stand in the way of doing what's right?

    Christina Kahrl: I'm going to be really, really interested to see how this works out, because Torre has had the advantage of so much seeming stability with the Yankees in years past that I'm not sure he'll be able to adapt to a fluid situation where he'll have elective choices over who to play.

    2008-01-17 12:49:19
    166.   CanuckDodger
    159 -- We don't need another middle reliever, and I can't emphasize the point enoough. You almost sound like the version of Ned we hate (well, no "almost" about it, but I wanted to soften the blow). Wanting to put all the PVL impediments in front of the young guys we can get. You've got Kuo, Loaiza, and Brazoban as the final three in a seven man bullpen. You don't think Meloan and Hull are enough insurance. We are going to have a bunch of NRI's to spring training who don't make the club (like Koplove) in waiting. And you are not even considering Houlton, Stults, Orenduff, Troncoso, Wade, and Miller. We're prepared, and probably way over-prepared.
    2008-01-17 12:49:40
    167.   Jim57
    I hope to God that Torre and Dodger management will carry thru with what they have implied. I can see where you don't really believe it.
    2008-01-17 12:52:30
    168.   cargill06
    166 if you signed Dotel to a deal, it makes the bull-pen better and is better than any of the options you brought up
    2008-01-17 12:53:32
    169.   regfairfield
    166 What's wrong with being over prepared. If you're over prepared, you don't end up with Roberto Hernandez, David Wells, and Esteban Loaiza at the end of the year. Four members of our pitching staff near guaranteed to get hurt this year, why not give them insurance? What harm does it do?

    The difference here is that Loney, Kemp et al. are better that were blocking them, the same isn't true with Hull.

    2008-01-17 13:02:26
    170.   bhsportsguy
    167 Its not that I don't believe them, really its the contrary, for the first time in a few years, it seems likely that LaRoche and Young have a real shot to be on the team and be contributors right off the bat. I was just saying that how the outfield situation plays out will be closely watched by observers over at Baseball Prospectus and other baseball sites.
    2008-01-17 13:09:24
    171.   paranoidandroid
    I think we're likely to see Rudy Seanez back. The terms of the deal are all that are stopping it from happening. The same is likely true of Mark Sweeney.

    Both played last year for about 1 mil. If they are given that type of contract again, they'd sign. We might have offered Seanez a minor league contract and might be stringing Sweeney along for a reduced amount. I could be wrong, but I think this resolves the two small areas we might want to upgrade with the aforementioned PVLers that seem desirable to a young team.

    2008-01-17 13:15:31
    172.   paranoidandroid
    I don't expect Young to start nor do I expect him to play a lot. Just being in the bigs from April on will thrill me, it would be the shot I'm hoping for. If we sign Sweeney, I think that makes it harder for Young to make the team. He is still trade bait I'm afraid. We don't want to put him on waivers, but we aren't behind him enough to keep him in our long term plans.
    2008-01-17 13:18:12
    173.   cargill06
    i found our middle relief help...

    2008-01-17 13:20:07
    174.   kinbote
    Put me in the group of people actively rooting for Greg Miller to make the bullpen. Can you imagine how exciting that would be? He's almost in that Kuo category of use-him-before-his-health-breaks-down-again.
    2008-01-17 13:23:10
    175.   silverwidow
    Dodgers have spoken with Reggie Sanders' agent.


    2008-01-17 13:28:19
    176.   bhsportsguy
    175 Remember, it almost never plays out that when the Dodgers are reportedly interested in someone, that they actually get him.
    2008-01-17 13:28:49
    177.   underdog
    165 I agree with Kahrl that it will be interesting to see how Torre handles it, but don't quite understand her acting like he's never dealt with platoon situations before. Or am I misinterpreting that? I don't recall the Yankees having the same 3 outfielders who nabbed all the starts while he was there, or look at their first base situation in recent years. I followed the Yankees enough to think he's had to deal with some situations and tried to mix things up, and don't see him as the type who would get too sentimental about a games played streak. But maybe I'm misunderstanding what she meant...


    Man, I'm rooting hard for Greg Miller, too, but his control's going to have to have improved radically over what I saw last year - and maybe it has, if reports about him this winter are an indication. But boy, I'm not putting too many chips on that square.

    2008-01-17 13:29:07
    178.   Eric Stephen
    That sounds like the contact originated from Mike Powers, Sanders' agent. I would imagine the call fell on something close to deaf ears.
    2008-01-17 13:36:34
    179.   Jim Hitchcock
    So, I rear end a guy at a stop light the other day. The guy gets out of his car, and he's a dwarf!

    He comes running back to my car, and screams "I am NOT HAPPY!

    Okay, I which one are you?

    That's when the fight started...

    2008-01-17 13:37:46
    180.   bhsportsguy
    177 One thing for sure, Russell Martin will probably not start more than 135 games next year. Jorge Posada, who was a few years older than Russell when he started playing regularly for the Yankees has started around 121-131 games throughout his career.
    2008-01-17 13:42:07
    181.   Eric Stephen
    Whenever I think of Reggie Sanders, I always think of the amazing stretch he had of seven different teams in a seven year stretch (1998-2004). He put up at least a 103 OPS+ in each of those seasons, except for his putrid year in Atlanta (76 OPS+ in 2000).
    2008-01-17 13:42:14
    182.   GoBears
    165 "elective choices?"
    2008-01-17 13:46:19
    183.   CanuckDodger
    169 -- Like I said, we are probably already over-prepared. We ended up with Hernandez, Wells, and Loaiza not because we weren't prepared in 2007, but because of Ned's PVL fetish. Those three were all inferior to what Houlton, Stults, and Hull were, and in 2008 we have even more home-grown options.
    2008-01-17 13:48:36
    184.   Jim57
    170. bhsportsguy
    167 Its not that I don't believe them, really its the contrary, for the first time in a few years, it seems likely that LaRoche and Young have a real shot to be on the team and be contributors right off the bat. I was just saying that how the outfield situation plays out will be closely watched by observers over at Baseball Prospectus and other baseball sites.

    And by us.

    2008-01-17 14:02:48
    185.   Daniel Zappala
    179 Wait a minute ... the other day you slid on ice and got hit by a trunk. You've also rear-ended someone at a stop light. Carson City, right? I think I'll try to stay away from there.
    2008-01-17 14:07:31
    186.   Jim Hitchcock
    186 I sense a skiing trip to Utah in my immediate future.
    2008-01-17 14:08:24
    187.   underdog
    185 I believe the tale told in 179 was a joke.

    Now, how about the one where Mickey goes to see a therapist - though that ends in a rule 1 violation.

    2008-01-17 14:09:59
    188.   Ken Noe
    178 Yeah, Rotoworld says that Sanders wants to play on the west coast if he plays at all. He does seem like a natural for the AARPadres though.
    2008-01-17 14:15:18
    189.   GoBears
    181 My memory of Reggie Sanders is that he had a long stretch of years with see-saw stats. Very good one year, lousy the next, like clockwork. I'll see if I can find evidence to support this notion...
    2008-01-17 14:21:52
    190.   GoBears
    189. Yeah, here we go. Many of his "lousy" years in my previous formulation were not really all that bad, but still, sawtooth pattern.

    Year OPS+
    1994 110
    1995 154
    1996 113
    1997 120
    1998 099
    1999 134
    2000 076
    2001 117
    2002 107
    2003 131
    2004 103
    2005 127
    2006 086
    2007 135

    Not once did his OPS+ number trend in the same direction 2 years in a row. He's the walking embodiment of reversion to the mean. Some pretty huge swings in there too.

    2008-01-17 14:23:05
    191.   GoBears
    More Reggie. So basically, you want to sign this guy in an odd-numbered year. Which 2008 ain't.
    2008-01-17 14:23:23
    192.   Eric Stephen
    Posada, games started at C (MLB rank)
    2000: 136 (3rd)
    2001: 126 (T-5th)
    2002: 131 (2nd)
    2003: 131 (T-5th)
    2004: 126 (2nd)
    2005: 123 (7th)
    2006: 121 (T-7th)
    2007: 126 (4th)

    It might be different for Torre without the benefit of the DH to rest Martin. Posada has DH'd 27 times in the last 8 years (~3.5 games/yr).

    The key for Martin rest might be late game rest. Martin led MLB in 2007 with 145 games caught (adnd 143 starts). Martin caught 1,254 innings last year, which was 108 more innings than anyone else in the game (Kendall).

    2008-01-17 14:32:29
    193.   Eric Stephen
    Also, part of Martin's heavy workload the last two years is his offense. With an improved offense in 2008, starting Martin 88% of the time won't be as necessary as his offense can be made up in other areas.
    2008-01-17 14:39:09
    194.   silverwidow
    When Torre gives Martin days off, the OF better be Ethier/Jones/Kemp.
    2008-01-17 14:44:18
    195.   Bluebleeder87

    You know what though, I'll be the first NOT to care about his tummy if he performs well on the field.

    2008-01-17 14:51:14
    196.   cargill06
    194 when torre plays pierre he better be batting 9th
    2008-01-17 15:00:37
    197.   Eric Stephen
    I'd settle for Pierre being allowed to start only on days that Martin does not. :)
    2008-01-17 15:10:54
    198.   El Lay Dave
    192 I think there are 6 interleague road games (Anaheim, Detroit) / DH opportunites for the Dodgers in 2008.
    2008-01-17 15:12:07
    199.   El Lay Dave
    198 ... which are also 196 opportunities.
    2008-01-17 15:14:15
    200.   Jim Hitchcock
    While I didn't expect the `Comanche Moon' mini-series to reach the level of the book, I found the way it ended was both lame and perplexing. The journey back through the Plain of Stakes was one of the highlights of the book.

    Oh, well, I guess they figured they covered the desert trekking in `Dead Man's Walk'.

    Show/Hide Comments 201-250
    2008-01-17 15:19:46
    201.   cargill06
    to get andre ethier we gave up... jason ramero (which turned out to be antonio perez in a later trade), franklin guiterez and andrew brown (which turned out to be milton bradley in a later trade), i think we made out pretty good in that one
    2008-01-17 15:21:41
    202.   cargill06
    201 and andrew brown was traded from sd to oak for milton bradley... there has to be 6 degrees of seperation there somewhere
    2008-01-17 15:49:25
    203.   still bevens
    Is it possible Colletti is looking at Sanders as a pinch hitter only ala Mark Sweeney?
    2008-01-17 15:52:17
    204.   jasonungar07
    Nomar fighting for a starting job, meanwhile his wife is the Jerry West of USA Soccer....
    2008-01-17 15:58:22
    205.   Jacob L
    200 I still don't really know what happened. I read the book a couple of months ago, but had to return it to Bob's library about 50 pages short of finishing. Then, last night I fell asleep before the end of movie, which apparently left stuff out anyway. In my mind, I just connected the dots to the beginning of Lonesome Dove.

    The movie from start to finish was not compelling. If not for my great admiration for the books, and the dearth of other good t.v. this week, I wouldn't have watched nearly as much as I did.

    2008-01-17 16:02:04
    206.   Alanhull1
    I agree with Andrew, that when it comes to the bullpen, there is no such thing as too much depth. Having guys like Hull can only be seen as a plus for a team that only grades out as an above-average NL team. We need to retain our above-averageness as much as possible.

    I like the idea Colletti proposes of Nomar as a possible pinch hitter. That is veteran-presence to the extreme. Super-ultimate-veteran pinch-hitter. Super-duper.

    2008-01-17 16:12:21
    207.   Alanhull1
    I also find it interesting that people are worried about Martin getting worn out by Torre. I think Torre will play Martin a lot, as he should, but there's nothing to suggest that catching too many games will wear a young catcher out and that he wouldn't scale back his appearances late in the season.

    I think, we as Dodger fans, are all a little wary after years of Lo Duca breaking down after the month of June, but I'm not worried about Martin--kids a beast.

    2008-01-17 16:15:05
    208.   Eric Stephen
    More fuel for the Nomar as PH fire: even with his putrid offensive season in total last season, his RISP numbers were still very good (.373/.443/.436).

    What better time to have Nomar up than as a pinch hitter where Torre can pick and choose when to deploy his weapon.

    2008-01-17 16:19:08
    209.   Jim Hitchcock
    205 The mini-series ended with Blue duck killing all but three of the rangers horses with some long distance shooting (and also blowing away Calls bootheel, a not insignificant factor in the book). The last line was `well, it won't be the first time we've done a dry walk'.

    And then a shot of Newt staring up at the window of the room he shared with his Mom, trying to be brave.

    Val Kilmer, though, was excellent as Scull.

    2008-01-17 16:42:52
    210.   Jon Weisman
    The latest report from the minicamp is up at
    2008-01-17 16:49:04
    211.   D4P

    The guy is a singles machine.

    2008-01-17 16:50:47
    212.   D4P
    Torre on Pierre:

    He said if Pierre is in the lineup, he would probably bat first or second because he wants speed players at the top to distract the opposing pitcher

    2008-01-17 16:53:20
    213.   bhsportsguy
    210 Basically, Joe said a lot of things to continue what Ned said yesterday. I do think Joe had a point about all youth on the bench, that is something I have brought up before.

    That all being said, it looks like all we have to look forward to is a few more weeks of just waiting for rehab updates and settling before arbitration stories until pitchers and catchers report.

    2008-01-17 16:57:55
    214.   silverwidow
    Here is the link to the Torre article:

    I liked what he said about Kershaw possibly being promoted.

    2008-01-17 17:01:06
    215.   D4P
    Last year's pinch-hitters (ranked by OPS):

    Chin-Lung Hu 5.000
    Andre Ethier 1.683
    W. Betemit (37 NYY) 1.245
    James Loney 1
    Delwyn Young 0.917
    Tony Abreu 0.9
    Olmedo Saenz 0.679
    Luis Gonzalez 0.667
    M. Lieberthal 0.667
    Mark Sweeney (76 SF) 0.655
    N. Garciaparra 0.586
    M. Anderson (43 NYM) 0.544
    Jeff Kent 0.5
    Andy LaRoche 0.333
    Matt Kemp 0.311
    R. Martinez 0.222
    Brady Clark (21 SD) 0.2

    Certainly not "compelling" evidence that PVLs outhit youngsters off the bench.

    2008-01-17 17:01:11
    216.   underdog
    Bud Selig extended to 2012. I wonder if it's like he basically gave himself a contract extension.

    The A's will be playing in Fremont before Bud Selig steps down!

    2008-01-17 17:07:19
    217.   bhsportsguy
    I think Torre's point is that for a young player (especially one who could be playing everyday in the minors), sitting on the bench for the first time in their careers is a hard adjustment, much harder for them then for the career bench, pinch-hitter types.

    I think that is why you generally find that your best bench players are not aging players who have started most of their career nor young players who you project to be starters, rather there is a pool of guys who have made it a career to spot start and pinch hit and have made adjustments to their preparation to be ready when needed.

    2008-01-17 17:17:13
    218.   CanuckDodger
    We have enough veteran bench players -- Nomar and Juan Pierre.
    2008-01-17 17:17:43
    219.   GMac In The 909
    Torre struck me as being coy as usual. Even if he has made up his mind on the lineup one way or another, why show his hand now?

    As for the mini camp video on the home page, it got me pumped for the season and for LaRoche's big opportunity. But did anyone else notice the stock music on the piece? Those funks tunes made me think Fred McGriff was going to show up at the end, endorsing the mini camp.

    2008-01-17 17:19:39
    220.   GMac In The 909
    By the way, old friend Willy Aybar is now a 'Ray. Willy, JtD. JtD, Willy.
    2008-01-17 17:19:57
    221.   Jon Weisman
    A Laker story (that sort of seems to downplay Bynum's injury, though I only skimmed)

    2008-01-17 17:32:32
    222.   Jacob L
    209 Thanks for the recap. Agreed on Kilmer, though the whole Scull storyline was not the same without the eyelid thing (much as I was relieved to not see that).

    219 Those funks tunes made me think Fred McGriff was going to show up at the end, endorsing the mini camp.

    Wanna make me laugh? Tom Emanski/Fred McGriff reference works every time.

    2008-01-17 17:33:25
    223.   Andrew Shimmin
    218- I didn't realize the Canadians spelt "too many," "enough." Wacky.
    2008-01-17 18:02:35
    224.   bhsportsguy
    I'm imagining Jon with either a microphone with many different IDs on it or an old press hat with multiple checks stuck on the brim.

    Or else he could have addressed Ned this way, "Ned, Jon Weisman of, Daily Variety and [pause]"

    From Josh R.'s post:

    Ned said he'd leave the lineups up to Torre, but when Jon Weisman from Variety/Dodger Thoughts asked if it is possible that on Opening Day, the outfield could be Jones, Kemp and Ethier, Ned said that it wouldn't be out of the question.

    2008-01-17 18:22:00
    225.   Jason in Canada
    I think he has an old faded Stanford lanyard with like 15 laminated I.D. badges...
    2008-01-17 18:39:21
    226.   Matt Conroy
    Great stuff Jon. Many thanks from the frozen tundra of Upstate New York.
    2008-01-17 19:28:25
    227.   LAT
    224. I thought you were kidding but Jon really is cited as "Jon Weisman from Variety/Dodger Thoughts." That's great. You've come a long way from "Jon Weisman from LACMA and Dodger Thoughts."
    2008-01-17 19:30:40
    228.   LAT
    Torre looks much older in street clothes. He should just wear a baseball uniform all the time. Pumping gas, buying groceries, painting his garage.
    2008-01-17 19:41:58
    229.   Jon Weisman
    I do not tend to introduce myself as "from Variety" at Dodger Stadium, but it's all good. I do waver on SI vs. DT.

    New post up top, LAT - you beat the clock.

    2008-01-17 19:56:38
    230.   Gen3Blue
    Torre actually managed to say absolutely nothing, as good polititcians nowadays do.
    I hope and suspect he has some opinions he will confirm in sping training and eventually act upon. He may actually have the nerve to act in the D's best interest, which of course will also be his own. Bringing him in as a "celebrity" almost forces him to play the best team, and he is in no way yet part of a team story that must be preserved. So I pray. Every day.
    2008-01-17 21:21:51
    231.   Dodgers49
    Torre takes his time in meeting the team

    >> Kemp has spent most of the off-season working out in Arizona and said he has lost 25 pounds since the end of the last season. <<

    ## Pierre has played in 434 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the major leagues. Whether that will be a consideration when drawing up the lineup, Torre said, will depend on a combination of what's best for the team and how much the streak means to Pierre. ##

    2008-01-18 15:34:08
    232.   roncey10
    I hope Torre benches Pierre for the first game of the season so we do not have to hear/read about a meaningless streak of 400 plus games. Let's get real!

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