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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
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11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

The Dodger Thoughts 2008 Spring Training Primer
2008-02-05 08:54
by Jon Weisman

It's Spring Training Preparedness Week at Dodger Thoughts

In the years that I've been doing Dodger Thoughts Spring Training Primers, this might be the most set roster I've encountered. I count only four open roster spots, except in the event of injury or trade. That doesn't leave room for too many surprises - though probably one will come.

With boarding calls for Vero Beach approaching, here's how things look.

Locks (21)
Only the disabled list or a trade can stop these guys from making the Opening Day roster:

Starting Pitchers: Derek Lowe, Brad Penny, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Jason Schmidt*

Swingman: Esteban Loaiza

Bullpen: Takashi Saito, Jonathan Broxton, Joe Beimel, Scott Proctor, Rudy Seanez

Catchers: Russell Martin, Gary Bennett

Infielders: James Loney, Jeff Kent, Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra

Outfielders: Andruw Jones, Matt Kemp, Juan Pierre, Andre Ethier

*Jason Schmidt, RHP: Just checking to make sure you read the definition of "Lock" above. It's not that he's a lock to be healthy, it's that he's a lock to be on the Opening Day roster if he's healthy.

Most Likely to Succeed (4)
Andy LaRoche, 3B: It became fairly clear in January that even the Dodgers want LaRoche to win the starting job at third base. This flies against the team's recent tendency to deny promising rookies starting positions before May, but the upside of LaRoche starting is too much for the team to ignore. Not only would it give the Dodgers an extra on-base and power bat, but it would allow them to pace Garciaparra and take advantage of his theoretical clutch bat in the late innings. Even if LaRoche doesn't win the starting job outright, another scenario has Garciaparra and LaRoche splitting time at the position in April. Certainly, the Dodgers could decide they'd rather have LaRoche play full-time in Las Vegas for a month, but short of him kidnapping Vero Beach puppies or being detained at Beijing customs, he seems ready for his promotion.

Delwyn Young, OF-2B: Nothing does a young Dodger more good than to do well in small opportunities. Late last season, Young hit above his head with a .417 on-base percentage/.647 slugging percentage in 36 plate appearances last season. Out of minor-league options, Young should easily qualify for a spot off the bench as a pinch-hitter, fifth outfielder and emergency second baseman.

Tony Abreu, IF: There seem to be few hard feelings remaning over last season's Sports Hernia Kerfuffle, and given that the Dodgers were prepared to go without Ramon Martinez in 2008 by buying out his option, I still like Abreu's chances of getting the job as middle-infield backup. A poor spring by LaRoche would also keep Abreu in line to get some time at third base. Sure, now that Martinez is back in the organization on a minor-league contract, the Dodgers could start Abreu in Las Vegas - and there are some who would rather see him play full-time anyway. But it just seems clear that the Dodgers know Abreu is superior to Martinez at this point, and the determination to win the division in 2008 should encourage the Dodgers to get what they can out of Abreu from the beginning of the season.

Hong-Chih Kuo, LHP: I think the Dodgers are past the point of worrying whether Kuo would be better as a starting pitcher or a reliever. They're just wondering if he can stay healthy for consecutive months. Being out of options, Kuo should make the Opening Day roster if he's upright, especially if the team goes with 12 pitchers. As a left-hander, he even has a shot joining the otherwise all-righty Dodger starting rotation if Schmidt can't answer the bell. He'll stick as long as he's healthy and effective.

Next in Line
Jason Repko, OF: Even though he has a guaranteed contract, Repko is no lock to avoid the minors in April. And if the team goes with 12 pitchers, he's almost sure to continue his comeback from last season's muscle mishap in AAA. However, thanks to an April 3 off day. the Dodgers won't necessarily need a fifth starter until April 9. The season starts with a series against San Francisco, and carrying 12 pitchers against the anemic Giants offense and five bench players against its solid starting pitching really doesn't make sense. So I'm going to give him the inside track to sneak on as the 25th man if one of the pitchers above goes on the disabled list.

Yhency Brazoban, RHP: Brazoban is in the same boat as Repko: guaranteed contract with minor-league options. With the signing of Seanez, 10 righthanders are ahead of him; that's a lot, but the odds that one of them is on the disabled list on Opening Day aren't bad. The Dodgers could also choose Brazoban as a 12th pitcher over a healthy Kuo if they don't have faith in the latter as a reliever. But Brazoban is going to have to show something in Spring Training.

Mike Myers, LHP: He's 38, but Myers pitched 40 1/3 innings for Joe Torre in New York last season with a 2.66 ERA. Yet the Yankees cut him in August, and when he landed with the White Sox, he gave up 17 earned runs in 13 2/3 innings. By season's end, the southpaw had allowed one home run in 123 plate appearances against lefties. So in an organization that is lefty-light, Myers could land a spot.

Eric Hull, RHP: No, he's not going to make the Hall of Fame, but the 28-year-old Hull has quietly positioned himself to be a 2008 contributor. I mean, if a 2.74 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings in Las Vegas, culminating years of steady progress, doesn't get you a long look, something's wrong.

Jonathan Meloan, RHP: Dodger fans in the know pleaded for his callup last summer. By the time he came up near season's end, after the long-winded Roberto Hernandez experiment, Meloan was entering a desperation situation. He struck out seven in 7 1/3 innings but walked eight and allowed nine runs. Now, the Dodgers have said they're going to try to make Meloan a starter, as he was in college. There's debate over whether he has the mechanics to hold a spot in a major-league rotation, but as far as April 2008 is concerned, the conversion seems to buy him a ticket to AAA. Still, the guy's a strikeout pitcher knocking on the door, and that surely makes him a strong candidate to make the team.

Greg Miller, LHP: There could hardly be a better story this spring than Miller making the team. A Clayton Kershaw before there was a Clayton Kershaw, Miller reached AA at age 18 in 2003, striking out 40 and walking seven in 27 innings. But first his health and then his control betrayed him, and four years later, he was struggling. He walked 89 in 76 2/3 innings in 2007. But he also struck out 97, and the Dodgers still like him. If he can show any control in March, he immediately puts himself back on the fast track.

See You Midseason?
Chin-Lung Hu, SS: His spectacular defense, combined with improvement offensively in 2007, put him in position to compete for a major-league job in April, but it would be a surprise if he didn't play full-time in the minors to start.

James McDonald, RHP: Is McDonald the fifth-best starting pitcher on the team right now? Quite possibly, after an eyecatching 2007 in which he struck out 168 in 134 2/3 innings in the minor leagues while walking a mere 37. The Dodgers aren't likely to rush him into the rotation during the first week, but it would take quite a reversal to keep him from making his first major-league start this season.

Clayton Kershaw, LHP: Never heard of him. Must be a scrub. But what the heck, if the Dodgers feel like he deserves a chance, who am I to stop them?

John-Ford Griffin, OF: Do you realize that players born in 1980 are about to hit the downside of their careers? Wow. Anyway, Griffin, who was born in November 1979, has gone 7 for 23 with two homers and three walks in two brief trials with Toronto, and OPSed .818 in AAA last season with 26 round-trippers. A left-handed swinger, it's not out of the question that the former Yankee first-round pick could ride the stagecoach to Los Angeles if Juan Pierre or Andre Ethier pulled a hammy.

Ramon Troncoso, RHP: Troncoso, 24, went from Inland Empire to Jacksonvile in 2007 and pitched well in both places. In fact, the reliever blew the Cal League away, allowing only three earned runs in 30 innings, before settling in nicely with a 3.12 ERA for the Suns. The 2007s of Meloan and Hull show how hard it can be to get a callup, but keep an eye on Troncoso nevertheless.

Cory Wade, RHP: Like Troncoso, Wade (25 in May) also rode the Inland Empire-to-Jacksonville express - and finished at full-speed with a 1.36 ERA and 33 strikeouts (against 11 walks) in 33 innings for the Suns.

Scott Elbert, LHP: Still only 22, Elbert is coming back from surgery. Wth a career minor-league ERA of 3.21 and 370 strikeouts in 321 innings, can I just dream of him returning to full strength?

Eric Stults, LHP: Well, he doesn't have D.J. Houlton to fend off any more, but with Kershaw, McDonald and maybe Elbert or Meloan on the rise, Stults (5.82 ERA, 30 strikeouts in 38 2/3 MLB innings last season) has a very small window left to make an impact in a Dodger uniform. In fact, it's quite possible Los Angeles won't get another look at the 28-year-old, even though Dodger general manager Ned Colletti has him in the running for a relief spot, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Times.

Angel Chavez, IF: There has been speculation that Chavez could be this year's Wilson Valdez (for better and for worse), but already there's a difference – Chavez is still only 26. (Hey, that's the age Ramon Martinez II was when he got his first sustained big-league action!) A veteran of both the Giant and Yankee organizations, Chavez had a .336 on-base percentage and .433 slugging percentage in AAA last season. Don't know his defensive value.

John Lindsey, 1B: Look, a guy hits 30 homers (and 32 doubles), I'm gonna take notice. Lindsey had a banner 2007 in the Dodger system, after planning to retire in 2006. I'd be more excited if a guy with that much power walked more than 35 times – it's hard to imagine he wouldn't struggle against tougher major-league stuff. But I'd love to see him get a shot.

Brian Falkenborg, RHP: Falky! Renwoned for his 14 1/3-inning stint with the Dodgers in 2004,Falkenborg returns after bouncing around San Diego, St. Louis, Portland and Memphis. He pitched well in AAA last season (3.25 ERA, 58 strikeouts/17 walks/two HR/52 2/3 innings), but the 29-year-old has to hope that he hasn't already peaked.

Matt Riley, LHP: Lefty alert! Lefty alert! It's like starting Dodger Monopoly with Park Place and Broadway, but even with the advantage of being a southpaw, the 28-year-old Riley will still need some friendly rolls of the dice to make the team. He hasn't pitched in the majors since giving up 14 runs in 12 2/3 innings for Texas at the start of 2005. He missed all of 2006, then began his recovery in Jacksonville in 2007 with a head-turning 29 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings and 1.47 ERA for the Suns. Battling control problems, Riley kept striking 'em out once promoted to Las Vegas but saw his ERA balloon. Still, his ability to strikeout lefties will allow him to audition to be Beimel's understudy.

Tom Martin, LHP: Familiarity might be in Martin's corner. He was part of the brilliant Dodger bullpen of '03, not to mention the National League champion Colorado Rockies in '07. But he hasn't been effective in quite some time - lefties OPSed .872 against him last year. Don't count him out, but don't count on him.

Check Back in a Year or Two
Justin Orenduff, RHP: While most folks rent, Orenduff could have bought in Jacksonville - he's been there since 2005. Arm surgery in 2006 explains part of the detour. Almost 25, Orenduff struck out 113 in 109 innings last season, so it's not too late for him to get back on track.

Mario Alvarez, RHP: Struck out 103 batters but allowed 171 baserunners in 107 2/3 innings in high-A ball last season, making 14 starts in 33 appearances. He turns 24 in March.

Xavier Paul, OF: For two years, Baseball America has said that Paul has the best outfield arm in the Dodger minor leagues. Does he have a bat to compliment it? A .795 OPS in AA at age 22 last season doesn't rule it out, though he has struck out 489 times in 518 career games.

Rick Asadoorian, RHP: Years ago, the now 27-year-old was considered something of a five-tool outfield prospect. But he never broke through, and took up pitching full-time last season in the Reds organization after a stellar emergency stint in 2006. So he's a project, albeit one that struck out 48 (but walked 28) in 52 2/3 innings in AA.

Lucas May, C: With five minor-league seasons under his belt, May isn't soaring through the system, but he is progressing to the point where you can see him earning a major-league paycheck someday. He had a .778 OPS for Inland Empire last year, including 25 homers and 25 doubles. Getting on base enough could be his downfall offensively.

Fernando Desgue, RHP: Struggling to find information on the 26-year-old, though it appears he had a 2.25 ERA for Oaxaca of the Mexican League in 2006 before slumping in 2007.

Ramon Martinez, IF: His offensive emptiness got exposed in 2007, and his defense and veteranocity doesn't justify a spot on the roster. He got 10 years in the majors – really, that's enough to be proud of.

Mike Koplove, P: Koplove, 31, has thrown nine MLB innings since 2005. Any reliever can get on a hot streak, but it's hard to picture the righty being much of a factor.

Alfredo Simon, RHP: So many of the Dodger non-roster invitees are relievers, it's almost surprising when a starting pitcher pops up. Well, here's Simon – he turns 27 in May, and he made 22 starts in AAA for Oklahoma. Unfortunately, in 119 innings, he allowed 85 earned runs (6.43 ERA) and walked 46 while striking out 73. His career ERA in the minors is 5.03.

Greg Jones, RHP: A journeyman from the Angels system. He had a minor league season in 2005 that was notable, but he was 28 then and is 31 now.

Chan Ho Park, RHP: This year's Jose Lima/Scott Erickson/Aaron Sele/Joe Mays slot couldn't have gone to a more familiar face: the 34-year-old (man, I feel old – I can still remember his debut in '94) Park, who hit rock bottom last season. He pitched only four innings in the majors, while making 24 starts in the minors to the tune of a 5.97 ERA. Crazy thing is he still has a strikeout pitch, but he just gets hammered – 29 homers allowed in 139 2/3 pro innings last season. He hasn't had an ERA+ above 100 since his final Dodger season in 2001. How that could possibly change is beyond me, but karate kicks and Fernando Tatis won't change my fond memories of him. The beat writers will certainly get a day's worth of copy out of him.

Brian Shackelford, LHP: Another former position player, Shackelford switch to the mound and made his major-league debut with Cincinnati shortly before his 29th birthday and etched out a 2.43 ERA in 29 2/3 innings. But 2006 was a mini-horror show (13 runs in 16 1/3 innings), and at age 31, he finds himself far down the totem pole.

Tanyon Sturtze, RHP: Yeah, the Yankees got more out of Sturtze than the Dodgers got out of Brian Myrow after that May 2004 trade – kind of. Sturtze tallied 166 innings in three seasons with New York as a reliever and spot starter, but they weren't particularly effective innings in the end. Last season - a lost year - found him pitching 11 1/3 innings split over four levels of Atlanta's minors - quite a feat when you think about it. Somewhere amid the non-roster invitees is a guy waiting to duplicate Rudy Seanez's surprising 2007 comeback. Superficially, Sturtze might fit the bill, but I'm not counting on it.

George Lombard, OF: A second-round draftee by Atlanta back in 1994, the 32-year-old Lombard has only one noteworthy major-league season to his credit, a 2002 campaign with Detroit in which his OPS+ was 85 in 72 games. Last season saw even his AAA OPS dip to .717.

Terry Tiffee, 1B-3B: The switch-hitter went 12 for 44 with four doubles and two homers for the Twins in 2005, but hasn't improved upon that. Last season, in AAA in the Oriole organization, Tiffee OPSed .701. Little power, no speed, 29 in April … I'm not feeling it.

Danny Ardoin, C: Ardoin, 33, has a career OPS in the majors of .604, and that's with most of his career spent with the Rockies. Stuck in the minors last season, he OPSed .624 in 61 games. No, catching is not a strength in the Dodger minor leagues.

Rene Rivera, C: Rivera is 34 years old and has 34 career major-league hits. Which column will get to 40 first? Update: Misread the birthdate - Rivera is 24 years old. So, which column will get to 100 first?

Gary Burghoff, RHP: Nasty, nasty stuff, but also very dated. Tommy Lasorda loves him.

Comments (275)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-02-05 09:55:11
1.   Jon Weisman
Regarding the discussion in last night's thread about fallible defensive metrics, can't we pull together different metrics and form a consensus based on them?
2008-02-05 09:58:43
2.   Xeifrank
can't we pull together different metrics and form a consensus based on them?

Do you mean average the results of them together?

vr, Xei

2008-02-05 10:00:09
3.   regfairfield
1 Rivera is 23 or 24, isn't he? Is there a different one?
2008-02-05 10:04:57
4.   wronghanded
From the previous thread:

57 58 Thanks for the info, like I said earlier I am still in kindergarten in terms of obscure/untraditional baseball stats. I have played the game for the majority of my life (at a high level) and know that "traditional" stats do a poor job of painting the overall picture of a player's ability. This blog is awesome in the sense that I'm a die-hard Dodger fan, I love to learn as much about the game as possible and I enjoy a good debate. This site seems to satisfy all of my baseball needs (other than playing of course).

2008-02-05 10:05:32
5.   Prescott Pete
Hu am I missing?
2008-02-05 10:08:01
6.   Terry A
Good to see Burghoff is finally on the Dodgers' radar.
2008-02-05 10:10:02
7.   Jon Weisman
5 - Yikes. I'll get him on there.

3 - Um, uh ...

2008-02-05 10:11:50
8.   JoeyP
I really only see 3 battles in which there can only be one winner:

Abreu vs Martinez vs Hu---1 of these will make the Dodgers.

Brazoban vs Seanez---1 of these will make the Dodgers

Repko vs Delwyn Young--1 of these will make the Dodgers.

2008-02-05 10:13:47
9.   kinbote
Sorry if this has been noted already, but we'll be on ESPN Friday 2/29. Happy Leap Day indeed!
2008-02-05 10:15:22
10.   Jon Weisman
7 - Okay, I just misread Rivera's birthdate. Fixed now.
2008-02-05 10:16:34
11.   Xeifrank
9. no comprendo.
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 10:37:52
12.   Ken Noe
Forget about Burghoff. I hear he's going to the Cubs.'s_teddy_bear.jpg

2008-02-05 10:39:46
13.   Sam DC
Profile of current Cardinal/Nats Prospect Jack McGeary.

2008-02-05 10:47:32
14.   dan reines
burghoff looks really good, but what's the deal with Enrico Palazzo? He seems kind of judgmental.

Also: You are making some really bold statements lately, Jon. What gives?

2008-02-05 10:53:50
15.   Jon Weisman
Am I? Just trying to rally the troops ...
2008-02-05 11:00:58
16.   regfairfield
Jon, if Ramon Martinez had a .683 OPS this year, would you be okay with him being the utility guy with Abreu waiting for someone to get hurt? According to PrOPS he was very unlucky last year.
2008-02-05 11:02:09
17.   cargill06
8 i could be missing something, but there are 21 locks and you have 3 more guys making the team who is your 25th?
2008-02-05 11:05:59
18.   Jon Weisman
16 - It won't keep me up nights, but no, I wouldn't. What's the point? I believe Abreu is the better player now, and can contribute to the Dodgers' winning. I think that's more important than Abreu playing every day in the minors.
2008-02-05 11:07:31
19.   regfairfield
18 Fair enough. We've been down this road enough that it's not worth revisting.
2008-02-05 11:08:35
20.   Kevin Lewis

Never saw that word until today, and it has happened twice

2008-02-05 11:14:05
21.   Ken Arneson
1 Tiger Tales has pulled together the various defensive metrics and averaged them out:

2008-02-05 11:14:19
22.   East Coast Dodger
Forgive me if this is self-evident, but were Seanez and Myers signed solely as Brazoban and Kuo injury insurance, respectively? It seems to me that Brazoban and Kuo are both clearly better. And how much effect does the last guy in the bullpen have on Dodger wins and losses? Seems to me that the difference between Myers and Seanez and the next guy down the line on your list wouldn't make much of a difference to the big league club. Am I wrong, or did Ned just force-feed the club more bullpen PVLiness?
2008-02-05 11:16:14
23.   regfairfield
22 Nothing wrong with having more bullpen arms when I see at least four pitchers with injury problems fairly high on the depth chart. If they don't make a big difference, why not keep them around so we don't have to keep Roberto Hernandez on the roster for a month and a half?
2008-02-05 11:19:25
24.   Jon Weisman
22 - I think Colletti has real doubts about Brazoban (from both a performance and health level) and Kuo.
2008-02-05 11:31:49
25.   Marty
I thought it was kerfluffle. With the extra l there in the middle.
2008-02-05 11:38:17
26.   Xeifrank
I too don't see any problem with the Seanez signing to get more bullpen depth in case of injury (as has been pointed out). I too agree that the last bullpen spot probably doesn't have much of an effect on whether we will win more games or not. What it may have an effect on is can that pitcher make a spot start and can he do something (like get left handed hitters out) better than the other pitchers can do. Jon nails it on Guo, he gets a spot on the 25-man pending any more trips to his surgeon or severe wildness problems. vr, Xei
2008-02-05 11:39:15
27.   wireroom
I actually like the idea of Mike Myers over Kuo. Torre would probably have an idea for spots to pitch him where he would thrive. I wonder why the Yanks released him last year with the performance they were giving him?
2008-02-05 11:39:34
28.   Andrew Shimmin
It's only kerfluffle (and fold) if you're fighting with the dry cleaner.
2008-02-05 11:39:42
29.   East Coast Dodger
I know Hernandez was particularly bad, but right now there doesn't seem to me to be a huge difference between Seanez/Myers and a Hernandez-type we could grab later.

I do agree about keeping them around, but not so they can take major league innings away from better players once the season starts. Why not get a look at a Miller or Troncoso or other youngsters in Spring Training, even if they won't make the roster?

2008-02-05 11:39:47
30.   wireroom
27 *he was giving them
2008-02-05 11:42:25
31.   Andrew Shimmin
PECOTA really likes A.J. Ellis (as a backup catcher, anyway). Maybe Bennett will get suspended for some reason.
2008-02-05 11:42:31
32.   regfairfield
29 Seanez still can strike people out and Myers can get lefties. Chubbs couldn't do anything.

27 You'd release Kuo just to have Mike Myers make 30 appearances and throw nine innings?

2008-02-05 11:43:11
33.   regfairfield
31 Will be interesting to see who gets waived/DFA'd if any of our catchers goes down.
2008-02-05 11:45:56
34.   Jon Weisman
29 - Miller and Troncoso are getting looks as far as I know.
2008-02-05 11:48:41
35.   Xeifrank
I say ride the Seanez horse until it breaks down, or the clock strikes midnight, or whatever metaphor you prefer to use. The reliever that worries me the most, because he will likely pitch quite a few high leverage innings is Scott Proctor. The bullpen dropoff after Saito/Broxton is pretty large. Not that we should expect a bullpen full of studs, but it's something to keep an eye on. Proctor has a tendancy to give up alot of homeruns. This is usually not a good thing. :)
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 11:51:46
36.   Terry A
31 - Colletti shot himself in the foot with the Bennett signing. Not only is the guy in the Mitchell Report, he also is considered one of the worst clubhouse guys in the game. The Cardinals were allegedly thrilled to get rid of him.

Maybe his job is to be such a tool that Jeff Kent expends all his energy badmouthing Bennett and forgets about the kids.

2008-02-05 11:54:37
37.   Andrew Shimmin
Bennett is also very bad at baseball. Every aspect of it, near as I can tell. Juan Pierre is no longer the worst player on the 25 man roster.
2008-02-05 11:56:47
38.   underdog
I'd take Radar over Tanyon, that's for sure!

Nice write-up Jon, summarizes it all really well.

Not sure I get the stagecoach reference - was there a Wells Fargo messenger named John-Ford Griffin once? Or are you just in a Western mood today?

2008-02-05 11:58:21
39.   underdog
I like AJ Ellis, or Lucas May, for that matter, over Bennett. I agree, that's the one signing this off-season that I still can't get a grip on. But I won't start my "why him over Lieberthal?" whine again. Ah well.
2008-02-05 11:58:35
40.   MC Safety
if proctor bombs it, who is our seventh inning guy?
2008-02-05 11:58:44
41.   Xeifrank
21. I guess it's nice to know the average, but I don't see this excercise as an improvement in determining value of a player on defense. It would be interesting though just to see which methods are the outliers.
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 11:58:54
42.   wireroom
32 I just don't see Kuo ever getting over his arm troubles or being effective out of the pen. I always have heard with him, that his delivery calls for a full game prep in order for him to be effective.
2008-02-05 12:00:14
43.   Ken Noe
36 37 My hope is that Bennett is simply a place-holder for Lucas May, but I agree that NedCo could have found a better place-holder.
2008-02-05 12:00:26
44.   OhioBlues12
I really wouldn't mind seeing Seanez get the spot over Brazoban if for no other reason than we was pretty durable and could be an alternative to wearing out Proctor. Besides that Brazoban has not really shown anything to the current staff or management team, many of the people that were here during his successful period are now gone. Since he has options, he would be a good one to stash in AAA in case of injury.
2008-02-05 12:00:43
45.   East Coast Dodger
34 I hope they do well, Miller in particular. I share one of Jon's fears, that the young player is not afforded the same chance as a vet. Maybe there is a good reason for that, but if Nomar is able to "win" the third base job with a good Spring, shouldn't someone like Miller be able to unseat Myers with an equally impressive Spring?
2008-02-05 12:01:03
46.   wireroom
32 Were those Myer's innings he pitched with the Yanks last year? If so, than his situational lefty relieving may have been deceiving.
2008-02-05 12:01:18
47.   Jon Weisman
38 -
2008-02-05 12:01:44
48.   Xeifrank
40. Probably whoever is hottest at that point in time. Definitely not Meloan. :)
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 12:02:26
49.   regfairfield
43 May is many years away, he just came off a .313 on base at high A.
2008-02-05 12:08:15
50.   Andrew Shimmin
49- Would you take Bennett over May? I'd have signed Mark Cresse over Bennett.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-02-05 12:08:52
51.   regfairfield
46 I just made it up. In the last two years he's thrown 85 innings in 134 appearances.
2008-02-05 12:09:36
52.   regfairfield
50 Yep. May might actually mean something in the future so having him play once every two weeks is not in his best interest.
2008-02-05 12:11:22
53.   wireroom
46 Sorry, I just read up top again and saw that Myer's had 40 1/3 innings with a 2.66 era. I should have paid more attention. It gets tough to post and do work at the same time.
2008-02-05 12:12:20
54.   OhioBlues12
I actually like what I have heard about Rene Rivera. Apparently not much with the bat but excellent defensively, which is of far greater importance out of the backup catcher.
2008-02-05 12:15:10
55.   MC Safety
so what is the peckin order at catcher? martin bennet ellis? ardoin? rivera? may?
2008-02-05 12:15:33
56.   Andrew Shimmin
I thought May was older than he actually is. It's fine. I don't think he should jump three levels either, I just really don't think Bennett should be on this team, and I'd have been willing to accept whatever consequences came with that. Consequences like bringing in Benito Santiago as an NRI. Or converting Bill Mueller from a scout (or whatever he is this week) to a catcher.
2008-02-05 12:17:02
57.   wireroom
So itlooks that Kuo, Miller and Stults are the condidates for lefty out of the pen after Joey B. That seems like a lot of injuries and guys meant for starting to me.
2008-02-05 12:25:13
58.   regfairfield
55 I'd say Ardoin and Rivera have priority because they've been there before.

54 He hit .214/.275/.310 as a 23 year old in AA. Given that the value of a catcher's defense outside of his arm is near meaningless as far as we know, he'd have to have one hell of an arm to make up for how terrible he'd be at the plate.

2008-02-05 12:37:44
59.   old dodger fan
56 I never really did understand choosing Bennett over Lieberthal.
There are still 4 unsigned free agent catchers but they are all at least 37 years old.
2008-02-05 12:45:26
60.   OhioBlues12
58 - It seems a bit unreasonable to expect a good offensive line from a backup catcher considering there are precious few good offensive starting catchers, which we are lucky enough to have one of. I am far more concerned with someone who is sound fundamentally, has a good throwing arm, and can handle the staff at a somewhat comparable level to Martin.
2008-02-05 12:45:37
61.   underdog
47 Ah! {slaps forehead} Of course, The Quiet Man/My Darling Clementine, Stagecoach, etc. I thought it was something else entirely. JFG's name sounds like some 19th century would-be assassin.
2008-02-05 12:46:24
62.   madmac
59 did Lieberthal really have much of an interest in coming back. He did retire, right? I'm guessing Ned had a little more info on that than we did.
2008-02-05 12:49:33
63.   fanerman
ToyCannon, did you ever get an answer to your Jeff Kent LW question from the last thread?
2008-02-05 12:49:47
64.   Daniel Zappala
I will be amazed if Brazoban makes the team out of spring training. He's pitched a total of 6 2/3 innings in the majors the past two years, and he has options left. I think not just Seanez, but Myers and Hull have a leg up on him.
2008-02-05 12:51:02
65.   regfairfield
60 There's a difference between bad offensively, and is closer in value to Kip Winger than a replacement player.
2008-02-05 12:53:55
66.   ToyCannon
Yes, reggarfield was using VORP not LW, thus the misunderstanding.
2008-02-05 12:54:17
67.   dan reines
re: 14/15

Am I really the only one for whom this entire site is appearing entirely in boldface lately? I'm on Safari on a Mac. Anyone else?

2008-02-05 12:55:02
68.   underdog
60 I would, however, expect a good offensive line on the New York Giants.
2008-02-05 12:55:54
69.   underdog
62 Lieberthal said he wanted to come back to the Dodgers again this year, and that he would otherwise retire. When they didn't attempt to re-sign him, he retired.
2008-02-05 12:59:40
70.   Howard Fox
Jon, re: the other thread on absentee is funny you say wife yesterday was asking me if they send us some kind of note for voting, which I got quite the kick out of....

I think she was expecting someone to go to Hallmark and send us "thank you" notes or something...

2008-02-05 13:01:14
71.   GMac In The 909
67 Just opened DT on Safari on a Mac, and yep everything is bold. But I usually launch Firefox, and it's perfectly normal.
2008-02-05 13:04:34
72.   regfairfield
Rivera's MLE last year was .188/.232/.270, pretty close to Koyie Hill's .161/.231/.269 last year. Surprisingly, Hill only VORPed -7.4 last year, so I guess that yes, Rivera is closer to replacement level than a hair metal superstar.
2008-02-05 13:07:13
73.   old dodger fan
69 He was under contract to us for 2008. We paid $100K to buy him out.
2008-02-05 13:09:14
74.   OhioBlues12
72 - Then why not let him have a shot? He is still young enough to improve, but it is likely that his ceiling will be a backup catcher anyway. Seems to be a better idea than utilizing a veteran that can't hit and is supposedly bad defensively.
2008-02-05 13:11:10
75.   Howard Fox a follow up to my note 70 above and your last thread, I sent her this email:

The United States of American and the State of California hereby thank you for your patriotic act of voting.

Voting is a right not to be taken lightly, and is a responsibility afforded all citizens of our country.

You exemplify all that is good with our citizens, and help set an example of the goodness that is our democracy.

Again, accept our thanks, and continue your good work upholding our Constitution.


George W Bush
Arnold Schwarzenegger
and all the gang manning the voting booths

2008-02-05 13:14:22
76.   regfairfield
74 Eh, why not, it's not like it matters anyway.
2008-02-05 13:24:05
77.   dan reines
no longer so bold! thank you!
2008-02-05 13:25:55
78.   Brian Y
Does anyone else think that Cleveland would take 2 years of Penny along with Meloan for Sabathia? We have a lot of SP depth so I'm just thinking that Sabathia would be nice to have. I'm probably just dreaming though.
2008-02-05 13:30:01
79.   JoeyP
Is Sabathia that much better than Penny to even consider it?
2008-02-05 13:31:55
80.   regfairfield
79 Yes, but I don't see why Cleveland would do it. I'm deeply concerned that Penny will implode this year.
2008-02-05 13:34:37
81.   ToyCannon
I thought the word was that he was close to an extension.
2008-02-05 13:37:28
82.   Brian Y
79. I think Sabathia is a much better pitcher but the stats don't support that too much. I'm with Regfairfield that I am scared Penny will implode this year. I think Cleveland would do it since A) everyone knows they probably won't be able to re-sign him, and B) they don't loose much by trading him for a more affordable ace. They also get a great pitching prospect in Meloan. And "if" they decide to trade Penny next year they will still be looking at a solid return assuming he puts up decent numbers. If they aren't spectacular, NL teams will just chalk it up to learning a new league and having the DH.
2008-02-05 13:38:34
83.   Eric Enders
I for one am in favor of the Dodgers accumulating as many players as possible whose names combine a legendary film director with a famous mythological creature.

John-Ford Griffin
Howard-Hawks Hydra
John-Huston Centaur
Sam-Fuller Sphinx
Buster-Keaton Kraken
Frank-Capra Chimera
Woody-Allen Werewolf

2008-02-05 13:38:54
84.   Brian Y
81. Last I heard they approached him with an extension but that it was around $16-18Million year. I think he is looking for more around the Santana rate of going pitchers since he is the top FA pitcher available next year.
2008-02-05 13:43:25
85.   yankee23
Quick update on Mattingly:
2008-02-05 13:46:51
86.   Brian Y
Also, according to Rotoworld...GM Mark Shapiro said he wouldn't trade Sabathia this season. I was just thinking that was because they wanted to contend with Detroit, that's why I said Penny and Meloan.
2008-02-05 13:47:37
87.   East Coast Dodger
From the Good Problem to Have Department: if all our young pitchers hit the positive side of their projections in 2008, what does the Dodger rotation look like in 2009? Penny, Billingsly and Kuroda would be locks, right? The last two spots for Schmidt, Kershaw, McDonald, Meloan and Elbert? Who makes it in?
2008-02-05 13:48:39
88.   regfairfield
82 They do:

Sabathia K/BB: 209/37
Penny: 135/73

Penny has a better home run rate, but I don't know how sustainabile that is since he's not a ground ball pitcher really.

2008-02-05 13:49:58
89.   Brian Y
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Indians offered C.C. Sabathia a four-year contract extension in December that was worth between $68 and $72 million in new money.
The deal would have been added to the $11.25 million that Sabathia is set to make in 2008, keeping him in Cleveland through 2012, but it's highly unlikely that he'll agree to that level of commitment following Johan Santana's recent six-year, $137.5 million extension with the Mets.
Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer

The Cleveland Plain Dealer speculates that Johan Santana signing a massive long-term contract with the Mets could make it less likely that C.C. Sabathia will remain with the Indians beyond this season.
The newspaper notes that "the Indians are not going to give Sabathia a contract for that much money or that many years." Like Santana, Sabathia is eligible for free agency following the season, yet his name hasn't been mentioned in any trade rumors thus far.
Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer

General manager Mark Shapiro indicated Monday that the Indians will not trade impending free agent C.C. Sabathia before or during the season.
"I can't present you with a scenario where it's acceptable to us or to our relationship with our fans that involves trading C.C. or examining trading him," Shapiro said. There's been speculation following the recent Johan Santana contract that Sabathia is unlikely to remain in Cleveland beyond this season, but the Indians are apparently prepared to take draft picks if he leaves via free agency rather than attempt a Santana-like trade.
Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer

2008-02-05 13:52:18
90.   Brian Y
87. Kershaw and a FA would be my guess. Unless McDonald and Elbert get a decent amount of innings with the Dodgers this year, they don't have much of a shot since Colletti loves the vets.
2008-02-05 13:54:29
91.   silverwidow
Sabathia is a California kid, so you can expect him to be wearing a tilted Dodger cap next year.
2008-02-05 13:55:53
92.   Eric Enders
On the other hand, his best friend is Milton Bradley, so he may not view the Dodgers very kindly.
2008-02-05 13:56:49
93.   dan reines
francis ford chupacabra
2008-02-05 14:07:46
94.   El Lay Dave
Feeble pinch-hitting attempt for Greg Brock:

83 Hal Ashby Phoenix

2008-02-05 14:08:04
95.   East Coast Dodger
90 Wither Schmidt? And, again in the perfect scenario (Dodgers are due for some good karma), would McDonald and Meloan be trade bait this summer? Meaning if Kershaw, Elbert, McDonald and Meloan all look very good, two would have to be traded to get good value since there would be no rotation spot for them.
2008-02-05 14:10:04
96.   Brian Y
95. I don't think Schmidt is a lock for a rotation spot as much as a spot on our roster. I have no faith in his ability to rebound.
2008-02-05 14:17:17
97.   dan reines
sam peckinpaw jackelope
cecil cooper demille...

oh wait -- i've got the construct wrong there, haven't i?

2008-02-05 14:20:49
98.   kinbote
11 The Dodgers/Braves game on Feb. 29th is scheduled to be televised on ESPN at 10am PST. Sorry if I was not clear.
2008-02-05 14:20:58
99.   Eric Enders
All the Santana, Bedard and Sabathia talk got me thinking... man, the AL had some crazy-good lefties last year. So I did some checking and it turns out the 2007 AL was only the sixth time in history a league had at least 5 left-handers with ERA+ of 130 or better. The others were the NL in 1912, 1949, 1981, and 2000, and the AL in 2003.
2008-02-05 14:23:15
100.   mintxcore
93, if there was a band called francis ford chupacabra, it would be the best band ever.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-02-05 14:23:16
101.   ToyCannon
Fun quote from a BP chat today.

"BH (Los Angeles): It appears from reports that Rafael Furcal is playing well however he has been playing second, any reason for that?

Derek Jacques: Furcal's at second because the Dominican League teams are stocked with shortstops, so he's been willing to move to the other side of the keystone. Question is, is that the strongest arm that's ever played at second? It's like bringing an MX missile to a paintgun fight.

2008-02-05 14:28:42
102.   Xeifrank
87. Guo has to be given a consideration. Not as a lock, but as one of the last two entries. vr, Xei
2008-02-05 14:30:49
103.   Brian Y
102. I don't see Kuo making our team out of spring unless he is traded or disabled, he will be gone since he is out of options. That's why he wasn't even in the discussion I presume.
2008-02-05 14:31:50
104.   Jon Weisman
103 - If Kuo is not on the DL, why couldn't he make the team?
2008-02-05 14:32:43
105.   Eric Enders
Kuo either starts the season on the roster, or on the DL. I don't see any way the Dodgers let him go for nothing.
2008-02-05 14:39:47
106.   Andrew Shimmin
I could see Kuo being traded for Elmer Dessens.
2008-02-05 14:40:48
107.   bhsportsguy
101 Sometimes you just serve up fat ones in chats.
2008-02-05 14:40:56
108.   silverwidow
Greg Miller NEEDS to be on the 25-man roster in 2009 or he's gone.
2008-02-05 14:41:29
109.   Xeifrank
103. ew, I don't agree with that at all.
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 14:41:31
110.   madmac
69 73 ah, so really it's just me in the dark. thanks for the clarification.
2008-02-05 14:41:50
111.   East Coast Dodger
103 I was talking about the 2009 potential rotation. Xeifrank is right - if Kuo stays healthy and is good all year, then that only adds to the potential starters in 2009. Although I suppose that if he is healthy and good all 2008 that would mean he excelled as a reliever and could stay there in 2009.

Wow, it's a good time to be a Dodgers' fan! Not only do we get to watch the big club compete, but we get to see who among Elbert, Morris and Withrow get to be the next potential ace.

2008-02-05 14:42:52
112.   regfairfield
108 If he doesn't get his walk rate below eight, I can't say I'd be too sad to see him go.
2008-02-05 14:45:22
113.   Brian Y
104. Mainly, because I think Colletti saw enough of him out of the pen the past few years when he struggled. I also don't think we'll open with more than an 11 man staff at the beginning of the year since our 5th starter (presumably Schmidt or Loaiza) will be skipped a few times. Basically Kuo is fighting with A LOT of players for that last bullpen spot including Mike Myers whom Torre has a history with and is familiar with. Kuo is coming off injury and I presume we'll be very cautious about his ST innings.
2008-02-05 14:46:37
114.   Eric Enders
Miller's a 23-year-old with a K rate as good as any pitcher in the minors. It's way, way too soon to give up on him.
2008-02-05 14:48:30
115.   Brian Y
114. Agreed. He will only be 23 in 2009. It's not like he's over the hill and can't get better. He's adjusting to a revamped delivery (I think) so he just needs time to get that delivery and way of throwing.
2008-02-05 14:48:33
116.   underdog
97 Don't forget Pedro-Almodovar Kershaw.
2008-02-05 14:48:48
117.   regfairfield
114 True, but we only have one more year to show us some sign he can be productive. I'm sure we'll do something to keep him on the club, but right now it doesn't look good for him.
2008-02-05 14:49:23
118.   Gen3Blue
87 chance of all hitting projection=chance of Arizona, Colorado, and San Diego all improving their winning% next year, so it would be very welcome:0).
2008-02-05 14:50:57
119.   Eric Enders
"Kuo can't cut it as a reliever" is a pretty broad conclusion to be drawing from two months of the 2006 season. He was, in fact, an utterly dominant reliever in the minors. And even in his poor relief stretch with the Dodgers, he still struck out 36 in 30 innings.
2008-02-05 14:52:15
120.   Xeifrank
Guo is projected for over a K per inning and less than a hit per inning. Billingsley and Schmidt(?) are the only other starters/potential (until Kershaw arrives) capable of this. Guo's only deamons will be health and possibly walk rate. I don't see Guo as having much trade value either, especially if he must be released if he doesn't make the team.
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 14:53:51
121.   silverwidow
It would be funny if Miller ends up in Tampa Bay. The Jackson/Miller combo will finally be re-united.
2008-02-05 14:54:34
122.   Brian Y
119. I never said I don't want Kuo on the team or that he can't cut it as a reliever. I just don't think he'll make it on the team, there's a difference. But I hope he does, the kid can hit!
2008-02-05 14:55:29
123.   Xeifrank
122. Care to give us a reason? I mean, a good one.
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 14:56:21
124.   Brian Y
121. I would be very unhappy to see 2 players I projected big things from, in Tampa. I think Miller has a HUGE upside if he can figure things out as far as locating his pitches.
2008-02-05 14:56:26
125.   Andrew Shimmin
123- When guessing what Colletti is going to do, good reasons are not always the best bet.
2008-02-05 14:57:47
126.   Xeifrank
125. Yeah, that's why I threw in that 2nd sentence. :)
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 14:59:15
127.   Brian Y
123. Like I said, it's a numbers thing in my opinion. There are a lot of players for 1 spot and Kuo is coming off an injury and it "normally" takes some time to get back to full strength. I think stashing him on the DL is more likely. Again, I'm not getting into a semantics argument on what you feel is a "good" reason versus the one I gave in post 113. There's a chance he will be on the opening day roster, and I was merely voicing MY opinion.
2008-02-05 14:59:19
128.   Eric Enders
I guess one issue might be that we don't know whether Kuo has a champion within the organization. He was signed under Evans (I think) and is one of only six guys remaining who played for the Dodgers under DePodesta. (The others being Kent, Repko, Penny, Brazoban and Broxton.)
2008-02-05 15:02:18
129.   ToyCannon
When G Miller was 21 it was okay to say he's only 21. He's now 23 and several years removed from his health problems. He has not adjusted, and has gone backwards. During the 2007 season he was still hard to hit but his walk rate was Ankielish. It got worse during the AFL as he also started getting pummeled.
I have little hope for him and was surprised we even kept him on the 40 man. This is what a scout had to say when I asked him about his AFL performance-"Miller- Even though his new arm slot will supposedly reduce arm stress, his stuff is clearly not the same. He didn't throw any change-ups the day I saw him, so I doubt he was working on anything other than repeating his delivery. He was generating some swings and misses with his fastball, but both breaking pitches were below average. I can't see him being anything more than a bullpen arm."
2008-02-05 15:02:43
130.   Brian Y
128. I can't imagine Kuo not having quite a few champions in the organization. I just don't know if they are going to be Torre and Colletti.
2008-02-05 15:02:45
131.   Xeifrank
127. Ok, if DL is an option then I guess we are good. :)
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 15:04:13
132.   ToyCannon
He was on the float. I think that makes him a lock.
2008-02-05 15:05:42
133.   Jon Weisman
113 - You're forgetting that Kuo is in contention for the fifth starter spot, and that he has pitched very well for Colletti in that role when healthy. Also, the Dodgers have only four off days in April. While I'm no fan of the 12-man staff, it's a distinct possibility.

Kuo's problems in relief are a sample-size issue as well.

2008-02-05 15:07:47
134.   Brian Y
131. Yes it is a definite possibility to send him on a nice rehab assignment. Jon asked me why I didn't think he had a shot at making the roster without the DL or being traded. Basically, I thought it was a numbers problem considering Torre and Colletti haven't given him the spot yet. If they thought he'd be on the team then there would be no debate because they would say he's our last bullpen arm.
2008-02-05 15:08:05
135.   regfairfield
133 His control problems left once he started starting in AAA and returned when he went back to the pen. Small sample size, yes, but I'm not really looking forward to him in the pen.
2008-02-05 15:08:47
136.   bhsportsguy
128 Well lets break that down.
1. Kent, played for Ned and the Giants, also Ned signed him to an extension so he is okay.
2. Repko, question mark, was signed before any of the current front office folks was in place, was a favorite of Grady's (and you know how much that matters now.)
3. Penny, traded and signed to an extension under DePodesta. Brad apparently has been a present this off-season, participating in all kinds of Dodger events (Rose Parade, mini-camp).
4. Brazoban was one of the last pieces acquired by Dan Evans, came up under DePodesta but has been hurt during Ned's time. One has to think though that Yhency was scouted by members of the current scouting staff, his biggest problem is that Ned and Joe really have not seen him pitch.
5. Broxton, well he was signed by Logan White so he is okay.
6. Kuo was signed many administrations ago but he did have a great September in 2006 so I think he has some credits in the Dodger front office.
2008-02-05 15:09:26
137.   Brian Y
133. You're right, I forgot completely about him being in the 5th Starter's contention as I think of only Loaiza and Schmidt but you're definitely correct. That was a horrible oversight on my part as it is also likely Schmidt starts the year on the DL as well and Loaiza hasn't impressed anyone yet.
2008-02-05 15:12:27
138.   silverwidow
Has anyone addressed whether Loaiza is okay with long relief? What if he starts whining?
2008-02-05 15:14:01
139.   Eric Enders
Hopefully Loaiza realizes that by virtue of his 2007 performance he has forfeited any right to whine.
2008-02-05 15:14:24
140.   ToyCannon
Kuo is my dark horse candidate. Hopefully he'll be healthy this spring and win enough delegates to defeat the old incumbent Loaiza while Schmidt ponders his future on the DL.
2008-02-05 15:14:27
141.   Brian Y
138. Honestly, Loaiza should be happy he's collecting as big a paycheck as he is and isn't under a minor league deal looking for a spot on a 25-man roster. If he gets released, that's what he is most likely looking at.
2008-02-05 15:16:10
142.   regfairfield
141 If Hendrickson, Tomko, Mark Redman and Kip Wells can get guaranteed contracts, someone would pay Esteban. He's one year removed from a decent year for a back of the rotation guy, then messed a year.
2008-02-05 15:17:35
143.   ToyCannon
Right, after Tomko signed for 3 Million, every journeyman in the world should expect some kind of major league deal. It is cool that Lohse is still looking for a deal so not everyone is crazy.
2008-02-05 15:21:42
144.   Eric Enders
It's remarkable how many players are still floating around out there looking for jobs. Jayson Stark had an article about it the other day. There's no team that can use Mike Piazza, or Kenny Lofton, or Otsuka (hurt, but still), or heck, Barry Bonds?
2008-02-05 15:22:22
145.   CanuckDodger
129 -- That scouting report on Miller from the AFL probably shouldn't be taken seriously if the report has his breaking pitches as "below average." I'm not saying the guy didn't see that, but Miller may have been working on fumes by the time the AFL was going on, so that would have been the wrong time to take the measure of his ability. Why? Because BA calls Miller's slider the best in the organization, and in the new prospect handbook book it is called a "plus plus pitch."

I think it is also relevent that Logan White remains a huge champion of Miller. Sure, he has to show much better control this year, but White must be confident that he will.

2008-02-05 15:27:37
146.   bhsportsguy
OT: And this may only be interesting to me, Barbara Hershey turns 60 today.

Was "Hannah and Her Sisters" really released over 20 years ago?

2008-02-05 15:28:05
147.   Eric Enders
Also, it's not like Miller is some Bill Bene-type struggling in the lower minors. He's ready for the majors in every aspect except for control. If and when he ever gains command, he becomes an instant major league star. Even if it's unlikely, he's worth keeping around just due to the possibility.
2008-02-05 15:33:22
148.   ToyCannon
That may have been true once but the ship has sailed and BA just didn't catch it.
2008-02-05 15:48:54
149.   CanuckDodger
148 -- Oh, come on. BA just didn't catch it? Seriously? Your scout gave you bad info based on a sample size of one game, and I'm surprised you seem to be unwilling to consider the info suspect in the wake of contradiction from another source that had a broader range of informed primary sources. BA's Alan Matthews would have talked to White, Watson, and whole lot of other Dodger player development personnel who would know what Miller did during the WHOLE year, not just what he looked like on one day in November. And is it really believable that Miller struck out 97 Double A/Triple A batters in only 76.2 innings with nothing but a fastball he controlled poorly? He HAD to have a devastating breaking ball to get that strikeout total.
2008-02-05 15:49:18
150.   swood
Here's how I see the fianl division standings:
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2008-02-05 15:59:39
151.   Xeifrank
150. I will agree with 3 & 5.


vr, Xei

2008-02-05 16:00:07
152.   trainwreck
WOW, Shaq might be headed to Suns for Marion and Banks.
2008-02-05 16:01:31
153.   wronghanded
2008-02-05 16:01:32
154.   trainwreck
It was breaking news to end Sportscenter.
2008-02-05 16:02:05
155.   fanerman
152 Where is that from?
2008-02-05 16:02:19
156.   fanerman
155 Oh nevermind.
2008-02-05 16:05:30
157.   wronghanded
If Shaq went to Phoenix 2 years ago it would be scary. Now I'm not even convinced its a good move for the Suns.
2008-02-05 16:07:38
158.   bhsportsguy
152 According to ESPN's trade machine, that deal cannot work.
2008-02-05 16:08:18
159.   fanerman
158 That's what the Aaron McKie's are for.
2008-02-05 16:10:05
160.   Xeifrank
isn't the Shaq thing just rumor?
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 16:17:06
161.   fanerman
158 Hmm. The deal worked for me...
2008-02-05 16:19:34
162.   GMac In The 909
161 It worked for me too. Shaq for Marion and Banks, right?
2008-02-05 16:20:50
163.   Xeifrank
What are the remaining contracts like for Marion and Shaq?
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 16:21:00
164.   fanerman
162 Yeah. The salaries are very close. Shaq is at $20M. Marion is ~$16M. Banks is $3M+.
2008-02-05 16:22:27
165.   Disabled List
Nice bit of Jeopardy there. 154 gave the answer before 155 asked the question.
2008-02-05 16:22:48
166.   trainwreck
Miami Herald's now saying that Shaq was informed that the deal is close and get prepared to be traded.
2008-02-05 16:24:16
167.   Jim Hitchcock
146 Are you kidding, BH...I'll still love her when she's 70.

Does anybody remember the Monroes?

2008-02-05 16:24:24
168.   Eric Enders
The holdup is, will the Phoenix PD allow Shaq to play Deputy Dawg?
2008-02-05 16:25:50
169.   fanerman
166 Is that on the website? The only Herald article says it's "not definite."
2008-02-05 16:31:50
170.   trainwreck
It basically says both things.

The Miami Heat have told Shaquille O'Neal and his representation that they should be prepared for him to be traded in the near future.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that Phoenix has discussed sending forward Shawn Marion and point guard Marcus Banks to the Heat in return for O'Neal. Shaq's representatives said they have been made aware that discussions with Phoenix are serious and ongoing, but that a deal was not definite. Marion can opt out of his contract worth $17.1 million at the end of the season. And if he opts out, the Heat would then have substantial salary cap space this offseason, when potential free agents include Gilbert Arenas, Baron Davis, Elton Brand, Marion, Antawn Jamison, Ron Artest and Corey Maggette. Stay tuned.

2008-02-05 16:32:02
171.   Lexinthedena
Shaq in Pheonix seems like an asnwer to the towering western conference...maybe the Suns plan on coaxing 20 effective minutes out of him to counter the size of L.A, Dallas and San Antonio..

On to the Dodgers, I really hope Eric Hull get's a real shot...he get's guys out, and I could see him being the pleasant suprise this season...

2008-02-05 16:32:21
172.   underdog
I don't really get this trade from the Suns' standpoint, considering Shaq sounds nowhere near close to healthy or returning to action. (from the Palm Beach Post): "O'Neal got his two-week evaluation Monday for the left hip bursitis that has kept him out of the lineup the past six games. There still is no word on when the Heat center might return to the lineup, but it's not likely to be soon."

He's 36, has more and more injury issues, and talked about retiring next year. On the other hand, I guess if he does pass a physical and can play effectively this season, he'll help the Suns for sure. But doesn't seem worth acquiring him at this point in his career.

2008-02-05 16:34:15
173.   fanerman
172 Yeah, I really don't get it either.
2008-02-05 16:35:25
174.   swood
172 yeah, me neither. He doesn't fit that system. And hes WAY past his prime.
2008-02-05 16:38:29
175.   swood
171 Good point on Hull. I also think he could be productive.
2008-02-05 16:40:34
176.   swood
151 I don't understand how you can put the Rox as the 4th best team in the division.
2008-02-05 16:40:58
177.   Xeifrank
Ok, looked it up myself.

2008: 16.4m
2009: 17.2m

2008: 3.8m
2009: 4.1m
2010: 4.4m
2011: 4.7m

2008: 20m
2009: 20m
2010: 20m

Why would you want 2-1/2 years of Shaq at 20m per year? Those last two years of Shaq's contract are going to burn the Suns. If this goes through, it's a panic move. A move to thwart the Lakers new formidable front-line. Unfortunately for the Suns, Shaq will be watching most of it from his street clothes.
vr, Xei

2008-02-05 16:44:00
178.   Xeifrank
176. I think they are the 4th best team. They were in 4th place for much of the year last year, before their remarkable late season run last year. They didn't do anything of significance to improve their team for 2008. They have a rather large hole at 2B, their bullpen does not impress me, and their starting pitching is Ok, but not on par with the other four teams. They will see some regression to the mean from some of their hitters. They are still a good team, but a good team in a very tough division. If they came in 1st or 2nd it wouldn't be a huge surprise to me, but I believe they are not better for 2008 than the three teams I listed above them.
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 16:44:03
179.   Eric Enders
The Rockies could, and probably will, be the third-best team in the division. However, (a) I don't see how you can put the Padres ahead of them, and (b) The third-best team in the division may also be the third-best team in the league.
2008-02-05 16:45:55
180.   swood
179 Good point. I think for sure the Rox are head and shoulders above the Pads. You could easily argue that 4 of the 5 best teams in the NL are in the west.
2008-02-05 16:47:56
181.   Xeifrank
179. (a) We'll see, the Padres are still pretty good. They have the best bullpen in the NL West, and a solid group of starting pitchers. Their offense gets maligned because of the park they play in. If you look at their offense away from Petco (last year), they had one of the better offenses in the league. (b) Mets.
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 16:48:41
182.   swood
178 I seem to like there young pitching and position players better than you do. Also don't forget they lead MLB in team fielding PCT last season. There weakness though I think is there 'pen. I don't trust their young closer. I think Jimenez, Francis, Cook, and Morales are all very good though.
2008-02-05 16:50:18
183.   Xeifrank
182. yes, their fielding is very good, though I don't like fielding percentage as a metric. Like I said, they are a good team, but they are in a tough division.
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 16:51:14
184.   regfairfield
182 Fielding percentage is a worse than useless stat.

What I don't like about the Rockies is that their number one is worse than any other team in the West's number two starter, and pretty big holes at second base and centerfield.

2008-02-05 16:51:39
185.   trainwreck
Jimenez needs to cut down on his walks by a lot or else he could turn into Daniel Cabrera.
2008-02-05 16:53:55
186.   wronghanded
179 I put the Pads ahead of the Rox simply based on pitching. Peavy (stud), CY (1st half stud), Maddux (reliable), Wolf and Prior (injury risks with ++ upside) coupled with a bullpen that is near the top of the league. The Padres never have an adequate offense but seem to win 30+ games a year scoring 3 runs or less.
2008-02-05 16:53:58
187.   Xeifrank
In fact, here are my complete 2008 NL West Winter Rankings. vr, Xei
2008-02-05 16:54:25
188.   swood
I would take Francis over Lowe and Lincecum any day...
2008-02-05 16:54:47
189.   Gen3Blue
121 It would be "funny" but not if they both hit their stride when were about 27.
And SW I remember another really brilliant lefty who couldn't find his control until about 23/24 years old. Of course Sandy didn't have the injury history. But I've always had great hopes for MIller.
2008-02-05 16:55:55
190.   regfairfield
186 Maddux isn't even an average pitcher any more (ERA+ of 98). He's probably not even a top 15 starter in this division.
2008-02-05 16:56:17
191.   swood
186 I have 0 trust in Prior and Wolf. I don't know if the 'pen will be as good this year as in years past(although its hard to hit Heath Bell, he was a great pickup for them). I trust their offense only a little more than I trust Prior and Wolf...
2008-02-05 16:56:46
192.   regfairfield
188 Why?
2008-02-05 16:57:44
193.   swood
You're right though that the margin between the Rox, Pads, D's, and DBacks isn't great. I anticipate a close race between those 4 down to the wire.
2008-02-05 16:58:31
194.   swood
I didn't look it up but I'm pretty sure Francis numbers > Lowe & Lincecum's
2008-02-05 17:02:24
195.   wronghanded
191 Dodger fans (myself included) seem to underestimate the Pads going into the season every year. This year I'm not gonna fall for it, they always look like trash on paper and end the year near the top of the division. Bell, Meredith and "BP fastball" Hoffman (don't ask me how but he's still effective) are pretty formidible if the Pads have a lead going into the 7th. If either one of Wolf or Prior stay healthy and give the Pads a decent #4, they'll have one of the best pitching staffs in the game (even if Germano is their #5).
2008-02-05 17:02:49
196.   swood
BTW, Pau Gasol makes his Lakers debut tonight. Lakers losing to the Nets 22-20
2008-02-05 17:06:09
197.   swood
195 I predicted the Pads to be good last year... I think they're worse this year than last year.
2008-02-05 17:06:23
198.   Xeifrank
196. Would you take Francis over Gasol too?
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 17:07:56
199.   Xeifrank
197. Ok, but why? Don't like Edmonds in CF? Maddux getting old? He was old last year. Don't like Headley/Reynolds in LF? Bullpen got lucky last year?
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 17:10:05
200.   Xeifrank
Lakers bench should chew n spit the Nets reserves out.
vr, Xei
Show/Hide Comments 201-250
2008-02-05 17:11:41
201.   swood
Edmonds < Cameron
Maddux is like Shaq, WAY past his prime. LOL
I still don't trust Kouz over at 3rd. I know he finished last season strong... but for most of the year he was below .250.
They're 'pen isn't getting any younger either.
I see 3 teams better than them in the west
2008-02-05 17:12:58
202.   wronghanded
197 How has their value decreased from last season to this season? They lost who, Mike Cameron and Marcus Giles? Edmonds and Iguchi are close in value to Cameron and Giles IMO. Plus you need to factor in Gonzalez, Greene and Kouzmanoff gaining another year of big league experience and 2 huge wild-cards for them in their rotation (they still have Hensley and Germano to fall back on). In my opinion, the Padres are about where they were last year at this time in terms of talent.
2008-02-05 17:13:20
203.   Eric Enders
I'm not sure why the Padres are automatically being granted "best bullpen" status. Broxton and Saito are far surer things than anyone the Padres have. Heath Bell may have broken out last year, or may have had a fluke season. Kevin Cameron's year is completely unrepeatable given his peripherals. Hoffman could blow up at any time. Meredith's good, not great, but good. Doug Brocail will probably go back to being Doug Brocail.

The Pads' '07 pen was based on numerous guys having unexpected career years. Which means that either Bud Black and Darren Balsley are the greatest geniuses in the history of baseball, or their pen is due for a big fallback in '08.

2008-02-05 17:13:29
204.   swood
I bet they go from 90 wins last year down to 80 this year... If for no other reason than age, injuries and a tougher schedule.
2008-02-05 17:14:26
205.   Eric Enders
Jim Edmonds in center field is going to be a disaster of biblical proportions. Count on it.
2008-02-05 17:16:21
206.   swood
Who is the projected LF for them again? I can't even think of it off the top of my head...
2008-02-05 17:19:01
207.   Xeifrank
203. Dodgers will be giving some fairly high leverage innings to Proctor, if he is indeed their main 7th inning (non loogy) man. The Padres go solid three deep, the Dodgers go solid two deep. If the Dodgers had a pitcher named Cla Proctor then we'd be better.
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 17:19:46
208.   Xeifrank
206. Reynolds/Headley. Pierre probably would get too much playing time in LF down south. :)
vr, Xei
2008-02-05 17:19:55
209.   regfairfield
206 Scott Hairston or Kevin Kouzmanoff.
2008-02-05 17:20:08
210.   Eric Enders
206 Their left fielder has been listed as "TBA" all off-season, but apparently things are going well with Chase Headley's switch from third to the outfield, so they're not looking for another outfielder anymore.
2008-02-05 17:20:21
211.   Xeifrank
Lakers Log5 win expectancy tonight is 66.88% using home/road winning percentages for each team. vr, Xei
2008-02-05 17:20:31
212.   regfairfield
208 I like how we both named two guys and neither of them were the same.
2008-02-05 17:20:53
213.   swood
I know Bell was beast last year, but I wouldn't be surprised if he really tailed off this year. I've heard he had "motivational issues" at times with the Mets...
2008-02-05 17:25:01
214.   fanerman
211 What's the Log5?
2008-02-05 17:26:32
215.   Eric Enders
So, in summary. The Padres will contend for the title of worst outfield in baseball. They should be very slightly above average at first, second, short, and perhaps third. Their catching stinks. Their bullpen is good, but questionable. Maddux is not MADDUX anymore; he's fodder. Wolf and Prior may pitch well, or may never pitch a game for San Diego. So we're left with Jake Peavy and Chris Young and who knows what else.
2008-02-05 17:27:11
216.   swood
I laugh at the thought that Pierre might not be the worst LF in the division. LOL
2008-02-05 17:27:53
217.   swood
215. Nice summary
2008-02-05 17:28:18
218.   swood
BTW, how do you get the numbers to turn blue with underline?
2008-02-05 17:28:30
219.   wronghanded
205 I wish I could believe it because I absolutely hate the Padres (more than the Giants). I was a Dodger fan in San Diego County from 1988-2007 and heard nothing but Dodger blasting from friends, classmates, teachers, coworkers, aquaintances, strangers, kids, police officers etc. San Diego is a volatile place to sport the Dodger blue but every season I trick myself into believing that the Dodgers will own the Pads this year and it hasn't really happened in the past 10+ years. So every season when I look at the Padres pathetic roster on paper I fool myself into believing that the Dodgers will do it this year, now I'm such a cynic that the Pads could field a t-ball team and I'd still have my doubts. For whatever reason, the Padres get up for games against us and I don't think the same is neccesarily true on our end. We as Dodger fans need to realize that the Giants aren't our rivals anymore, its the stinking Padres. Sorry for the rant, I just really hate that organization.
2008-02-05 17:30:29
220.   swood
The thing that bothers me about the Pads is that Kevin Towers >>>>>>>>>>>> Neddy
2008-02-05 17:31:51
221.   Eric Enders
Yeah, the Padres have at least three people in their front office (Towers, DePo, Alderson) who are better GMs than Colletti. That part is a little disturbing.
2008-02-05 17:32:38
222.   Eric Enders
218 Put the number inside brackets.
2008-02-05 17:32:50
223.   The Mootz
218 The mystical powers of brackets.

Click on the (Help) beside Post a comment and the mystery will be revealed.

2008-02-05 17:34:51
224.   wronghanded
221 You seem to be convinced that the Padres will stink it up this year, but haven't they had at least this many question marks going into the season for the past 5 years or so?
2008-02-05 17:35:00
225.   swood
223 Thank you for solving the mystery. LOL. I'm gonna watch some Idol with my family then go to sleep. Its 8:30 on the east coast. Good Night!
2008-02-05 17:36:22
226.   D4P
To be fair:

2007 Payrolls

Dodgers: 108,704,524, 6th highest
Padres: 58,235,567, 24th highest

And let us not forget:

2007 Wins

Dodgers: 82
Padres: 89

2008-02-05 17:37:46
227.   Jon Weisman
215 - Good use of "fodder." It's catching on.
2008-02-05 17:42:50
228.   Eric Enders
224 They've had question marks in prior years, but they've also had good players. I think this year they're a little short in the "good players" department, so probably every single question mark will have to pan out in order for them to contend. Last year they got miracle years from Milton Bradley and their entire bullpen, and still didn't make the playoffs.

I don't think they'll stink it up, though. I'm guessing they'll be anywhere from three games below .500 to three games above.

2008-02-05 17:43:35
229.   D4P
Other uses:

Nate was attacked by a Cougar at a club last night, but luckily, he fodder off.

2008-02-05 17:45:13
230.   Eric Enders
Fodder off? Is that the guy who was dating Kournikova?
2008-02-05 17:48:10
231.   wronghanded
228 For my sanity I hope you're right, I long for the day when I can call all my Padre-loving friends and let them have it!
2008-02-05 18:18:56
232.   El Lay Dave
Maddux is definitely not MADDUX anymore and must be in decline but in 2007 he made 34 starts, he averaged 5.82 IP/start, he had the aforementioned 98 ERA+, he posted WHIP splits* of Home: 1.206 Away: 1.276, even had an average game score of 50, if you like such things. That seem like a reasonable back of the rotation guy to me. Is the Padres problem that they have Peavy and Young for a 1-2 punch and everyone else should be back of the rotation at best?

* splits shown because Petco is such an extreme pitcher's park.

2008-02-05 18:25:30
233.   MC Safety
I am not at my computer but didnt Adrian Gonzalez have a ridiculous first half and then fall off a cliff or am I imagining things?
2008-02-05 18:29:28
234.   overkill94
233 No, he was actually significantly better in the 2nd half (.809 OPS 1st half, .894 2nd half)
2008-02-05 18:30:22
235.   Bob Timmermann
You're welcome.
2008-02-05 18:32:53
236.   Andrew Shimmin
Our fodder, who art in left field, Slappy be thy name.
2008-02-05 18:36:16
237.   Eric Enders
Gonzalez did fall off a big-time cliff in the middle of the year. On June 1 he was at .306/.372/.546. By July 15, he'd fallen to .258/.332/.458. He improved gradually after that and got back to .280/.345/.495 by the end of the year.

He had an sOPS+ of 106, so he wasn't a much better hitter than your average first baseman.

2008-02-05 18:41:01
238.   Lexinthedena
222- He he hee..."Put the lotion in the basket!"
2008-02-05 18:46:43
239.   MC Safety
Thx for the save Eric. So to my larger point.... Adrian Gonzalez can fall off a cliff. There is hope!
2008-02-05 18:53:25
240.   Lexinthedena
The Padres will be an irritant to the the real contenders this year...they aren't good enough to win the division, but will consistently derail hot teams with their tandem at the top, and occasional performances by Gonzalez and Greene...L.A, Col, and AZ are better teams IMO...
2008-02-05 19:04:49
241.   underdog
Another thing to consider - don't overlook those intangibles that put the Padres over the Dodgers, such as how much less stinky it is there vs. at Dodger Stadium, and just how the Dodgers are consistently a bottom half of the standings team. And less beachballs!
2008-02-05 19:05:47
242.   underdog
Derek Fisher = very happy to have Pau Gasol on the team. 28 points tonight.

Anyone catch that no look over the shoulder pass from Gasol to Fisher? Beautiful.

2008-02-05 19:09:19
243.   regfairfield
237 Sounds a lot like our Gonzalez.

241 The beachballs are an excellent point.

2008-02-05 19:40:01
244.   regfairfield
2007 Padres:

C Bard
1B Gonzalez
2B Giles
3B Kouzmanoff
SS Greene
LF Baseball Reference tells me Jose Cruz, totally forgot that.
CF Cameron
RF Giles

SPs Peavy, Young, Maddux, Hensley, Wells

I see left field and fifth starter as question marks there (in retrospect, second and starters three-five should have been). This year, left, center and second are all unknowns with the Padres being two likely injuries away from employing lord only knows in the rotation. The team tends to surprise, but I don't think they have the great defense anymore (which tends to be the common element in surprise teams) to carry them. Going from Cameron, Cruz and Giles to Edmonds, Iguchi and Hairston with Kouzmanoff still horrible is a huge step down.

2008-02-05 19:46:27
245.   Gen3Blue
"It puts the lotion in the basket"
I like our chances to improve a bit.

Some of the three above us will fall.

2008-02-05 20:00:44
246.   LogikReader
Watching the Lakers game on KCAL 9, and suddenly I get this...

KCAL9: We are having technical difficulties, PLEASE STAND BY

Looks like the tape machine broke down

2008-02-05 20:23:37
247.   Eric Enders
244 Except Iguchi will be better than Giles was, and there's no reason to expect Kouzmanoff will be bad again.
2008-02-05 20:33:09
248.   Yu-Hsing Chen
I think there's a major misconception here.

here's what some of the Padre carry over hit last year.... on the Road

Josh Bard:.330 /.386 /.456

Adrian Gonzalez: .295 /.358 /.570

Kevin Kouzmanoff: .273 /.327 /.496

Khali Greene: .280 /.335 /.515 !!

Brian Giles: .299/.374 /.496

When talking about the Padre offense, always give a thought to their park, which was by far the biggest pitcher's park last year (yes it beat out Dolphin Stadium.. by A LOT ) and check out their hitter's road numbers. which might give you a better indication of their true talent level.

Those who think the Friar's can't hit are deeply mistaken , they can, they just happen to play in hitter's hell half their games, when on the road the Friars were probably one of the BEST hitting team in the NL last year !

At the very least, i don't think it's nearly as much of a given that they are not a contender in the NL west next year, from what I see, EVERYONE except the Giants are a contender in this division... just like last year.

The Dodger have some very very serious potentials, perhaps the best in the division, but it's also the most complicated piece of puzzel because there's so many guys you need to jiggle around to get the best combination (like, hiring a hit man on Juan Pierre to start )

2008-02-05 20:50:21
249.   MC Safety
Those numbers Bradley put up are serious. Wow.
2008-02-05 21:29:17
250.   Xeifrank
248. Nice post. That's what I tried to say earlier. Take a look at the Padres road numbers on offense last year, they were one of the leagues best offenses. As far as 2008 numbers go on offense. They have league average or better hitters at...

1B-Adrian Gonzalez
3B-Kevin Kouzmanoff
RF-Brian Giles
C-Josh Bard
3B/LF-Chase Headley
SS-Khalil Greene
CF-Jim Edmonds

That's 7 out of 8 positions, plus playing in a tough hitters park.

Source: ZIPS

vr, Xei

Show/Hide Comments 251-300
2008-02-05 21:35:41
251.   Xeifrank
Dodgers have hitters at the following position that are league average or better (Same source).

RF-Matt Kemp
1B-James Loney
LF-Andre Ethier (*)
CF-Andruw Jones
C-Russell Martin
2B-Jeff Kent
SS-Rafael Furcal

Dodgers have 7 out of 8 also, with Furcal being just barely above the average and LaRoche barely below (Nomar below). Asterisk to Ethier because Pierre is very much below league average in LF. So, I'd say offensively the Padres have nothing to worry about, atleast in comparison to the Dodgers. The Dodgers have a much brighter future than the Padres with all their good young players, but in 2008 the Padres are no slouches.
vr, Xei

2008-02-05 21:36:59
252.   Bluebleeder87
Milton Bradley always puts up good #'s BUT he's always hurt.
2008-02-05 22:29:31
253.   neuroboy002
From the Rob Neyer chat earlier today:

Ryan (San Diego): Rob, can you discuss the NL West? Seems to me the Padres have had a significant downgrade offensively. Any chance they can win this thing?

SportsNation Rob Neyer: They've got so many smart people in the front office that I'm not ready to count them out. But they would seem to need nice bounce-backs from at least two of the following three players: Michael Barrett, Brian Giles, Jim Edmonds. And yes, it's hard to see them beating out the D'backs and Dodgers.

Bill(Pasadena, Ca.): Hey Rob, got a Dodgers question for you. Even though the dodgers signed Andruw Jones, do you think that they still need a big time bat in that line-up?

SportsNation Rob Neyer: Between Jones and Kemp and LaRoche and Loney, I don't think scoring runs will be an issue.

Elliot (Arcadia, CA): Hi Rob, As a close follower of the Dodgers, I'm struggling with our 3rd base choices. Nomar is fragile and a mediocre fielder, and LaRoche is still not much more than a prospect since he hasn't proven anything. Are we in prayer mode here? Thanks.

SportsNation Rob Neyer: Yeah, you should pray that LaRoche plays better than Garciaparra next month, else you might find yourself with an old, gimpy third baseman who can't hit.

2008-02-05 22:29:32
254.   neuroboy002
From the Rob Neyer chat earlier today:

Ryan (San Diego): Rob, can you discuss the NL West? Seems to me the Padres have had a significant downgrade offensively. Any chance they can win this thing?

SportsNation Rob Neyer: They've got so many smart people in the front office that I'm not ready to count them out. But they would seem to need nice bounce-backs from at least two of the following three players: Michael Barrett, Brian Giles, Jim Edmonds. And yes, it's hard to see them beating out the D'backs and Dodgers.

Bill(Pasadena, Ca.): Hey Rob, got a Dodgers question for you. Even though the dodgers signed Andruw Jones, do you think that they still need a big time bat in that line-up?

SportsNation Rob Neyer: Between Jones and Kemp and LaRoche and Loney, I don't think scoring runs will be an issue.

Elliot (Arcadia, CA): Hi Rob, As a close follower of the Dodgers, I'm struggling with our 3rd base choices. Nomar is fragile and a mediocre fielder, and LaRoche is still not much more than a prospect since he hasn't proven anything. Are we in prayer mode here? Thanks.

SportsNation Rob Neyer: Yeah, you should pray that LaRoche plays better than Garciaparra next month, else you might find yourself with an old, gimpy third baseman who can't hit.

2008-02-05 22:47:38
255.   Andrew Shimmin
Is there a stat-nerd argument anywhere near as irritating to heart-and-soul types as the "he's just a prospect; he hasn't proven anything" argument is to me? I have no idea who Elliot from Arcadia is, will probably never meet him, and still I'd like to light his car on fire, and kick him in the neck.
2008-02-05 23:05:29
256.   Bob Timmermann
Who's to say?
2008-02-05 23:15:47
257.   Dodgers49
Yahoo!: Shaq to Suns Done, Pending Physical

2008-02-05 23:25:30
258.   Dodgers49
Dodgers' Kemp is happy cellphone never rang with news of a trade

>> Kemp spent most of the winter working out in Arizona, sculpting a frame that he said now weighs around 220 pounds. He was up to 240 at the end of last season.

"I had to shed some pounds so I could move a little bit more," Kemp said. "I feel quicker, I feel way stronger. <<

## With the 90,505 tickets that were available for the Dodgers' exhibition game at the Coliseum against the Boston Red Sox on March 29 already sold out, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said the club is studying the feasibility of adding seats and selling more tickets. Seats were not available in center field, the side of the east end zone on the days the venue is used for football. ##

2008-02-05 23:27:53
259.   fanerman
257 Yeah. Insane. While I don't have any idea how Shaq will fit with the Suns and I don't know how that trade will really help them, I'm still a little afraid of it (with regard to the Lakers)
2008-02-05 23:54:34
260.   still bevens
258 I will be looking into chartering a helicopter to get to the game.
2008-02-05 23:57:46
261.   Eric Stephen
There's also "stats just tell the past; they don't say anything about the future."

However, I agree that your statement deserves a much more severe neck kicking.

2008-02-06 00:07:27
262.   Eric Stephen
Regarding the Shaq trade, this smacks of desperation by the Suns. They had to do something, as they would have been crushed by either the Spurs or Lakers in the playoffs if they stood pat.

I don't know what Shaq has left, but this certainly an exciting move. This was a "go for broke" move for Phoenix, and there's a decent chance they didn't even improve in the short term (while definitely hurting longer term).

The West really is amazing this season. All these teams bunched together. I can't wait for Bynum to get back, if only so I can see this more often now: :)

2008-02-06 00:10:37
263.   Eric Stephen
Time for Colletti to offer Russell Martin something "legitimate":

"It's not up to me and Bob," Martin said. "It's up to the team. If the team wants to offer something legitimate, it'd be idiotic not to look at it."

2008-02-06 00:15:52
264.   trainwreck
With the amount of money Ned throws around, I find it hard to believe he did not offer Martin a decent and comparable deal to other players.
2008-02-06 00:17:48
265.   Andrew Shimmin
There's got to be some kind of mutual disarmament pact that could be reached. There's some tool in the stat nerd's toolbox that could be traded. Think about it, Elliot from Arcadia.
2008-02-06 00:22:04
266.   Andrew Shimmin
Good on Dylan Hernandez for asking the question.
2008-02-06 00:22:39
267.   Eric Stephen
Maybe the word "meme" can also be ankled.
2008-02-06 00:24:20
268.   Eric Stephen
I think it's just that there haven't been any real talks yet. More than likely Ned called Martin's agent and the two spoke abstractly about an extension, but no real figures were discussed...yet!
2008-02-06 00:25:35
269.   Dodgers49
265 But Ned throws his money at PVLs. :-)
2008-02-06 00:45:06
270.   still bevens
I wouldnt be surprised if Russ is looking to exceed the Mauer and McCann deals. If he puts up huge numbers this year he can have some more bargaining power than he does now.
2008-02-06 06:42:03
271.   Terry A
264 - I dunno. You can read between the lines in that article and come to a conclusion that Martin felt whatever was offered was not "legitimate." Whether that means it was a lowball offer in terms of $ or years or both, or whether it was something insulting (Juan Pierre's bat caddy), is unclear.

By the way, the word "primer" as used in this post's title. The folks at NPR pronounce it "primmer," while everybody else on God's green earth says "primer," like the stuff you put on walls before the paint. Which is correct?

2008-02-06 06:46:56
272.   Terry A
(For the record, I do not know if Click and Clack pronounce it "primmer," but the NPR folks on All Things Considered do.)
2008-02-06 07:05:09
273.   JoeyP
This Shaq move isnt going to look very good in 09, or 10---but the Suns could be a real scary matchup problem for any team if Shaq comes back healthy for the final half of the season. Shaq seems to always take it slow the 1st half of the year before finally showing up for the 2nd half/playoffs.

Shaq's never played with a PG as good as Nash, so it'll be interesting to see how he fits in.

Suns can go big:
C- Shaq

Or Small
C- Amare
PF- Diaw
SF- Barbosa
PG- Nash

2008-02-06 07:32:27
274.   Disabled List
221 Yeah, the Padres have at least three people in their front office (Towers, DePo, Alderson) who are better GMs than Colletti. That part is a little disturbing.

The Dodgers have at least three people in their front office (Watson, Ng, White) who would probably be better GMs than Colletti.

Speaking of, I wonder if Colletti has been giving advice to the Phoenix Suns GM. Shaq for Shawn Marion?? That's a panic trade of Hendricksonian proportions.

2008-02-06 07:39:23
275.   Jon Weisman
New post up top.

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