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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
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4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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Something I Did Not Realize
2008-05-16 21:56
by Jon Weisman

Career EQA, according to Baseball Prospectus:

.286 Matt Kemp (624 plate appearances)
.282 Andre Ethier (1,087 plate appearances)
.280 Andruw Jones (7,417 plate appearances)
.257 Juan Pierre (5,351 plate appearances)

I've been holding out hope for Jones to draw closer to his career norms, though without necessarily expecting him to reach them. What I didn't realize is that even his career norms on offense are below those of Kemp and Ethier. And Kemp and Ethier are players on the rise.

That doesn't in and of itself mean that Jones should lose at-bats (once the Dodgers go back to not having the designated hitter), but it's another reason that Ethier and Kemp should be etched into the everyday lineup without question.

I will acknowledge that Ethier has not been a solid hitter against left-handed pitching in his career - .719 OPS before tonight's home run. Ethier's not going to the Hall of Fame. But he simply should not be fighting for playing time. Against righthanders, Ethier is the second-best outfielder on the team. Against lefties, he's third-best.

* * *

Did Gary Bennett earn baseball blooper immortality with his parabola over James Loney's head tonight, allowing Erick Aybar to advance from home plate to third base on a strikeout? All signs point to yes. Not that this was our first indelible memory of Bennett from a Dodger game ...

Comments (134)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-05-16 22:11:52
1.   Jon Weisman
The Jazz are playing like Washington State at Pauley Pavilion.
2008-05-16 22:14:01
2.   Jon Weisman
Or, the Jazz is playing like Washington State at Pauley Pavilion.
2008-05-16 22:17:02
3.   Disabled List
The Lakers is giving me heartburn something awful.
2008-05-16 22:24:25
4.   underdog
As my Jewish-Mexican friend used to say, "Oy Caramba." The Lakers escape after a little high wire act there at the end. Whew. I respect the Jazz team and admire their comeback, but I feel tickled to know their fans suffered greatly during this game.

The night was half a success!

2008-05-16 22:28:35
5.   underdog
Oh, and for Bob, from previous thread:

274 - I have seen Angels-Dodgers games before, I just have the guys from "Men in Black" come flash that little memory eraser thing at me each time, so it's always a surprise when F-Rod praises the heavens for a save.

And sorry LAT that you miss out on those tix.

Night all!

2008-05-16 22:30:00
6.   PDH5204
Jon, very nearly every throw that man makes is a blooper [literally so]. I'm waiting for one of our pitchers, after the blooper back to the pitcher following the pitch, to fire the ball back to him and right at the center of his chest.

And, no, I don't feel sorry him. Throw the darn ball on a line. If the first grade girl who is my baseball pupil can do it, so can you Mr. Bennett.

2008-05-16 22:30:09
7.   Bob Timmermann
But how can you know that the MiB use the memory thing on you?
2008-05-16 22:32:13
8.   underdog
7 Uh... what MiB thing are you referring to?
2008-05-16 22:35:02
9.   fanerman
The Lakers defense almost gave me a heart attack. It's really hot in SoCal. I saw Gary Bennett's crazy throw. Goodness. At least 3.5 hit a home run and Bison drew a walk.
2008-05-16 22:39:30
10.   Bob Hendley
The only thing we ever asked of Druw was for him to at least hit his weight. He's the one who upped the ante.
2008-05-16 22:41:30
11.   68elcamino427
#7, Loney had a good game with a couple of hits.
2008-05-16 22:51:45
12.   Jon Weisman
6 - Well, obviously that's true about his throwing, but won't you concede that tonight's took the cake? The whole point of him conserving his arms on throws back to the pitcher is so he can rock and fire when it counts.
2008-05-16 22:59:52
13.   PDH5204
12 It pains me too much too concede the point. You had otherwise better be on standby, since if he ever does rock and fire, well, I will need some confirmation that he indeed rocked and fired. Lastly, if there any word that anyone is trying to work with him in this respect? Sorry, almost forgot, but, yes, if he wasn't on our team and so it didn't hurt so much, I'd find his escapade to be one for the ages.
2008-05-16 23:00:34
14.   PDH5204
13 Sorry, "if" should be "is".
2008-05-16 23:12:05
15.   Reddog
Why didn't we just re-sign Lieberthal to be our back-up catcher this season. He was an adequate back-up for Martin. Did he retire?
2008-05-16 23:13:21
16.   Bob Timmermann
Lieberthal retired although he is going to sign a nominal 1-day contract with the Phillies and have a ceremony there.
2008-05-16 23:16:22
17.   Xeifrank
15. He probably retired because the Dodgers didn't want to sign him.
vr, Xei
2008-05-16 23:21:45
18.   Reddog
I really think Colletti has proven to be completely incompetent and should be fired.
2008-05-16 23:26:14
19.   underdog
Btw, Tony Jackson has a good blog entry posted just a little while ago going into some detail about the game, specifically the Bennett Issue, so I recommend checking that out.

I also hadn't realized that the reason Pierre ended up playing the field for Jones today was because the latter had a "catch" in his back that made it harder for him to play defense tonight.

Good news about Furcal, at least. Boy, they really miss him.

At least DeWitt will be back tomorrow, Martin will be back behind the plate, and all will be right with the world. Except for a possible pitching mis-match.

Okay, I'm really off to bed now.

18 Other than that, how did you like the play Mrs. Lincoln?

2008-05-16 23:28:45
20.   Jonny6
Has Bennett actually come out and said that's the reason behind his bloopers back to the pitcher? I think the vitriol unleashed tonight after Bennett's rainbow toss over Loney stems from the pain of enduring watching him throw back to the pitcher. If it was a normal catcher, we would chalk it up to a freak occurrence. But for Bennett, it's the perfectly logical outcome for a routine throw to first.

A question for someone who watches a lot more baseball than me and has seen Bennett occasionally prior to this season, has he always thrown like this?

All I know is that it's incredibly distracting to me just as a viewer. I think if I was the pitcher I would want to kick him in the groin and tell him to throw me the ball like a normal human, you know play catch like every kid who has ever played baseball beyond teeball league.

I'm glad that Bennett's kids got to see his homerun in Milwaukee, and I am hopeful that they'll being seeing a lot more of ol' dad around the house very soon.

2008-05-16 23:35:26
21.   Jonny6
One other thought. Maybe we can survive with Bennett on the team, but only if Torre agrees to play him only when he's paired up with that one home plate umpire who loves to fire the ball back to the pitcher. That way the ump can get the ball back to the pitcher and spare us from having to watch Bennett's bloopers.
2008-05-16 23:38:51
22.   Bob Timmermann
As underdog noted, Tony Jackson's blog covers Bennett's throwing issues much better:
2008-05-16 23:43:29
23.   Bob Hendley
What sort of input does Torre have in player moves? How much of a say, for example, does he have in Andy still being in Vegas? Or did he have any input when the Solution/Gumption was sent down? It almost seems like we are seeing a power struggle between him and Colletti being played out in the lineup. Its like he is saying, well these are the players you give me, so let me show you just how bad a lineup I can put out there. What is the thought process that has him putting pen to paper and writing down Bennett and Mazza when he fills in the card, and putting his All Star catcher in at third base? I am sure that I am going overboard here, but it just seems so bizarre. And this is on top of the whole Ethier/JP issue and wheeling Druw out there night after night. You see this sort of stuff once and you can think, well there are 162 games so what does it matter if so in so is playing, but this is getting ridiculous.
2008-05-16 23:54:17
24.   Jon Weisman
23 - Let's admit up front we have no idea whether Torre and Colletti are in conflict on personnel moves. No doubt they consult with each other, though.

As for third base-catcher, with DeWitt out but not on the DL to allow for a LaRoche callup, Torre is clearly more comfortable with Martin-Bennett than Hu-Martin. Bennett's HR, 4 RBI and seven innings of shutout catching Thursday no doubt reinforced that.

It's not a mystery. Hu is on the outs with Torre right now. It's not permanent, but it's current.

2008-05-17 00:30:58
25.   Rich Lederer
I had a front row seat at the game tonight and believe Bennett has a mental problem as it relates to throwing the ball back to the pitcher. Not only did Bennett lob it in a manner that I have never seen before but he took several steps toward the mound and Kuroda took several steps toward home plate to shorten the throw every time.

Bennett had a horrible game, throwing, receiving, and swinging the bat (slow bat). I would be surprised if he were still with the team come June.

2008-05-17 00:35:47
26.   Jon Weisman
25 - Welcome home, Rich! The way Bennett throws the ball to the pitcher isn't new and it's completely intentional. That it's supremely disconcerting to watch is another matter.
2008-05-17 00:36:50
27.   Bob Hendley
24 - Thanks. I don't feel any better, but thanks. Good to hear that the Solution is likely to play tomorrow and that Rafi is on the mend. Let get these Halos!

Wait, I can't let this go. So Hu being on the outs would be part of any discussion regarding bringing in Mazza, so Colletti wouldn't blink an eye at seeing him pencilled in for two starts in a row? The LaRoche situation is troubling. We can't afford to not field the best team possible on a consistent basis. We have needed a third basemen for the past couple of days and have a good one in Vegas, but what we do instead is bring in a fellow as an emergency ss and have him start.

2008-05-17 00:50:38
28.   Jon Weisman
27 - Yes. It is lame.
2008-05-17 00:55:26
29.   Bob Hendley
BTW, Torre is on the outs with me. Current, but hopefully not permanent. As for Colletti, well, like Orel, once a Giant, always a Giant.
2008-05-17 00:56:21
30.   scareduck
That doesn't in and of itself mean that Jones should lose at-bats

Respectfully and totally disagree with you. But we both disagreed on the merits of the Jones signing to begin with.

2008-05-17 01:00:55
31.   scareduck
25 - Rex Hudler commented on this in the radio broadcast. In retrospect it may be that he is having issues with his throwing mechanics; new or not, could he be injured?
2008-05-17 01:28:38
32.   Jon Weisman
30 - "That" referred to their lifetime EQAs, so all I meant was that their lifetime EQAs was not a reason by itself to bench Jones.
2008-05-17 02:08:10
33.   PDH5204
20 25 Correct, as my vitriol tonight was unleashed following the lob overthrow, but owing to the continued lob throws back to the pitcher, well, like that volcano it was simply a matter of time before the gas and lava erupted. And to bring in 31 , that's it, injury and/or head case. Rich makes the only relevant point for me, as our pitcher now has to break usual routine and all that such entails, just to have to move in a couple steps and take a lob throw back to him. As I said in the game thread, add in slotting in our two no-OBP guys just where they can have the most PAs, and it's fairly obvious to me that some don't have even so much as the first clue.
2008-05-17 02:13:14
34.   Andrew Shimmin
Gary Bennett can't hit, throw, catch, or run. There was never any point to signing him; there's no point to keeping him. What could possibly be a lower coaching priority than convincing him not to throw like a doofus? I like tinkering with broken stuff, too, but this is like trying to fix a 1.5" black and white CRT. Throw it out, already--it's embarrassing.
2008-05-17 02:29:59
35.   Eric Enders
Shimmin's right. The consensus on Bennett when we signed him was that it was an abominably stupid move, but it was only the backup catcher, so what could it hurt?

Well, now it's hurting. I want him off the team. Yesterday. Call up Lucas May if you have to. Call Mike Lieberthal if you have to. Call somebody, for Pete's sake.

Clearly our manager needs to be protected from himself. If he's going to be stupid enough to turn his Gold Glove catcher into a semi-regular third baseman, then the backup catcher needs to be somebody who can at least play baseball.

By the way, why do we actually believe that DeWitt will be in the lineup tomorrow? He was said to be well enough to play on Thursday, and he didn't. Then he was said to be well enough to play on Friday, and he didn't. What reason is there to believe he'll be well enough to play on Saturday?

2008-05-17 02:51:34
36.   LoneStar7
i Cant believe werth had 3 jacks tonight...unfortunate loss though..
2008-05-17 06:23:43
37.   Ken Noe
I'm grumpy this morning. Losing is one thing. Good teams lose all the time. Losing to your crosstown rivals because your All-Star catcher is playing third base while your back-up catcher who can't throw the ball is behind the plate yet again is another thing. Throw in the fact that the guy who drove in both runs has become a part-timer, and you've still got the more poorly run operation in SoCal. McCourt needs to put down his landscaping plans and take a hard look now at the team his GM is fielding.
2008-05-17 06:36:09
38.   Marty
Bennett at catcher, Martin at third, Maza at short is something I would have expected from Tracy.
2008-05-17 07:11:50
39.   jtrichey
35 Because we all trust our medical staff so well, and the players judgments of their health also. Much like Furcal said he would be back the next game 5 straight days until he ended up on the DL. It's fun.
2008-05-17 07:27:18
40.   Jon Weisman
35 - Had we started actually believing what players or the team were saying about their injuries? That's a fool's game.
2008-05-17 07:32:29
41.   immouch
not to defend bennett, or suggest that there were only two options in this, but lieberthal was/is no longer a major league player. it's not just the dodgers who didn't want him. at one point last year he had one (1) rbi in nearly 70 at bats. and i think a reason martin played four trillion innings in a row in july and august was that grady didn't trust giving leiberthal any ABs. so, while we can all pine for bennett's departure, we haven't really lost anything at this spot when compared with last year.
2008-05-17 07:40:57
42.   immouch
dumb question (because i bet the answer is going to make me wince)... how did werth wind up a non-dodger?
2008-05-17 07:44:29
43.   Bob Timmermann
Backup catchers are an odd lot. They are going to be one-dimensional (offense or defense) at best.

And when you have a star catcher, the backup has to be someone who doesn't mind sitting. A lot.

Backup catcher to Martin is akin to being the backup goalie on a very good hockey team. That player isn't going to see a lot of action and principally has the job to sit around and not complain much.

Paul Bako is the quintessential backup catcher, although he's getting more playing time since Old Friend David Ross isn't hitting much. Jose Molina with the Yankees is almost the prototype of what you want from a backup catcher.

A lot of veteran players will hate the backup role (like Toby Hall.) The Dodgers could have put in a waiver claim for Raul Casanova when the Mets DFA'd him recently.

2008-05-17 07:44:52
44.   immouch
just noticed something: there is a player in pro ball allegedly named Callix Crabbe. and i'm publicly stating a need to steal the name for a script.
2008-05-17 07:50:00
45.   immouch
i don't mind torre playing martin at 3B. i think it's recognition of obp as a key stat. martin, who has good power/speed for a catcher, is a slightly above avg. offense 3B because of his obp. at least for the dodgers are presently built. so i don't mind what i view as a creative way to keep martin's bat in the lineup and his competitive heart, you know, happy. i do think lucas may couldn't be worse than bennett. or raul casanova. or any number of career PVL type backup catchers. throwing to second is overrated since the vast majority of the running game is stifled by pitchers, not catchers... (confession: i caught and blamed every sb on pitchers)... sigh. fortunately, with martin (who should rest more) this bennett issue will come up only about once a month or so.
2008-05-17 07:55:04
46.   Bob Timmermann
Callix Sadeaq Crabbe, no less.

He was born in the Virgin Islands, but grew up in Georgia.

2008-05-17 08:00:23
47.   PDH5204
43 Going back to that article that you and the other soul linked, that's exactly the insanity here. Part of his job is to make the pitcher's job easier. The excuse in the linked piece reports him trying to save wear and tear on his arm. What wear and tear? So when he's not growing cobwebs our SPs need think about new routine for his lob throws. To borrow that line from the intro to Trainspotting, it's mind-numbing and spirit-crushing. Time for breakfast.
2008-05-17 08:04:09
48.   Bob Timmermann
From the wrapup of the game:

Torre said no pitcher has complained about Bennett's return throws, although all tend to walk toward Bennett to cut down the distance while taking the throw, especially with runners on base.

2008-05-17 08:40:59
49.   Bob Timmermann
An issue that probably nobody here thought was a big deal.

Torre has 'no problem' being left off All-Star coaching staff.

2008-05-17 09:00:37
50.   underdog
Quote from Ethier about the Dodgers inability to win at Anaheim in recent years, in the (I no longer call it Diamond Leung's blog because they now have 2 other contributors):

>>"It's real annoying and it's frustrating," Andre Ethier said. "I find it a more bitter park and bitter situation. It's a series and a game you want to win, playing your cross-town rivals. It's disappointing to put efforts forth like this and not have the result you'd like in the last couple years of this series. You don't like to point it out but the little momentum things that happen seem to turn in their favor and they capitalize on it. We need to find a way to turn this around and restore some confidence in the West side of L.A. that we are representing."<<

Beating Santana will be tough today, but hey, Sheets was undefeated when we faced him, too. No one expects much from Park either, but you never know. Today is the "You Never Know" game.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-05-17 09:01:23
51.   Greg Brock
Gary Bennett is already way too relevant. He's a backup catcher.

Cut him and let's move on.

2008-05-17 09:01:44
52.   underdog
(Do the Angels represent the east side of LA? Uh, I don't get the geography there, Andre, but I get the gist.)
2008-05-17 09:04:40
53.   Greg Brock
Can you catch the ball? Yes.
Can you throw the ball to a human? Yes.
Can you go 0-4 and play 15 games? Yes.
Can you give hot-foots and flick seeds at people? Yes.

You're hired.

2008-05-17 09:09:19
54.   D4P
Qual es mas ironico:

1. Gary Bennett, catcher
2. Wedding day, rain

2008-05-17 09:10:08
55.   Bob Hendley
49 - He is currently on the outs with me, so I have no problem with that either.
2008-05-17 09:10:56
56.   CodyS
There's no reason except optimism to call Ethier & Kemp "on the rise." This is the third year for both of them, and their statistics are not exactly trending up. Both have achieved the level of mediocre right now. If they are in the lineup, we will have two fairly competent hitters. If they are not, we get two slightly less than average hitters. Who cares. What we need are some actual good hitters (like we hope Kemp becomes, like Jones has been over the last few years before last year).
2008-05-17 09:13:49
57.   Jon Weisman
56 - So they have each have a better career EQA than Andruw Jones, who until 13 months ago was considered a solid Hall of Fame candidate, and Kemp and Ethier are mediocre?
2008-05-17 09:17:09
58.   Jon Weisman
56 - Saying we need "actual good hitters" in that context - that's almost like saying, go get Lance Berkman.

And by the way, you're wrong about Ethier. His stats are trending up this year. And Kemp is 23 years old. Is it optimism to suggest he can do better than he's currently doing, or just common sense?

2008-05-17 09:17:18
59.   D4P
But how many Gold Gloves™ do Kemp and Ethier have between them...?
2008-05-17 09:21:36
60.   Greg Brock
56 Kemp has 600 plate appearances. That's one year.

There isn't a job in the walk of life that anybody has mastered after one year. And Kemp isn't mediocre. He is already above average by whatever measuring stick you'd like to use.

The only question is how much more above average he'll become.

2008-05-17 09:22:43
61.   Bob Hendley
54 - First place, Washington
2008-05-17 09:33:34
62.   Bob Timmermann
It's "cual" not "qual"
2008-05-17 09:34:18
63.   Indiana Jon
60 The deep fryer at McDonald's is a job that one should be able to master in less than one year, especially with the technological advances of the machine at some of the new McDonald's. The problem is that the people they hire to run this machine don't have the potential to properly learn the device and therefore, they fail to master it before moving on to flip burgers or become a cashier. Gary Bennett may have the capability to do just such a thing. I recommend he moves on and give it a try.
2008-05-17 09:39:58
64.   Greg Brock
63 Even the fry man could get better after a year. He could shave seconds off his transition from the fryer to the basket. I can't believe you'd assert it's that easy.

You hate the working man. Elitist.

2008-05-17 09:40:32
65.   underdog
He was definitely way too relevant yesterday, but my guess is the backup catcher position in general will become less relevant in general for the Dodgers, whether it's still Bennett or someone else. Especially when the third base situation gets clarified.

Hey, I was one of those who wanted the D's to resign Lieberthal but the poster above is right, he was done, that was pretty clear last year. Bennett seems done, too, but do they want someone like Lucas May or Carlos Santana rotting on the bench except for once every 10 games?

Hm, maybe they could call up AJ Ellis.

Anyway, hopefully we won't have to talk about this much longer.

2008-05-17 09:43:09
66.   CodyS
Matt Kemp is putting up a 105 OPS+. That's 5% better than the National League average (which includes pitchers). On average, 23 year olds get better, but it is not a law of the universe. Personally, I believe Kemp will get quite a bit better. This year however, I doubt we'll get much more.

Ethier, 114 OPS+. This is mediocre. This is what you want from your middle infield on a championship team, not your corner outfielder. If your corner outfielder is doing this, you're probably a 75-85 win team. And his trend is 113, 103, 114. He has not improved one iota.

We need to have a little respect for how good everyone else in the big leagues is if we hope to compete.

Andruw Jones 4 times has topped 125. He can be good, and has been. He hit 92 HR in 2005-6. We need that guy to have a chance this year.

This year, and incredible # of things have to bounce the right way for us to be a championship team. Furcal & DeWitt have to continue. Kemp & Billingsley have to grow up all of a sudden. Kershaw has to be a miraculous savior. Kent has to not age so fast. Jones has to remember how to swing without falling over. Penny & Lowe have to hold it together. Loney has to step it up. While any one of those things may have a good chance, we need 4 or 5 of them to happen at once. That's radically unlikely. Even imagining a mid-season trade, there's not much to hope for that could make a difference. Ryan Howard maybe.

2008-05-17 09:44:47
67.   Bob Hendley
54 - It rained cats and dogs on my wedding day. My wife's family (Latinos) said it was good luck. I am guessing that they were trying to put a good spin on an otherwise bad day for them.
2008-05-17 09:48:34
68.   Greg Brock
66 But you have to go get a corner outfielder worth more than Ethier. From where?

There are a bunch of issues more pressing than Andre Ethier. Like where to get a new GM.

2008-05-17 09:51:57
69.   underdog
53 A good friend of mine used to say, "This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Think about that for a while.
2008-05-17 09:53:13
70.   Jon Weisman
"On average, 23 year olds get better, but it is not a law of the universe. "

Who said it was? But on a relative scale, am I being more optimistic than you're being pessimistic?

If you can get me 125 OPS+ hitters throughout the lineup, be my guest. There are currently 52 hitters in the major leagues with a 125 OPS+, and 30 teams wanting them. You do the math.

As for your last paragraph, you're right, things need to go right for the Dodgers to win.

2008-05-17 09:54:17
71.   underdog
68 - Can't they call up a new GM from AAA? I hear there's a hotshot exec down there who's just raking. Now it may be the thin PCL air that's making him look better, but it's high time we give him a chance. Cut our starting GM loose, or maybe trade him to the Mariners for a bullpen coach. 'Course, he'd have to trade himself, but I could see it happenin'. {spit}
2008-05-17 09:54:48
72.   Bob Hendley
69 - I'd rather that Bennett think about that when he is playing wiffle ball in his backyard.
2008-05-17 10:06:17
73.   silverwidow
Kershaw! In Jacksonville! On YouTube!

2008-05-17 10:06:52
74.   Bob Hendley
To be fair to Bennett, this is Torre/Colletti monkey business. We have a need at 3rd base and have a good one in Vegas. The best that they can come up with is to put our All Star catcher at 3rd, Bennett behind the plate, and Mazza at SS. They are trying to be too clever and we are fielding a subpar team. This is not how you when championships.
2008-05-17 10:07:36
75.   Bob Hendley
Did I say "when"?
2008-05-17 10:14:04
76.   regfairfield
They're hesitant to call up LaRoche because if they do, they would have to DL Dewitt, DFA someone, or leave us without a backup at a position. It's understandable that we have the infield we do right now, except for the Maza over Hu part.
2008-05-17 10:15:22
77.   underdog
73 And speaking of Lucas May, here he is hitting a home run!, taped by the same guy:

Man, that ball really smokes out of the Minotaur's hands.

2008-05-17 10:15:26
78.   silverwidow
76 Or they could just send Brazoban down. He's only pitched one inning and couldn't throw strikes.
2008-05-17 10:16:54
79.   regfairfield
78 He's only pitched one inning, plus six man bullpen? That's just crazy talk.
2008-05-17 10:18:25
80.   Indiana Jon
76 I don't think it's understandable at all. They have left themselves with zero 3B so that they can carry 2 SS. Basically they called up Maza in case Hu got hurt. They had Dewitt with no backup. Then when Dewitt gets hurt they have nobody to replace him.
2008-05-17 10:18:27
81.   underdog
74/76 - Yah, it isn't quite their fault that Furcal got hurt, nor is LaRoche's freak injury at the end of spring, all those things have had a domino effect, as has the surprising fact that DeWitt has been so solid. If Kent got hurt, I'd hope they would bring up LaRoche to play some 2nd base, and if DeWitt falters or his back flares up again, LaRoche will be up, but right now, he can't play short so... When Raffy comes back next week things will start to become clearer and there will be less excuse for "monkeying around." (Of course, I'd still like to see LaRoche up, but agree, where do you play him right now.)
2008-05-17 10:18:41
82.   Bob Hendley
I certainly realize that these situations involve decisions. My problem is that the route they have taken has meant that we have an emergency ss starting the past two games, and that Bennett has played in 20% of our games so far and the Golden God has played in all 41. Something is wrong with this picture.
2008-05-17 10:20:20
83.   underdog
Look, I'm not thrilled by Maza either, but he was called up because he can play all the infield positions, particularly short stop, and, yes, 3rd base, and Furcal was injured. He's a stopgap because of his versatility. He'll be back down in 6 days. I don't get the mystery here.
2008-05-17 10:22:06
84.   68elcamino427
Could Abreu's health be included as a factor in your scenario? (spit)
2008-05-17 10:27:59
85.   Indiana Jon
Until this year, Maza hadn't played any SS since 2002 in A ball, where he committed 27 errors in 74 games. What kind of versatility are we looking for here? I would rather take my chances with Hu playing and Laroche or Martin filling in to finish out a game if Hu gets hurt. Then we could recall Maza the next game.
2008-05-17 10:30:02
86.   Bob Hendley
83 - Six days in May. All these moves have a rationale, but they add up. And what they ad up to is us not fielding the best team that we can, given what the organization has available.
2008-05-17 10:30:25
87.   silverwidow
79 I don't see how it's crazy talk. Wade and Kuo can eat multiple innings and they're both used sparingly. Losing Brazoban won't hurt one bit right now.
2008-05-17 10:31:34
88.   underdog
84 Indeed! I hadn't even mentioned that. Abreu is another frustration for the Dodgers. These depth issues are partially caused by the sheer number of potential third baseman who have had injury issues. The best case scenario was supposed to be LaRoche earning the starting job, Abreu as solid utility guy, Nomar has backup and pinch hitter; instead none of those guys have been healthy until LaRoche healed, and then DeWitt had been so solid he'd complicated things further. (Why anyone in mgmt counted on Nomar is beyond me but that's another question.) And then Furcal's back. That basically sums up why we're at where we're at. Check back in a week. And then in another month. Supplies are limited. 3rd baseman offer not good in any store.

Enjoy the game folks; I've got to watch it on tape delay as I have soccer practice. I don't have high hopes for this one given a) their struggles in Anaheim and b) that they often struggle on Fox Saturday games, too. But fingers are crossed...

2008-05-17 10:32:06
89.   ucladodger
Kemp's biggest problem this year is his inability to turn on a fastball. It's great that he is concentrating on using the whole field, but I'd also like to see him hit the ball hard to left field, which he hasnt really done all year. his home runs are either to center or right, which again, is great, but he needs to be more aggressive on fastballs in fastball counts and try to pull the ball with power in those situations. Its almost like he is hesitant to let loose on a pitch and try to drive it to right field. For a guy with so much power to not even try to pull the ball is somewhat of a waste to me. For him to develop into the type of monster his talent suggests, pulling the ball has to be the next thing on his to do list.
2008-05-17 10:39:04
90.   Bob Hendley
88 - What sort of mind frame beyond Colletti's, could conclude that the Solution's performance is a "complication". I am tired of checking back in a week when everything will be better. This season is going to slip away unless management starts doing its job. Gentlemen, almost one-fourth of the season is now behind us.
2008-05-17 10:40:28
91.   Reddog
They really can't bring up LaRoche, because having him up here and sitting on the bench every day does no one any good. DeWitt is our 3rd baseman. He's a legitimate rookie of the year candidate.
Either they teach DeWitt to play 2nd base, or they should trade him.
2008-05-17 10:42:02
92.   Jon Weisman
89 - I don't think we have to worry about Kemp learning to pull the ball. That'll come. I think it's more important at this stage that he's learning to use the whole field.

Wasn't a great deal of Piazza's power to right-center?

2008-05-17 10:43:02
93.   Reddog
Correction - I meant to say either they teach LaRoche to play 2nd base, or they trade him.
2008-05-17 10:45:57
94.   68elcamino427
Kemp does look to be the type of hitter who would say that the pitcher is doing him a favor by throwing inside to him. Since Kemp gave his scouting report in the Times, it looks like he is being given a steady diet of balls on the outer part of the plate again, as in the start of the season. If he can really recognize the pitch coming out of the Pitcher's hand, then he will stop swinging at sliders off the plate with two strikes.
Kemp will get it and when he puts it all together, watch out!
2008-05-17 10:49:08
95.   Dodger Jack
Agreed. They should be using LaRoche's time at LV testing him at second base.
2008-05-17 11:23:14
96.   silverwidow
93 I don't understand this reasoning at all. Trade LaRoche after 5 great years in our system because DeWitt had an impressive first 100 ABs?

DeWitt still has options remaining and if anything, he'll be the guy learning a new position.

2008-05-17 11:28:28
97.   bablue

Thats assuming Dewitt can keep up his production which I don't think most anyone believes. When hes back at a .720 OPS its going to look mighty stupid if Laroche is moved to second. Laroche is the much better player, playing Dewitt over him at 3rd is a mistake.

2008-05-17 11:32:09
98.   Indiana Jon
Why would we move Laroche to 2b and not Dewitt? Dewitt has played there before, although reportedly not well. He can surely field as well as Kent. The real issue is that no matter how well Dewitt is doing, Laroche is better and has been at every level in a larger sample size. You have to go with the better player, no matter how good 2nd best may be doing. If we had Albert Pujols, then Loney shouldn't start at 1st base. It's that simple.
2008-05-17 11:35:34
99.   bablue

Exactly. We have 5 years of proof that Laroche is better than Dewitt. Now we're going to erase all that because of one month's worth of (lucky) at-bats? Sounds like a perfect example of Nedlogic to me...

2008-05-17 11:37:21
100.   Indiana Jon
Good things happening with the Loons today. Silverio continues to crush, Johnson is pitching well again, and Mattingly has had a fine day. Mattingly has been picking it up the last few games, although he still is not walking much. Having seen him play in person, I'm not giving up on him yet. I think he still has a bright future.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-05-17 11:40:16
101.   emiller
92 Hi all, first comment, long time reader, just wanted to say I couldn't agree more with Jon about Kemp, the fact that he is hitting to all fields is a much better sign than if he was simply looking to pull everything, power will develop. For what it's worth I also would love to see LaRoche worked into the lineup as soon as possible, I don't care what position anybody is playing.
2008-05-17 11:46:49
102.   68elcamino427
Doesn't it look like as long as Kent can walk to the batter's box, that he's going to play? If that's the case, why do you move a guy like DeWitt, who's putting up ROY stats, no matter how lucky he may be?
Right now, is LaRoche good insurance, in case Kent or DeWitt are unable to play?
That may not be "fair" to LaRoche, but that's what it looks like now.
Then there's Nomar and Bennett and Sweeney and Pierre and Jones and ...
2008-05-17 11:47:20
103.   ucladodger

I'm not saying he should become pull happy. I love the fact that he is using the whole field. What I was saying is that in fastball counts (1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1), sitting on a fastball and taking a rip is something he needs to do. Too often he lets a juicy fastball go in hitters counts or is late on the pitch. He did that a fair amount last year, but this year his power has really gone away to left field. IOne example was last night. Shields fell behind him 1-0 and thre a fastball down the heart. Matt just watched it go by, almost as if he were expecting a breaking ball. He then was late on a similar pitch. The guy is my favorite player and will be a star, but this team could use some power and that is one way to get it.

2008-05-17 11:49:20
104.   jasonungar07
It's the same old thing. Our young guys are too young and our old guys are to old.

This time last year we were arguing about not playing our best players and the constant changing line-up and lack of power. It's like Deja Vu.

The Dodgers need to go all young even if it cost them this season.

Furcal ss
Young lf
Kemp cf
LaRoche 3b
Loney 1b
Martin c
Ethier rf
Hu 2b

2008-05-17 11:50:12
105.   LoneStar7
hey all, has todays lineup been posted yet, dont think I saw it?
2008-05-17 11:59:16
106.   Jon Weisman
From Tony Jackson:

LF Pierre
RF Ethier
C Martin
1B Loney
DH Sweeney
CF Jones
3B DeWitt
2B Maza

2008-05-17 12:05:09
107.   Indiana Jon
106 So now Kemp is not one of our nine best hitters? That's a pretty weak lineup compared to what we could field. At least Hu gets a chance today.
2008-05-17 12:06:24
108.   LoneStar7
106 thank you, and darn we just cant seem to get ethier and kemp out there together can we..
2008-05-17 12:06:49
109.   Marty
Wow, Sweeney instead of Kemp at DH no less. This is a hard team to root for.
2008-05-17 12:07:19
110.   JoeyP
Gary Bennett can't hit, throw, catch, or run. There was never any point to signing him;

It all leads back to trading Navarro bc Colletti thought the team would rather have 1 capable catcher rather than two.

Hopefully the same thing doesnt happen with Dewitt/LaRoche---> but the throwing away of solid young cheap players (Werth, Ross, Navarro, Choi at the time), led to the mistakes of Pierre, Druw, Nomar, Bennett, Lieberthal, Alomar Jr, etc..

For a GM that has valued "depth" so much, the ax'ing of DePo's young players was really dumb, and its hurting the Dodgers right now.

2008-05-17 12:09:03
111.   Reddog
What I like about this line-up is that Kent is out. He really looks old and tired out there, and Torre has to see that.

Kent has zero range out at 2nd base. I was at one game this year where they hit a grounder about 5 or 6 feet to Kent's right, and it wasn't hit hard, and Kent just stood there and let it go for a single. It was unbelieveable - every other ML 2nd baseman would've made a routine play on that grounder. Plus, he mostly just weakly grounds out now, or hits fly balls.

We really should have LaRoche learning to play 2nd base, and I don't understand why that hasn't dawned on Dodger management.

2008-05-17 12:09:23
112.   bablue

You would play Hu over Kent right now? And Druw sits for Delwyn? Never gonna happen, nor should it IMO. Thats giving up on the season.


Is Kemp hurt or would Torre really rather play Sweeney over him? Either one sucks...

2008-05-17 12:09:48
113.   JoeyP
They're hesitant to call up LaRoche because if they do, they would have to DL Dewitt, DFA someone, or leave us without a backup at a position.

DFA Sweeney or Delwyn.
Mission accomplished.

2008-05-17 12:11:20
114.   jasonungar07
It sure is Marty
2008-05-17 12:11:34
115.   emiller
That is a pretty weak lineup other than 2-4, might be a good thing I'm stuck with the Brewers/RedSox game on Fox in Ohio.
2008-05-17 12:12:05
116.   Indiana Jon
Will someone, anyone, please tell me why we would have Laroche learn 2B instead of Dewitt? Is it not true that Laroche is a better hitter, better fielder, and has a better arm?
2008-05-17 12:14:50
117.   LoneStar7
I'll still take Kent over maza right, im nto ready to throw kent to the wolves
2008-05-17 12:16:11
118.   LoneStar7
116 is it confirmed that laroche is learning 2nd? What your saying I believe is true, but if either is learning the position its definitely a step forward..
2008-05-17 12:18:18
119.   Indiana Jon
118 No, not confirmed in any way. I'm just referring to the multiple posters here that keep calling for it to happen.
2008-05-17 12:19:18
120.   jasonungar07
112 Yeah..(much better defense and Kent is 40 and not hitting) and yes I would give up on Jones and Pierre and play the best three project hitters for the 2009 let alone 2008. DY can mash if we let him. I know he would hit better than both Pierre and Jones.

If it meant giving up the season then fine. I don't think it does, IMO it gives us our best chance to win. And I know it won't happen.

2008-05-17 12:27:01
121.   regfairfield
110 What you could have gotten for Navarro in a trade is far more valuable than having him for 30 games. Granted, trading Navarro for Hendrickson kind of negates this idea.
2008-05-17 12:29:02
122.   Mike De Leon
When it was first anounced that AJ was signed I thought it was as big, if not a bigger mistake than signing JP. By everything I've heard about AJ, his work ethic leaves a lot to be desired, beginning with the time Cox took him out in the middle of the inning for not hustling for a fly ball when he was a rook. When he came into ST over weight and out of shape he proved me right. After his dismal preformance last year you'd think he'd KNOW he had something to prove and come into camp in the best shape of his life. Instead he gives a lame excuse that he can 'carry the weight'. I'll be surprised if he's over the Mendoza line at the end o the year. Of course that won't stop Torre from trotting him out there almost every game, even though Ethier has proved he should be a starter. No surprise really since Torre continued to start Bernie Williams even though he showed that his skills had gone south dramatically.

On another note, I don't mind signing Bennet, he is after all only a back up and Martin does need a day off every now and then. What I do mind is Torre putting him at 3B instead of letting him have a day off and calling it a 'mental day off'. At least little would put him on the bench.

2008-05-17 12:29:22
123.   regfairfield
113 I don't like the idea of DFAing a competent player to not have to play Bennett for two games.
2008-05-17 12:33:20
124.   JoeyP
123--But the players you'd be DFA'ing hardly play in their own right---Young and Sweeney.

Kemp's sitting today bc he's been bad against RHP this year:


Still no excuse to play Pierre/Sweeny/Druw over him, but that could be Torre's thinking. Kemp doesnt play vs "tough" righties.

2008-05-17 12:34:56
125.   trainwreck
Let's go Sparks!
2008-05-17 12:35:37
126.   Andrew Shimmin
If you're going to DFA somebody, so as not to have to watch Bennett play for a couple of days (I disagree with Other Andrew here; surely there is no nobler goal than that), why not cut out the middleman?
2008-05-17 12:36:20
127.   JoeyP
121--I agree its never about what you trade but what you get back. Trading Navarro in and of itself was wrong, but the idea behind it (Cant have two young players at the same position---must get rid of one at all costs) was asinine.

Of any position that needs depth, its catcher. And with Russ apparently able to move around the field, Navarro could have gotten adequate PT, kept Martin fresh, and the Dodgers would be a better overall team for it.

2008-05-17 12:37:39
128.   Andrew Shimmin
Jeanne Zelasko is wearing one of the five ugliest shirts known to exist.

I guess it matches her voice, though.

2008-05-17 12:37:43
129.   JoeyP
Should have said "trading navarro in and of itself wasnt wrong"
2008-05-17 12:38:03
130.   Jon Weisman
2008-05-17 12:42:10
131.   Greg Brock
109 Sometimes I think Steve was right in breaking up with this team.
2008-05-17 12:46:44
132.   Greg Brock
I've been LAT'd. Woohoo!

I've never been. Awesome!

2008-05-17 13:43:55
133.   Dodger Jack
The reality is that DeWitt is playing better in the bigs now than LaRoche is playing in AAA. Posters here have always had a soft spot for LaRoche, despite his failure to perform at the major league level. Fact is: He's never hit MLB pitching, not in his short stint last year or during spring training this year or last. On the other hand, DeWitt has played a great third base. He has won the position. This doesn't mean I am anti-LaRoche. If he starts hitting, especially for power, we could really use him in the lineup. Logical spot is at second base, not left field or third. We have a surfeit of outfielders already. No place for him there. Dodgers have tried DeWitt at second in the minors. It didn't work out. So why not start testing LaRoche there? His swing doesn't seem to have come all the way back yet anyway.
2008-05-18 03:10:24
134.   Mike De Leon
133. I don't know where you get that LaRoche never preformed especially since he never had the chance to show what he could do. He was always jerked around by elttil, starting a game or 2 then sat for 3 or 4 and never had a chance to get comfortable. Yet in the few chances he did have he had an GREAT OBP, better than either Furcal or JP, which isn't saying much since JP has never had a good one. His high OBP also showed that he has a great eye and strike zone judgment.If LaRoche had been given the same opportunity that DeWitt has had playing every day, I think you'd have seen a different ball player.

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