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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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Andruw Jones Gets Kneedled
2008-05-20 08:30
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

To paraphrase a respected commenter in these parts, it's bad karma to root for an injury, and you'll never catch me doing it. But when baseball gives you lemons, you start thinking about fruity drinks.

Andruw Jones will be out for either days or weeks with torn cartilage in his right knee. Here's one of many media reports, courtesy of Tony Jackson of the Daily News:

"I'm going to give it two days, and if it doesn't get better ... we'll go ahead and scope it," said Jones, using the word "scope" as a common euphemism for arthroscopic surgery. Jones went on to say team medical personnel had told him that such a procedure would carry a four- to five-week rehabilitation, meaning it probably would sideline Jones through the end of June. ...

"Hopefully, the swelling will go down, and I'll get more flexibility in my knee, and I can just go out there and play," Jones said. "Hopefully, I can just get treatment on it, and then probably get (the surgery) done during the offseason."

Jones said he initially felt discomfort three days ago, but that it wasn't severe enough to give it much thought.

"But when I woke up (Monday) morning, there was serious pain," Jones said.

Club officials are holding out hope that Jones can avoid the disabled list, and as such are willing to play this entire three-game series with the Reds a player short. Jones said if he does decide to undergo surgery, he will do it as soon as possible - "maybe as early as Monday," he said - to minimize the amount of time he misses. A five-week rehab after a Monday surgery would put him on track to return around July 1.

Outside of this ostensibly true opinion from club officials, there aren't too many people who don't think the idea of a five-week break for/from Jones would be a good thing. The only downside I see is that it delays the firsh-or-cut-bait decision on keeping a slumping Jones in the starting lineup, a decision that some have speculated would have come next month. But the idea of the Edward Hermann-sized Jones' trudging out there on a crumbly knee might be more than anyone can bear.

Personally, I would like to see the Dodgers take the quick action they took with Esteban Loaiza. I'd rather risk a healthy Jones on the disabled list for a few days than carry the achy one on the active roster.

I think everyone could also use some relief from the daily angst over who will start in the outfield. I know it would never be this simple, but locking in Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Juan Pierre with Delwyn Young starting once a week would be rather relaxing for a while, like a weekend on the Lido Deck (See how happy they are on the right).

As for who would replace Jones on the active roster ... the first thought goes to Andy LaRoche, who has a 1.066 OPS in Las Vegas with four homers, 24 walks and a .506 on-base percentage in nearly 80 plate appearances, against five strikeouts. But such a callup would be predicated on a) LaRoche strictly being a contributor off the bench or b) a position switch by someone.

Blake DeWitt (131 OPS+) owns a spot in the starting lineup right now. He has looked great to the naked eye (as well as the scantily clad eye), and his numbers have too. A .904 OPS is likely not his baseline, but it's getting harder to believe that his baseline won't be higher than we would have thought seven weeks ago. Eventually, he'll slump, but now he deserves the consideration that he'll be able to snap out of that slump and find some equilibrium.

Furthermore, a platoon doesn't even make sense at this point. I can't remember anyone taking about this, but the lefthanded DeWitt is performing better against lefties (1.184 OPS) than against righties (.787 OPS+). In fact, when DeWitt's regression to the mean comes, this is probably where you'll see it; his batting average on balls in play against lefties is a stratospheric .440. It's nothing personal against DeWitt to say that no one can sustain that. But again, it wouldn't be quite fair to him to assume that he'll go from the stratosphere to the, um, strata? (Earth sciences are not my specialty.) I honestly feel it's safe to say that if Nomar Garciaparra were coming off the disabled list today, he would be DeWitt's backup and not the reverse.

But that doesn't eliminate the possibility of someone experimenting at another position. One of the good things about all the position switching manager Joe Torre has done this year is that it's removed the stigma from it. If Russell Martin can play third base or Mark Sweeney can play left field, players should have an open mind about their positions. I don't want to get into whether DeWitt or LaRoche should be practicing at second base (or left field) - both should be, so the Dodgers can see who shows some comfort. Yes, Jeff Kent is the starter at second base, but even in the present he needs rest, and his future is uncertain. Everyone with the Dodgers should be working to get ahead of the inevitable decision.

The Dodgers need to always be pushing their organizational depth upward. In the absence of a single gamechanging player, that's their meal ticket. And perhaps Jones' injury will provide another opening.

* * *

Update: Gary Wolber plans to walk to the June 2 Dodger game from his Granada Hills home to raise money for Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, writes Dennis McCarthy of the Daily News. (Link via L.A. Observed)

The Padres are ready to give up on 2008, writes Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports.

Comments (186)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-05-20 08:38:39
1.   ibleedbloo
4 tickets for tonights game...$10 total...covers cost to email them to you. Reserved 31, Row M. Great seats to watch a game. Email Amurvine at hotmail dot com.
2008-05-20 08:39:00
2.   underdog
(Since I was LAT'd and this is right on topic... reposting:)

All I know is even Repko will have more productive appearances at the plate than Jones was having, probably far more productive. But I hope we call up LaRoche. As has been noted, he can also play corner outfield if needed. Fill in for DeWitt when needed. And {insert previous 300 comments about one of them playing 2nd base}

So my soccer team just told me they'd like me to have arthroscopic surgery on my knee. Should I be offended and worried?

2008-05-20 08:40:51
3.   underdog
Which president is Herrmann playing in that picture? I feel like he's played at least four real ones and probably several fictional ones.
2008-05-20 08:44:52
4.   underdog
Whoa. Anyone see the piece on Kevin Towers on Yahoo?

http://tinyurl.com/42fljr

>>"We're bad, no question about it," Towers said. "There comes a point in time we can't say, 'It's early.' There's nothing to lead me to believe – or the fans to believe – we're going to turn this thing around."

He promised changes. "Wholesale," he said. And he waved his hands at the clubhouse, meaning most of the players in it, he had little use for right now.

"I'm certainly not going to watch this for another four months," he said.

Judging by the stands at Petco Park on Monday night, he's not alone in that.

"If you hear the word that morale is good in this clubhouse, we've got major issues," he said. "The morale should be horrible. For winning-type players, morale should be horrible. I know it's horrible in the coaches' office. And it's horrible upstairs."<<

2008-05-20 08:44:58
5.   Sushirabbit
3, I thought he was O'Malley for a split-second.
2008-05-20 08:47:30
6.   Bumsrap
Injuries are doing for the Dodgers what Ned and Joe were not.

I would like to see LaRoche in left field before either LaRoche or DeWitt were moved to second. While LaRoche was recovering from his thumb injury he worked out hard enough to get down to 208 pounds, down from 220 I think. Did he wait too long to get really serious about his conditioning?

It would be nice to get Abreu back with the Dodgers and start getting playing time at second. If he can't get healthy, I wouldn't mind trading for a second baseman like Kinsler with Texas.

2008-05-20 08:49:50
7.   Jon Weisman
6 - "While LaRoche was recovering from his thumb injury he worked out hard enough to get down to 208 pounds, down from 220 I think. Did he wait too long to get really serious about his conditioning?"

LaRoche's conditioning has not been an issue in the slightest this year.

2008-05-20 08:50:04
8.   Bob Timmermann
The troposphere is below the stratosphere. Below that is the ground.
2008-05-20 08:51:22
9.   underdog
Abreu won't be back for a long while. It's a shame for him, because they could've used him this season, but we can't count on him. I don't like the idea of trading for a 2nd baseman, when we have 1 who will still be playing a lot while healthy (even if old) and then we have DeWitt and LaRoche, the latter looking for an opening. Why complicate things further? But we'll see...
2008-05-20 08:51:39
10.   ishXdavid
Is it wrong that the news of Jones' injury just made my day? I couldn't help but imagine that when the doctors scope his knee they would just discover some gravy clots in there mucking it up.
2008-05-20 08:55:02
11.   Zak
2 I'm getting my knee scoped this Friday... from a soccer injury in early April. Why does your team want you to get a surgery? Are you OPSing really low on the soccer field?
2008-05-20 09:02:53
12.   Bob Timmermann
So if Andruw Jones is Edward Herrmann, is he going to start narrating History Channel programs?
2008-05-20 09:06:04
13.   scareduck
Dodgers, westernmost in firshness (whatever that might be), easternmost in ex-stadia.
2008-05-20 09:07:44
14.   Eric Stephen
12
And which Dodger is Liev Schreiber? I vote Nomar.
2008-05-20 09:14:09
15.   underdog
11 I was just kidding. I was trying to feel what it would be like to be Andruw'd. ;-) That would be a bad sign, yah?

14 - Because they both have babes for wives?

2008-05-20 09:19:18
16.   driches
Come for the intelligent Dodgers commentary, stay for the Edward Hermann references. That's why I love this place. (Am I making this up, or did he play Herman Munster in some remake? "Edward Hermann Munster" is a great name for an upcoming indie rock band).

I don't know why, but third base reminds me of when the Dodgers traded Shawn Green for Dioner Navarro, then the latter was quickly deemed expendable by the emergence of Russell. I'd love to try LaRoche or DeWitt at 2nd and get both on the field, but barring that, when would DeWitt's emergence make LaRoche a tradeable commodity?

2008-05-20 09:23:13
17.   blue22
I went to the 51s game in Tacoma last night. LaRoche looks good; I think he swung at maybe one pitch out of the strike zone all night. Had a couple sac flies and a couple walks. Not a lot of hard hit balls, but he simply refuses to expand his strike zone which is encouraging. Apparently he made a nice diving catch on a line drive to his right, but alas I was grabbing a beer.

The Vegas outfield has a nice collection of throwing arms. LFer Ruan threw a guy out at second after the batter hit a laser beam that missed going out by about 18 inches. Xavier Paul (who looks like he's about 5'3") threw a rocket from center to hold a guy at third after a base hit. And Repko is, well, Repko.

Speaking of which, Repko looks like he always has. A walk and a hit, and generally hustled his tail off on the bases and in the field. But then you look at the numbers and see that he's hitting .220 in AAA, so who knows. A team leading 42 strikeouts this year pretty much tells the tale I guess.

Stults looked alright, but the Mariners farm team looks dreadful, save for recently demoted Jeff Clement. Troncoso came in and looked dominating in 2.1 innings to finish up for Stults.

2008-05-20 09:32:40
18.   LogikReader
I went a whole hour before knowing I was LAT'd!!

re: Jones

You know, the article said "IF the swelling doesn't subside by Friday, he'll be out 4-5 weeks."

Knowing the Dodgers they'll pretend the swelling subsided and try to ride it out like Furcal did, but here's to hoping!

2008-05-20 09:34:31
19.   Jacob L
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Jones is about to get his membership card for the Fred McGriff Society. The McGriff Society is an exclusive club for players with a reputation for durability who then come to the Dodgers, with hilarity ensuing.
2008-05-20 09:36:34
20.   larry slimfast
7 that we know of??? or is this something you've heard?
2008-05-20 09:39:47
21.   Jon Weisman
19 - Thinking of it like a sitcom is a shrewd move :)
2008-05-20 09:40:30
22.   berkowit28
Does anyone want to guess why Delwyn Young doesn't seem to get many chances to pinch-hit? It always seems to be Sweeney, who then gets out - every time it feels like. Once in a blue moon, after Sweeney, usually Bennett, Maza get out there, Young gets his chance and gets a single. Why not use him sooner? It looks as if Sweeney is getting vet's priority, like all the everyday vets do. Presumably if he doesn't start hitting by - when? end of June? - he gets dropped. It's just odd that so many chances - some of them fairly crucial - to use a real hitter like Young get wasted.
2008-05-20 09:41:08
23.   Jacob L
I saw Edward Hermann on a ferry boat off the coast of Maine, whilst on my honeymoon. It was one of the more bizarre celebrity sightings I've had, and we was far from the most bizarre character on that boat. At the time, I knew him only as "the dad from Gilmore Girls."

Now that I think of it, I've had a lot of Gilmore Girls connections. There was Hermann in Maine. My next door neighbor was the set dresser. And I chatted with the guy who played Rory's college boyfriend at a USC basketball game.

Not that I've ever watched the Gilmore Girls;)

2008-05-20 09:44:21
24.   regfairfield
22 It was a known problem in New York that Torre would have his guys and only use the rest of his team if he had no other options. Right now, it looks like Young and Hu got on Torre's bad side some how.
2008-05-20 09:44:25
25.   blue22
22 - Sweeney leads the team with 30 PH appearances (with a stunning 419 OPS). Delwyn is second with 24 (691 OPS). No one else has more than 6.
2008-05-20 09:45:57
26.   Jon Weisman
20 - Not understanding your question.
2008-05-20 09:46:00
27.   blue22
Sweeney actually leads the league in PH AB's, with 27. I can't imagine they'll let him continue to hit .148 and get the key pinch hit appearance each game though.
2008-05-20 09:47:15
28.   Jon Weisman
22 - Young is the No. 2 pinch-hitter. He often gets used ahead of the fourth outfielder. I don't know where you're getting this idea that Bennett or the backup shortstop are used in front of him.
2008-05-20 09:48:01
29.   cargill06
27 i can't imagine he'll be on the roster in the next 3 or 4 weeks
2008-05-20 09:49:47
30.   Jon Weisman
Edinson Volquez, childhood Dodger fan:

http://tinyurl.com/3fdlaq

2008-05-20 09:49:52
31.   Daniel Zappala
0 Count me as the rare person who is bummed about Jones going down, and who is unhappy that he may miss significant time. I would have preferred that Jones stay healthy and play every day, with Pierre on the bench. He was starting to hit better, and at least has the potential to be an above-average CFer, with some power. Pierre has no potential to contribute meaningfully in LF, and he has no power.

Since Pierre can play CF, we have two position players for that spot. I see no reason to call up Repko, just because he can play CF. Young should get some starts in the OF. Do we need a fifth outfielder?

2008-05-20 09:50:34
32.   ToyCannon
4
Who knew that Bruce Bochy knew what he was doing when he left the Padres for the Giants? Another ex-pitching coach turned manager is found wanting.
2008-05-20 09:53:42
33.   D Money
well i was woke up way too early today when my dogs escaped the yard and i had to go fetch them (which took 45 minutes).

i then came in the house to find out that Andruw may miss over a month...i still am undecided whether or not i feel bad about that making my day better.

i was still hoping that andruw would pull through.

2008-05-20 09:54:10
34.   JoeyP
Young's being wasted not getting any starts. While its nice to have the extra scrappy infield of Hu-Maza up the middle, it'd be nice if Young gets some starts at 2nd base, or in LF for Pierre.
2008-05-20 09:54:19
35.   Jon Weisman
DePo:

http://itmightbedangerous.blogspot.com/2008/05/travel.html

"Sometimes the gamesmanship goes a little too far. A few weeks ago I was leaving a high school game and on my way to another one. I was expecting to be in the car for at least an hour, so I planned to stop at the bathroom before leaving. With no indoor bathroom in site, the port-o-potty on the way to the parking lot was the only option.

"As I approached, I thought I heard a voice. It was only when I reached out my hand to grab the door handle that I heard the voice loud and clear. It was a scout, inside the port-o-potty, on his cell phone reporting what other teams were in attendance at the game. Out of respect for his effort (and sacrifice), I kept walking.

"This may be a little more Austin Powers than 007, but it does illustrate the competitive nature of the draft. We all know what players we like, and none of us are telling. :-) "

2008-05-20 09:57:48
36.   Tom Meagher
I don't know how good Blake DeWitt really is, and neither does anybody else. Jon is correct in that our expectation of him should now be much higher than it was when the season began. However, he's still only had 128 plate appearances. His ISO and BABIP are both higher than they've been in the minors, and he hasn't yet played a full season in AA. A third of his ground balls have gone for hits. I like him, but I just can't agree that he's an above average major league player just yet.

Let me put it this way. I don't think anyone had DeWitt as a better hitter than Furcal before the season began. Furcal, in 154 PA, has hit .366/.448/.597. DeWitt, in 128 PA, has hit .322/.391/.513. So, two questions: a) is Furcal a good enough hitter now to be an average 3B? and b) is DeWitt a better hitter than Furcal? And I'll throw in c) is Furcal a better hitter than LaRoche?

The rebuttal might be that we've got lots of info on Furcal but less so on DeWitt, so DeWitt's production impacts our assessment more than Furcal's. Fair enough, but this argument only makes sense if you are properly accounting for the info that we do have on DeWitt. And that info (his minor league performance) does not indicate that we should be regressing his performance to the league average but rather to a much lower level.

2008-05-20 09:59:02
37.   LogikReader
4

Wow!!

"We're the Padres... Sucking it up like never before
We're the Padres.... Hoffman, Peavy... Theodore!"

2008-05-20 09:59:23
38.   silverwidow
Jon, the LaRoche stats in your article are incorrect. Right now, his BB/K rate is 24/5. And his OPS is 1.066
2008-05-20 10:00:24
39.   Jon Weisman
4 - By the way, I had seen that and meant to link to it.
2008-05-20 10:02:03
40.   JoeyP
I'm just wondering what Chase Headley and Matt Antonelli did to get banished to the minors while the big club's offense languishes?

If there's ever a time to get those guys time at the big league level (and its not as if their too young), its right now.

Jettisoning Bradley/Cameron and replacing them with Edmonds/filler was not very shrewd.

2008-05-20 10:02:06
41.   Jon Weisman
38 - I'm not seeing that. Where are you seeing it?
2008-05-20 10:03:43
42.   LogikReader
37

I think the truth is, Padre fans are fed up with management these days, and the junk yard mentality of the Front Office is starting to wear thin. My feeling is that the ownership isn't doing its part to use the Ballpark Money to actually help the on-field product. It's very unfortunate, because Padre fans are really quite loyal.

2008-05-20 10:03:55
43.   Jon Weisman
Gary Wolber plans to walk to the June 2 Dodger game from his Granada Hills home to raise money for Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, writes Dennis McCarthy of the Daily News.

http://www.dailynews.com/breakingnews/ci_9316371

2008-05-20 10:05:34
44.   regfairfield
34 You can't ignore defense though, and right now our inability to convert balls in play into outs is what is hurting the team most. Right now, the Dodgers are tied for second in home runs allowed, second in walks allowed, and sixth in strikeouts, yet we're still seventh in pitching because we're getting killed by balls in play. Granted, this will regress once we get more catchable balls, but you've seen how not being able to convert balls in play into outs has hurt us so far.

Yes, DeWitt or Young probably wouldn't be any worse than Kent, but having Kent out there right now is one of our big problems, we should be looking to improve that, not stand pat.

2008-05-20 10:09:01
45.   silverwidow
41 Here are LaRoche's current stats at AAA:

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?n=Andy%20LaRoche&pos=3B&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=451188

2008-05-20 10:10:38
46.   68elcamino427
31
Wouldn't it be nice if Jones were able to perform to his career average, or even duplicate his production from last season?
Jones has done his best and he hasn't been able to produce.
Jones will have his knee repaired. Hopefully he will not gain weight while he is healing. When he is ready to resume baseball activities, he can go on an extended rehab assignment--that will end only when he shows that he can do what he was hired to do, hit a home run once in every 20 at bats. :)

Wasn't the production that came from the centerfielder last night a pleasant improvement over what we have been getting from Jones?

2008-05-20 10:11:17
47.   Mike Scioscias tragic illness
If Russell Martin can play third base or Mark Sweeney can play left field, players should have an open mind about their positions.

Sweeney in LF isn't as odd as we think it is, despite how bad he looked out there in his one chance this year. He's actually played more games in the OF than 1B in his career, 234 to 225.

2008-05-20 10:12:28
48.   cargill06
seriously if you're insistant on wasting a spot on a LH pinch hitter who can't play defense when do you give lindsay a shot and relase sweeney?
2008-05-20 10:12:35
49.   Jim Hitchcock
Ok, I can get beyond the fact that Jason Giambi wears some sort of golden thong when mired in a slump. But the fact that he loans them out to team mates when they're in a slump really creeps me out.
2008-05-20 10:13:14
50.   regfairfield
45 It's concerning that Baseball Reference was off by that much.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-05-20 10:14:38
51.   Jon Weisman
45 - The Baseball Cube has a third set of Las Vegas numbers for LaRoche.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/L/Andy-LaRoche.shtml

2008-05-20 10:15:05
52.   JoeyP
44--So the defense is bad because of Jeff Kent, and luck on batted balls?

I just think having Delwyn Young or Dewitt's bat in there over the long term is going to do more for the club than Luis Maza being able to get to a ball that neither of those guys could get to.

If Defensive Efficiency Rating is so volatile with regards to batted ball data, I have a difficult time accepting trying to actively make the defense better (like playing Maza over Young) when simple bad luck can sabotage even the best intentions.

Could it be argued that there is less luck involved in a hitter accumulating a high OPS, rather than a fielder accumulating a poor defensive rating?

My contention is that if there's more luck involved with fielding, then always play the hitter above the fielder. The goal should be to minimize the "luck" portion of statistics correct?

2008-05-20 10:15:14
53.   cargill06
50 i'm noticing that most of their minor league stats are usually a few days behind.
2008-05-20 10:16:05
54.   Jon Weisman
Baseball America matches with MILB.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/statistics/players/cards/?pl_id=64941

Is this a matter of not getting updates?

2008-05-20 10:19:04
55.   Bob Timmermann
I haven't read the Daily News article, but if I were walking to Dodger Stadium from my ancestral home, I'd try:
Chatsworth east to Sepulveda
Sepulveda south to Ventura
Ventura east to Cahuenga
Cahuenga down into Hollywood where you should eventually run into Sunset
Sunset east to Dodger Stadium.
It's an easy stroll!
2008-05-20 10:19:38
56.   silverwidow
54 MILB and BA are the only accurate sources.
2008-05-20 10:20:43
57.   Daniel Zappala
46 There's no question that Kemp is better than Jones. The question is whether JP is better than Jones over the long term.
2008-05-20 10:20:44
58.   blue22
54 - IIRC, LaRoche was at .300 right on the nose after his last at-bat last night, according to the scoreboard, and got his 12th and 13th RBI in the game. Does that match any of the sources?
2008-05-20 10:22:19
59.   silverwidow
58 Yes.
2008-05-20 10:23:25
60.   Daniel Zappala
What I find interesting about our outfield situation is that Kemp has played RF and CF, and Ethier has played LF and RF. If management realizes that Pierre shouldn't start, and if Jones is completely wiped out by age or injury, then we could plug in the best available outfielder at any spot and then realign from there.
2008-05-20 10:24:30
61.   Daniel Zappala
Baseball Cube has 14 games and 38 ABs while MILB has 19 and 50. Apparently the cube takes longer to get updated.
2008-05-20 10:25:25
62.   Daniel Zappala
Baseball Reference is at 12 G, 34 ABs.
2008-05-20 10:26:47
63.   regfairfield
52 True, I was thinking more long term though. If you're only looking at who's going to start one or two games when it comes to guys that are marginal major leaguers, it really doesn't matter who starts.

This is also why I can't care too much about Gary Bennett.

2008-05-20 10:26:54
64.   Kevin P
52 I like what you're saying. I haven't put much thought into it just yet, but on the surface- I agree. Until persuaded otherwise. :)

Crazy that my disgust with Pierre starting over Andre may have been solved by the DL. Though it kind of feels like a slight of hand trick. Just a few months ago I was agonizing over being the only team that will have a left fielder with 0 home runs and was excited that Pierre would be benched for Jones, Kemp and Ethier. Now I feel like I can breathe again with Andruw presumably out of the line-up and Pierre being an everyday guy. Strange??

2008-05-20 10:27:27
65.   68elcamino427
57
JP was hired for the long term.
Jones was hired for the short term, with the stated desire by Mr. McCourt to re-hire Jones for the long term--if he could produce. So far, we only know what they show us. JP is doing what he has always done, Jones has not. The long term for Jones does not look very promising today.
2008-05-20 10:28:28
66.   Daniel Zappala
You've got to be kidding me, the Spurs won last night? They won't die! I thought for sure this was the Hornets' year. As much as I discounted them because I didn't know their players, outside of Paul, they seemed to be playing really well all year and into the playoffs. I was worried Paul would kill the Lakers.
2008-05-20 10:28:33
67.   Bob Timmermann
Now that I have read the article, Wolber is opting for a more scenic route than mine. But my route has more adult entertainment options. .
2008-05-20 10:29:56
68.   Jiminy Cricket
It is stunning to see (usually) dependable Loney throwing/kicking/dropping the ball around out there. I'm sure a lot of it is playing with unfamiliar players at the other infield positions, but perhaps it is time to bring back pre-game infield practice.
2008-05-20 10:30:58
69.   Daniel Zappala
65 By long term I mean this season and next, as opposed to the first month where Jones has looked awful. I think Jones, if healthy, is a far better option that JP for the next two years. After that, we can find someone else because JP is not a good starting OFer.
2008-05-20 10:32:57
70.   scareduck
32 - nonsense. The Padres were due for some regression, offensively in particular, before the season started. From this year's Baseball Prospectus:

The problem with the 2009 plan is that ... the Padres have the least favorable combination of finances and young talent. Headley and Antonelli are future major league regulars, but are much longer shots for stardom, and while the Padres' farm system has improved considerably since Grady Fuson took over as vice president of scouting and player developemtn two years ago, it still ranked a lowly 28th in Kevin Goldstein's Organizational Rankings a year ago. Last year they had five supplemental first-round picks and eight of the first 87 overall picks. This year they'll have two more supplemental first-rounders following the departures of Brocail and, eventually, Cameron. Next year they hop to have still more .... Still, all of those picks, even if well used, will need time to develop into useful major leaguers. In the meantime, the Padres still lag behind their rivals, as even Headley and Antonelli have combined for just eight games about [sic] Double-A. ... [Until] their stockpile of draft picks matures, the team's near miss last year will haunt them.

BA also noted that Petco's .910 park factor last year was the 16th-lowest ever recorded in the majors. In short, Bochy's exit could hardly be called prescient (IIRC he was forced out by the new brain trust). It's also unclear how Bud Black can be blamed for what are essentially front office issues.

2008-05-20 10:34:14
71.   OhioBlues12
All of this talk about Jones being hurt, but what about Penny? He was pushed back a day and he looks totally hittable over his last few starts. I am wondering if he is concealing an injury.
2008-05-20 10:34:32
72.   scareduck
70 - I should further add that they probably meant "the 2008 plan" in the quoted graf.
2008-05-20 10:36:02
73.   Kevin P
I just figured something out...

I am not so much thrilled that Pierre will play everyday and Andruw will miss the next 5 weeks (assuming he will land on the DL). I am happy that our outfield will not consist of both Pierre and Jones.

It was starting to feel as depressing as last year with Gonzo and Pierre.

2008-05-20 10:36:18
74.   Jiminy Cricket
70 So, do the Pads package Peavey for several blue chip prospects? Ironically, LA is one of the few teams with the prospect depth to make that kind of deal work.
2008-05-20 10:38:46
75.   Mike De Leon
Before he got hit by that pitch LaRoche was having a great ST and it seems like he's picked up where he left off. Kent seems to have finaly hit that wall that every ballplayer hits: Age has finaly caught up to him. So I'd like to see DeWitt start to take some practice at 2B. It makes more sense for him to move than LaRoche who is bigger. Too, if DeWitt is for real and it's not just because the pitchers haven't seen him before, he'd be more valuable at 2B. Just imagine a 2B that hits and fields like a 3B.

As far as AJ goes, I feel bad about it but... I can't help being a little happy about it. I guess he was wrong when he said 'he can carry the weight'. More wieght means more stress and more downward force, with every step he takes, put on his knees, ankles etc.

2008-05-20 10:40:05
76.   68elcamino427
69
I agree with you, but it looks like someone has decided that JP is going to play. If I can't have everything that I want, I'll be very happy with last night's line-up day after day. The line-up will only be enhanced when/if Furcal is back to full strength.
2008-05-20 10:41:53
77.   Jiminy Cricket
the one bright spot for me with Andruw going down is now I won't think 2-3 times a game when a ball would drop in front of him, "you know, if he was 20 pounds lighter he might have gotten to that ball."

That voice in my head was making me crazy, and now maybe it will just go away.

2008-05-20 10:46:36
78.   DaDoughboy
This still doesn't help the fact that the Dodgers continued power shortage was supposed to get a shot in the arm from Jones..Do they even bother looking to package a deal for a power bat still?
2008-05-20 10:52:27
79.   Indiana Jon
78 Where would they put the power bat they acquire? 7 of the 8 postions players have some power. I'm not sure what league average power is at certain positions, but I would think we have league average or above power everywhere except LF (Pierre). I suppose Ethier may be slightly below RF average.
2008-05-20 10:55:48
80.   68elcamino427
78
If the Dodgers want a power bat in left field, he is in Las Vegas. People are mentioning his name here every day. :)
2008-05-20 10:57:30
81.   Howard Fox
80 Tiffee??
2008-05-20 10:59:43
82.   68elcamino427
81
Just let me say that I have really enjoyed your recent posts.
2008-05-20 11:04:21
83.   Howard Fox
81 ok, go ahead, don't let me stop you...
2008-05-20 11:06:55
84.   JMK
Can anyone (off the top of their head) think of major leaguers who had mediocre minor league numbers like DeWitt but went on to have above average careers? I'm sure there are a bunch of them. I don't know of any but some examples would at least give me some hope that DeWitt's for real.
2008-05-20 11:08:25
85.   regfairfield
84 Hanley Ramirez.
2008-05-20 11:10:35
86.   Gilberto Reyes
0 "I think everyone could also use some relief from the daily angst over who will start in the outfield."
I couldn't agree with that statement more!

76 I would be happy with last night's lineup for a while as well, with the Furcal addition when he is ready.

74 The Padres would never deal Peavy to someone inside the division, especially the Dodgers.

2008-05-20 11:12:45
87.   Disabled List
Joe Posnanski was at Fenway last night for Jon Lester's Rule 9, and as usual, does justice to the proceedings:

http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2008/05/20/fenway-and-no-hitters/

2008-05-20 11:15:36
88.   OhioBlues12
Moving DeWitt to second may come out of necessity if Kent were to get injured. Our options behind Kent are Hu, Maza . . . and that's about it. I don't see Abreu having any impact at all this season and Hu will probably be sent down sooner rather than later. Other options like Young and Nomar will not seriously be considered. I could see them turning to DeWitt and bringing LaRoche up if Kent goes down.
2008-05-20 11:19:34
89.   madmac
49 certainly not the worst slumpbusting tactic I've heard before.
2008-05-20 11:19:50
90.   68elcamino427
84
Go on the Cube and compare DeWitt's minor league numbers with Cal Ripken's minor league numbers. :)
2008-05-20 11:21:19
91.   LoneStar7
Imagine last nights lineup with Raffy back in the lead off spot and LaRoche playing left field.
2008-05-20 11:24:25
92.   Howard Fox
91 yeah I can imagine that...and inexperienced LF colliding with Furcal on a pop to short left...yup...another 15 day DL stint for probably both of them
2008-05-20 11:26:44
93.   ToyCannon
55
I think I'd take a different route.
Chatsworth to Sepulveda
Sepulveda to Victory
Victory to Griffith Park
Skip thru Griffith Park to Riverside
Riverside to Glendale Blvd
Glendale Blvd to Scott
Scott to Stadium Way
2008-05-20 11:27:53
94.   Bob Timmermann
93
Sepulveda between Chatsworth and Victory is one of the most beautiful parts of the San Fernando Valley.
2008-05-20 11:28:31
95.   OhioBlues12
I am going to be fairly content with a Pierre, Kemp, Ethier OF if Jones has to have surgery. I am not at all disgusted with the way Pierre is playing right now, and so as long as he can keep it up, I will enjoy seeing last night's lineup plus Furcal.
2008-05-20 11:29:33
96.   KG16
52 - here's another way to posit the issue:

as a hitter, a player is likely to get 4 PA a game (let's call that the average for the sake of argument, some times he'll only get 3 and in blow outs or high scoring games, he might get 6 or 7, but usually, it's going to be 4 or 5 if he's higher in the order).

as a defensive player, how many times is that same player, at second or short, likely to be involved in a defensive play? Double plays, ground balls/line drives anywhere near the middle, attempted steals, etc. That number, I suspect would be much more difficult to construct (though part of me suspects that I'll have answer within 10 minutes). But my hunch is that it will exceed 4.

The question then becomes, what is more valuable, creating a runs in 1 of 4 plate appearances; or preventing a run from scoring in a defensive position. Over the course of a season (perhaps even less), the luck factor will be significantly reduced, so it ultimately becomes offense vs defense. Some will pick offense, some will pick defense... me, I'm still looking for the best combination of both.

2008-05-20 11:31:57
97.   LoneStar7
92 worth a shot, if only one gets injured in the "collision", Your still left with a healthy Furcal or a healthy LaRoche, which is still better than a healthy Hu and Pierre..

But in all seriousness, only if Andy got some playing time in left beforehand, or at second beforehand, or anywhere we could use him right now beforehand..

2008-05-20 11:32:13
98.   ToyCannon
84
As Joey P said several days ago, Hanley Ramirez is the one who really comes to mind.

Magglio Ordonez was fairly pedestrian.

Quite a few long time minor leaguers had have great runs when first introduced to the big leagues but for a 22 year old with such pedestrian numbers it seems a bit unusual. Nate Purcell was a huge DeWitt backer several years ago but seemed to back off after 2006/2007.

And of course Greg Brock has been his biggest backer.

2008-05-20 11:32:34
99.   Jacob L
93 The Valley is not my specialty, but I like that route from Victory on in. Alternatively you could just stay on Riverside to Stadium Way, but that's not terribly pleasant.

92 I believe he said LaRoche, not Repko. ;)

2008-05-20 11:34:21
100.   MollyKnight
90-Can you just post them here for us?
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-05-20 11:35:10
101.   ToyCannon
93
I used to hike around the Sepulveda basin between Victory and Burbank all the time.

The park they use for flying the hobbie planes is always a kick.

The Japanese Gardens should be seen by any LA resident who isn't a dirtbag.

2008-05-20 11:36:29
102.   Gilberto Reyes
88 What is the story behind DeWitt's prior experience at 2B? Some people say he used to be a second baseman but I hear other's say that he is a natural 3B or has always played third.
2008-05-20 11:38:26
103.   regfairfield
100 He hit .288/.383/.535 at age 20 in AAA, there is no comparison.

102 He started as a 2B, he was very bad at it, so he went to third.

2008-05-20 11:38:48
104.   Axim
The other question to be answered is once Furcal comes back does Joe move Pierre down to 2nd in the lineup or to his rightful place of 8th?
2008-05-20 11:39:05
105.   Terry A
Blake DeWitt once kilt a b'ar with his bare hands.
2008-05-20 11:39:49
106.   JT Dutch
"I honestly feel it's safe to say that if Nomar Garciaparra were coming off the disabled list today, he would be DeWitt's backup and not the reverse."

... This is a truly astonishing statement to me, seeing as how the Dodger M.O. has been to play the veteran and the "more marketable" player each and every time a choice has presented itself.

Garciaparra was batting third in the lineup when he was hitting .231 and OPSing 679, and DeWitt was back in the minors.

Nomar will be back in the lineup when he is healthy, and while DeWitt will stay on the major league roster, he will be the backup.

2008-05-20 11:40:14
107.   goofus
The best outcome a perfect defense can get you is a scoreless tie. And that assumes no gross errors by the pitcher(s) which is a real reach. And even if it happened, players would get tired of playing 25 inning games. I think I'd use the 'Jeff Kent' method: find a good hitter and then put him on the field where he hurts you the least. Remember there is a huge luck factor in whether the pitch ends up as a hit on the ground between fielders or a ground ball out.
2008-05-20 11:41:58
108.   underdog
106 Bet you you're wrong. Nomar hasn't given any indication he can be any more than a backup and pinch hitter even when (if) healthy. Whatever the Dodgers PVL love may be, they are not that myopic, given how DeWitt has been playing.

--

Here's an article someone should forward to Troy in WV:
http://tinyurl.com/6ybzg4

On Joe Torre's trust of Joe Beimel and how the latter is flourishing.

2008-05-20 11:43:17
109.   ToyCannon
102
In HS he was a SS, but was drafted to play 3rd base. After playing only 3rd base for several years, he was moved to 2nd base but was moved back to 3rd base last year.

103
What are you basing that on?
"very bad at it" sounds very much like Greg's claim he had stone hands. You can't be using minor league defensive stats to back that up since they are so unreliable and you can't be using a scouts comments because no scout ever said such a thing. I'm surprised at how subjective you have been on the DeWitt issue.

2008-05-20 11:43:48
110.   Howard Fox
106 the Dodger way of doing things...when Nomar is available, he will start, DeWitt will be sent down, and the first guy brought up thereafter will be LaRoche...and DeWitt will become another bit of trivia years from now
2008-05-20 11:45:31
111.   silverwidow
106 Nomar is a horrific defensive 3rd baseman and can't hit a lick anymore. There's no way he's starting any time soon.
2008-05-20 11:46:53
112.   ToyCannon
108
The Dodgers have proven to be very myopic and I don't see why that will change.
I will be shocked when Nomar comes back if he isn't starting.
2008-05-20 11:46:57
113.   Kevin P
102 Yesterday, someone posted a scouting report on him at age 20. To paraphrase, "I love this kid. He absolutely kills the ball and takes good at bats. His glove and range look pretty rough. That should improve with time."

As many have pointed out, maybe in the 2 years that have passed his glove has indeed improved. He certainly looks great over at 3rd. So why not believe that he's a better 2nd baseman now too?

2008-05-20 11:47:13
114.   Gilberto Reyes
103 At what level(s) did DeWitt play 2B? Columbus(A)? Vero Beach(A+)? Inland Empire(A+)? Jacksonville(AA)?
2008-05-20 11:47:14
115.   underdog
Anyone else want to take me up on a bet with Howard and JT re: DeWitt and Nomar?

Of course this could all be moot if Nomar is continually unhealthy, anyway.

And you guys know I love LaRoche so I hope they do find a place for him soon. But I don't see them sending down DeWitt anytime soon. At. All.

2008-05-20 11:47:24
116.   regfairfield
109 I assume when you get moved down the defensive spectrum, it's because someone who watched him a lot more than me decided he can't handle it. If there was a different reason, I'd love to know.
2008-05-20 11:48:02
117.   goofus
I get the impression management is looking for reason to DL/Retire Nomar. I think the light came on. I think they like to see Andruw on the DL for a long time too, having conceded they're not going to get much power out of him. They don't mind the insurance company paying most of his salary that way.
2008-05-20 11:50:31
118.   Eric Enders
102 -- 103 is not quite correct. DeWitt was drafted as a SS and moved to third immediately upon beginning his pro career. In 2006, when it looked like he would never hit enough to be a major league third baseman, the Dodgers moved him to second for 93 games, almost all of them at Class A. Then in 2007 he moved back to third exclusively.

DeWitt also played second in the Hawaii Winter League in the fall of 2006, where I was able to see him play. He didn't remind anyone of Roberto Alomar out there, but I didn't see any glaring incompetence that would prevent him from being an offense-first major league second baseman like Kent. The things he was said to have trouble with -- footwork and the DP pivot -- are the types of things which can be improved upon with hard work (as, indeed, Kent himself did once upon a time).

Also, my two cents is that those wanting to find a player with pedestrian minor league numbers who became a major league star should probably shy away from the Hanley Ramirez comparison. Hanley was pretty much the opposite of DeWitt -- he was a guy who had the entire toolbox but just didn't "get" it until he got to the majors. DeWitt in the minors was an infinitely more polished but less physically talented player.

The Cal Ripken comparison is a better one physically, but the suggestion that Ripken's minor league numbers were unimpressive is way wrong. He hit 25 homers in AA at age 19. At age 20 in AAA he had a spectacular season .381 OBP with 23 homers (remember, this was in the offense-challenged 1980s).

2008-05-20 11:50:52
119.   goofus
116 And we all know coaches, scouts, and General Managers never make mistakes...
2008-05-20 11:51:09
120.   fanerman
108 112 Nomar coming back won't be a big deal. He'll play 2 weeks in the majors at most before he gets injured again.
2008-05-20 11:51:56
121.   JT Dutch
108

"Nomar hasn't given any indication he can be any more than a backup and pinch hitter even when (if) healthy"

... If the Dodgers weren't that myopic, LaRoche would have played more than 35 games last season, as Nomar didn't give any indication of being more than a backup or a pinch hitter even then. So, I'll believe it when I see it.

2008-05-20 11:53:14
122.   regfairfield
119 No, but on issues like that, I assume the guy that watches him day after day knows him better than someone like me who only knows him from what Baseball Reference says.
2008-05-20 11:53:28
123.   Kevin P
117 I hope so.
2008-05-20 11:54:54
124.   ToyCannon
114
Just read this and it has all the info you need. Scroll down.
http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/D/Blake-DeWitt.shtml
2008-05-20 11:54:57
125.   RELX
If Dewitt is still playing as well as he currently is when--and if--Nomar comes back, and the Dodgers actually bench Dewitt for Nomar, then the team does not deserve to win.
2008-05-20 11:55:10
126.   Gilberto Reyes
108 I agree that the Dodgers will not ignore DeWitt's contributions when Nomar is activated. I don't see management starting Nomar over DeWitt. Three weeks ago, yes. But not now.
2008-05-20 11:56:58
127.   goofus
122 True enough. And it's not like we've never seen a guy come up and have a great start before, only to regress to his mean and disappear forever. But baseball is all about hope...
2008-05-20 11:57:28
128.   underdog
126 - That's basically what I'm saying. But yes, JT, I think we're all in the "believe it when we see it" camp to some degree. ;-)

Otherwise, 120 is true enough.

2008-05-20 11:57:36
129.   Eric Stephen
116
If you assume that, you must also assume Juan Pierre is a good leadoff hitter because someone who watched him a lot more than you decided he can handle it.
2008-05-20 11:57:44
130.   Jon Weisman
The DeWitt that Nomar was replacing in April does not have the same resume of the current DeWitt. That first DeWitt had an OPS of .730 and it was presumed that was about as good as he could do in 2008. It wasn't illogical or a crime for Nomar to regain his position.

http://tinyurl.com/4sngd4

The current DeWitt has an OPS of .904 over more at-bats and a growing reputation as a clutch player. It's a huge difference.

2008-05-20 11:59:34
131.   underdog
118 I wouldn't mind if DeWitt had a career like Ripken's. That guy had a pretty decent career if I recall. Played a lot of games in a row at one point, too. He wasn't bad. (Btw, I also have Cal's rookie card. Woo hoo!)
2008-05-20 11:59:40
132.   regfairfield
129 No, because I have the necassary information to make that decision for myself. The only thing I know about DeWitt's second base career is that he was there, and then he wasn't.
2008-05-20 11:59:41
133.   Eric Enders
122 Of course, keep in mind that the people who make those decisions -- i.e. the farm directors -- don't watch the players on an everyday basis either. Not even close.

Moving DeWitt back to third could have been based on nothing more than the opinion of one person -- a scout, the Vero Beach manager, whoever. And it's certainly possible that that one person was wrong. Or shortsighted. Or that DeWitt could have improved in the ensuing two years.

Your extreme obstinacy on this issue is a little disappointing, especially given that you admit your view is based entirely on assumptions.

2008-05-20 11:59:47
134.   skybluestoday
55

I have walked from my neighborhood (Beverly-Fairfax) to Venice Beach (Rose and Ocean) twice. That's my longest urban hike.

Urban hikes are wild. You don't need to carry much (since there's a 7-Eleven every few blocks), and you can change your route at any time without fear of "losing the trail."

2008-05-20 12:00:29
135.   Kevin P
There is no way Nomar will start over DeWitt. Maybe a start here and there but DeWitt will not be taken out of the line up. No way.
2008-05-20 12:02:02
136.   68elcamino427
100 Ok, but only because you are from the neighborhood. :)

D-G 459, AB 1,859, R 264, H 519, 2B 115, 3B 10, HR 57, RBI 252, SB 11, CS 1, BB 146, SO 329, HBP 11, IBB 0, SH 2,
SF 11, AVG 279, OBP 333, SLG 444, OPS 771

R-G 443, AB 1,652, R 278, H 463, 2B 94, 3B 12, HR 56, RBI 239, SB 10, CS 8, BB 141, SO 289, HBP 8, IBB 0, SH 7,
SF 15, AVG 280, OBO 337, SLG 453, OPS 790

No way am I inferring that DeWitt is the next Cal Ripken, just a response to Gilberto.

2008-05-20 12:02:43
137.   ChicagoDodger
Why is it that just about every veteran player the Dodgers have (at least the high-priced ones) are either on the DL, or fans wish they were on the DL?

Why is it that only the cheap inexpensive players seem to be the ones who are producing?

Finally, if the above are true, why do the Dodgers continue to sign veteran players? Haven't they proven enough times already that a) they have no clue what they are doing when they sign the veteran, and b) they are better off just sticking with the young players. Or at least until those young players turn older.

2008-05-20 12:02:45
138.   Gilberto Reyes
118 Thanks for the info on DeWitt including your personal insight on him playing 2B in Hawaii. Are you located out there?
2008-05-20 12:05:49
139.   regfairfield
133 Here's the information I have to work with:

1. For whatever reason, DeWitt was moved off of second base.

2. From what I've seen, he has good defensive tools, but he's still very mistake prone. Other people have made similar observations so I'm not alone here.

With these two pieces of information, I can draw the conclusion that at least right now, DeWitt would be a bad second baseman.

2008-05-20 12:06:08
140.   Kevin P
136 Wow. That is incredible.
2008-05-20 12:06:20
141.   Eric Enders
Again, DeWitt's stats are not really comparable to Ripken's in any way, since DeWitt was two years older at basically every level. Also, Ripken was spectacular at AA and AAA. (His weaker years came earlier at the lower levels.)

And also, we're comparing a shortstop to a third baseman. If Ripken had spent his entire major league career playing third, he would arguably not be in the Hall of Fame.

2008-05-20 12:06:59
142.   Eric Enders
138 I just happened to be visiting.
2008-05-20 12:07:43
143.   Howard Fox
137 wouldn't you think based on what you say, that someone in our organization might look to the D'backs example and ride the backs of the younger players?
2008-05-20 12:08:27
144.   Howard Fox
142 when did you get there...I just got back....
2008-05-20 12:08:55
145.   JT Dutch
"It wasn't illogical or a crime for Nomar to regain his position."

... After a sub-par season offensively and defensively, it should never have been his position to begin with. And yet, knowing all of that, Torre batted him third in the order, over Ethier and Kemp.

Even with DeWitt's production, I haven't seen Torre bat DeWitt third as of yet.

I agree with your points, Jon, but I don't see Torre's respect for DeWitt as high as it is for Nomar. Therefore, I see Nomar getting the job back at 3B as soon as he is healthy enough to do so.

As I said, I'll believe any changes in philosophy when I see them. I don't trust the manager of this team to play the right players.

2008-05-20 12:09:55
146.   Eric Enders
137 "Finally, if the above are true, why do the Dodgers continue to sign veteran players?"

Because they need somebody to star in van commercials. And to sell a few tickets to people who don't know anything about baseball except to watch SportsCenter once a week.

2008-05-20 12:09:59
147.   Gilberto Reyes
130 That is exactly right. Nomar would not be replacing the same DeWitt. The best part about Blake is how he has handled his ABs in key game situations not to mention with the bases loaded. He really seems to make the pitcher work.
2008-05-20 12:10:27
148.   Neal Pollack
On Friday, the Dodgers activate Furcal and sent Maza down, disable Jones and call up LaRoche. The team automatically is able to compete with the Cardinals.
2008-05-20 12:10:37
149.   ToyCannon
122
Dan Uggla was left open to the Rule 5 draft because the Arizona brain trust felt he was not an adequate 2nd baseman. You have questioned decisions by baseball management all the time, yet you defer to a baseball management decision when it suits your arguement.
2008-05-20 12:11:02
150.   regfairfield
This is why I banned myself from even saying the word DeWitt, by the way.
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2008-05-20 12:11:06
151.   Eric Enders
144 I was there in 2006. Actually, I was there while we were getting two runners thrown out at home on the same play.
2008-05-20 12:12:25
152.   Howard Fox
146 the only way any of our players will make in on sportscenter will be if they take the field wearing a Red Sox cap
2008-05-20 12:12:52
153.   ToyCannon
Somehow I think this whole Nomar/DeWitt/LaRoche debate will become moot due to injury.
2008-05-20 12:13:04
154.   regfairfield
149 I defer to management when I don't have the information to make my own decision.
2008-05-20 12:13:49
155.   Jon Weisman
145 - Keep in mind I was talking about what would happen if Nomar were activated today.

By the time Nomar comes back (forgetting about LaRoche for the moment), if DeWitt comes back to earth, it could be a different story.

I feel confident in saying that there is no way Joe "hot hand" Torre is benching a .300/.400/.500 player. If Ethier, Jones and Kemp had all posted those numbers, you'd have to send a search party out for Juan Pierre. But they didn't.

2008-05-20 12:13:56
156.   Eric Enders
152 Exactly. And that's why players like Nomar are signed.
2008-05-20 12:15:15
157.   Eric Enders
155 "(forgetting about LaRoche for the moment)"

I believe we have found the Dodgers' official slogan for 2008.

2008-05-20 12:16:00
158.   ChicagoDodger
143 I'd agree with you Howard, but every time I ask that question to other Dodger fans, I keep getting the same answer. "We are the Dodgers! We are from LA! We don't have to do those kinds of things! We are not small-market!"

Too bad management believes that too!

2008-05-20 12:16:48
159.   Gilberto Reyes
143 The Dodgers can't avoid noticing the success that the D-Backs have enjoyed the past two seasons. And don't forget the youth movement that helped the Rockies make their run last year. The Dodgers are clearly well-equipped to play their own young players. Fortunately, they can also afford to eat some big PVL contracts over the next few years.
2008-05-20 12:19:44
160.   Neal Pollack
Come on, management. Do The Right Thing!
2008-05-20 12:20:08
161.   Disabled List
I used to know a kid who rode his bike every weekend from Sherman Oaks to Santa Monica and back, going over the Sepulveda Pass.

He was in much better shape than me.

2008-05-20 12:22:49
162.   Eric Enders
160 Maybe what we need is for Matt Kemp to throw his trash can through a pizzeria window.
2008-05-20 12:23:05
163.   scareduck
108 - Nomar hasn't given any indication he can be any more than a backup and pinch hitter even when (if) healthy. Whatever the Dodgers PVL love may be, they are not that myopic, given how DeWitt has been playing.

During the period of April 16-26 when Nomar was back on the team, Nomar played in nine games, starting in all but one of them, while DeWitt started one and finished three others.

http://tinyurl.com/4edbex
http://tinyurl.com/52a4gj

DeWitt was hitting .261/.382/.348 prior to Nomar's reinsertion to the 25-man, so that undoubtedly had something to do with their decision to give him so many starts, but the message is utterly clear: Nomar will start over any kid. That lesson may be less clear now, especially with DeWitt giving off the aroma of a rising star, but I have my doubts that (a) DeWitt will be able to keep this level of production going, and (b) that if he does stumble, that Nomar won't Hoover all the playing time once he returns to the lineup.

2008-05-20 12:23:37
164.   bhsportsguy
If you want to go by perception sure, the D-Backs won because of their young players in 2007.

But the statistics will show that they won in spite of their average to poor performance.

Arizona's most dependable offensive players in 2007 with 200 or more PA was Eric Byrnes, Orlando Hudson and Conor Jackson.

Chris Young, Mark Reynolds, Chris Snyder and Stephen Drew all had moments but Russell Martin, James Loney, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier had higher scores individually than most of those players and combined, there's no contest.

Jeff Kent, BTW had a higher VORP than almost every D-Back, I think Byrnes was slightly higher.

It amazes at times that the perception continues to exists that the Dodgers do not play their younger players, they do, maybe not as fast as other teams but they do play.

2008-05-20 12:25:51
165.   dianagramr
Jay Jaffe chat tidbits from bp.com today:

On Jones: The upside of his injury is that it may explain some of his struggles, it may force him to get back in shape as he rehabs, and it will give Dodger fans a bit of relief when it comes to the daily drama of the outfield lineup.

Torre: Furcal being hurt certainly takes a bite out of that lineup. But really, Torre's going to have to get over this Russell Martin-at-3B fetish, even though it's only been a total of 37 innings he's played there. It's fine to give him a breather now and then, but when you're stealing at-bats from DeWitt or LaRoche to give them to Gary Bennett, something is definitely wrong.

LaRoche/DeWitt: I'm as big a LaRoche booster as you'll find, but DeWitt is knocking the stuffing out of the ball. I don't expect that to continue unabated, but there's no sense in sitting him down right now.

From a long-term standpoint, it's a nice problem to have. I'd hate to see them trade LaRoche, but I don't think they necessarily have to. I wonder whether the Dodgers would consider revisiting the DeWitt-to-second experiment that they tried in 2006, when the kid was at Vero Beach. With Jeff Kent clearly showing his age and Tony Abreu apparently joining the Federal Witness Protection program, that may be a palatable option.

2008-05-20 12:26:28
166.   Jon Weisman
163 - In 2007, Garciaparra lost his job at first base to a kid.

The vets may have an inside track to a staring job, but they don't have a guarantee.

2008-05-20 12:28:47
167.   bhsportsguy
164 ToyCannon, Regfairfield, am I just wrong on this.

Look, I am not saying that there is philosophical difference in the two ball clubs, there is one. But if Chad Tracy doesn't get hurt, do you think Mark Reynolds is playing 3B. Tracy is making a lot of money and he is still under contract through 2009, I believe.

They chose Eric Byrnes over Carlos Quentin, now they spun him off for a piece of the Haren deal so maybe it doesn't look that bad plus by moving both Quention and Gonzalez, they avoid any problems down the road in terms of playing time since they were moving Upton in anyway.

2008-05-20 12:29:25
168.   Eric Enders
166 I disagree with that. Garciaparra didn't lose anything, he was just moved to a different position. And there's significant reason to believe that had third base not been an open position, Nomar would have kept plugging along as the regular first baseman.
2008-05-20 12:29:40
169.   scareduck
165 - the Tony Jackson article in today's Daily News pretty much killed the idea (for me, at least) of Jones' injury being the root cause of his poor performance this year, just because he said it was something that had started to bother him in the last three days.
2008-05-20 12:31:23
170.   Bumsrap
Some of the things I have posted reflect my doubts about LaRoche but I am pulling hard for him and would love to see him be a power bat in the Dodger lineup. Towards the top of this topic I said LaRoche took advantage of his time on the DL to lose something like 15 lbs. and get down to 208 pounds. It is not so much that conditioning or lack thereof affected his performance in Spring Training and more of how a young player fighting for a starting role and the $$$$ that follow would report to camp with 15 lbs. to lose.

But now that he has done it, maybe he can play second much better than at his previous weight. Not everybody gets to the major leagues the same way. DeWitt probably worked much harder than LaRoche but it was injury that opened the door for him. Now, maybe LaRoche has his mind and body working together for the first time and great things will result. I hope so and I hope he gets a chance soon whether it be second, left or even third.

2008-05-20 12:31:39
171.   dianagramr
Piazza just announced his retirement ...

http://tinyurl.com/4m8wz4

2008-05-20 12:32:13
172.   Jon Weisman
Bill Shaikin on the Padres story:

http://tinyurl.com/5yu4np

2008-05-20 12:32:20
173.   dianagramr
169

agreed, it doesn't explain Jones' dip in BA and defense in 2007 ....

2008-05-20 12:33:43
174.   JT Dutch
166

... On the day LaRoche got the job at 3B, the Dodgers were 6 1/2 games out of a playoff spot with 8 to play. If the games had still mattered, I don't think Andy would have been playing in them.

2008-05-20 12:34:48
175.   GobiasIndustries
Seeing as how we have a back up catcher that cannot throw the ball back to the pitcher on a consistent basis and without the help of a Mark Hendrickson style sports psychologist no less, I say we dump him and sign Piazza. This way if Martin is still getting "days off" at 3rd, we would have Piazza's bat in the lineup instead of Bennett's. Piazza may not be able to do a lot of things anymore but he sure as heck can return the ball to the pitcher like a big leaguer and there is no question that he has a substantially more potent bat, even with the rust of not playing. In light of all the other problems going on with the team, why even bother with Bennett?
2008-05-20 12:36:52
176.   dianagramr
175

psst .... see 171

2008-05-20 12:37:54
177.   underdog
165 Bless you Jay Jaffe!
2008-05-20 12:37:54
178.   Howard Fox
170 another way to look at the whole 3B thing...

maybe LaRoche has felt he was the chosen one in the organization and subconsciously perhaps didn't feel the need to work as hard, and now that DeWitt is succeeding, he now sees there may be some hard work ahead for him to regain his status...

which would be a good thing for us, cause if he has so many in his corner, and now feels he must work harder to prove himself...only good could come out of that...

just a thought....

2008-05-20 12:38:18
179.   Jon Weisman
168 - Maybe so, but I'm with BHSportsguy. These dogmatic declarations that the Dodgers will always give the vet the benefit of the doubt simply don't stand up to scrutiny.

New post up top.

2008-05-20 12:38:52
180.   scareduck
166 - sure, 76 games into the season:

http://tinyurl.com/3t6ml7

I have no faith that the smart decision will be made here.

2008-05-20 12:39:17
181.   regfairfield
167 There's absolutely nothing wrong about what you posted there. The D'Backs won last year because of their vets.
2008-05-20 12:40:39
182.   Bumsrap
Regarding vets getting to start instead of a younger player needs perspective I think. Ten years from now, maybe 15 years from now, if Loney, Martin, or Kemp struggles out of the gate and a rookie is doing really well, there will be much more support to play Loney, Martin, and Kemp because they have been Dodgers all that time.

Bringing in another team's older player on a short contract and playing over the young players we have been following up through the minors is troubling if the vets are playing poorly. I think we are going to be loyal to our own more than to a temp that falters.

2008-05-20 12:41:40
183.   Eric Enders
So we haven't discussed the use of Jones' roster spot very much. Is there any legitimate candidate other than LaRoche? (Granting the possibility that the Dodgers may well just decide to sign Chad Fonville or somebody just so they won't have to call LaRoche up.)

There is no argument to made for needing LaRoche to get regular playing time at AAA. He's not like Hu -- he's not a developing player. He's a 24-year-old major league hitter who should have gotten a regular job long ago, and who has merely been toying with AAA pitchers.

Likewise, there is no argument to be made for needing to replace Jones with an outfielder. The Dodgers don't need five outfielders, as evidenced by the fact that they've used their fifth outfielder for all of three innings in 2008. And if they did need a fifth outfielder, that man could be LaRoche, who's played the outfield in the major leagues. (Note that I'm not necessarily advocating he play there, just noting it as a possibility.)

There is no other obvious candidate at Las Vegas or Jacksonville to be called up, unless you think we need 13 pitchers or you like the Quadruple-A goodness of a Terry Tiffee or John Lindsey.

So, it's pretty clear-cut, right? LaRoche could serve as a pinch hitter, start once a week in place of DeWitt (and more if DeWitt starts slumping), and play left field if necessary. There's no reason we'd want him in AAA, and there's nobody else in AAA we'd want. It seems like a self-evident choice to call up Andy. You can never underestimate the Dodgers' ability to do the wrong thing, but short of that, I think LaRoche will be here on Monday.

2008-05-20 13:03:42
184.   27indigo
Whew! This had me worried, what with his debatable player evaluation skills and all.

Lasorda to name Dodgers' first Draft pick

2008-05-20 13:10:07
185.   underdog
183 Sounds about right. But of course we'll see. My guess:

Furcal is activated, Maza is sent down. Jones is DL'd, LaRoche is called up.

Other possibilities, all that, but instead Hu is sent down, or a literal outfielder like Repko (or Paul) is called up.

Chad Fonville! Dude, I'm eating. Give me a warning next time you're gonna bandy about something like that. ;-)

2008-05-20 17:47:39
186.   Andrew Shimmin
178- Another way to think of this is maybe LaRoche is a jerk? Really?

I realize nobody will ever see this. But I don't think that should stand unmolested.

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