Wednesday, November 3, 2010

ScottPod and what's next

It was a nice move to pick up ScottPod's option. Will he accept it? Don't know if I would if I were him. If he accepts, the Dodgers need to look at where they'll go to get a bat and where they're put it. The most likely is either of the corners of the infield.
At first there are a few choices worth looking at. Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, and Derek Lee are probably the best fits for the Dodgers. They're established veterans with little baggage. You know what you get with each so whatever they get paid there will be no excuses.
With Adam Dunn, you get a BIG bat with a lot of strikeouts. and a negotiable price. Lee is probably about the same but about half as many HRs. Knoerko is the jewel of the class. he has it all. Average, power and good defense. With a Konerko or Dunn, you could trade Loney for an arm or two and be able to keep Blake. 
The pickings aren't so good for third base. Adrian Beltre is probably the best of the bunch but will probably be too expensive but the Dodgers won't get as much for Blake as they would Loney. So, I'd go for a first baseman.
We'll have to see. Konerko will surely want big jing but he would probably be worth it. Him with Ethier and Kemp will put good, articulate marketing tools for the season ticket campaign. Hey, former Dodger comes home. Anybody remember Jeff Shaw?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Where do you think the Dodgers should go?

With no apparent direction. I thought I'd throw it out there. What would you do if you were Ned Colletti? Keep in mind, you don't know who will be the owner, what your budget will be and even if you will be employed in the next twelve months so you want to protect your resume for your next interview.

Firstly, are there free agents out there that you really want. Pragmatically and wishfully. Yes, there are quite a few good ones. Especially at outfield and first base. There's a few pitchers but not, like there ever is, a bumper crop.

Secondly, trades. who's nearing the end of there deal and has value to there present club or is just not working out? Adrian Gonzalez anyone? Josh Hamilton? Just ideas.

The Dodgers have quite a few holes but also have some good peices in place. Ned will either be pretty busy or we'll be watching the press conference about somebody's cast off that he picked up but got the other team to pay his salary.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What Next?

It's November, so you know what that means. World Series baseball! The Giants and the Ranger will try to end it this evenning.

What does this mean for the rest of us not in Texas or San Francisco? We can start lamenting about what could have been and cultivating hope for next year. Next year.The Dodgers have a ways to go. They've got three pitchers up front. No real ace. Clayton Kershaw may be that, technically, but has not showed the consistency and control to be the loss stopper the team needs. Billingsley was much improved in 2010 but I want to see two seasons back to back where he keeps it together. Lilly is a nice veteran and should provide some stability for the youngsters. They will need to look hard at the bullpen, though. It's a mess.

I'm not sure what you do with Broxton. He seemed to fall apart at the Yankee series. I'm not sure I trust him with the ball in the 9th. Kuo might be a better choice but you always wonder what's up with his arm after all those surgeries.  Do you just throw him out there and cross your fingers?

As far as offense and defense, we're going to have to see what's going to happen behind the plate with Martin. He may be done, unfortunately. We may have to start looking at alternatives. Barajas was a decent short -term fix but they'll need to keep their eyes open.

Loney is what he is at first. Good glove, decent average, no power. If you can get it from somewhere else, you can live with it. You need to, Giant's not withstanding, have three sticks that the other team needs to think about. If all you have is Kemp and Ethier, they'll probably regress again as they did the second half of last season know that Manny wasn't coming bac. Call it what you want. It's one thing to keep the seat warm if you know someone is going to sit in it.

Casey Blake is a fine and serviceable third baseman but if the opportunity arises to get some power consistently from the position, I would seriously hope they would look at it. Jamie Carroll/Ryan Theriot platooning at second is not critical at this point. Carroll turned out to be a nice guy to have with his flexibility at many positions. As for Furcal, as long as he stays healthy, he's a great spark plug at the top of the order.

Which leaves left field. Realistically, if you got a strong bat somewhere else like third, first or even catcher, Podsednik would be a nice player to have out there. The problem is we had Pierre before and the kids really need someone to shoulder the stress. Not necessarily the full production, just deflect the pressure. So, where ever that guy is, the Dodgers need a big stick, Like an Adam Dunn. Yes, he strikes out a lot but if her were behind Kemp and Ethier, there would be a lot of RBIs produced.

You listening, Ned? By the way, you know who the owner is, yet?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pitching, pitching, pitching...

So what's next/ The Dodgers are picking up spare parts here and there to fill the roster but nothing is happening that will move the needle.
Down the 5 in Anaheim, the Angels have had a fairly uneventful winter; which is just how the Dodgers want it. They don't want to feel pressured in to making a signing to take the headlines away from the Angels.
As I see it, the Dodgers still need a starting arm. Pedro is still out there. Granted, he's not the same guy he was 15 years ago but his performance against the Dodgers in the playoffs showed he still has something in the tank. I don't know if he can last a full season, but the last time that was said in Los Angeles, we ended up with Delino DeShields. He's probably good for 10 to 12 wins but more importantly, he will be a good teammate to Kershaw and Billingsley. The need some veteran leadership they can converse with. (No offense, Hiroki.) Kershaw seems to have it in him, but doesn't know how to draw on it when he needs to.The fire appears to be there but controlling it may be a problem. For Billingsely, I've got mixed feelings. At times, he's got great stuff. Mows 'em down. Other times, he's like a lost puppy looking for someone to take him home and tuck him in. Pedro would be a especially good for him. Teach him to fight through, not get to flustered or upset when things go wrong. In short, get a little more ego. He needs to believe he's as good as he is.
Pedro's not the only one who help with this but he would be my choice. There's a lot of guys out there but nobody that leaps out. Pedro would also be a good marketing campaign. Regardless, Colletti and McCourt should think about it. They still need more pitching. (Doesn't everyone?) The choices are limited but not dire. Ned's done a good job for the most part by being patient. Maybe he can work a trade for a respectable 2 or 3.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dodger Lineup for 2010

The dust is settling and the picture of what the Dodgers will be this summer is starting to take shape. Their defense is still solid. Not lock-down or overwhelming but good enough. Their lineup will be nearly identical to last year. The lingering question will be pitching.
Loney at first base will anchor the corner for the next ten years. He's good for average and drives in a lot of runs. If he could hit about 10 more home runs a year he'd be in an elite class and  would make up for the lack of production at third.
Second base it looks like will be by committee until somebody steps up. blake Dewitt will get another year in the minors and the recently signed Belliard will compete with Jamie Carroll. If Belliard is as productive as the end of last season, the Dodgers will be pleased with his production. Carrol could be relegated to this year's Mark Lorretta.
Third base will be solidly held by Casey Blake. He's no Aramis Ramirez but very reliable. If he gets hurt, they can shuffle the infield with  Ronnie Belliard or they can call up Dewitt. He's average with the bat but is clutch at times. 
With Rafael Furcal at shortstop there will be some questions. Number one is his health. can he stay healthy for the whole year. Number two, his OBP was 0.335 last year. He needs to get on base more, get moreManny with was over 80 points higer, hitting in the three and four spot. He needs to be that spark. Walk more, be a threat to steal. 12 steals just doesn't do it. Now the Pierre is gone, he need to be more productive. Otherwise, they need to put Kemp in the leadoff but that will negate his power a bit.
In the outfield, the Dodgers are in great shape. Top to bottum, arguably, the best in the League, if not baseball. Three 30 homerun hitters, one Gold Glove, respectable D in right and Manny in left.  Ethier was clutch last year but needs to be a bit more consistent. He was a bit up and down. I expect Manny to have a great year since this is a contract year. He's got his goals and may need one or two seasons to reach those after this year. Kemp should just be getting better. He's got nowhere to go but up. He could be a bit more patient. But with maturity he should.

The resigning of Brad Ausmus will be a good, mature insurance policy. Russell Martin needs to stop overswinging this season and start getting on base more. He needs walk more as well.  Ausmus will hopefully get Martin to relax and stop regressing. Otherwise, the Dodgers will have to start looking at him and decide whether he's going to be in there future. He will be too expensive for his average production.

Finally, a look at their batting or should look something like this.

1. Rafael Furcal
2. Matt Kemp
3. Andre Ethier
4. Manny
5. James Loney
6.Casey Blake
7. Ronnie Belliard
8. Russell Martin

At first glance, it looks OK. Dodgers need to make sure the lead off is solid or they're going to be behind the eight ball.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Will There Be Pitching In 2010?

There's an interesting article on the Dodger website that puts out there many of the key issues for the upcoming season.
Some of the keys have to be Kershaw and Billingsley. Obvious I know but the fact that the let Wolf go only exacerbates the problem. They could really be a formidable 1-2 punch or a real grease fire not knowing where they're going or what they're throwing. While I think that Kershaw can and will be the eventual ace, he's got a ways to go before he's the next Sandy Koufax. As for Bills, I've heard 29 different excuses on what happened the second half of last season and I'm still coming down on the side of mental. He seem to have been rattled and was not able to get himself back on track. If you tell me it was physical, I'll tell you that the medical staff and coaches need to wake up then. You don't nose dive so severely with a physical ailment and not have anything to show for it. Let's get the story straight whatever it is. He's got too much talent to be an average pitcher. I think he could be an Andy Petite type, a really good number two,  if he can get his head on straight and get a more aggressive.
It's hard to have much to say about the rest of the starting staff as we don't know who it will be yet but I'm sure there will be plenty to say once they get it. Hopefully, Colletti has a plan.
The other pitching issue has to be the bullpen. The article asks who will be the next Bellasario. That's an important question as Torre has a quick hook with his younger pitchers and needs horses in the bullben to bail him out. We'll have to see. It might be someone in there already, if not, they better find him. Equally important and somewhat overlooked is big Jon Broxton. He's shaping up to be a great April to August guy but come playoff time, look out! He may need to se a hypnotist or psychologist. He needs something because to successive breakdowns and he might be relegated to Trevor Hoffman status. Great for regular season, blowing it in the clutch. We'll have to see. I wouldn't have a problem with Sherrill competing  for the job. A shake up might be good.
Next time I'll discuss the field and offense. That could be short and mildly frustrating.