The Dodger Thoughts 2012 Spring Training Primer

Pitchers and catchers are reporting today, which means that it’s time for the Dodger Thoughts 2012 Spring Training Primer, running in full at ESPNLosAngeles.com.

The fate of the 2012 Los Angeles Dodgers might be a mystery, but the fate of their opening day roster … not so much.

In 10 years of my previewing the Dodgers heading into spring training, never has there been fewer spots up for grabs for the first game of the season. Defining a roster lock as someone who will be in a Dodgers uniform for Game 1 unless he is injured, disabled or suddenly and shockingly incompetent, 22 of the 25 spots on the roster appear set.

However, that doesn’t mean we won’t see the usual rotation of has-beens and might-bes parading through Arizona in March. So here’s where we’ll introduce them. …

Update: Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. reports on Twitter that Blake Hawksworth “had an infection from surgery that required a second procedure to clean up” and won’t be ready for Opening Day. That increases the chances of Josh Lindblom or Jamey Wright (among other right-handed relievers) making the team to start the season.

* * *

The fate of the 2012 Los Angeles Dodgers might be a mystery, but the fate of their opening day roster … not so much.

In 10 years of my previewing the Dodgers heading into spring training, never has there been fewer spots up for grabs for the first game of the season. Defining a roster lock as someone who will be in a Dodgers uniform for Game 1 unless he is injured, disabled or suddenly and shockingly incompetent, 22 of the 25 spots on the roster appear set.

However, that doesn’t mean we won’t see the usual rotation of has-beens and might-bes parading through Arizona in March. So here’s where we’ll introduce them.

Here’s the breakdown of the 41 men on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster (including that one fellow on the restricted list) and the 21 non-roster invitees to spring training.

Locks (22)

Starting pitchers (5): Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano

Relief pitchers (5): Kenley Jansen, Todd Coffey, Matt Guerrier, Scott Elbert, Mike MacDougal

Catchers (2): A.J. Ellis, Matt Treanor

Infielders (6): James Loney, Mark Ellis, Dee Gordon, Juan Uribe, Jerry Hairston Jr., Adam Kennedy

Outfielders (4): Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Juan Rivera, Tony Gwynn Jr.

Most likely to succeed (3)

Javy Guerra, RHP: Why would last year’s saves leader not be a lock for the opening day roster? For much the same reason that Jansen wasn’t a lock a year ago. Guerra has minor league options remaining and is low on experience, so if his spring training is terrible, it wouldn’t be a shock if Ned Colletti & Co. decided to give him a quick tune-up down on the farm while keeping another veteran on the major league roster. That being said, it would be a shock if he were terrible.

Blake Hawksworth, RHP: Hawksworth is out of minor league options after his 4.08 ERA and 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 2011. It’s only a matter of proving he’s healthy after arthroscopic surgery this winter, and then you probably can lock him in.

Jerry Sands, OF/1B: He won’t make the roster if he’s there only to ride the bench. And even if the Dodgers end up platooning Ethier and/or Loney, that wouldn’t necessarily begin opening week. But there is a spot on the roster for another right-handed bat (especially one with power potential), and Sands easily could make too good an impression in March to ignore.

Next in line (7)

Josh Lindblom, RHP: After a debut like he had in 2011 (2.73 ERA, 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings), Lindblom has no business being sent to the minors in 2012. But should Hawksworth be ready to go, Lindblom might be kept on ice.

Nathan Eovaldi, RHP: If the Dodgers had a No. 6 starter at the ready, it would be easier to picture Eovaldi in the major league bullpen as a long reliever. But he’s probably the first one they’re going to want to turn to if anything happens to the primary five in the rotation, so that would entail his starting the season in the minors, most likely at Double-A Chattanooga.

John Grabow, LHP: Some have suggested Grabow will be in the opening day bullpen as a second lefty, and certainly the 33-year-old San Gabriel High grad is an established major league pitcher, with 506 career games, including 58 with the Cubs in 2011. But his 4.76 ERA, 1.524 WHIP and 5.5 strikeouts per nine innings in 2011 hardly seem worth saving a roster spot for, and it’s not as if he was overwhelming left-handed batters, who had a .715 OPS against him last year (and .811 the year before). If something goes awry with Elbert, maybe Grabow is next in line, but he’s probably less likely to stick with the Dodgers than Ron Mahay was a year ago.

Jamey Wright, RHP: The best-known of the Dodgers’ non-roster invitees is Wright, who made his major league debut at age 21 for the Rockies in 1996 and has more than 1,800 innings under his belt. He spent years as an inconsistent starting pitcher before making a conversion to full-time relief work in August 2007. Seattle proved to his liking, facilitating a 3.25 ERA over 105 1/3 innings from 2010 to ’11. The Dodgers’ bullpen is filled with right-handers, especially if Hawksworth is healthy, but if Wright is willing to start the year in the minors, he easily could end up wearing a Dodgers uniform sometime in 2012. However, he can opt out of his minor league deal in late March, according to Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Josh Bard, C: Fitting the journeyman catcher profile as the potential backup’s backup, the 33-year-old Bard had a .615 OPS in 212 plate appearances with Seattle from 2010 to ’11. Dodgers fans might remember the switch-hitter from his days with the Padres, for whom he had a .943 OPS in 263 plate appearances during their division-winning season of 2006 — including the RBI single in the 10th inning off Aaron Sele that put San Diego ahead 10-9 moments after the Dodgers’ four consecutive homers in the 4+1 game. Yep, each time you see Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin, Marlon Anderson and Nomar Garciaparra homer, that’s Bard in the background, waiting for the pitch that never arrived.

Trent Oeltjen, OF: An opening day slot isn’t out of the question for left-handed hitting Oeltjen, who was on the Dodgers from June 9 through the rest of the 2011 season. On the other hand, he mostly wasted that roster spot, going 6-for-50 with a .430 OPS after July 1.

Justin Sellers, IF: The Dodgers effectively pushed him off the opening day roster by signing Kennedy, a move predicated mainly on Kennedy’s past glory. Sellers didn’t hit much with the Dodgers last year, but there’s not much reason to think he couldn’t be as productive as Kennedy as a reserve in 2012, for half the dough. In any case, he could be the first infield call-up of 2012.

Midseason mambo (12)

Ivan De Jesus Jr., IF: Almost certainly organizational depth at this point, De Jesus still could get some playing time given the likelihood of injuries to the quartet of elderly infielders.

Scott Van Slyke, OF/1B: The Dodgers’ 2010 minor league player of the year, Sands was in the majors by April 2011. Perhaps it won’t be so fast for the young Van Slyke, but with his addition to the 40-man roster, his first taste of Dodger Stadium easily could come before Memorial Day.

Ronald Belisario, RHP: No matter what he does in spring training, Belisario reportedly would have to serve a 25-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug policy before he could pitch in a regular-season game for the Dodgers. That could be to his advantage, however, in helping him avoid the roster crunch without going straight to the minors. It’s anyone’s guess whether he can take advantage of this second (third? fourth?) chance.

Ramon Troncoso, RHP: Say what you will about Belisario’s disappearing act, but his partner in 2009 greatness, Troncoso, hasn’t been much more useful. It’s not that he’s been consistently terrible, but he has been unreliable. Out of minor league options, Troncoso has a shot to make the opening day roster with a strong spring, but it’s even easier to imagine his ending up back in Albuquerque after clearing waivers and then once again making sporadic marches to the bigs.

Josh Fields, 3B: Fields is doing a reverse Brandon Weeden — going from Oklahoma State quarterbackhood to the Dodgers’ farm system. A former first-round pick of the Chicago White Sox, he hit 23 home runs in 2007, as well as .306 with three home runs in 49 at-bats for the 2010 Kansas City Royals, but those are his major league highlights. In 2011, he split time between Triple-A Colorado Springs (1.103 OPS in 203 plate appearances) and Yomiuri of the Japan Central League.

Russell Mitchell, 1B-3B: Mitchell cleared waivers this month and returned to the Dodgers’ organization, where he will try to make the majors for a third straight year after going 14-for-93 with four home runs — including that memorable blast against the White Sox last May — in 2010-11. He turned 27 on Feb. 15.

Jeff Baisley, 1B-3B: After six seasons in the Oakland farm system, Baisley spent 2011 with the Angels’ Pacific Coast League team in Salt Lake, for which he had a .355 on-base percentage and .483 slugging percentage, including an even 20 homers and 100 RBIs. He played third base, arguably the Dodgers’ weakest position, so that gives him a fighting chance to earn his second taste of the majors (in a Mitchell-type context). His one and only cup of coffee came in 2008, when he had a .598 OPS in 47 plate appearances for the A’s.

Tim Federowicz, C: Some think A.J. Ellis is only keeping the seat warm for Federowicz, whose defense and power are higher than those of the likely opening day starter. It figures that at some point in 2012, the 24-year-old Federowicz will get his chance, but he’d be better suited for a team that had better offense around the infield.

Rubby De La Rosa, RHP: DeJon Watson said this month he expected De La Rosa to be in minor league games by June and didn’t indicate by any means that the organization’s top pitching prospect — at least before last year’s Tommy John surgery — would be required to stay down in Albuquerque or (more likely) Chattanooga for long. Los Angeles certainly won’t rush him, but the hope is there that Dodgers fans won’t have to wait for rosters to expand to see him again.

Alex Castellanos, OF-IF: There’s gonna be a lot of wishin’ and hoping that Castellanos can (A) maintain the offensive surge that generated a .958 OPS in Double-A last year and (B) make a move to the infield to boot. It’s iffy, but it’s better than having no hope at all. The 25-year-old has walked only 109 times in four minor league seasons; last year, he had 39 walks and 118 strikeouts.

Michael Antonini, LHP: Antonini, 26, perhaps exceeded expectations in the year since being acquired from the Mets for Chin-lung Hu, striking out 131 in 148 innings with a 4.01 ERA for Chattanooga while walking only 42. Now that he’s on the 40-man roster, one could envision his being used as an emergency starter or midseason long man out of the bullpen.

Alberto Castillo, LHP: He’s wearing a 2011 National League West champion ring after giving Arizona a 2.31 ERA over 11 2/3 innings (despite allowing 17 baserunners) at age 36. Once involved in a Charlie Hayes trade, Castillo made his pro debut back in 1994 — primarily as a first baseman while also pitching — after the Giants took him as a third-round pick, one year after he helped Cuba win the world junior championships and then defected. He’s a southpaw, but he’s never had much success against left-handed batters.

See you in September? (3)

Alfredo Silverio, OF: Although he’s already 24, Silverio is rated by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus as the Dodgers’ top position-player prospect, following a 2011 in which he delivered a .340 on-base percentage, a .542 slugging percentage, 16 homers and 18 triples for Chattanooga. However, people might be underestimating the importance of his low walk totals (30 in 572 plate appearances last year), which are a major warning sign.

Scott Rice, LHP: Here’s one to root for. Drafted as a supplemental pick in the first round of the 1999 draft by Baltimore, the 6-foot-6 Rice, a Royal High grad, has spent 13 seasons in the minors without a taste of the bigs. He began the 2011 season pitching for York in the independent Atlantic League. The Dodgers acquired him in June and assigned him to Double-A Chattanooga, where Rice had a 1.95 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings against 60 baserunners. Rice turned 30 in September.

Griff Erickson, C: Eight days older than Kershaw, Erickson has been gaining fans over time, and his successful 2011 season added to the momentum. The switch-hitter had an .899 OPS with Class A Rancho Cucamonga, followed by .808 with Chattanooga. Some question his ability defensively, but at least he threw out 30 percent of runners attempting to steal last year. Federowicz should get first crack at a midseason call-up, but Erickson is on track to reach the majors next season, if not sooner.

Check back in a year or two (5)

Chris Withrow, RHP: DeJon Watson had encouraging words about Withrow, who had his best season with a 4.20 ERA and 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings for Chattanooga. He still walks too may batters, but if he can show continued improvement in his age-23 campaign, the one-time first-rounder could re-establish himself as a key pitching prospect.

Josh Wall, RHP: After starting 100 games in four minor league seasons from 2006 to ’10, the former second-round pick pitched strictly out of the bullpen last year, coming up with a 3.93 ERA and 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings in his first Double-A season. That wouldn’t exactly seem to put the 25-year-old close to the majors, although Brandon Lennox of True Blue L.A. passed along encouraging reports of Wall’s fastball touching 100 mph.

Stephen Fife, RHP: Fife’s 14-4 record at Double-A last year looks gaudy, but it masks a strikeout-walk ratio of only 1.8. Of the three players acquired by the Dodgers in last summer’s trade of Trayvon Robinson, Fife might have the toughest time reaching the majors or sticking around.

Shane Lindsay, RHP: The Melbourne native pitched a shutout inning in his major league debut with the White Sox in September, then allowed seven runs in his next inning two days later. That put an unpleasant coda on a Triple-A season in which he had a 1.98 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 63 2/3 innings — but perhaps his 51 walks in that same span served as a hint of trouble. The wild and wooly Lindsay then went on walkabout to the Dodgers.

Matt Wallach, C: The son of the Dodgers’ third-base coach — the one who wasn’t sent to Chicago in the 2010 Ted Lilly trade, nor the one drafted by the Dodgers in 2010 — had a .396 on-base percentage and .351 slugging percentage in 244 plate appearances for Chattanooga last year, indicating he might be from the A.J. Ellis mold. He turned 26 last week.

Fodder (10)

Wil Ledezma, LHP: A veteran of seven major league teams, 31-year-old Ledezma lasted six major league innings with Toronto last year, allowing 10 runs on 18 baserunners — certainly a disappointment if you consider he struck out 12 batters per nine innings in Triple-A. But his last productive year in the show was 2006, and he’s another lefty who hasn’t been reliable against lefties for a while now. Still, it probably won’t shock you to learn that during Ledezma’s career, the Dodgers have gone only 9-for-46 (.194) against him with eight walks and zero home runs.

Cory Sullivan, OF: Sullivan, once upon a time, exploited the wilds of Coors Field to generate passable numbers (a .279 batting average 2005-08), but the 32-year-old has only 46 major-league hits in the three years since he left Colorado. Last season, he went 21-for-100 with no homers and 20 walks for the Phillies’ Triple-A team. On the upside, he has not committed an error in the majors or minors since 2008.

Will Savage, RHP: The 27-year-old from El Camino Real High in Woodland Hills has spent the past two years in the Dodgers’ organization and had a 3.95 ERA in 141 1/3 innings for Chattanooga in 2011, but with only 87 strikeouts.

Jose Ascanio, RHP: The 26-year-old allowed five runs on 12 baserunners in 6 1/3 innings for Pittsburgh last year and has a career 5.28 ERA in 46 MLB innings. However, he did strike out 50 in 44 innings for Triple-A Indianapolis in his first significant action since recovering from late-2009 shoulder surgery. So he sounds qualified for an Albuquerque stint.

Matt Chico, LHP: The one-time USC Trojan spent 2011 in the minors, putting up a 5.87 ERA across three levels in the Washington organization. He pitched out of the bullpen after having spent most of his major league career as a starter, most notably posting a 4.63 ERA with 5.1 strikeouts per nine innings for the Nationals over 31 starts in 2007. Tommy John surgery in 2008 curtailed things thereafter, and he’s been in only one major league game since.

Angel Guzman, RHP: Now 30, Guzman had a 2.95 ERA and 68 baserunners allowed in 61 innings with 47 strikeouts for the Cubs in 2009 — and hasn’t pitched in the majors since. He suffered ligament tears in his shoulder during spring training in 2010 and missed the rest of the year, coming back to pitch 35 2/3 innings in Class A ball with a 4.04 ERA and 28 strikeouts. Whether he can complete his comeback to the majors remains to be seen, but there are worse players to take a flier on than one with 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings in his MLB career.

Fernando Nieve, RHP: Owner of a 2.95 ERA in 36 2/3 innings with the 2009 Mets, Nieve slumped to 6.00 the following year and then finished 2011 with only 15 1/3 innings and a 7.63 ERA, all for Triple-A Oklahoma City, before pitching the rest of the year in South Korea.

Ryan Tucker, RHP: Taken 34th overall in the 2005 MLB draft by Florida, Tucker has 42 major league innings to his credit and 38 earned runs allowed, including a stint for the Marlins in 2008 in which he allowed eight homers and 23 walks in 37 innings. Florida had five of the top 44 picks in that ’05 draft and spent them on five pitchers (Chris Volstad, Aaron Thompson, Jacob Marceaux, Tucker and Sean West) who have a combined 4.88 ERA in 766 1/3 major league innings. For Triple-A Round Rock last year, Tucker had a 5.40 ERA in 68 1/3 innings.

Luis Cruz, UT: Cruz, 27, has played seven positions as a pro but mostly at shortstop, and although he’s a light hitter, it’s not like the Dodgers haven’t used his type before. His major league career consists of a .275 on-base percentage and .260 slugging percentage in 169 plate appearances; in April 2009, he was pushed off the Pirates’ roster when they acquired Delwyn Young from the Dodgers. Last year Cruz hit .301 OBP/.433 SLG for Triple-A Round Rock.

Lance Zawadzki, IF: A former Padre who went 7-for-35 with five walks in 2010, Zawadzki went to the Royals’ Triple-A team in Omaha last year, and had a .288 on-base percentage and .383 slugging percentage in 352 plate appearances. He holds the distinction of having the first hit ever in Petco Park, when he doubled for San Diego State in March 2004.

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Hope springs eternal; Last year may have fallen short, but this truth’s more than a kernel: there’s no sweeter words than “Pitchers and catchers report.”

  • Anonymous

    Is it just me or is there a distinct lack of excitement around this spring?  For the first time in recent memory, my wife and I have no plans to attend a spring training game, and neither of us is particularly jazzed about the 2012 season.  Sure, the ownership uncertainty plays a part, and so does the mediocrity of any player not named Kemp, Kershaw, and possibly Ethier.   

    Perhaps low expectations will make a successful season all the sweeter–there’s your Phil Dunphy for you.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       Well, I think the offseason was uninspiring and of course ownership. Expectations are tame. I’m more excited about the 2013 season than the 2012 season myself, but I admit the image of ballplayers on the fields today is a nice one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

    General question: It seems (and rightly so) that Ned and others suggest that based on the last few months of last year’s season that things look much better for this years season. I realize Ned is a PR guy who says the right things and he should. I mean what else is he gonna say.. But how much do you guys put into that? I put nothing into it myself. Each season is new..That’s not to say I am not hopeful because I am. This season IMO is gonna rest on a few main things:

    1. Ethier needs to return to form
    2. Loney needs to perform all season like his second half last season
    3. Gordon not regressing
    4. Uribe returns and plays at his norm
    5. Billingsley needs to pitch well and replace Kuroda as a true number 2
    6. Back of the pen remains solid.
    7. Capuano or Harang (one of the two need to pitch like a number 4 starter)

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      I don’t think too much should be put into last season’s strong finish, but it does give me hope that the team won’t completely stink this year the way it did early on last year.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

        right, and I should say that the questions (external and internal) about Mattingly are not there so that’s good too. I think everyone will always second guess if the guy should bunt or if they should bring in the lefty to face a lefty..but he proved he could handle a team pretty well last season given all the things he had to deal with.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah I agree with Jon, that last season’s strong finish had us throwing Kuroda and his 3.05 ERA out there every 5 days.
      I agree with your list though and hope that if some of those things happen at least the Dodgers can stay close until the deadline and maybe see if they can make a run with a trade. I think #7 is least likely to happen…

    • Anonymous

      Don’t forget the need for repeat performances by Kemp and Kershaw.  It’s probably unrealistic to expect that each will be the best in the business again in 2012.  

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

         SaMo..totally agree that’s kinda why I think Ethier, Loney, Uribe and Billz are singled out on my little list there. They need to pick up a little (i mean a lot) more slack!! My feeling is Kershaw will be the same and Kemp will be great but not as good..simply cause unlike Kershaw he can’t control what pitches he sees…

    • Anonymous

      Not having much faith in Capuano or Harang, or Lilly staying healthy for that matter, I think an alternate #7 for me will be whether another starter can step up from within, such as a healthy Rubby or Eo.

      • Anonymous

        Very valid point. Capuano especially has a hard time staying healthy that may be a blessing in 2nd half to get Eo/Rubby in there and actually improve the team!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

        I’m not having faith in #’s 1, 2, 4, and 7

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    I think there will be more excitement as we get closer, both to playing for real, and to getting ownership transition started. Team is in a bit of limbo right now though still competitive. While I wasn’t against the signings, it’s hard for fans to get too hot n’ sweaty about Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano, and Mark Ellis.  I am almost as excited that Ned will be gone in 5-10 months as I am about McCourt leaving.  But also excited that there are some cool prospects on the horizon, more pitching, but also a few intriguing hitters… 

    Anyway, so I will still feel excited within a couple of weeks, I think.

    • Anonymous

      The thought of getting hot ‘n’ sweaty about Aaron Harang is disturbing to me. :-)

    • Anonymous

      I remain skeptical that a change in general managers will matter much in the big picture.  The things that I notice from participation on Dodger blogs that are lacking are spending in baseball drafts (which is now governed by new CBA) and increased presence internationally.  But those results take 4-6 years to pan out.

      Jerry Dipoto was forturnate that Arte Moreno opened the vault for Pujols but did that make him a better GM than Tony Reagins?

      A organizations moves are always affected by budget and timing issues as much as who is in charge.  And you have the unpredictability of how your minor leaguers will continue to climb the ladder to the majors.

      Changes will be made because that is what new owners do but I reserve judgment that new baseball operations personnel will be the cause of raising the pennant at Chavez Ravine

      • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

        I think it’s fair to reserve judgment, but the potential of Rubby’s return, other pitching prospects, savvy trades and a bigger budget is better than not having any of those things.

      • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

        I will temper my expectations, and we could end up with a GM who is no better, or even less clever, and we could even end up with an ownership that is just as messy for that matter, but I feel it is safe to lay down at least slight bets that neither of those things happen. It’s true, though, more important to me is a) how healthy the farm system is and in the future how much is invested in scouting (both domestic and international) and b) how much payroll is — and along those lines how smartly that payroll is spent. Which is where the new GM comes in. I feel optimistic on that last point that the new hire will be at least a little more progressive than Colletti. 

        But yeah, what Jon said.

        I am probably more excited about Rubby coming back in the 2nd half of this season (hopefully) than many other personnel moves.

        • Anonymous

          ” a GM who is … even less clever”

          Of course anything is possible. But this seems far-fetched.

      • Phil Gurnee

         Yes, because Reagins not only traded for Vernon Wells, he traded Napoli to make it happen. When you make the worse move on the West Coast in the history of the Angels, when Jerry Dipoto replaces him, he is already  a better GM then Reagins. Plus I suspect he would not have fired the man who gave Reagins the team he has.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Mike Axisa of Fangraphs says Yankees should offer Russell Martin three-year, $30 million contract 
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/russell-martin-free-agent-catchers/

    • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

      “You’ll be sorrrrrrrry…” is my only reaction to that, fair or not.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

        why Underdog, I am sure he is in the best shape in his life thanks to his *new* offseason workout program!

    • Anonymous

      I would say the Yankees made the right call to wait one more year on Martin, that way they say if he’s still gonna stay healthy and that his production was not a one year deal…I didn’t disagree with the decision but we all sure wouldn’t mind a Martin/Ellis combo at catcher rather than Ellis/Treaner/FedX….

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    On this piece that Jon retweeted a little while ago: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dodgers/2012/02/matt-kemp-tony-gwynn-jr-tried-to-recruit-prince-fielder-to-dodgers.html
    At this point my attitude is more “Boo Fielder!” and “curse VMart’s injury” than anything the Dodgers didn’t do. Seems they did try pretty hard to get him. If he wanted to be in LA with his buds, he could’ve done that. He took the highest offer, which is understandable, especially when you have the agent he has, and maybe had concerns about his power numbers in LA, but still, it could’ve happened and that it didn’t is ultimately his choice. Oh well.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed.

  • Anonymous

    I’m still hopeful for the coming season.  Three games over .500 least year and the Dodgers are rich in pitching depth and reasonable to expect more normalized production from Ethier and Uribe.  To me, AZ overachieved and the pitching rich, offense poor Giants are still the team to beat.

    • Anonymous

       I don’t think the Snakes overachieved, and they’re this year’s clear favorites. The Gnats have too many question marks, including starting pitching that’s getting hit with injuries almost as fast as they step onto the field.

  • Anonymous

    Which would you rather have Bills throw a perfict game and go 7-11 with a 4.50 ERA or have him go 10-8 with a 3.50 ERA ?

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      That’s an interesting question – the historical argument is compelling for a perfect game – especially if I were in attendance – but I think I’m going to go with the 3.50 ERA because I’d rather Chad be (and be seen) as a success than as a fluke.

    • Phil Gurnee

       Easy, take the solid season over one game.

    • Anonymous

      Why not both? :)

      • KT

        Me Too…I want it all

    • Anonymous

       I don’t expect Bills to pitch a perfect game, but I do expect him to be better than 10-8, 3.50 ERA.

  • Anonymous

    Oddly enough, I’d choose the perfect game.  But that’s largely because I have so few expectations for this team that a standout solo performance would trump a superior overall season.  But I would hope that with a 3.5 ERA, any Dodger pitcher’s record would be better than 10-8.

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t get too excited from Jon’s ST rundown, but appreciated the Pee Wee citing.

    • Anonymous

      It took me 3 “readings” of Jon’s work to understand your post, Bob.

      • Anonymous

        Yep, always a big fan of Delwyn.

  • Phil Gurnee

    As always an excellent primer. Players I’m rooting for from the NRI list are Angel Guzman (tough road for him) and Shane Lindsay (The Real Wild Thing).

    I would be surprised if Josh Wall did not see action in 2012. Tolleson will not be far behind.

    The most amazing thing about spring 2012 is Javy Guerra’s status. I like Javy, but I just can’t believe in him. I’d say with 100% certainty that if Javy is the proclaimed closer on Feb 21st, 2013 I will be one very very surprised Dodger fan.

  • Anonymous

    Just when I forget about Trayvon Robinson…. 

    I would so love to see a 3B position player do something spectacular and catch on to relieve my angst over that position. 

    And, since I was shut down for my Rosters and Salaries tab, could we get an Eugenio Velez Hit Tracker widget?

  • Anonymous

    The one in-season move I could see though even that would be harsh, would be if the Torre/Caruso team gets the team, Joe brings in Kim Ng to take over baseball operations.  And I am not saying she would be good but she certainly has been with Joe a long time, both in NY and LA.  She knows the team, the farm system, the scouts and could probably get things moving faster than hiring someone in October.  I say it would be harsh because in many ways, that move could also be made after the season.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       Don’t you think Torre is Ned’s best bet for remaining GM? They seemed to like each other.

      • Anonymous

        I do but I also think he would want his own person in there.

  • Anonymous

     Shaikin reporting that Peter O’Malley has withdrawn his bid to buy the Dodgers.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t help but agree with you TC, my observation on him are that he has an average fastball (with no movement) average curve ball & no deception in his delivery, pretty standard reliever really… 

    I don’t know man, I tend to put a lot of stock on guys work ethic & competitive spirit, I’m hoping he went into this off-season & really got him self into shape. You know to be honest, I haven’t even looked at his numbers maybe there sick-good & I’m letting my eyes deceive me, veremos.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Bob (and i’m sorry i’m not asking you at your blog but i just haven’t had time to register over there) is Killing Lincoln a good read? I still have 2 books I have to finish reading but I’m looking for something else…

    • Anonymous

       The author, in my opinion, has zero credibility.

    • Anonymous

       Try “Destiny of the Republic: a tale of madness, medicine and the murder of a president”  by Candice Millard       It’s the story of the assassination of James Garfield, a fascinating read.  It also makes you very grateful for modern medicine.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT