Choosing not to wait until rosters expand September 1, the Dodgers have designated catcher Dioner Navarro for assignment and recalled A.J. Ellis from Triple-A Albuquerque. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has the news story.
Navarro had a .276 on-base percentage and .324 slugging percentage in 202 plate appearances for the Dodgers, throwing out 14 of 55 basestealers (25.4 percent). His performance had actually improved in recent weeks, with Navarro posting a .337 on-base percentage and .417 slugging percentage in 87 plate appearances since Independence Day, and three times this year (on June 19, July 9 and July 20) he had the only RBI in a 1-0 Dodger victory.
But overall, Navarro failed to justify the $1 million contract he signed Dec. 14, an attempt by general manager Ned Colletti to buy low on a 27-year-old one-time All-Star who had a .569 OPS from 2009-10 with Tampa Bay.
The transaction gives the Dodgers an opportunity to take another extended look at Ellis – though his credentials as a low-power, high-OBP threat seem well-established. Ellis has a .364 OBP in the majors this year and a .467 OBP with Albuquerque.
Barring any offseason moves, Ellis and Tim Federowicz (recently acquired in the Trayvon Robinson trade) are leading candidates to split catcher time in the Dodger starting lineup next year, though Barajas could return as a free agent if he’s willing to take a significant pay cut from his $3.25 million salary. Barajas has a .699 OPS and, remarkably, is second on the Dodgers in home runs with 12.
Navarro could return to the Dodgers in September if no team picks him up, but it seems more likely now that Federowicz will get his first taste of the majors then.
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Not a lot of middle-of-the-order bats will be available this offseason, writes Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors.
St. Louis reacts, mostly negatively, to Tony LaRussa’s Monday managerial machinations. See here in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
How did “Moneyball” stay alive? Mark Harris writes about the film’s tale of survival for New York Magazine.
The Dodgers have had four different relievers pitch on each of the last two days:
Scott Elbert threw 25 pitches after throwing 16 pitches Friday
Matt Guerrier threw 23 pitches after throwing 16 pitches Friday
Blake Hawksworth threw 13 pitches after throwing 12 pitches Friday
Mike MacDougal threw 22 pitches after throwing four pitches Friday
Factor in Javy Guerra throwing 32 pitches on Saturday, and Hong-Chih Kuo pitching in parts of two innings and the Dodgers have the makings of a thin bullpen on Sunday. The one reliever I didn’t mention was Josh Lindblom, and even he threw 25 pitches yesterday.
There are several different ways the Dodgers could make a roster move to add a pitcher to the bullpen, but anyway …
Loney, of course, pitched in high school, and many thought that would be his path to the big leagues. From the Dodger media guide:
Was a standout as a pitcher and first baseman for Lawerence E. Elkins High School in Missouri City, TX…listed as a pitcher, was ranked by Baseball America as the 46th-best prospect entering the June 2002 draft…in its draft recap, Baseball America tabbed him as the best pure hitter in the draft, as having the second-best professional debut by a high school player selected and the second-closest high school player to reaching the Major Leagues…as a prep senior, hit .509 with eight homers and 56 RBI, while on the mound, he was 9-1 with a 1.80 ERA, striking out 106 in 54.0 innings…earned utility spot on Baseball America’s High School All-America first team…his Elkins team was 30-1 and ranked No. 1 in the nation…was slated to attend Baylor had he not signed with Los Angeles.
Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors provided the fun conversation topic of the day, suggesting that the Cubs might consider trading troubled starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano — and cash — for woebegone Dodger infielder Juan Uribe.
Of course, anytime Milton Bradley’s name comes up for comparison’s sake, many people will have strong feelings. Conversely, my initial response was to be intrigued by the possibility of Zambrano (.848 OPS this season) playing first base and batting sixth, but Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness weighed things a bit more carefully.
Elsewhere, Steve Dilbeck of the Times points out that the three leading National League Manager of the Year candidates — Arizona’s Kirk Gibson, Milwaukee’s Ron Roenicke and Philadelphia’s Charlie Manuel — are all ex-Dodgers.
A quick reminder of what’s at stake for Hiroki Kuroda in his bid to become the unluckiest starting pitcher in Los Angeles Dodger history (thanks to Baseball-Reference.com):
Losses in a season
Record: 18, by Claude Osteen (1968) and Don Sutton (1969) Kuroda: 14
Lowest winning percentage in a season
Minimum 14 decisions: Rick Honeycutt, .143 (2-12) in 1987
Minimum 15 decisions: Hideo Nomo, .257 (4-11) in 2004 Minimum 22 decisions: Bill Singer, .273 (6-16) in 1972 Kuroda: .333 (7-14)
Lowest winning percentage with ERA below 3.00
Record: Mike Morgan, .421 (8-11, 2.53 ERA) Kuroda: .333 (7-14, 3.01 ERA)
Top ERA+ (adjusted ERA) with winning percentage of .333 or lower
Record: Tom Candiotti, 109 (7-14, 3.50 ERA) Kuroda: 122 (7-14, 3.01 ERA)
Put my little girl on a plane today with two grandparents and a cousin for her first real trip away from us. A week.
She’s about the same age I was, 8 going on 9, when I first went away to sleepaway camp, a journey that I greeted with almost equal parts excitement and anxiety. But from the moment this trip was first put on the table nearly a year ago, to the moment she hugged first my wife and then me goodbye around dawn today, this girl, who sometimes trembles over things you and I would laugh at, never had a single moment of trepidation. Not one.
She shrugged her shoulders for months when we asked if she were ready to go, then when the time came, gave us hugs with nothing but smiles.
I can remember the tears when I first said goodbye to my parents. I can also remember something similar the first time I had to go on a plane and leave my wife and then-newborn daughter behind. But my girl was only looking forward. I have to say, I really admire it.
But … four years, one month and nine days until she’s a teenager. Oh boy …
The Dodgers will celebrate the life and career of the late Hall of Famer Duke Snider with pregame ceremonies honoring the franchise’s all-time leading home run hitter and special presentations throughout the game. In addition, fans at the game will receive a Duke Snider bobblehead, presented by State Farm, and will be able to pose for photos with Snider’s Hall of Fame plaque (in Lot G Autograph Alley area from 5:10 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.), which is making a rare trip to Dodger Stadium from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York for the event.
Snider’s wife Bev, four children, Kevin, Kurt, Pam and Dawna, several grandchildren and other family members will all be at the game and will participate in the pregame ceremonies.
Also participating in the Kids Run onto the Field segment tonight will be Young Master Weisman. Running across the field in unpredictable directions was one of his favorite things to do at the end of coach-pitch practice, so it seems fitting. He’s excited.
I have a little confession to make. Sunday afternoon, I was plotting the idea of making the Dodgers’ three-game series with Philadelphia that starts tonight into a mini-National League Championship Series showdown — in my mind.
Though I basically gave up hope for the Dodgers’ reaching the playoffs weeks and weeks ago, I was thinking that I might give the series with the Phillies some actual meaning. The rationale?
Los Angeles had won 10 of 15 games to eliminate exactly one-third of its 13 1/2-game deficit in the NL West.
With Clayton Kershaw on the mound against Arizona and San Francisco playing the Phillies, there was a decent chance that the Dodgers would close the divisional gap to eight games with eight weeks to go.
If the Dodgers won the series from the Phillies, that would most properly considered a fluke, but it would also, however temporarily and minimally, mark the Dodgers as a team looking for a glass slipper.
Sunday’s turnaround loss sapped much of my drive for my mini-NLCS frame of mind. I don’t think I’m going to be much more invested in this series than I was going to be before this flight of rather delusional fancy.
Knowing that the Dodgers actually could have stayed in the race does haunt me a little bit. One more week of winning combined with a week of losing by the division leaders, and the entire division would be thrown into doubt. It really hammers home just how absolutely awful the Dodgers had to be this year to be considered out of the running for a division title with so many games to play.
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ESPNLosAngeles.com has launched the ESPN Los Angeles Hall of Fame, with 20 initial nominees for five spots. Nominees could not be active, which explains why Vin Scully isn’t present.
I’d have been happy to vote for all 20, but forced to pick five, I went with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chick Hearn, Magic Johnson, Sandy Koufax and John Wooden. Yes, I’m aware I did baseball a disservice in the process.
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Yes, a $27 million loss does seem like a lot. My recollection is that losses were routine when Fox owned the team, but the company was large enough to withstand them to some extent (Piazza trade notwithstanding).
Here’s a tip of the hat to Juan Rivera, who has performed above my expectations (but not above those of the guy who hounded me on Twitter last month saying he was a great pickup).
Rivera has a .359 on-base percentage and .416 slugging percentage in 64 plate appearances since coming to Los Angeles, which is superb by 2011 Dodger standards. He has effectively become an everyday player with starts in 17 of 20 games, counting tonight, when he makes his eighth start at first base.
The Dodgers begin play tonight 9 1/2 games behind San Francisco and Atlanta, their narrowest deficit since June 27. The same team that has enabled them to get over the double-digit hump, Philadelphia, will travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles to be the Dodgers’ opponent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, while the Giants travel to Pittsburgh and the Diamondbacks to Houston. If that somehow doesn’t provide a reality check, it will mean that someone has gone into the garage to try to jump-start their Miracle Machine. In the meantime, we’ll see what youngun Nathan Eovaldi can do.