May 09

Ned Colletti has not repeated Bradley-for-Ethier magic

The trade of Milton Bradley (and Antonio Perez) for Andre Ethier has often been cited as a great, maybe even the greatest, achievement by Ned Colletti as a Dodger general manager. What was impressive about the yield is that everyone knew that Colletti was under orders from up top (with the support of much of the Dodger fanbase, it should be said) to unload Bradley, after the outfielder reached the point of no return in his tumultuous two years with the Dodgers. It was the kind of trade that could easily have netted a prospect that would never sniff the majors.

The news comes up again because Bradley, who has generated a .649 OPS and lots of angst in his two seasons with Seattle, has been designated for assignment by the Mariners, possibly signaling the end of his major-league career.

My purpose is not to talk about Bradley, who has been discussed here at great length, but just point out how rare it has been that Colletti has ever tried to repeat the method of this trade — exchanging a veteran in his 20s, at or near his peak value, for prospects that could contribute down the road. (Bradley was 27 and coming off a .835 OPS season when Colletti traded him for Ethier in December 2005.)

Looking quickly at the Dodgers’ transaction logs on Baseball-Reference.com, I can’t find one similar deal in the Colletti era. The closest might be the trade of Juan Pierre for John Ely and Jon Link before the 2010 season, but Pierre was already 32 and into his decline phase when the trade occurred. If you want to make a case to include this, I won’t stop you, but I’m not sure it qualifies.

It might come as no surprise that a team that regularly contends for the playoffs, like the Dodgers have under Colletti, has arguably not made a single boffo trade for a highly regarded prospect — even one who could have as much near-term impact as Ethier, who was in the majors months after the trade. But it’s interesting. We used to wonder whether Colletti would use any of the Dodgers’ exciting young players to get a proven veteran — will he ever again use a proven veteran to get any exciting young players? It did work for him before.

* * *

Bud Selig spoke to ESPN 1050 AM radio in New York about the Dodgers today:

… Selig was asked why he approved the deal that sold the Dodgers to McCourt in 2004 in the first place. Ironically, Fox had held controlling interest of the club beforehand.

“I’ll tell you what happened. There’s a lot of history here, which a lot of people don’t seem to understand,” Selig said. “There were two other bidders. Fox was anxious to get rid of the team. They were all really anxious. I’ll tell you what happened. There were a couple of groups: A group led by Dave Checketts and another group. And for whatever reason, they weren’t around at the end, so Fox sold the club to the McCourts and presented them to us. So this idea that we ought to examine ourselves, there was nobody else. We have a long relationship with Fox. There were no other bidders.” …

Selig said that MLB has added former Pittsburgh Pirates COO Richard Freeman to its team monitoring the Dodgers.

* * *

Dodger minor-leaguer Dee Gordon can be seen scoring from first base with Roadrunner speed on a sacrifice bunt and an error, in this video posted by Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness. Albuquerque Isotopes play-by-play man Robert Portnoy has the call.

* * *

From the In Case You Missed It file: the torpedoes have been damned, and back-to-back outings for Hong-Chih Kuo have been approved. Hope for the best …

May 06

Broxton goes to disabled list, Jansen to return

Following his MRI exam, Jonathan Broxton is headed for the disabled list, with Kenley Jansen making his trip to Chattanooga a mere layover on his way to New York to replace Broxton on the active roster.

There were different ways to interpret the news that an MRI revealed Jonathan Broxton had, according to the Times, a bone spur but no structural damage. On the one hand, the pain caused by the bone spur could account for Broxton’s awkward appearance Tuesday and even his rough-and-tumble 2011, but it wouldn’t seem to add much to a physical explanation of why he’s been so off his game since mid-2010 — unless it has been a recurring problem.

We’ll undoubtedly hear more on this as the day progresses.

Update: Broxton could be out for a month, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:

… Broxton said he was told he would be shut down for two to three weeks to allow dissipation of fluid in the joint, then resume throwing. He said also had a pre-existing bone spur in the back of the elbow that showed up in a 2010 MRI, but that wasn’t the cause of his latest trouble. …

He was examined by team doctor Neal ElAttache, who told him the injury was probably the result of his joint opening and closing at high velocity “and the bones slam against each other. It takes a while to get the fluid in there.”

He said he was told he could take three or four days off and continue pitching, but the best course of action would be to shut down and let the bruise completely heal. Broxton said he didn’t think this injury was related to his second-half collapse last year.

“It probably started in the spring and caught up to me now,” he said. “The ligament is fine, there are no chips or anything. It’s just bruised.” …

Update 2: More from Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

* * *

After writing that Wilson Betemit should have let himself get hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, Kansas City Star sportswriter Lee Judge decided he should step up and see what it would be like. The video is pretty great.

May 03

Thames heads to disabled list, Gibbons activated

Marcus Thames has been battling some leg issues for some time now, and the powers that be have finally decided that he needs some extended rest. So he’s off to the disabled list thanks to what’s listed as a right quad strain, with the Dodgers activating Jay Gibbons in his stead.

Gibbons, of course, had been battling vision issues for months now, but he’s been playing consistently for the past week or so, including a recent stretch in which he went 9 for 25 with a homer and three walks. The rub is that he bats left-handed, so that means Jerry Sands has one less right-handed bat to compete with for playing time.

Thames is only 6 for 34 this season with two homers (both as a pinch-hitter), two walks and 11 strikeouts — a .634 OPS. In his most recent 12 games, he had a home run and a walk in 16 plate appearances.

Apr 26

Broxton’s status in turnaround

Making more front-page drive-in news is Jonathan Broxton. An excerpt follows, but be sure to read the full story on Broxton’s status from Tony Jackson at ESPNLosAngeles.com:

Jonathan Broxton was told by Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly on Tuesday that he is still the team’s closer despite widespread media reports that the team had decided to go with a closer-by-committee approach in the wake of Broxton’s blown save on Monday night against the Florida Marlins.

Mattingly saw one of those media reports, on the MLB Network, while working out on Tuesday morning and immediately decided to meet with Broxton to reassure him that the job was still his. That closed-door meeting, which also included pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, took place in the visiting clubhouse at Sun Life Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, a few hours before the Dodgers played the Marlins. The Marlins scored three runs off Broxton after two were out and nobody was on base in the ninth inning on Monday night to beat the Dodgers 5-4.

“I’m the closer right now, so I just have to go out there and continue to throw,” Broxton said after the meeting. “I just have to turn the page. That is the big thing about closing or doing anything, setting up, relieving. You have to turn the page. … [Mattingly] said he liked what he has been seeing and that I’m throwing the ball good. I just have to get back to that attack mode, especially with two outs.”

Those media reports stemmed from comments Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti made during his weekly radio interview on Tuesday morning with KABC’s Peter Tilden. Although Colletti never used the term “closer-by-committee,” he did mention the names of at least two other pitchers — Hong-Chih Kuo, who is on the disabled list but expected to return as early as Friday, and Vicente Padilla, who came off the disabled list on Friday and has since had one strong outing and one shaky one — as possible closer candidates.

“I can’t help but be concerned,” Colletti said when Tilden asked about Broxton. “I’m one of those people who are pretty much concerned about everything anyway. I am concerned about him. Hopefully, we will get Kuo back Friday, and Padilla has been back for a couple of games. Hopefully, we can give Donnie three choices or so at the end of a game and let him make up his mind by matchup or whatever until Broxton can get his confidence back and get settled.”

Contacted by ESPNLosAngeles.com, Colletti downplayed the implications of what he had told Tilden earlier in the day.

“I just said when we get Kuo back and Padilla back to 100 percent, it’s going to give Donnie some options, depending upon matchups and the previous day’s usage, things like that,” Colletti said. “But that doesn’t mean Broxton isn’t the closer.”

Both Mattingly and Honeycutt said Broxton wasn’t available to close on Tuesday night against the Marlins, but only because he had pitched each of the previous two games. …


Also, Jackson reports that Frank McCourt is meeting in New York on Thursday with MLB execs — but not commissioner Bud Selig.

Finally, Xavier Paul was claimed on waivers by Pittsburgh, where he’ll be a teammate of Brandon Wood, recently claimed from the Angels, and former Dodger James McDonald.

Apr 25

Dodgers activate Navarro, option Ellis

When Dioner Navarro went on the disabled list near the end of Spring Training, A.J. Ellis did all you expect A.J. Ellis to do: 19 plate appearances, four singles, four walks (.421 on-base percentage), no extra-base hits.

For that, the Dodgers put Ellis on the Wolverine up to Annandale today, while Navarro comes off the disabled list to start earning that million bucks. He’ll back up starting catcher Rod Barajas.

Meanwhile, Juan Uribe is still nursing his sore quad, and Casey Blake is getting a day off after playing seven days in a row (10 for 27, two homers, six walks, 10 runs), so today’s Dodger lineup features both Aaron Miles and Ivan De Jesus Jr.

As Steve Dilbeck of the Times notes, the Dodgers’ offensive resurgence of the past week coincided with facing, for the most part, less-than-elite pitchers. Florida poses a tougher challenge this week, although the Dodgers will miss Josh Johnson (1.06 ERA, 22 baserunners, 33 strikeouts in 34 innings).

Florida is one of only four teams in the National League that are more than a game over .500. The Dodgers are one of seven teams within a game of .500.

For your pregame enjoyment: Ernest Reyes of Blue Heaven passes along this look at Jackie Robinson’s 1938 Muir High School yearbook.

Apr 18

How close is Jerry Sands? He’s here

I think I might always remember the moment, or approximate moment, that Jerry Sands was called up by the Dodgers. I was having an extremely rare weekday afternoon margarita at one of our big family gatherings of the week, and looking around the table at my wife reunited with her family and my kids with their East Coast cousins. To make a long story short, I’ve been having a hard time feeling optimistic about some things, but as I breathed in the scene, I suddenly not only told myself I should be more positive, I actually believed that I could.

That sentiment, I knew, might last little longer than the margarita, but lo and behold, I came out of the restaurant a couple hours later, quickly checked e-mails on my cellphone and saw that the Dodgers had made what could be a similar, happily desperate declaration in promoting Sands.

Sands, whose name I also came to realize today reminds me more of a slacks-wearing pro chipping in on the 18th hole to win at Pebble Beach, takes the roster spot of Xavier Paul, whom the Dodgers designated for assignment, as Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com notes. That tradeoff in itself tells you the perils of placing faith in a minor leaguer to fill a gaping hole in the Dodger lineup. Paul was never a Dodger minor-league hitter of the year the way Sands was last year, but the guy had a fairly strong career in the Dodger farm system, only to go by the same wayside as (take your pick) Delwyn Young or Cody Ross.

So of course we keep our expectations of Sands as sober as I now find myself, especially on the on-base percentage side as he faces major-league pitching for the first time, less than a year out of Single-A ball. But his power nevertheless offers the possibility of something the Dodgers desperately need after cleanup hitter Matt Kemp: a threat. Until Juan Uribe and James Loney figure themselves out, why not Sands? It’s worth a shot, and even if he falls short, I expect the early exposure to the bigs will instruct more than it will harm.

What’s funny is as dramatic as this move might seem, we could see it coming months ago. From this winter’s “How close is he?” series:

Summary: From age 22 1/2 to age 23, Sands had a .395 on-base percentage and .586 slugging percentage with 35 homers in 590 plate appearances combined at Single-A Great Lakes and Double-A Chattanooga. In Double-A, Sands posted a .360/.529 with 17 homers in 303 plate appearances. 

For comparison’s sake: From age 22 to age 22 1/2, Andre Ethier delivered a .383/.442 with seven homers in 471 plate appearances, all in Single-A. Then from age 23 to 23 1/2, Ethier offered .385/.497 with 18 homers in 572 plate appearances in Double-A (not counting a 17-plate appearance cup o’ joe at Triple-A). After starting 2006 strongly with the Dodgers’ Triple-A team, Ethier was promoted to the majors three weeks after turning 24. 

Sobering: Sands struck out in about a quarter of his at-bats in the minors last year. 

For what it’s worth: A younger Matt Kemp arrived in Los Angeles mere months after going .349/.569 in Single-A, and was in the majors for good less than two years after that Single-A year. 

Quick and dirty conclusion: Obviously, Sands and Ethier are not the same player. Ethier had a better OBP but less power in the minors, among other differences. Still, I did find the juxtaposition interesting. It seems entirely plausible that Sands could get a quick promotion to Albuquerque in 2011. That would position him to make his big-league debut before the year is out and leave him a serious contender for a starting role in 2012. 

Though there is almost zero chance Sands would start 2011 in the majors after only a half-season in Double-A – because Ned Colletti teams give veterans first crack in April – how Sands develops this year, against the background of how the Dodger major-league outfield shapes up, could speed up his timetable. He is also a potential understudy to James Loney.

We’ll see where Sands ends up ultimately. But tonight, I’m going to think positively. I could do worse.

Apr 12

Dodgers recall De Jesus

As the clip above shows, Bill Buckner will appear on the next season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Rafael Furcal has officially been placed on the disabled list, and Ivan De Jesus Jr. was recalled to take his roster spot and presumably play at least semi-regularly at second base, though Aaron Miles is getting the start tonight.

Chad Billingsley and Tim Lincecum face each other for the first time as starting pitchers in tonight’s game. They did meet up in that bizarre, rain-affected game April 2, 2008 when both entered as relievers, after Hong-Chih Kuo and Merkin Valdez started. Billingsley faced four batters in the fifth inning and got a blown save for his effort.

Click this link to see how Lincecum has done in 11 previous outings against the Dodgers.

Apr 11

Kershaw LXXXVI: Kershawlandaise sauce

I have several different thoughts percolating about the fan and security issues surrounding tonight’s Dodgers-Giants game, as well as today’s Dodger Stadium fundraiser for Bryan Stow. I know it’s my job to get them from percolation to full boil, but I didn’t quite get there. For now, let’s just keep it simple: I am thinking good thoughts for tonight.

In baseball news: Rafael Furcal is back in the lineup after a couple of days off because of wrist issues. But after resting Sunday, Casey Blake is also sitting out tonight’s game against San Francisco lefty Madison Bumgarner. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com said that Blake’s left leg has been bothering him since Saturday’s game-ending collision with the Padres’ Chase Headley.

Additionally, the Dodgers have sent John Ely back to Albuquerque, paving the way for Jon Garland’s activation before Friday’s game. In the meantime, Jamie Hoffmann gets a callup. Here’s Jackson’s story.

Apr 07

Dodgers release former first-round pick Adkins

The Dodgers have released former first-round draft choice James Adkins, a left-handed pitcher.

Selected 39th overall in the 2007 MLB amateur draft out of Tennessee, Adkins had a 2.42 ERA in his first season of Class A ball with Great Lakes, but struggled with his control thereafter. A conversion from starting to relief did not seem to help. In 2010, the 25-year-old had a 4.76 ERA with Double-A Chattanooga, striking out 50 but walking 23.

Adkins had been selected as a compensation pick for the free-agent departure of Julio Lugo. Here’s a link to guest posts by Canuck Dodger and Nate Purcell on Dodger Thoughts regarding the 2007 draft.

The Dodgers also released former major leaguer Juan Rincon, who spent 10 years with Minnesota, Cleveland, Detroit and Colorado, along with pitcher Antonio Castillo, catcher Orlando Mercado and infielders Steven Caseres and Michael Richard.

The news was first reported by Matt Eddy of Baseball America.

Mar 31

De Jesus, Ellis, Cormier, Gimenez, Paul round out Dodger Opening Day roster

Here’s who’ll suit up for Opening Day (Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has the details and the quotes.):

Starting pitchers: Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda

Bullpen: Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo, Matt Guerrier, Kenley Jansen, Blake Hawksworth, Mike McDougal, Lance Cormier

Starting lineup: Rafael Furcal, Tony Gwynn Jr., Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Juan Uribe, James Loney, Rod Barajas, Jamey Carroll

Bench: Ivan De Jesus Jr., Aaron Miles, Hector Gimenez, A.J. Ellis, Xavier Paul, Marcus Thames

Disabled list: Jon Garland, Vicente Padilla, Jay Gibbons, Casey Blake, Dioner Navarro

Manager: Don Mattingly, interviewed by Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com

John Lindsey and Jon Link have been designated for assignment – I think the expectation is that Lindsey, if not both Lindsey and Link, will clear waivers and possibly end up in Albuquerque.

Most vulnerable to coming off the roster as the injured players return: De Jesus, Ellis, Cormier, McDougal and Paul.

Oh, and here’s a bonus for you:

June 2012 starting rotation: Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Rubby De La Rosa, Zach Lee

Mar 29

Andre being Andre: Ethier elaborates on exit comments


Adam Davis/Icon SMIAndre Ethier is the first Dodger to have three consecutive seasons with an adjusted OPS of at least 130 since Gary Sheffield and only the fifth in Los Angeles Dodger history to do so.

Andre Ethier was asked today about his perplexing postgame comments from Monday, and here’s the explanation – as Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports, he’s apparently afraid of being non-tendered after this season.

The Dodgers went that route with former All-Star catcher Russell Martin over the winter, and Ethier hinted that a similar fate could be in store for him.

“My salary is increasing each year,” Ethier said. “I would say the likeliness of me being here beyond this year, it’s not just my decision. … I have been kind of lucky to be in one spot in baseball for as long as I have been, for six years now. That is a long time to be in one city playing for one team. There is no inclination now other than to go out and play this year and see what we’ve got.

“If I don’t play well, we have seen them non-tender guys here. If you do play well, sometimes they don’t offer those guys arbitration because their salaries are too high.”

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said he wasn’t aware of Ethier’s remarks, either from Monday night or Tuesday afternoon, and he initially seemed taken aback by them. …

But on the day the Dodgers finalized a three-year, $35 million contract extension for pitcher Chad Billingsley, Colletti did reveal that he had preliminary discussions during spring training with Nez Balelo, Ethier’s Los Angeles-based agent, on a possible extension for Ethier, but that those discussions died fairly quickly.Ethier insisted he was unaware that those talks had even begun between Colletti and Balelo, so he couldn’t have been aware that they had been quickly abandoned.

“I guess they didn’t get far enough for it to get to me,” Ethier said. “I guess that shows you how serious they were.” …

Ethier now says he would like to remain with the Dodgers for a long time to come, but he also qualified that statement.“Yeah, as long as the organization is going in the right direction and is still committed to winning rather than things not going good for a year or two and then rebuilding or maybe going through a transition year,” he said. “You hear it all the time, coaches and players saying they don’t know how many opportunities you’re going to get to be in the playoffs or on a winning team. I want to be somewhere [that provides] my best shot to win and win on an everyday basis. It feels like we have that here and we’re moving that way, but that’s kind of a wait-and-see basis.”

Yes, he does appear to have a fair bit of disenchantment with the front office. What’s poetic is that Billingsley could have felt exactly the same insecurity a year ago, when Ethier, Matt Kemp and Jonathan Broxton got two-year contracts but he didn’t.

There’s no doubt that a) the Dodgers aren’t going to pay $10 million or more to players they think can’t earn it, and b) Ethier is prone to melancholia and doomsday thinking. I think it’s one thing to motivate himself to have the best possible year, on and off the field, that he possibly can. It’s another thing for Ethier to think that the Dodgers aren’t interested in keeping him around – especially if he performs the way he is capable of.

Dodgers with three consecutive seasons, OPS+ of at least 130
2008-2010 Andre Ethier
1999-2001 Gary Sheffield
1993-1997 Mike Piazza
1981-1985 Pedro Guerrero
1980-1982 Dusty Baker
1952-1957 Duke Snider
1951-1954 Gil Hodges
1949-1953 Jackie Robinson
1949-1951 Roy Campanella
1943-1945 Augie Galan
1938-1942 Dolph Camilli
1928-1931 Babe Herman
1923-1925 Jack Fournier
1916-1918 Zack Wheat
1904-1907 Harry Lumley

* * *

Jackson with details on Billingsley’s deal: “He will receive $9 million in 2012, $11 million in 2013 and $12 million in 2014. The club option for 2015 carries a $14 million salary if it’s exercised and a $3 million buyout if it isn’t.”

“It was a little bit of a compromise, but I’m happy with it and I believe they’re happy with it also,” said Billingsley, who is represented by agent Dave Stewart, a former All-Star pitcher himself. “They came to us at the beginning of camp. We kept talking back and forth over the course of spring training and we were able to work something out. Ultimately, it was my decision and what I felt was best for me and my family.” …

“Being a pitcher, it’s nice to have the security to fall back on in case something happens — because you only have so many throws in this arm,” Billingsley said. “But I’ve been fortunate not to have too many health issues, except for hamstring problems.

“It’s a blessing for this opportunity to come my way, and I’m going to continue to focus on what I need to do. I want to continue to get better. I haven’t figured this game out. I’m still learning every day I step out on the mound.”

* * *

Dodgers at Angels, 7:05 p.m.

Mar 28

Billingsley deal makes sense for both sides

About 14 months ago, I wrote this post on Dodger Thoughts: “What Justin Verlander’s new contract could mean for Chad Billingsley and the Dodgers.”

Justin Verlander signed a contract extension with the Tigers on Wednesday that amounts to $80 million over five years.

Verlander is 17 months older than Chad Billingsley and made his major-league debut 49 weeks before the Dodger righty (though Verlander pitched only 11 1/3 innings that year). A comparison of the two since they became full-fledged major-leaguers:

Verlander Billingsley
Year IP K/9 ERA+ IP K/9 ERA+
2006 186 6.0 126 90 5.9 118
2007 201 2/3 8.2 125 147 8.6 134
2008 201 7.3 93 200 2/3 9 133
2009 240 10.1 133 196 1/3 8.2 98

Verlander had an off year in 2008, but came back with his best season ever. His off year was arguably worse or at least little better than Billingsley’s off year in 2009. Billingsley outperformed Verlander two years running in adjusted ERA, though he didn’t pitch as many innings. The best season either pitcher had before last year was Billingsley’s 2008. And again, Billingsley is more than a year younger.

Before the 2009 season, it’s hard to see how anyone would have valued Verlander much more than Billingsley. It’s not as if Verlander had any postseason success to make up for his 2008 problems.

Billingsley obviously needs to show this year that he can bounce back from his disappointing second half (interestingly, both he and Verlander had first-half ERAs of 3.38 last season, though Verlander’s 3.38 was worth a little more because of league and park adjustments). But it’s hardly far-fetched that Billingsley will. And if he does, he will set himself up for a mighty nice deal – if not before he becomes a free agent in November 2012, then certainly after. …


Billinglsey didn’t have a 2010 to match Verlander’s 2009, but he did pitch well enough to earn a multiyear contract extension that means he will earns $40-odd million over the next four years. Dave Cameron of Fangraphs thinks the Dodgers got a bargain, and maybe that’s so – the career adjusted ERAs of the two pitchers are nearly identical now – but the dollars take into account that both Billingsley’s 2009-10 seasons didn’t live up to 2008. Billingsley gets a whole mess of security, and the Dodgers get a pitcher that should be good, maybe even great.  Both sides have reason to be happy.

Mar 28

Chad Billingsley close to three-year contract extension

The rumblings first came from Joe McDonnell of Fox Sports, aided by Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy. Now, Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com is reporting, based on multiple anonymous sources, that the Dodgers are close to extending Chad Billingsley’s contract through 2014, with a possible 2015 option.

Billingsley, who is earning $6.275 million in 2011, would be the first Dodger of the current young core to be signed passed his free-agent years. Billingsley could otherwise become a free agent in November 2012.

We’re still waiting on precisely how much Billingsley will get, but it’s a tremendous sign of faith that the Dodgers have in Billingsley, who was dropped from the starting rotation for the 2009 playoffs.

* * *

There’s an argument that Jamey Carroll should get the Opening Day start at second base after all, instead of Ivan De Jesus Jr. Though I’m hoping De Jesus seizes the day (or month, or year) at second base, I’m fine if Carroll starts — it’s important for De Jesus to get off to a good start, and having his first game be on Opening Day against Tim Lincecum on ESPN stacks the deck against him pretty strongly. Maybe Carroll can work a walk …

* * *

* * *

Angels at Dodgers, 7:05 p.m.

Mar 02

Treble was I ere I saw Elbert

Royals 11, Dodgers 5

Highlights:

  • Tim Redding pitched three shutout innings, giving him five for the spring with three strikeouts.
  • James Loney went 2 for 2.
  • Relievers Ramon Troncoso and Carlos Monasterios pitched shutout ball.
  • Jamie Hoffmann (1 for 2) is now, like Loney, 4 for 8 this spring.
  • Juan Castro hit a three-run home run.

Lowlights:

  • Scott Elbert had a nightmare outing, walking four of the five batters he faced. From Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.:

    … With assistant GM of player development DeJon Watson in the broadcast booth with Charley Steiner, Elbert was missing the strike zone every which way. Elbert came in the game in relief of Jon Link in the fifth inning, then pitched into the sixth. Watson spoke of how Elbert got more consistent in his delivery over the winter, and was able to show two dominant pitches in the Arizona Fall League, but as those words were being spoken Elbert was missing the strike zone quite often. Elbert faced five batters, and walked four of them. He threw 21 pitches, only five of them for strikes.

    On the broadcast, one could hear Watson rooting for Elbert, the Dodgers’ 2009 minor league pitcher of the year, even as he was struggling. Watson said Elbert has great stuff that is “electric through the strike zone,” and Watson seemed to take Elbert’s outing in stride. “He’s having a tough outing today, but I think you’ll see better outings from Mr. Elbert in the future,” Watson said. Elbert better hope so; he has faced 10 batters this spring, and walked six of them. He did strike out two, and the other two batters didn’t hit the ball out of the infield, but Elbert needs to show some control before he even sniffs the 25-man roster. …

  • Jon Link was charged with three runs while getting two outs; Luis Vasquez was charged with four runs while getting three outs.
  • Aaron Miles had a double but made his second error of the spring.
  • Xavier Paul struck out twice, dropping to 1 for 8 this exhibition season.
  • Juan Castro hit a three-run home run.

Sidelights:

  • Clayton Kershaw, not yet eligible for arbitration, signed his one-year 2011 contract for the expected figure of $500,000. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has details.  In fact, every man on the 40-man roster has now been signed for 2011, with Ronald Belisario having his contract renewed and then getting placed on the restricted list.
  • The adventures of Dee Gordon, again courtesy of Mr. Stephen:

    There was a funny moment in the fifth inning, when Mike Moustakas lofted a foul pop near the photography well adjacent to the back of the Dodger dugout. Aaron Miles was in pursuit of the ball, but Dee Gordon, who was not in the game and sitting on the steps of the dugout, tried to evade Miles by moving out of the dugout. Instead, Gordon got the way of Miles, who was unable to make the catch. Watson, who was in the booth with Charley Steiner, could be heard saying something like, “Jesus criminey” or something to that effect.

  • Remarkable: Larry Granillo researched “Peanuts” comic strips for Baseball Prospectus and found Duke Snider was mentioned twice (once with Willie Mays, once with a host of players), compared to three mentions for Mickey Mantle and Mays combined, once for Mantle alone and four times for Mays alone (including the famous spelling bee episode).
  • James Loney fares a bit below average in David Pinto’s defensive statistical rankings of first basemen from 2006-10 at Baseball Musings.
  • Ernest Reyes of Blue Heaven posted photos of the new grass being installed at Dodger Stadium.
  • Charlie Sheen meets Ron Swanson x John Wooden: The Sheen Pyramid of Greatness.
  • Juan Castro hit a three-run home run. From Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:

    When he left the game after five innings and returned to the clubhouse, this note was posted on the bulletin board:

    “Juan Castro: Please report to [Dodgers trainer] Stan Conte after the game for a mandatory steroid test.”

Update: Jackson writes about Castro and Elbert.

Feb 16

Dodgers invite Lance Cormier to camp

The Dodgers signed Lance Cormier to a minor-league deal with an invite to big-league camp, reports Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com, who has details.

Interestingly, Cormier is two years younger than Matt Guerrier, who signed a big three-year deal with the Dodgers in the offseason,

Cormier, 30, has been effective at times over the past three years pitching for the Orioles and Rays, with a 3.71 ERA, though he has still allowed 316 baserunners in 211 innings with only 112 strikeouts. As a righty, he has long odds for making the Opening Day roster but could be in the midseason mix if he stays in the minors.