Jun 11

Farewell, Yutaka Shimizu

When I began my full-time sportswriting career with the Daily News in 1989, covering high school sports, a major figure was the boys basketball coach at Kennedy High in Granada Hills, Yutaka Shimizu.  In fact, I interviewed Shimuzu for my first piece as a full-timer, on a Kennedy hoops star named Garret Anderson.

Eric Sondheimer (of course) of the Times is the one to pass along the sad news that Shimizu has passed away.

Yutaka Shimizu, a second-generation Japanese American who coached high school basketball in Los Angeles for more than 50 years and spent three years in an internment camp during World War II, died Sunday at a Lakewood hospital. He was 84 and had a lung ailment.

Shimizu was the head coach at Hamilton High from 1959 to 1981, coaching future UCLA All-America Sidney Wicks and leading the team to a City Section runner-up finish in 1965. He was the head coach at Granada Hills Kennedy High from 1982 to 1999.

He later became a trusted assistant coach and advisor to Derrick Taylor at Woodland Hills Taft and Bellflower St. John Bosco, staying in the background while offering words of wisdom.

“He’s the most underrated, great high school coach in our era,” Taylor said. “No one understood how good a coach and how brilliant a basketball mind he is.”

Shimizu was well known in Los Angeles. In 2007, when Taylor was coaching in the McDonald’s All-American game and walked into a room for breakfast with Shimizu, a familiar voice spoke up: “Coach Shimizu.”

It was John Wooden, the former UCLA coach. “That’s when you know you’re the man, when the ultimate coach calls you over,” Taylor said. …

The story that always sticks with me is that when I first came to know him, I knew him only as Coach Shimizu. When I asked for his first name, for publication purposes, he would only say, “Y.”  (Or maybe it was “Why?”) Either way, “Y.” is how it ran.

Farewell, sir.

Mar 01

Dodgers’ offense quiet in 2-1 loss

Spring Training, Day 4

Highlights:

  • Jerry Sands homered for the Dodgers in the seventh inning.
  • Chad Billingsley pitched three innings of shutout ball, no walks, three hits, three strikeouts.

Lowlights:

  • Nine innings, three baserunners on offense, two errors on defense.
  • Tony Gwynn Jr. struck out twice and made an error in left field.
  • Four consecutive Dodgers relievers — Wilkin De La Rosa, Jon Huber, Roman Colon and Oscar Villarreal — each walked two batters (in a combined four innings).

Sidelights:

  • Gwynn is featured by Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

    … Gwynn had a career-high 393 at-bats and scored 59 runs with the Padres (in 2009). He also posted a .350 on-base percentage to go with that .270 average, and it looked as if the Padres had their center fielder for the foreseeable future.But everything changed for Gwynn in 2010.

    After a decent start, he had a miserable May in which he batted .145. He spent most of the rest of the summer trying to rebound, but a broken bone in his right hand landed him on an operating table. By the time he was ready to play in mid-September, the Padres were in hot pursuit of a division title, and they couldn’t take any chances on a surgically repaired outfielder who they weren’t sure could help the cause. Also by that time, Gwynn’s famous father had been diagnosed with cancer of the parotid, something that wouldn’t be made public for months but that Gwynn’s teammates were aware of.

    “It just so happened that two days after I broke my hand, I found out my dad had cancer,” Gwynn said. “It’s one of those things you think can’t happen to you until it happens. … I was hurting, but it’s not something I’m never going to use as an excuse for my performance. It’s just a part of life, and this is my job.”

    Gwynn went hitless in 11 at-bats the rest of the way. The division title never came, and the Padres non-tendered him after the season. His father appears to be doing well in his battle and has returned on a limited basis to his job as the baseball coach at San Diego State University.

    The Dodgers signed Gwynn for $650,000, a bargain compared to what the Padres probably would have paid him if they had gone to arbitration. Gwynn’s hand is healthy now, and he worked this winter to regain his batting stroke, sorting out his mechanical issues and his approach with hitting coach Jeff Pentland. …

  • Will Carroll’s Team Health Reports are now hosted at SI.com, and you can check out the Dodgers writeup here. Billingsley finally graduates to a green light, but I would ignore the comment about Gordon being a potential replacement for Casey Blake at third base.
  • In the wake of Garret Anderson’s retirement, Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com shares this important reminder: “You just can’t tell how much someone cares.”
  • Here are a couple of stories about Jackie Robinson’s 1945 tryout with the Boston Red Sox, from The Governor’s Sox (via Baseball Think Factory) and Jackie with the Monarchs. Very much worth your time.


Jan 27

Will James Loney turn his doubles into home runs?


Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireJames Loney hit 19 homers in his first 446 career at-bats. He hit 10 in 588 at-bats last season.

This excerpt from Tony Jackson’s piece for ESPNLosAngeles.com today on James Loney, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier got me thinking about Loney:

The lefty-hitting first baseman has never hit more than 15 home runs in a season and hit only 10 of them in 2010, but he had a career-high 41 doubles and drove in 88 runs, his third season in a row with at least that many RBIs. Still, general manager Ned Colletti and manager Don Mattingly continue to insist that Loney is a potential power hitter, and they remain determined to get him to reach that potential.

But Loney has now spent five seasons in the majors, enough to make an outsider wonder if this is simply who Loney is: a gap-to-gap, line-drive, doubles hitter who manages to drive in a lot of runs and still be reasonably productive without going deep very often.

My initial reaction is that I’ve never really expected Loney to become much more than what Jackson describes in that last sentence. Mark Grace has often been cited as the best-case scenario for Loney, and Grace never hit more than 17 homers in a season — and that’s with playing half his games in Wrigley Field.

But for curiosity’s sake, I used Baseball-Reference.com to pull the list of 27-and-under players who, since 1990, have had at least 40 doubles in a season without hitting more than 15 home runs that same year. I then looked to see what their career highs in home runs were or are.

Here’s what I found — take it with several grains of salt as a mere conversation starter: Continue reading

Aug 08

Dodgers replace Garret Anderson with Jay Gibbons

Twenty-three days before rosters can expand Sept. 1, the Dodgers have decided they can’t wait on Garret Anderson anymore. Jay Gibbons, with a .969 OPS in Albuquerque this season, had his contract purchased by the team, which designated Anderson for assignment.

Don’t expect miracles. The 33-year-old Gibbons had a .621 OPS with Baltimore in 2007, the last time he was in the majors.

Jul 04

Xavier Paul should stay for remainder of season


Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesXavier Paul slides home in the fifth inning Saturday.

This is not a news flash. But when Manny Ramirez returns from the disabled list, the Dodgers should bid farewell to Garret Anderson.

It’s not just that in 133 plate appearances, Anderson has an on-base percentage of .205 and slugging percentage of .291. It’s not just his negative value defensively, on a team that could use defense from its backup outfielder.

It’s that even being optimistic about Anderson, what he’s capable of is not what Xavier Paul is capable of. Or, for that matter, Paul’s recent Albuquerque teammate Jay Gibbons.

Anderson has walked three times all season. Three times. So even if he gets luckier with some balls in play dropping in, there’s little hope for a dramatic rise in his poor OBP. And his slugging percentage has maxed out at about .400 since 2009. That’s not enough value for a guy who can’t field.

No doubt Joe Torre is expecting all this non-production will be worth it when Anderson has a key RBI single in the postseason. The problem with that theory is that 1) Anderson might, in his own small way, keep the Dodgers from reaching the postseason, and 2) it’s a canard that you need a veteran to come through off the bench in the playoffs.

As I pointed out before the season, older is not necessarily better for bench players. By far, the majority of over-35 bench players for the Dodgers have hit poorly. And Anderson has hit worse than almost all of them.

Mark Loretta’s hit in Game 2 of last year’s National League Division Series was memorable, but that didn’t mean Loretta was a good player for the Dodgers to have. If the Dodgers can do better, they should. And Paul is an example of better. Paul already has more walks than Anderson and nearly as many hits and extra-base hits despite playing half the time, plus better speed and defense. And he, unlike Anderson, has real potential to improve.

If it’s leadership you want from Anderson, make him a coach, or make use of the countless other former major-leaguers that are already on staff with the Dodgers.

The common argument against keeping Paul is that, as a potential 2011 starter for the Dodgers, he should be playing regularly this year. But Paul really has spent enough time playing at AAA, racking up more than 800 plate appearances there since 2008 and showing improvement each of the past three seasons. His injuries put up a roadblock last season, but he has recovered impressively. His OPS is over 1.000 with the Isotopes, outstanding even by their standards.

As far as his future development goes, I’m struggling to see how copying Blake DeWitt’s frequent-flyer service between Albuquerque and Los Angeles from last year is a better use of Paul’s time than letting him steadily grow comfortable in a major-league clubhouse, learning about the game’s top pitchers and becoming tested in key situations.

It’s not as if Paul will never play. Given the rest the Dodgers want to give Ramirez even when he’s healthy, Paul could easily amass another 150 plate appearances if he stays with the big club through the end of the season. That would give him more than 400 for the season. That’s plenty for a player who has mastered AAA pitching.

Put it this way: If there’s going to be a Dodger backup outfielder with a .500 OPS, I’d rather it be someone having a learning experience. Better that than the slow, painful fadeout of a once-great player.

* * *

The Dodgers said today that they expect to activate Carlos Monasterios from the disabled list in the middle of this week. Monasterios is done pitching rehab outings for Albuquerque.

The Isotopes released Jesus Colome from their roster, according to the team press notes. The former major-leaguer had a scoreless inning, then gave up five runs to his next six batters.

* * *

For the second time this season, a team has designated Dontrelle Willis for assignment shortly after he got hit hard by the Dodgers. Los Angeles scored seven runs off him in 6 1/3 innings while he pitched for Detroit and Arizona.

* * *

Clayton Kershaw is … ‘Lost’.

Jun 02

Dodgers outlast Diamondbacks again, 1-0 in 14 innings


Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Carlos Monasterios looks towards the sky in the second inning, as if he knew how long this day would be for the Dodgers.

It was — or should have been — Edwin Jackson’s game.

Instead, it was … Garret Anderson’s?

The maligned Dodger reserve, with 12 hits in 82 at-bats this year, singled home Matt Kemp in the bottom of the 14th inning to give the Dodgers their second-straight 1-0, extra-inning victory over Arizona — capping a series in which the Diamondbacks were held scoreless for their final 31 innings.

The Dodgers, whose scoreless pitching streak is their longest since a 37-inning skein July 24-28, 1991, according to the Dodger press notes, entered this series with a 4.21 team ERA, and left it at 3.99. It was the first time two MLB teams had gone scoreless into extra innings in consecutive games since 2001, and the first time for the Dodger franchise since 1919. The Dodgers also have three consecutive walkoff wins for the first time since August 5-7, 1982.

We’ll talk about the Dodger offense another time, but for now we’ll tip our hat once more to Arizona’s starting pitcher. More than six years after Jackson’s memorable Dodger debut against the Diamondbacks, nearly five years after his last appearance at Dodger Stadium, Jackson returned and put on a show. It was against a lineup that missed Manny Ramirez, Russell Martin, and Rafael Furcal (and for half the game, Casey Blake), but it was a show nonetheless. Jackson pitched shutout ball for nine innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out six.

But Jackson didn’t get the win — and neither did Arizona, which was held scoreless by six Dodger pitchers, the last Travis Schlichting, who pitched four shutout innings in his 2010 Dodger debut despite not having thrown that many in a game all year in the minors.

The tone was set early by Jackson and Carlos Monasterios, who, like John Ely, has had to fight a lot of natural-born skepticism to get into the starting rotation. But with five shutout innings today, Monasterios lowered his 2010 ERA to 1.87 and threatened to give birth to Monahysteria. He allowed two singles, walked none and struck out three. He was also, like Ely, reasonably efficient with his pitch count — except for a rather bizarre stretch in the fifth inning when Adam LaRoche and Rusty Ryal combined to foul off 11 of 13 pitches. Monasterios also had to battle several three-ball counts in the second inning, but still got his five innings completed in 81 pitches.

After Ramon Troncoso, now being rationed by Joe Torre, was used for one shutout inning, it fell to recent callup Justin Miller to keep Arizona at bay. Miller immediately tattooed Arizona by hitting Stephen Drew and LaRoche with pitches, but in between came a strikeout and throwout by A.J. Ellis of Drew attempting to steal, to interrupt the scoring bid. Ryal then flied deep to Kemp in center field to end the inning.

Jackson then became the second Arizona starting pitcher in as many games to bat for himself in the eighth inning of a scoreless game — and worked Miller with an 11-pitch single. But on his 41st pitch of the game, Miller got Kelly Johnson to fly to Kemp.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Arizona’s offense denied Edwin Jackson his second career shutout.

In the bottom of the eighth, Jackson once again faced Manny Ramirez with a runner on first and the game on the line, as he did May 12 in Arizona. But instead of hitting a home run, Ramirez was called out on strikes — the third consecutive game Ramirez failed to bring home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.

After Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, the valiant Jackson went back to the mound. He was one strike from completing his ninth shutout inning when he gave up a line single to Jamey Carroll, who had the only three hits Jackson allowed, along with a walk. Kemp then walked on a 3-2 slider, leaving it up to Andre Ethier. In a situation seemingly scripted in the Dodgers’ favor, Hollywood rejected it, with Ethier lining out to LaRoche at first base on Jackson’s 123rd pitch.

Ronald Belisario’s scoreless 10th inning fed into James Loney’s double to start off the bottom of the 10th, the only extra-base hit in the 101 combined plate appearances by the two teams today. Ronnie Belliard walked after Anderson struck out, but pinch-hitters Furcal and Martin couldn’t bring the run home.

From that point on, you could say the Dodgers’ otherwise significant bullpen advantage was starting to bleed out, especially with Hong-Chih Kuo unavailable because he threw 1 1/3 innings Tuesday and Torre also wanting to give a day off to Jeff Weaver, who threw 21 pitches Tuesday night.

That left Schlichting, with two career major-league games, the last nearly a year ago, and a history of injury issues. Schlichting pitched a perfect 11th inning, survived two singles in the 12th and then completed a 1-2-3 13th. All the while, the Dodger offense remained silent.

But that wasn’t all. Schlichting, whose longest minor-league outing of the year was 3 2/3 innings, batted for himself in the bottom of the 13th and stayed in to pitch the 14th. He gave up a hit and a walk with one out, but escaped on two fly balls to cap his 60-pitch effort.

Finally, in the bottom of the 14th, Kemp ended an 0-for-14 drought by the Dodger outfielders with a single. Ethier lined out for the third time in his hard-luck 0-for-6 day, but Kemp advanced to second base on a wild pitch, went to third on a Loney grounder and then, unbelievably or mercifully, scored on Anderson’s hit.

With three walkoff victories, this was a series the Dodgers won’t soon forget — but Arizona will sure try its best.

Apr 03

Dodgers’ Opening Day roster almost set

With Jeff Weaver, Ramon Ortiz and Garret Anderson added to the Opening Day roster Friday, the Dodgers have 23 of their 25.

Starting pitchers (5): Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Hiroki Kuroda, Vicente Padilla, Charlie Haeger

Relief pitchers (5): Jonathan Broxton, George Sherrill, Ramon Troncoso, Jeff Weaver, Ramon Ortiz

Starting lineup (8): Russell Martin, James Loney, Blake DeWitt, Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake, Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier

Bench (5): Jamey Carroll, Ronnie Belliard, Brad Ausmus, Reed Johnson, Garret Anderson

Carlos Monasterios is all but a lock for a sixth bullpen spot, bringing the team to 24.

A.J. Ellis would sub in for either Martin or Ausmus should a last-minute health issue flare up, but otherwise is headed to Albuquerque, where Chin-Lung Hu (who made an ugly error to allow the winning run to score in Friday’s 4-3 loss to the Angels) and Xavier Paul will be among his teammates.

Luis Ayala and Justin Miller were sent to the minors Friday.

Barring a last-minute recovery by Hong-Chih Kuo, that leaves pitcher Russ Ortiz and infielder-turned-utility man Nick Green contending for the title of Mr. Irrevelant – the 25th man that no one actually wants to see in a game. (I’d be pretty happy to see Kuo on the roster, even if he’s only pitching once every week to 10 days, over Ortiz or Green.)

Normally, you’d expect a Joe Torre-managed Dodger team to go with at least 12 pitchers. But Torre seems curious about the possibility of knuckleballer Haeger serving as the seventh reliever in between starts, so it’s plausible that Ortiz would start the season in the minors. The Dodgers would then go with 11 pitchers until Ronald Belisario or Kuo were ready to be activated.

On the other hand, today’s start of Carroll at shortstop indicates that Torre is still entertaining the possibility of him being Rafael Furcal’s backup at that position.

In any case, I think we have to face up to the fact that Ortiz will be in a Dodger uniform at some point this season. I had predicted that he would be this year’s Shawn Estes, but he’s looking more like this year’s Weaver or Eric Milton.

For comparison, here are the changes (that we can be reasonably sure of) from the 2009 Opening Day roster:

Starting pitchers: Padilla and Haeger replace Randy Wolf and James McDonald.

Relief pitchers: Sherrill, Weaver, Ramon Ortiz and Monasterios replace Kuo, Guillermo Mota, Will Ohman and Cory Wade.

Starting lineup: DeWitt replaces Orlando Hudson.

Bench: Johnson, Anderson, Carroll and Belliard replace Juan Pierre, Mark Loretta, Doug Mientkiewicz and DeWitt.

Two members of the 2009 Opening Day bullpen, Wade and Ohman, ended up being non-factors for 2010 before April was done.

Mar 27

Big and low tea leaves

Joe Torre quotes to reporters this morning:

“Blake and Ethier are going to Las Vegas. Ellis and DeWitt will both be there too. We’ll make a statement on second base in a few days. DeWitt couldn’t have done anymore that is within his control, he’s done everything he possibly could have done and come through with high marks.

“Physically guys are ready, mentally it’s tough to remind yourself these games are important. We still have decisions to make not just at second base but the pitching staff as well.

“Haeger could go five or six today, we’re not concerned about building up his endurance. He’s done a good job and handled everything we’ve thrown at him. He can dominate a game when that thing’s working. He talked with Charlie Hough about how to pitch in certain environments. Florida should be fine, he said he enjoys pitching indoors too.

“We’ve got to figure out our starters and figure it out from there. You have Sherrill, Broxton, and Troncoso. Kuo is a question mark, he probably won’t be ready for the season. We’ve got a lot of options.  Sherrill is looking at some video for those who are wondering. They thought he was doing some mechanical stuff that he doesn’t normally do.

“I had a talk with Doug Mientkiewicz yesterday and told him it doesn’t look like he’ll make the team with Anderson around. I told him I’d love to have him around, but he’ll take a day to think about his options. He was understanding of the decision, he likes being here but he wants to be in the big leagues.”

Mar 06

Torre talks about going without lefty on bench – isn’t this unthinkable?

Dodger manager Joe Torre says he is contemplating going without a left-handed hitter on the bench, according to Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com.  I can’t believe it. I can’t believe any manager would do it. It puts your team at such a disadvantage, by allowing opponents to throw their best right-handed relievers against you at will.

But it’s true that the Dodgers have basically put themselves behind the right-handed 8-ball by signing non-southpaws Jamey Carroll, Nick Green, Ronnie Belliard and Reed Johnson this offseason. And with the latest news that Anderson won’t be ready to face live pitching for at least a week, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com – along with ongoing health concerns about Brian Giles and Doug Mientkiewicz, and the team’s reluctance to make the inexperienced Xavier Paul their lefty off the bench – the Dodgers have to at least plan for the possibility that come Opening Day, they will have no lefty options better than their righty ones.

Torre faces a problem because, as was noted when the team was signing Johnson, the Dodgers don’t have room for 12 pitchers and a lefty bench player unless a) Blake DeWitt starts the season in Albuquerque or b) the team does something it went out of its way to avoid in 2009, by making a non-shortstop the backup to Rafael Furcal. (Remember, the Dodgers kept Juan Castro as a backup basically all of last season, and that was with Mark Loretta having more shortstop experience than Jamey Carroll has.)

Even though DeWitt is off to a nice start after two Spring Training games, he’s still got a ways to go before the starting second base job is his.  But if he wins it, the Dodgers would face such a roster crunch that the next most logical choice might be to cut Belliard, rather than go without a lefty pinch-hitter. After all, Belliard (whose contract isn’t officially guaranteed yet) is really only with the team in case DeWitt needs more seasoning.

If Giles or Mientkiewicz were healthy, I’d recommend keeping them over Belliard. However, Belliard projects to be better against righties than the over-the-hill Anderson, so choosing Anderson over Belliard is a bit unsavory.

A different solution would be to go with 11 pitchers, but as I said all last year, the Dodgers really do have a pitching staff that benefits from a 12th man. Maybe someone should run the numbers, but I think the cushion the seventh reliever provides helps the team more than a sixth bench player would.

The Dodgers are going to have to bite one of these bullets, and after shooting through all the different options, the best one might be to go without a true backup shortstop. With Furcal looking much healthier this year, backup shortstop will be one of the team’s lower priorities come Opening Day. If Furcal gets hurt, I’d much rather see Carroll at shortstop at the end of a close game than see a righty batter against a tough righty reliever. Neither Green nor Chin-Lung Hu would be likely to help the team more than even Anderson would.

The question is whether Green or Hu’s defense makes either a better choice for the roster than Belliard. I do think, if DeWitt starts at second base, that’s where the choice would be.

If the Dodgers do the heretofore unthinkable and keep an all-righty bench, I’d bet the house it doesn’t last more than two weeks. A team should have more than one left-handed hitter on the bench. Having none, strategically, is just a nightmare.

Mar 04

Older is not better for bench players

We all know about the great, the wonderful, the tremendous Manny Mota. But generally, do aging reserves have a history of success with the Los Angeles Dodgers?

To try to answer the question, I decided to look at the batting numbers for Dodgers since 1958 who were at least 35 years old. (I chose players with between 20 and 400 plate appearances, then removed most of the players who were basically starters that got hurt or were part of a midseason acquisition.) At first I was only going to look at pinch-hitting numbers, but then I realized that except for someone like Mota, a key component of a good bench player includes how well they perform in spot starts.

Of the 89 players on this list, 20 of them (22.4 percent) had at least a league-average adjusted OPS of 100. Mota accounts for three of those 20 seasons, as does Rick Monday. (Sidebar: Is Monday, who OPSed .854 primarily as a reserve in 841 plate appearances from 1980-83, the greatest bench player in Los Angeles Dodger history?) Only 30 (33.7 percent) of the 89 even managed an OPS+ of 90.

Some of these older guys who didn’t produce are catchers or defensive specialists who never were expected to hit much in the first place. Nevertheless, the over-35 bench club is strewn with names of guys who had past hitting success (Jim Eisenreich, I’m looking at you) but were in such decline that not even their veteran moxie could save them.

Even Mota had some unimpressive 35-and-up seasons. Because many of these players don’t get a lot of at-bats, their performances can fluctuate quite a bit year to year. It’s not as if older players are doomed to failure, but there’s clearly nothing about being a veteran that guarantees bench success.

And that makes sense, despite the baseball cliches that would suggest otherwise. After all, there’s a reason these guys lose their starting jobs in the first place — and usually, that reason is related to offense more than defense.

There are some names in the below-average portion of this chart that are actually part of Dodger lore: Vic Davalillo in 1977, Jay Johnstone in 1981, Mark Loretta last October — players who by virtue of a single at-bat put a positive stamp on disappointing seasons. That doesn’t change the fact that overall, veteran benchmen have been more forgettable than memorable.

You can still argue for keeping a Garret Anderson over a Xavier Paul. Maybe the Dodgers will get more long-term value out of Paul if he plays every day in Albuquerque until he’s needed. Maybe there’s a matchup in a key September or October game that Anderson will use his experience to take advantage of. Maybe Anderson’s numbers will improve if his at-bats are rationed.

On the other hand, Paul is 25 years old, entering his prime, superior on defense and already performing at a level on offense that projects better in 2010 than Anderson does. It’s not clear at all that it benefits the Dodgers to hand Anderson a job that he would be earning solely through his resume.


Player OPS+ PA Year Age HR OBP SLG OPS
Rick Monday 194 156 1981 35 11 .423 .608 1.031
Manny Mota 176 50 1977 39 1 .521 .500 1.021
Duke Snider 149 196 1962 35 5 .418 .481 .899
Rick Monday 140 254 1982 36 11 .372 .481 .852
Olmedo Saenz 132 204 2006 35 11 .363 .564 .927
Jose Morales 131 34 1982 37 1 .382 .433 .816
Rick Dempsey 129 198 1988 38 7 .338 .455 .793
Ken Boyer 123 243 1968 37 6 .317 .403 .720
Jose Morales 121 54 1983 38 3 .296 .509 .806
Chad Kreuter 116 271 2000 35 6 .416 .410 .827
Doug Mientkiewicz 115 20 2009 35 0 .400 .389 .789
Mitch Webster 114 93 1994 35 4 .344 .464 .808
Manny Mota 110 47 1979 41 0 .400 .357 .757
Rick Monday 109 208 1983 37 6 .351 .399 .750
Manny Mota 106 60 1976 38 0 .367 .346 .713
Jeff Reboulet 105 253 2001 37 3 .367 .397 .764
Kevin Elster 104 259 2000 35 14 .341 .455 .796
Trent Hubbard 102 120 1999 35 1 .387 .390 .777
Vic Davalillo 102 81 1978 41 1 .333 .390 .723
Robin Ventura 100 127 2003 35 5 .331 .422 .753
Player OPS+ PA Year Age HR OBP SLG OPS
Gary Carter 98 280 1991 37 6 .323 .375 .698
Willie Randolph 98 113 1990 35 1 .364 .344 .707
Chad Kreuter 97 234 2001 36 6 .355 .377 .732
Enos Cabell 96 208 1985 35 0 .340 .349 .689
Jerry Grote 96 83 1978 35 0 .354 .343 .697
Manny Mota 96 37 1978 40 0 .361 .333 .694
Brett Butler 95 178 1995 38 0 .368 .336 .703
Bill Mueller 94 126 2006 35 3 .357 .402 .759
Chad Kreuter 94 108 2002 37 2 .333 .379 .712
Brad Ausmus 93 107 2009 40 1 .343 .368 .712
Pee Wee Reese 87 181 1958 39 4 .337 .381 .718
Robin Ventura 86 175 2004 36 5 .337 .362 .699
Bill Russell 85 298 1984 35 0 .329 .321 .649
Manny Mota 85 72 1974 36 0 .328 .316 .644
Sandy Alomar 84 62 2006 40 0 .323 .403 .726
Manny Mota 84 59 1975 37 0 .357 .286 .643
Bill Russell 83 192 1985 36 0 .333 .308 .641
Reggie Smith 83 44 1981 36 1 .318 .314 .632
Boog Powell 83 53 1977 35 0 .415 .244 .659
Otis Nixon 82 191 1997 38 1 .323 .349 .671
Rick Dempsey 81 183 1989 39 4 .319 .305 .623
Player OPS+ PA Year Age HR OBP SLG OPS
Devon White 79 168 2000 37 4 .310 .386 .696
Vic Davalillo 79 48 1977 40 0 .313 .354 .667
Ron Coomer 78 137 2003 36 4 .299 .368 .667
Jay Johnstone 77 90 1981 35 3 .267 .349 .616
Juan Castro 76 121 2009 37 1 .311 .339 .650
Gil Hodges 76 245 1961 37 8 .313 .372 .685
Gil Hodges 76 231 1960 36 8 .291 .371 .661
Geronimo Berroa 74 35 2000 35 0 .343 .323 .665
Al Oliver 74 85 1985 38 0 .294 .316 .611
Carl Furillo 74 103 1959 37 0 .333 .333 .667
Bill Russell 73 242 1986 37 0 .302 .301 .603
Rick Monday 73 57 1984 38 1 .309 .298 .607
Steve Yeager 72 221 1984 35 4 .295 .310 .605
Jim Gilliam 71 273 1966 37 1 .315 .268 .583
Rickey Henderson 70 84 2003 44 2 .321 .306 .627
Wally Moon 69 104 1965 35 1 .304 .270 .574
Gary Bennett 68 23 2008 36 1 .261 .381 .642
Tim Wallach 68 175 1996 38 4 .286 .333 .619
Rick Dempsey 68 151 1990 40 2 .318 .281 .599
Vic Davalillo 68 29 1979 42 0 .310 .296 .607
Elmer Valo 68 115 1958 37 1 .322 .317 .639
Brett Butler 66 145 1996 39 0 .313 .290 .603
Davey Lopes 66 243 1981 36 5 .289 .285 .574
Olmedo Saenz 65 132 2007 36 4 .295 .345 .641
Cesar Cedeno 65 87 1986 35 0 .294 .282 .576
Mark Belanger 63 57 1982 38 0 .309 .260 .569
Bill Madlock 62 69 1987 36 3 .265 .344 .609
Mark Loretta 60 204 2009 37 0 .309 .276 .585
Jose Valentin 60 184 2005 35 2 .326 .265 .591
Player OPS+ PA Year Age HR OBP SLG OPS
Mark Sweeney 55 34 2007 37 0 .294 .303 .597
Jeff Reboulet 55 58 2002 38 0 .291 .271 .562
Chris Donnels 54 101 2001 35 3 .277 .295 .573
Phil Garner 54 151 1987 38 2 .299 .270 .569
Ken Boyer 49 36 1969 38 0 .250 .265 .515
Shawn Gilbert 47 23 2000 35 1 .227 .350 .577
Jim Leyritz 47 68 2000 36 1 .294 .267 .561
Mitch Webster 46 63 1995 36 1 .246 .286 .532
Irv Noren 46 26 1960 35 1 .231 .320 .551
Steve Yeager 43 131 1985 36 0 .246 .256 .502
Mike Lieberthal 41 82 2007 35 0 .280 .260 .540
Jim Eisenreich 39 140 1998 39 0 .266 .244 .510
Mickey Hatcher 39 141 1990 35 0 .248 .250 .498
Chris Cannizzaro 35 25 1973 35 0 .280 .190 .470
Brent Mayne 29 113 2004 36 0 .286 .188 .473
Mark Sweeney 13 108 2008 38 0 .250 .163 .413
Jose Morales 3 20 1984 39 0 .200 .158 .358
Maury Wills 3 152 1972 39 0 .190 .167 .357
Milt Thompson -3 57 1996 37 0 .211 .137 .348

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/4/2010.

Mar 03

Dodgers sign Garret Anderson to minor-league deal

In a move one can’t help but interpret, at least in part, as a vote of no confidence in the health of Brian Giles and Doug Mientkiewicz, the Dodgers have signed local hero Garret Anderson to a minor-league deal, the team announced tonight.

Anderson, 38 this June, had a .705 OPS last season (86 OPS+) and was almost equally bad against right-handed pitchers as he was against lefties.  But the team might just be determined to have a veteran at least start the season as the team’s lead lefty pinch-hitter, rather than Xavier Paul, whose bat could certainly match what Anderson did last season.

Perhaps the thinking is also that Anderson might do better with more rest than he has ever had in his career – he has been a regular since 1995.

Previously on Dodger Thoughts: Superman, Then and Now

* * *

Updates:

  • Arizona signed 22-year-old right fielder Justin Upton to a six-year, $51.25 million contract. Upton is nearly three years younger than Matt Kemp and has one fewer year of service time, and had a .301 EQA (or, as Baseball Prospectus now wants us to call it, True Average) compared to Kemp’s .304.
  • The importance of Clayton Kershaw’s slider is the subject of a Jay Jaffe post at ESPN.com’s new pay-blog, TMI. “Kershaw’s numbers, since he introduced the pitch in early-June, are eye-popping,” Jaffe writes. “They stand with the elite hurlers in the majors, with the caveat that his age limited his workload.”
  • Scheduled Dodger pitchers for Spring Training Opening Day on Friday: Vicente Padilla, Ramon Ortiz, Charlie Haeger, Luis Ayala, Scott Dohmann and Jon Link.
  • An all-encompassing MLB batted-ball location chart is now available at Katron.org (link via True Blue L.A. and Dodger Divorce).
  • Following their disappointing 2009 seasons, Dodger catcher Russell Martin put on chunks of weight, while Cubs catcher Geovany Soto took them off. Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports explores their criss-cross paths.
  • Lefty reliever Brent Leach is trying to get through a sore groin muscle, Gurnick reports. Leach has been playing catch on flat ground but has stayed off the mound in recent days.
  • Minor leaguers had their per diem raised to $25 from $20, and Rob Neyer of ESPN.com is unimpressed by the largesse – and even less impressed with the efforts organizations make to encourage healthy eating among their prospects.
  • Forty years ago today, Ross Newhan of the Times began his feature (passed along by Keith Thursby at the Daily Mirror) on Bobby Valentine with this opening: “He might have become the second O.J. Simpson.”
  • The Dodgers’ annual open tryout for all unaffiliated men and women 18 and over takes place Thursday at Camelback Ranch. Hope your visa’s in order!
  • Is the future of baseball bats knobless? Read and decide for yourself.
  • Manny Mota (via Gurnick) is trying to draw attention to the Haiti relief efforts of former major-leaguer Neifi Perez and his merengue-performing brother Rubby.