Aug 09

Uribe is home free

Jerry Sands’ latest stay in Los Angeles has turned out to be ever-so-brief, as the Dodgers have sent him back to Albuquerque — where he will meet up with Tony Gwynn Jr., who cleared waivers and accepted a minor-league assignment — to make room on the Dodger roster for Adam Kennedy coming off the disabled list.

The moves mean that with 23 days to go until MLB active rosters can expand to 40, Juan Uribe is probably going to defy Damocles’ dagger and remain a Dodger though the end of next season and, presumably, on into 2013. This is the case even though Uribe has only three plate appearances in the past 17 days.

One position-player move that remains for the Dodgers to make is the potential activation of Dee Gordon from the disabled list if he’s ready before September 1, but at this point, I expect the Dodgers would send Gordon or Luis Cruz to the minors for a brief time and then recall the player when rosters widen (or just keep Gordon on the DL until then).  As far as I can tell, the breaking point with Uribe for 2012 has come and gone.

Cruz, by the way, is in a 3-for-22 slump with one walk, lowering his 2012 on-base percentage to .286 (nearly identical to Gordon’s .280) and his slugging percentage to .385. According to Baseball Prospectus’ True Average statistic, which factors in baserunning, Cruz is at .245 compared to Gordon’s .224. Cruz, four years older, might be a better player than Gordon right now, but I still am interested in seeing how Gordon can develop, even if the next opportunity doesn’t come until next year.

* * *

  • Bobby Abreu has also cleared waivers, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. He can accept a minor-league assignment like Gwynn, or become a free agent.
  • Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. got a great shoutout from T.J. Simers of the Times.

    … MATTINGLY LIKES to joke that truebluela.com’s Eric Stephen knows more about the Dodgers than anyone else in the media.

    “Go ahead, Eric,” I tell him after Mattingly speaks highly of Stephen again, “ask him about some minor leaguer.”

    “All right, I’ll ask about Juan Rivera,” says Stephen …

  • In his review of the Dodgers’ second 54 games of the 2012 season, Stephen highlights how severe the team’s offensive dropoff was, player by player.
  • James Loney should really, seriously, consider converting to pitching, argues Evan Bladh of Opinion of Kingman’s Performance.
  • Bluetopia, the 2009 movie about the Dodgers and their fans in which I had a brief appearance, will be screened August 16 at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, which has an ongoing baseball exhibition this summer. A Q&A with director Tim Marx follows.
  • One of my favorite baseball articles of the season comes from Russell A. Carleton of Baseball Prospectus, for which he dramatizes how much more difficult the job of baseball manager is than we typically comprehend.
Jul 24

July 24 game chat

Dodgers at Cardinals, 5:15 p.m.
Kershaw CXXXVII: Kershuwnger Games

Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B
Mark Ellis, 2B
Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
James Loney, 1B
Juan Rivera, LF
Luis Cruz, SS
Matt Treanor, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

For all their woes at different times this season, the Dodgers and Angels are tied for the seventh-best record in baseball as play opens tonight …

  • With Luis Cruz’s HR last night, the Dodgers have matched Babe Ruth’s 1927 season with 60 HR, notes Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. And it’s only July!
  • James Loney nearly made his pitching debut Sunday, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
  • Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness delves into the rising costs of deadline acquisitions.
  • Ross Stripling, the Dodgers’ fifth-round draft pick this year, earns praise from John Sickels of Minor League Ball. “I would not be surprised if Stripling rises rapidly through the Dodgers farm system in the next year or two,” Sickels writes. “He could be an inning-eating strike machine at the major league level.
  • On this date in 1947, writes Chris Jaffe of the Hardball Times, the Dodgers ended a 38-year period of being below .500 all-time as a franchise. A 6-1 victory over Cincinnati made them 4,650-4,650.
Jun 26

The cruel shoes

Dodgers at Giants, 7:15 p.m.
Kershaw CXXXII: Kershawn the Waterfront
Dee Gordon, SS
Elian Herrera, 3B
Andre Ethier, RF
Juan Rivera, 1B
Bobby Abreu. LF
Jerry Hairston Jr. 2B
Tony Gwynn Jr., CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

My latest piece for Los Angeles Magazine’s CityThink blog looks at how the past week for the Dodgers has played mind games with us, not unlike a certain pair of shoes made famous by Steve Martin.

Though it might seem as if the Dodgers have been struggling for quite some time, the team was 10-7 (.588) in June and held the best record in Major League Baseball until just a week ago. As it is, despite losing six of its past seven games, Los Angeles still has the top mark in the National League, a two game lead in the NL West and a four-game cushion for a playoff spot.

Nevertheless, the month has taken an ugly turn. The Dodgers’ on-base percentage (.301) and slugging percentage (.302) in June form a nearly matching pair of cruel shoes. The highest OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) belongs to Bobby Abreu at .740; no other Dodger is breaking the .700 club. …

Read the rest at CityThink.

Jun 23

Dodger Defcon ratings

Starting today, I’m making periodic contributions to the CityThink blog at Los Angeles Magazine. My first piece looks at the state of the Dodgers from a War Games perspective. Check it out …

Good teams have bad weeks, and one bad week like the Dodgers are having (with four losses in a row, including Friday’s 8-5 come-from-ahead defeat against the Angels) doesn’t ruin a season. At the same time, people have feared all along that the Dodgers are a team living on the brink of destruction in a dangerous baseball world.

In the spirit of War Games, here’s a snapshot of which Dodger problems are tic-tac-toe and which are global thermonuclear war …

Read the rest at CityThink …

Jun 15

Working my way back to you

It’s been so long since I’ve pointed some bullets …

Jun 07

Radical notion: Play James Loney every day

Dodgers at Phillies, 10:05 a.m.
Dee Gordon, SS
Elian Herrera, 3B
Juan Rivera, LF
Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B
James Loney, 1B
Alex Castellanos, RF
Tony Gwynn Jr., CF
Matt Treanor, C
Aaron Harang, P

I wouldn’t say I’ve spent much time defending James Loney’s performance in the past couple of years, and I don’t know if I’ve ever suggested that defense at first base is important. But in the absence of many heroes with the bat (appearances in Philadelphia notwithstanding), putting their best foot forward defensively seems to be a huge contributor to the Dodgers’ success, and even with his shaky hitting, I’m not comfortable when Loney isn’t in the lineup.

The Dodgers have a few players whose contributions with the glove have been valuable, such as Loney, Tony Gwynn Jr. and (when healthy) Mark Ellis. Defense has been Juan Uribe’s one redeeming quality as a Dodger, while Jerry Hairston Jr. was sensational in April at third base, though perhaps that was a fluke.

Defense has made a difference for the pitching staff and in the standings, and, especially when Matt Kemp is sidelined, I’m not sure that the Dodgers have the kind of bats that call for messing with that defense. In particular, Juan Rivera is not so valuable at the plate that I’m happy when he’s playing first base, even against left-handed pitchers. Judging by Fangraphs’ ratings, defense propels Loney into the ranks of adequacy among National League first basemen, non-Joey Votto division – and that doesn’t factor in his above-average ability to rein in the sometimes wayward throws from the left side of the infield. In a crucial situation, you can always pinch-hit for Loney.

In a way, it’s unfortunate that Loney and Gwynn are both left-handed hitters, because keeping each in the lineup while batting them eighth against lefty pitchers would seem like a satisfactory solution. But that’s not possible, which poses problems in a lineup that also includes lefty hitters in Dee Gordon, Andre Ethier and often Bobby Abreu.

Still, until Kemp’s return, I would probably keep both Loney and Gwynn in the lineup, batting one sixth and the other eighth. (That ideal lineup would probably have A.J. Ellis leading off, but that’s another matter.)  Elian Herrera and Hairston would be the other infielders to go with Gordon and Loney. If Uribe returns to action next week from the disabled list, I’d then consider platooning Herrera, a capable looking outfielder, and Gwynn in center until Kemp recovers.

Next year, presumably, the Dodgers will go in an entirely different direction at first base. But for now, Loney remains the best one they have.

Mar 16

Loney starts his march to 2012 home run title

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen me pass along an item with the headline, James Loney: 2012 HR Champ?

You can click the link (which came via David Pinto at Baseball Musings) to see how Dave Fleming at Bill James Online explores the similarities between Loney and Ted Kluszewski, who hit 29 homers in 1952-53 combined, then 40 and 49 the next two seasons. But Fleming wasn’t actually saying that this at all likely to happen, and in fact, the suggestion seemed to be something out of the “#inmyheart” campaign launched by Stephen Colbert on Thursday — if it feels true, than it can be.

Nevertheless, it certainly was nice timing when Loney hit a three-run home run in his first at-bat today, leading the Dodgers to a 5-2 victory over Texas. Every little bit would help.

More from Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

… It is Loney’s offense, though, that will be the key to his season, and possibly to the Dodgers’ season as well. So far this spring, he is batting .357 (5-for-14), which he says is the result of finally honing in on one hitting style and sticking with it after years of constant tinkering with his stance and his mechanics.

It was something he began about midway through last season, keying a second-half revival in which he hit .320 with eight homers, 34 RBIs and a .380 on-base percentage after the break.

“I think I really just had an understanding of what I was doing as far as knowing what works for me and sticking to that and not swinging back and forth between different types of approaches,” Loney said. “The confidence factor is there. That is one thing no one can take away is your confidence.”

Loney, the Dodgers’ first-round draft pick in 2002 who is entering his seventh season in the majors, was playing for the first time in five days because he had been battling soreness in one of his calves, but that has subsided. He said this is the best he has ever felt at the plate in spring training.

“There have been times when I felt good,” he said. “But now, I actually have a concept of what I want to be doing … in the box. I know what to do. I know how to go about it.”

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly says he is relieved to see Loney sticking with a consistent approach at the plate.

“That is what I like,” he said. “I told him spring training is really a time when guys are searching for that feel. James sat out a couple of days and came back, and everything was exactly the same. I think that kind of made him feel good. I think he looks good right now. He is confident. I think it’s going to be an interesting year for him.” …

Ted Lilly and Kenley Jansen arguably had a body-switching moment, with Lilly allowing one hit in four shutout innings, only for Jansen to give up two home runs in the fifth.

* * *

  • See current Dodgers (plus Aaron Miles) in old-timey style thanks to these Topps Heritage cards featured by Ernest Reyes at Blue Heaven.
  • Re-live the on-field greatness of Jackie Robinson via this post at The Platoon Advantage.
  • Enjoy Dee Gordon’s Thursday steal while the Royals napped, at the end of this clip below.

Mar 01

Pigs in a news blanket


Above: How the story of the Three Little Pigs would be covered in today’s world, as presented by the Guardian.

Below:

  • Vin Scully tops the broadcaster rankings of the national readership of Fangraphs.
  • Ramona Shelburne has a nice piece at ESPNLosAngeles.com about Francisco “Chico” Herrera, a Dodger bat boy who went to today’s open tryout.
  • James Loney ranked behind only Oakland’s Daric Barton defensively among first basemen in the statistical rankings provided by David Pinto at Baseball Musings.
  • Chad Moriyama presents his top-25 Dodger prospect rankings at his blog.
  • Eric Fisher of Sports Business Journal has an extensive article on a very real issue for many sports fans — the challenges in maintaining an effective wireless system at ballparks and stadiums.
  • David Schoenfield of ESPN.com looks at baseball’s scheduling imbalance problems.
  • Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports gave a good interview to Jason McIntyre of Big Lead Sports.
Feb 13

The Emerald City prepares for Hong-Chih Kuo


On the heels of Alex Belth’s feature on Hiroki Kuroda came this piece by Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times (via Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.) on new Mariner lefty Hong-Chih Kuo. In the picture that runs with Baker’s article, I can’t say Kuo doesn’t look smart in that Seattle uniform, but maybe I just miss him.

… Kuo had battled a yips problem in 2009, then became arguably the game’s top reliever in 2010 with the Dodgers. In the interim, he’d worked with famed sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman to curtail his throwing issues.

But Dorfman passed away last February at age 75. By April, the yips troubles were once agan starting to overwhelm Kuo. He returned after the first DL stint, struggled again, then went back on the DL in May. I asked Kuo whether Dorfman’s death made it tougher for him to bounce back, since he could no longer phone him up for instant advice.

“Yes, it was hard,” he told me. “But you still have to fix it. It can’t come from somebody else.”

Then, he looked at me and pumped his chest with his fist.

“It has to come from inside here,” he said. “It has to come from inside me.” …

Elsewhere …

  • Ken Gurnick produced a status report on the Dodgers heading into Spring Training for MLB.com.
  • In its latest behind-the-scenes offseason video, ESPN.com checks in on Clayton Kershaw.
  • Dodger Thoughts softball teamer Matt Worland blogged at length about Saturday’s tournament. Here is part one and part two.
  • James Loney doesn’t look so bad, or as bad, now that the quality of National League first basemen has declined, writes Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness.
  • Twice-baked Dodger pitcher Jon Garland (remembered by Dodger Thoughts here) has signed a minor-league deal with Cleveland. He earned a $5 million base salary from the Dodgers in 2011.
  • Bob Timmermann posted a great historical piece on the Sports Arena at L.A. Observed’s Native Intelligence. I’d call it a must-read for any local sports fan.
  • More history: Mary Mallory of the Daily Mirror looks back at Eaton’s Rancho, which one sat at the corner of Laurel Canyon and Ventura Boulevard, currently home to a McDonald’s.
  • A soundtrack for season two of Treme goes on sale April 17 (and has just been added to my wish list). Here’s a link to the season-one soundtrack.
Feb 08

Scully wants to keep working


Above: Vin Scully talks in 2008 about meeting John Wooden.

Vin Scully has an interview in the March issue of Golf Digest (for now, I believe, it’s available only in print). Kevin Roderick of L.A. Observed links and excerpts:

Some people die twice: once when they retire, and again when they actually pass away. Fear of the first one is a big incentive for me to keep working. Players, writers, people who work at the ballpark and front office, when I quit I know I’ll never see them again. I’ve never been the type to come to the ballpark and hang out; I’ve gone to one game in the last 60 years that I wasn’t working. I keep working because I don’t want to lose my friends.

It’s an interesting passage, particularly for “when I quit I know I’ll never see them again,” since this would be up to Scully to a large extent. One could easily envision the kind of pilgrimages that John Wooden was the centerpiece of.

Roderick also notes this Scully quip about having bad teeth through the years: “if I were to write my autobiography — which I will never do, by the way — I would title it, ‘My Life in Dentistry.’”

Scully’s first Spring Training broadcast appearance will be March 17. Eric Stephen of breaks down the Dodger exhibition broadcast schedule at True Blue L.A.

Elsewhere …

  • TMZ has posted audio of a 911 call reporting James Loney’s freeway crash in November. No matter the legal disposition of the case, if you were there, it sounds like it must have been utterly frightening.
  • The Dodgers signed 37-year-old Jamey Wright to a minor-league deal. Wright hasn’t been a starting pticher since 2007, but his past season-and-a-half out of the Seattle bullpen was passable in a Mike MacDougal sense. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com tweeted that Wright can opt out of his contract in late March.
  • Former Dodger shortstop Bill Russell can be seen with former Yankee counterpart Bucky Dent in this commercial (posted by Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy), airing at 1981 World Series time, for Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo. Dent sounds a little like a grown-up Linus from A Charlie Brown Christmas.
  • Baly had a pleasant surprise when he went to the Dodger caravan Tuesday — he was there to see Clayton Kershaw as Kershaw’s new contract with the Dodgers was being announced.
  • Daily News writer Tom Hoffarth is auctioning an autographed copy of Kershaw’s book, “Arise,” at eBay, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to support Friends of St. Lawrence – Watts Youth Center, which empowers the children and families of Watts through educational, advocacy, and enrichment programs.
  • David Schoenfield of ESPN’s Sweet Spot looks at historical comparables for Kershaw. It starts on a downbeat note but gets more whammo after that. Schoenfield also invites you to an over-under game on Kershaw’s 2012 ERA here.
  • Evan Bladh passes along the story of Brooklyn Dodger batboy Charlie DiGiovanna at Opinion of Kingman’s Performance.
  • “What happened to the spitball?” Jonah Keri asks (and answers) at Grantland.
  • Today in Jon SooHoo: Mike Scioscia and Gary Carter together at Spring Training, February 1991.
  • Aaron Miles, who waited until this time last year to sign with the Dodgers, is waiting even longer for a 2012 contract this time around.
  • Not every baseball parking story has Frank McCourt’s name attached. “Fans of the New York Yankees may soon have to pay as much as $55 to park at Yankee Stadium thanks to the poor planning by New York City, the Yankees and a private firm that is running low on cash,” writes Rob Iracane at Big League Stew.
Feb 01

No charges against Loney following November arrest

As initially reported by TMZ, the Los Angeles City Attorney has declined to pursue charges against James Loney for his DUI arrest in November, citing “insufficient evidence.”

Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has more, writing that “the decision not to charge Loney, the spokesman said, was the result of all of Loney’s toxicology tests coming back negative.”

 

Jan 23

Bidness time


Initial bids for the Dodgers officially have been made. Tony Jackson covered it for ESPNLosAngeles.com, while Bill Shaikin was on it for the Times. Not much in the way of surprises in a process that still has some time to develop. From Jackson:

… Although the passing of the deadline represents a significant step in the sale process, it isn’t necessarily a major one. For one thing, additional bids are still welcome even with the deadline having passed, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. For another, even the groups that placed initial bids aren’t set in stone, as there could be merging of groups, individual movement between groups and individual additions or subtractions within a specific group.

Two bidders said talks about possible group mergers were ongoing. They both spoke on condition of anonymity because Blackstone Group made them sign nondisclosure agreements.

“It would be a shock if they don’t start talking merger,” said Marc Ganis, president of the Chicago-based consulting firm Sportscorp, which is not involved. “I think we’ll get a half-dozen parties that are actually in the bid, plus or minus one.”

What the passing of the deadline does mean is that the weeding-out process can now officially begin. This initial phase will involve eliminating candidates whose bids simply aren’t competitive. Once that process is complete, Blackstone will submit its list of remaining candidates to Major League Baseball for a vetting process that already is underway in a preliminary sense — MLB already is looking at all candidates who were given bid books — but at that point will intensify.

There is no deadline for the submitting of those candidates to MLB, although the April 30 deadline for completing the sale — and the April 1 deadline for selecting the owner and ownership group that ultimately will get the team — necessarily means the process will move comparatively quickly.

One source in the Dodgers camp said McCourt views the April 30 deadline as rigid, but baseball commissioner Bud Selig said two weeks ago at MLB’s quarterly owners meetings that he feels confident the sale will be completed on time and that “I think we’re on track,” both characterizations that seemed to allow for some wiggle room. …

* * *

  • Mike Piazza said it’s “no question” he would like to go into the Hall of Fame as a Met (Mets Blog via Baseball Think Factory).
  • Mike Silva’s NY Baseball Digest has this story of close a 20-year-old Tom Seaver came to being a Dodger.

    … “He was born to be a Dodger,” Travers said. “Born and raised in California, went to USC, had season tickets to Dodger games because his uncle has season tickets in Los Angeles, and he would use them every fourth and fifth day to see Koufax and Drysdale.”

    As luck would have it, Seaver was drafted by the Dodgers in the 10th round of the 1965 draft. Seaver wanted $50,000 to sign; the Dodgers offered $2,000 along with advice from a scout by the name of Tommy Lasorda. “Good luck with your dental career,” Lasorda said. This was in reference to the fact that Seaver was a pre-dental student at USC.

    Seaver would sign a contract with Atlanta the following year, only to see it voided by the commissioner’s office because his college team played some exhibition games. He couldn’t return to school since he was now considered a “pro.” The league responded by setting up a lottery with interested teams. The Dodgers tried to get involved once again, but ultimately failed to follow through, which led to the Mets winning Seaver’s rights in the lottery over Cleveland and Philadelphia. …

  • James Loney is now the dean of the Dodgers in service time, writes Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. No. 2, if you go by signing date, is Ramon Troncoso, followed by Matt Kemp.
  • The gang’s all there: Eric Stults, Delwyn Young and Hector Gimenez signed minor-league deals with White Sox, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
  • John Sickels of Minor League Ball put the Dodger farm system in the bottom 10 of the majors, while the Padres’ kids were first in the National League.
  • Jon SooHoo passes along this vintage photo of Dodger beat writers from the 1990s.
  • New Houston Astros owner Jim Crane is considering a change in the nickname and uniforms of the erstwhile Colt ’45s, reports The Associated Press. I trust the next Dodger owner isn’t thinking similarly.
Jan 17

Late-season run spurs payday for Loney

Sometimes, it sure helps to finish strong.

James Loney has signed a 2012 contract for $6.375 million plus incentives, according to Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com. That’s an increase of $1.5 million (31 percent) from his 2011 salary of $4.875 million, compared with the $1.7 million (18 percent) increase that Andre Ethier received earlier today.

(In September, I predicted Loney would end up with $6.5 million.)

One shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Ethier is still getting nearly $5 million more than Loney will for 2012, but it’s still a pretty impressive haul for Loney, who had a .612 OPS as late as August 6 last season.  But he OPSed 1.082 in his final 47 games, a late-season run that was worth millions, given the probability that he would have been non-tendered without having done so.

And so, the spotlight now turns to Clayton Kershaw’s 2012 contract …

Dec 10

Loney: ‘I would never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol’

Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports on a conversation with James Loney about his November accident and arrest:

… Loney said he remembers colliding with the first car and hitting his head in the process — he wasn’t sure exactly what he hit his head on — but he doesn’t have a clear memory of what happened from that moment until he woke up several hours later in the hospital.

“After (hitting his head), everything became very fuzzy,” Loney said. “I just felt, like, different. It was a different feeling.”

The Los Angeles Times quoted Judy Eckerling, whom the paper identified as the driver of one of the cars Loney hit, as saying Loney was non-responsive when she went to check on him immediately after the accident. Eckerling told the paper that when Loney woke up, he became agitated, started his engine and tried to drive away.

Loney said he doesn’t remember any of that, nor does he remember being administered a breathalyzer test by police, during which he reportedly bit off the mouthpiece and spat the rest of the tube at the officer. Loney said he was placed in handcuffs before being taken to the hospital, but he believes that was only to restrain him because he was behaving so erratically.

Loney also said he was tested for several drugs at the hospital — he read over the phone a long list from a document he was given when he left the hospital later that night that included cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, barbiturates, amphetamines and opiates — and that those tests all came back negative.

Loney said that when he woke up from the hospital, he felt completely normal. By this time, he said, there no longer were any police officers at the hospital keeping him in custody.

“Once I woke up, they just released me,” Loney said. “There was no questioning, there was no concern for me. I had somebody pick me up, and I went home. I was OK once I woke up. I was like, ‘Whoa, that was a weird experience.’ I talked to them like the person I am, my usual personality, and they were like, ‘He’s fine, he can go home.’

“I just want to make it clear that I would never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. I was just in an accident.”

Loney said he now regrets the fact he didn’t alert the Dodgers to the situation — the incident was first reported by TMZ.com on Thursday, but a club source said team officials were made aware by a third party before that report surfaced. …

More interviews: Ned Colletti spoke to 710 ESPN about Loney and other subjects on Friday – you can hear the interview and read the highlights here.

Dec 08

Four days before contract deadline, Loney’s November arrest revealed

Dodger first baseman James Loney was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence on November 14. (The story was first reported by TMZ.)

The incident by itself does not seem to have any direct effect on Loney’s future with the Dodgers. The Dodgers have had more than three weeks to digest it, with general manager Ned Colletti telling Dylan Hernandez of the Times that Loney’s status won’t be affected “unless something turns up.”

However, I can’t help wondering if the Albert Pujols signing might cause the Dodgers to rethink their plans, whether it’s to reboot a pursuit of Prince Fielder, or if only because of the possibility that the Angels will now make 28-year-old first baseman Kendrys Morales available.  Morales had a .924 OPS in 2009, his last full season before a broken leg waylaid him. Morales could soon be looking for a new home. (Unless, the Angels find a taker for someone like Bobby Abreu.)

The Dodgers must finalize their decision on whether to offer Loney a 2012 contract by 9 p.m. Monday.

Here are some details on the Loney arrest. I have to admit, when I saw the reference to the Maserati, my thoughts immediately turned to Joe Walsh:

… California Highway Patrol spokesman Leland Tang told the Los Angeles Times that the accident took place at around 6:15 p.m. PT in Sherman Oaks. Loney’s Masarati sideswiped several cars before coming to a stop in the fast lane with the player passed out inside.

“His unusual behavior at the scene caused concern on the part of the L.A city fire paramedics and he was transported to Sherman Oaks Hospital for further tests,” Tang said, according to the newspaper.

Loney was traveling westbound when he hit three vehicles and then abruptly came to a stop.

“The three parties involved in the collision including the driver of a 2008 Mini Cooper, a Toyota Prius and Mercedes Benz attempted to contact Mr. Loney but according to their statements he appeared to be unconscious,” Tang said, according to the Times. “He eventually awoke and he saw all the people standing around him. He then attempted to flee the scene.”

A CHP officer, who first responded to the scene, wrote in his report that Loney displayed “objective symptoms of being intoxicated or being under the influence of something.”

A person close to Loney told the Times that the player tested negative for drugs and alcohol, but Tang told the newspaper that results of a blood test taken by officers was not yet available.