Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

How big a gap between the Dodgers and the NL West favorites?

Dodgers at Reds, 7:05 p.m.
Tony Gwynn Jr., CF
Mark Ellis, 2B
Adam Kennedy, 1B
Jerry Sands, RF
Trent Oeltjen, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Matt Wallach, DH
A.J. Ellis, C
Justin Sellers, SS
(Clayton Kershaw, P)

I don’t think I’ve ever posted about Vegas odds as they relate to pennant races, but this set of numbers, e-mailed to me from Bovada, jumped out.

Odds to win the 2012 NL West
5/4 San Francisco Giants
2/1 Arizona Diamondbacks
11/2 Los Angeles Dodgers
7/1 Colorado Rockies
15/1 San Diego Padres

I wouldn’t make the Dodgers the favorites in their division, but I don’t think their chances of winning are so much worse than Arizona’s, and I think San Francisco should be even closer. Why the Giants would leap into preseason pole position, I’m not entirely clear.

* * *

Peter Guber’s a pretty familiar name around my office. During my first few years at Variety, the Hollywood producer (and Golden State Warriors minority owner) co-hosted a TV series with longtime Variety editor Peter Bart, and he also appeared as a keynoter at our Sports Entertainment Summit last July.

Guber has joined the Magic Johnson-Stan Kasten ownership group bidding on the Dodgers, reports Bill Shaikin of the Times. According to Shaikin, the field has been narrowed down to this group and only three others: the ones led by Steven Cohen, Stan Kroenke and newly partnered Michael Heisley and Tony Ressler.

As hard as it is to believe, we’re nearing the zero hour.

* * *

Headlines that say it all, or at least a lot: “Gun battle interrupts Mexican League game, sends players diving for cover.” Frightening.


‘High Fives’ for new Dodger books


March Madness Opening Day chat thread


  1. I wouldn’t think much about the Bovada line… they’re the same folks who came out with the Miami Marlins at 20/1 to win the series… and the Florida Marlins at 18/1.

  2. Anonymous

    I’ve never been a gambler, but I would pick the Snakes first, Dodgers second, with the Gnats and Rocks fighting it out for third.

  3. Rob Moore

    I think the most projection systems show the Giants as the favorites, and they should be. Best rotation, good pen, getting Posey back, Belt should be improving. I’d love it if the Dodgers got lucky and won the division, but their lineup is really bad, the infield is terrible, the team defense should be below average.

    •  I think the infield defense of Uribe, Gordon, Ellis and Loney is pretty good. I think the Dodger bullpen is good, and I don’t think the Giants offense is anything, is it? Giants get Posey back (though we’re not sure in what condition), but Dodgers get Ethier, who did nothing in the second half last year. 

      The Giants’ 4-5-6 starters are Vogelsong, Zito and Surkamp. Some vulnerability there.

      I can understand a gap, but just not a wide gap that would make the Giants practically even money and the Dodgers a relative longshot.

      • Anonymous

        That’s difficult to argue, considering SFG look to be better than us in every facet of the game. In 2011, SFG was about 6 batting/ fielding WAR below the Dodgers (AZ was 8 WAR above). I think it’s not unreasonable to expect that gap to be filled almost entirely from Kemp’s regression to 5-6 WAR player (and not 8) and Posey’s return. Maybe their 4-5-6 are more volatile and unproven than our backend guys, or maybe Vogelsong is for real and Surkamp pitches like he did in the minors. Regardless, 4-5-6 guys aren’t as important as 1-2-3, where the Giants have a clear edge. Their bullpen is better as well. 

    • Anonymous

       The way the Gnats are bringing along Posey suggests he’s far from ready to play the most demanding position on the field with any regularity and, for all we know, he may never be. With that sort of injury, he probably lacks the agility to play any other position but first base, where he’d be a middle-of-the-pack offensive player at best.

  4. Jack Dawkins

    I don’t think you get a whole lot of action on who wins a division crown, so I have a feelign a lot of it may be that they see Giants fans as more willing to wager now, and Dodger fans as detached due to McCourt shenanigans.  The goal from the line setters is to even out the wagering across more teams.

    • I understand the desire to get more wagering in general, and what you’re saying would explain that, but it seems to me that at those odds, they’d hardly get any Giants action and are risking some losses on the Dodgers if the new owners do anything at midseason. 

  5. ^ well going by that theory believes the giants are more willing to bet on their team and the Dodgers less likely.  Than they have to give the Dodgers a more attractive line than what they really are, so they could have to Dodgers listed at 5-1 when they really believe they’re more like 7-2 or whatever.

  6. Anonymous

    Some really cool behind the scenes of how “The Hall Of Very Good” got started. Fangraphs audio with Carson Cistulli…
    Warning: the first half is absolute torture (gamer stuff) but it gets really good the last 12 minutes.

  7. Benjamin Court

    Honestly, I would take the Padres on that line. The NL West is overall a pretty weak division and I think the Padres have as good a chance as anyone. Basically every team could win with big “ifs” (“if the starting pitching holds up,” “if so and so can stay healthy,” “if the can acquire a bat the deadline,” etc). For the Padres, if the young guys can produce, then they have a real shot at the division.

    • Anonymous

      Maybe NL West was a toss-up back in 2008; that’s no longer the case. Both AZ and SFG have solid, young homegrown cores and excellent pitching. Oh, and SFG won the World Series not too long ago.

  8. Anonymous

    I am surprised the Giants are nearly even money to win the division.  Especially when their rotation is Lincecum and Cain then Pray For Rain.  But I think a lot of people are putting a lot of value on Posey’s return and on the Giants’ recent successes.

    The Diamondbacks are getting action because they won last year and didn’t gut the roster.

    What does surprise me is that the Giants’ odds and the Diamondbacks’ odds are so close.  Basically, the odds say if the season ran out 20 times, the Giants would win 16 and the Diamondbacks would win 10.  Those two teams must be seeing the bulk of the action.

    • Anonymous

      You forgot Bumgarner. But realistically if you look at his peripherals he’s pretty darn good as well.

    • Anonymous

      maybe you meant 30 times; but that would actually be Gnats 13, Snakes 10

    • Anonymous

       All three range from decent (Cain) to decent-plus  (Bumgarner) to excellent (Lincecum), but with the Gnats’ offense they could all finish with losing records.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t think anyone thinks Matt Cain is just adequate. He would be #2 on the Dodgers easily and Bumgarner is up and coming and could be another guy who at worst is a very good #2. I’m not a Giants fan, but being honest you have to give it up to their top 3 they are gonna be solid.

        • Anonymous

           We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one. I think he’s grossly overrated.

        • Anonymous

          Bumgarner is decent? He put up 5.5 WAR last season, which made him about as valuable as Prince Fielder or Felix Hernandez. He has excellent peripherals, suggesting his success was not due to luck (2 BB per 9, 8K per 9). His FIP of 2.67 was only a hair’s breadth below Kershaw’s 2.47. If he repeats last season, Bumgarner has a good chance to be more valuable than the 3-4-5 Dodgers starters combined.

  9. Anonymous

    I am worried about Kemp’s absence from the lineup since the White House’s state dinner tonight has a main course of … BISON WELLINGTON

    •  Ha! Bob, you and I had the same thought! You must have been listening to NPR too!

    • Anonymous

      What happened to steak and kidney pie?  Maybe trifle for dessert.  Oh, and a salad topped with a sardine.

    • Anonymous

       Is that a Rule 5 violation?

  10. My story on the cancelation of “Luck.”

    • Anonymous

      It’s the right move. I’ll watch the last two episodes mostly for the four mechanicals. I think the Fredo-lookalike was a great character.

  11. Ron Luciano told the story in one of his books on umpiring that at a Caribbean Winter League game one time, two guys jumped up in the first base seats and shot each other, and were carried out.  Nick Bremigan, later an AL umpire, was at second and Dale Ford, also headed to the AL, was at first.  Ford said he asked Bremigan if that happened often and Bremigan said, “Don’t worry.  They have a rule that they’re not allowed to shoot at the field.”  Very comforting.

    • Anonymous

      “Brooklyn Dodgers in Cuba” by Jim Vitti has a number of stoies about gun-toting fans, Fidel’s barbudos with machine guns and irate husbands with machetes.

  12. There has been virtually no media coverage regarding Kroenke or the Heisley/Ressler groups. That always worries me. Still water runs deep. It’s the quiet ones you have to be worried about. However, in this case, Alfred E. Neuman’s adage seems apt. What me worry? Each of the four would, for the first time since Chase Carey walked into the owner’s box of Peter O’Malley, solidly place the Dodgers in their no-brainer status as a big market team. One of the strangest oddities in all of sports has been the Dodgers historical oxymoronic decision to behave, for almost its entire existence, with a small market mentality. As we know, deep pockets solve nothing without a book of wisdom in them. However, I dare say that any of these four offers the potential of both.

  13. The key fact about Tony Ressler that has been undercovered so far is that he is Mr. Jami Gertz. 

    • Anonymous

      Never heard of either of them.

      • Anonymous

        Let’s just say that Mr and Mrs Ressler are not people you wish to borrow toilet paper from.

        • Anonymous

           On Googling, I learned that Ms. Gertz appeared in The Lost Boys, the best vampire flick ever filmed in Santa Cruz.

    •  I would have to say that the Cohen group appears to be the better group, at this point. La Russa and Arn Tellem, along with Steve Greenberg, with an 8 Billion dollar owner….come on, folks. I love Magic, Stan Kasten has pedigree, but there is no comparison. The feel good element of Magic as owner would only last so long until the hard work of real ownership begins. I’m hopeful that McCourt sees that, but there may be a lot of pressure to have a local identity after Frank’s escapades.

      • Anonymous

        Anyone who thinks Magic is in it for feel good is not paying attention. While dozens of his colleagues have squandered fortunes and gone bankrupt, Magic has turned a small fortune into a very large one. All the while donating large sums and building businesses in the inner city. I would rank his business acumen with any of the men on this list. And spare us the sight of LaRussa, please.

        • Anonymous

           I don’t like LaRussa and, though I could probably tolerate him, he’d make the Cohen group my last choice.

  14. Anonymous

    LaRussa, one more reason not to go for Cohen…

    • Anonymous

      Only read the first page but I always thought the guy would be doing this on a dare with his beer buddies. The fact that he fooled the genius that is Mason & Ireland is humorous

      • Anonymous

        The holes in the guy’s story were Grand Canyon-like. Yet, people liked him. But like the TV series, “Lone Star”, we just don’t like the long con.

        •  I chatted with Josh at the Blogger Softball Tourney. He’s charismatic and likeable, and  all his excuses for various issues I raised seemed, at the very least, to be possible if not probable. He makes you want to believe him, and gives you some kind of reason to overlook those Grand Canyon holes. I had my doubts, but I wanted to believe in the guy.

    • Anonymous

      The crazy thing is the dude is still trying to convince everyone on twitter that he’s for real and does have money in gold to get 2.2B bid…wow.

      • Anonymous

        There’s no better way to convince people that you’re a billionaire than by Tweeting it.

    • Anonymous

      Wow.  Sure teaches everyone to believe with their heads and not their hearts.

  15. Anonymous

    Wow. Uribe is just a mess.

    • Anonymous

      Except for the occasional hot streak, he’s always been a mess, but he turned one of those streaks into an undeserved three-year contract.

  16. Anonymous

    Farewll Dick Harter. We moved to Oregon at the beginning of the ‘Kamikazee Kids’ era and they were certainly fun to watch. Surely Ronnie Lee  is still diving for a loose ball somewhere. Stu Jackson, Greg Ballard and former Duck coach Ernie Kent were all stars on those teams. Harter was an excellent assistant in the NBA, with the Hick from French Lick as 1 of his biggest fans and former employers. RIP.

  17. Anonymous

    While there is some obvious information to be gleaned by lines, books only hope to set numbers to balance lines and not get too exposed on any one team.  This is why, despite the quality of team on the field, Vegas lines for the Cubs and Dodgers are historically lower than expected.  No matter if they field teams of 12 year olds, public money comes in on these two.
    Even so, based on Dave Pomerantz’s comments, it doesn’t sound like Bovada has too much going for it.

  18. Anonymous

    I wouldn’t quibble with the odds too much. The Giants are believed to have underperformed last year and with Posey back they should be slight favourites to win the division as long as they have a strong pitching staff. The Dodgers shouldn’t be as good as Arizona but better than Colorado so the 11 to 2 odds put them almost smack in between the Dbacks and Rockies with the Padres pulling up the rear. At 11 to 2 here’s hoping the Dodgers play over their heads!

    • Anonymous

       I thought the Gnats overperformed the last two years, and there’s no guarantee that Posey – who wasn’t playing all that well before he injured himself – will ever match his rookie season.

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