Dodger Thoughts

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

Two weeks to the trading deadline

With their 3-2 loss Monday to Philadelphia, the Dodgers for the 18th time in their past 24 games, falling to 48-43, two games behind San Francisco in the National League West – their biggest deficit of 2012. That includes a 1-3 record since Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier returned from the disabled list, the two star outfielders’ presence failing to slow the team’s tailspin.

Tuesday’s arrival will mark two weeks until Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trading deadline, the last two weeks when teams can trade freely with each other. The Dodgers find themselves in a predicament – looking very much in contention, but looking very little like a contender.

For more on this riddle, read my latest post at Los Angeles Magazine’s CityThink blog.


Billingsley MRI results optimistic


Billingsley to disabled list, Fife to make debut


  1. I wouldn’t make any trades of our top 10 prospects for rentals.  I know we are fairly close to the Giants and the two WC spots, but we are on a downward trend and I would hate to give up one of our better minor leaguers for a player or players who likely wouldn’t put us over the hump.  At the very least I would wait until we get much closer to the deadline and see where we are in the standings.

  2. Anonymous

    I’d sell — any parts that anyone wants not named Kemp or Kershaw or AJ Ellis (a steal at the price).  I like Ethier, but if anyone wants that contract, let ’em have it.  The problem with this team is that they’re very bad at several positions (LF, 3b, SS, 1b, plus starters 4-5), and as far as I can tell, none of those positions is manned by an underachiever (or underachievers).  If anything, the Ellises are giving more than should have been expected, and all the rest are basically doing what should have been expected.  Frankly, I wouldn’t expect the better teams to have much interest in Ned’s geriatric ward.

    So this ship has more holes than mid-season trades can fix.  I’d DFA the likely untradeable Uribe, Rivera, and Kennedy, trade Gwynn or Hairston or Mark Ellis or Loney if any teams wants any of them, and call up some kids to play regularly for the rest of the year, to figure out if any of them has what it takes.  I’d give Van Slyke, Sands, and Castellanos regular playing time, and prepare for next season. 

    Frankly, this is what should have been predicted in March.  Kemp would regress a little (turns out it was injuries that did it, but for whatever reason, it was risky to count on another 2011).  Kershaw would be very good but not Cy Young.  Ethier would return to his when-healthy mean.  AJ Ellis would walk a lot.  The rest of the starting pitchers would average out to be average.  Black holes were predictable at the corners and LF. 

    That’s what I think they should do.  What I think they WILL do is trade pitching prospects for “proven veteran leadership.”

  3. Anonymous

    Good stuff. I would like to see a major push for a 3b with several years left of team control. It’s a hole that isn’t going away anytime soon. Trade some prospects if you have to. The division is winnable and we’re not sitting idly by with Kemp/Kershaw/Ethier on the roster. Every other position has a possible solution [sic] except 3b.

  4. Anonymous

    We are very much in contention now, but I wonder how many games behind we’d be at the deadline after playing the Mets and Giants on the road. Aside from the fact that our overachieving bats have cooled down, it is the pitching that worries me more at this point. Eovaldi was lucky to leave with 3 runs on board. At the rate he was being knocked about, he could easily have given up 5 to 7.

    • Anonymous

      I didn’t think the kid was that bad last night. Yes this is the bigs where a few mistakes will kill you. But overall I think think he has been a solid # 5. Too bad he doesn’t get much run support.

  5. Anonymous

    This team is still a contender and, I think, a favorite to win the division. That said, it needs to address weaknesses in the infield and the rotation.

  6. Y’all probably saw this (Rosenthal via MLBTR) but just in case:
    The Cubs are exchanging names with teams interested in Ryan Dempster. The Dodgers, Tigers, Braves and Red Sox are in the mix. A friend of Dempster’s said the right-hander would probably approve a trade to Boston but considers the Dodgers a better fit. The Dodgers have enough prospects to build a package for Dempster, rival executives tell Rosenthal.

    • Anonymous

      I’m fine with Dumpster and, though I think Eovaldi has promise, it wouldn’t break my heart to lose him as part of the package.

      • Yeah, agreed. I worry that the Braves are in the mix for Dempster though, and that Dodgers won’t be able to compete with what they have to offer. Eovaldi and Withrow would be ok with me. Would be even happier if they can then extend Dempster and then in the off season have someone like Harang that they can trade. 

        • Anonymous

           The Braves failing to get to the NLCS (or even the playoffs) last year was the mother of all head-scratchers.

      • Anonymous

        Eovaldi may have promise, but I don’t understand why he’s in the bigs at this point.

        He may have better luck in the junior circuit, in any case, he really is that bad at the plate.

        • Anonymous

          Eovaldi isn’t getting paid to be a good hitter. He doesn’t have a lot of experience against MLB pitching anyway.

          The only pitcher on the Dodgers with a semblance of hitting ability is Billingsley

          Harang is a lot worse at the plate and he’s been in the big leagues for a while.

          Eovaldi would be better served to pitch better.

          • Anonymous

            Of course.  But NL starter is the only pitching role where absolute, total incompetence at the bat can be a real liability.  When Nate is ready to pitch in the bigs again in a year or two, he might consider a different role.

          • Anonymous

            The next NL pitcher who gets traded to an AL team because his hitting is so poor will be the first one.

          • Anonymous

             It may have been a very small but present factor recently with Ben Sheets and Doug Davis.

          • Anonymous

            Wow, this is the first time in the six years I’ve been on Dodger Thoughts that anyone thought that a pitcher’s lack of ability at the plate mattered in any significant way.  Even when Hiroki went 2 for 55 (and started the season 0 for 43) in 2010, nobody cared.  And I’m guessing it will be at least another six years before anybody else brings it up.

          • Anonymous

            On a positive note, you don’t think Clayton’s skill at SHing is part of the package he brings?

          • Adam Luther

            Rotation is fine.  Get a bat.  Errors could continue…come playoffs we’ll roll with Kershaw (2X depending on length of series), Capuano, and Harang/Billingsley.

          • Anonymous

             I couldn’t agree more.

        • Anonymous

          He’s in the bigs because of Lilly’s injury, and he’s performed credibly (even if far less than spectacular). His hitting is irrelevant to his pitching, which is why he’s on the roster.

  7. Adam Luther

    “…looking very much in contention, but looking very little like a contender…”(A perfect wild card candidate).

  8. Terry Austin

    “With new ownership in charge of the Dodgers, the question of whether they will give up is moot. The Guggenheim group isn’t going to spend its first summer waving a white flag.  That shouldn’t be interpreted as a guarantee of success, nor of failure – just of action.”

    Well said, Jon. I expect a deal of significance this month. I’m still not sure if the Kasten/Colletti tandem will make a good one.

    • Anonymous

      “The Guggenheim group isn’t going to spend its first summer waving a white flag.”

      Didn’t they start off by doing exactly that with Frank and the parking lots?

  9. Anonymous

    You don’t have to be the best team in baseball to win the world series.  Adding Hamels to this rotation (and signing him long-term) would make the Dodgers competitive for the next five years with a 1-2 punch to rival any rotation.  

    But yes, they still need a hitter beyond that. 

    • Anonymous

      If the Dodgers risk not trading for Hamels and try to sign him as a free agent they only give up a draft choice.

  10. Anonymous

    “During the dog days, the general manager has brought in such contributors as Marlon Anderson (1.243 OPS in 2006), Jon Garland (2.72 ERA in 2009), Vicente Padilla (3.20 ERA in 2009) and Rod Barajas (.939 OPS in 2010).
    Even Ned shows signs of improvement since 2007, when his August acquisitions were uniformly awful:  Esteban Loaiza, David Wells, Mark Sweeney, Shea Hillenbrand, and Chad Moeller.

  11.      It is hard to continue to root for the trade deadline to come knowing that Colletti is pulling the trigger on deals. Uribe has pushed me over the edge- you can praise Ned for whatever he has accomplished, but to me personally, nothing positive he accomplished overcomes, or even breaks even with the Schmidt/Pierre/Jones/Uribe fiascos. Until Colletti is ruining someone else’s ballclub (please, please, PLEASE let it be Philadelphia), the trade deadline only creates dread for me.

    • foul tip

       Very, very unlikely Ned does a single thing solo.  When Kasten first came, he said something like that if Ned has something he thinks makes sense, he can bring it to me and we’ll look at it. 

      Kasten is around every day.  He’s hands on. If Ned did anything solo after being told get Kasten’s input, he’d be toast–which would make quite a few fans’ day, week, month, year, maybe years.

      Kasten’s not perfect.  But what he orchestrated in Atlanta and Washington was excellent. He builds internally, which is the right way.  But it takes time.

      His previous success wasn’t achieved in “win now” mode, like the Dodgers find themselves in now…or at least did, depending on how the next stretch of games goes.

      Be interesting to see what Kasten does in unchartered waters.

      • Anonymous

        Would putting Josh Fields at third be considered building from the inside or just a waste of time.

        • foul tip

           Maybe neither.  Maybe “let’s give him a shot since it’d be hard for him to be worse than what’s there now.”

          With a pinch of “and he better make the most of it, and pretty quick.”

          Ned, and I think Don, have said lately they’ve considered it.  Bringing him up would mean a move on the 40-man, and that seems to work against him.

  12. finely reasoned piece with a professional level of unbias sprinkled about and the added flavor of  illuminating chunks of information. i like to mix my, you know, …. Well done, too.

  13. All the angst about poor EO. He’s 22 years old. He’s got little command of his pitchers. He’s learning on the job – especially pitch type no. 3 and no. 4 which he has been trying to throw. he’s been thrown into the fire because despite all the hype about dodger pitching prospects none are ready to even try pitching in the major league anytime real soon. and even with all this he’s fighting hard and for the most part getting a lot of major leaguer hitters out.

    we should be singing songs about young EO instead of screaming about all the what ifs and what coulds if that happened or this happened. cry about all the dodger foibles and GMS and juan uribe’s all you want but please leave poor Eo out of it.

    • Anonymous

      Or maybe get him some runs early so he could actually relax.

    • and gawd forbid if the Dodgers traded any of those may never pitch in the major league prospect  pitchers for dempster. because any player over a certain age is a horrible thing  because rentals, you know, are the worst thing ever, etc.  Can’t have it both ways.

    • Anonymous

      Eovaldi has started nine games this year for the Dodgers:

      1 game allowing 0 ER (0-0)
      2 games allowing 1 ER (1-0)
      2 games allowing 2 ER (0-2)
      2 games allowing 3 ER (0-2)
      2 games allowing 5+ ER (0-2)

      He has pitched well most of his starts.  His biggest problem is that the Dodgers don’t score for him.  Every year, there’s one pitcher that the team just doesn’t score runs for, and this year it’s Nate.

    • Anonymous

      Eovaldi cannot strike anybody out. His approach to pitching is to heave the ball in there and hope really hard that something good happens. That’s not going to work out in the long term.

      • i fear you know more about stats than you do pitching.

        • Anonymous

          And would it look like I know something about pitching if I made some vague statement about Eovaldi being young and working on his game? Results speak for themselves.

          • i doubt it. but then i’m making comments not trying for the ultimate argument when i posts. 

             results only tell half the story if that. K’s are a highly overrated way to judge a pitcher’s ability. 

          • especially at this point in the learning curve

          • peter drysdale

             Greg Maddux wasn’t a strike out pitcher. Not that I’m saying E will ever be in his league, but you don’t have to strike out a lot to be good

  14. Anonymous

    I look at the Los Angeles Dodgers as I do any other pro sports franchise….
    It is not high school or college where you have graduating seniors to try and win for.
    It is not the NFL where typically, half your roster is different each year, due to the CBA / salary cap.
    I’m concerned more with legacy… and long-term competitiveness and success…
    To me, I always look at it as “perpetual”….Meaning…there is no ending….
    The “product on the field” is always in flux… always evolving. 
    But, it’s still “Dodger Baseball”…in name.
    The goal being to have talent, chemistry, and a little bit of luck to culminate in success…
    To me, each position on the field represents a kind of “revolving door”….
    Some positions (ala. Kemp / Kershaw) can be filled for years and years….
    Some see many faces…until management can acquire one that is befitting the name, “fixture”

    There is no “decree” saying that the Dodgers should acquire mediocre talent in order to try to win now.  If you weren’t trying to trade for Ryan Dempster in this last off season, then why would you do it now?  Either you really like this guy’s talent or you don’t…. Don’t make a bad move just because you feel an urgent need at this time…
    ( Perceived crises usually yield poor choices…. politicians rely on that notion….)
    If this club were truly, truly just a bat or an arm shy of being comparable to the talent level of the Yanks, Angels, Rangers….etc.  Then, great…. Management should go get it done.
    Thus, if the Dodgers…all things considered…decided to be “sellers” at the deadline…
    I do not see it, in any way -shape- or form, being akin to “waiving a white flag”….

    • you would be on an island with that white flag argument.

      • Anonymous

         Ahoy! :-)

        • Anonymous

          If the Dodgers gave up and started selling off players, pretty much any goodwill the new ownership group had would be squandered immediately.

          “Hi folks, we spent a lot of money on this team. It started out playing well. Then it stopped. But we decided that, even though we’re close to first, we’re going to give up. Despite signing our top two hitters to long-term contracts. Why? Because we think you want to see us contend every year. But it won’t be this year. And probably not next year. Or not in 2014. But be patient! Trust us!”

          • Anonymous

            No one would notice a thing outside a tiny minority of baseball nerds that sweat these things unless it was a big name or face.  We’re the fans that do the wave when the tying run is at second in the 7th.

          • Anonymous

            So, if the Dodgers were to start selling off players, just who would they  sell in this purported “white flag” sale?

            Is there a big market for Capuano or Harang? Is Colletti’s voice mail box filled with offers for Uribe? 

          • Anonymous

            bt – I think you’re reading into my post a bit much.

            I haven’t mentioned any players I’d sell, just ones that I’d like to DFA and see retired, and I’ve tried to ease up on that.  My point is that the average dodger fan couldn’t identify either Ellis in a lineup with a gun to their head.  Speaking of Ellis, AJ has some value.  As do some people in the pen, and possibly Gordon and Cruz, or even J Fields.  I don’t know anything about their particular contract structures in any case.

          • Anonymous

            For the first time maybe ever, I completely disagree with btimmer on this one.  The team is awful.  It’s obviously not the new ownership’s fault.  I think they’d get a lot of support if they found a way to say that the current roster is a dead end, and that their priority is to lock in the pieces with relevance for the future, which means cutting bait on has-beens and NOT trading away prospects. 

            If they were to fire Colletti at the same time, essentially blaming him for the current mess, that would help even more.  But they could even defend him – say it wasn’t his fault, but McCourt’s, that he did the best he could given the constraints (demonstrably false, but spinable), but that there’s a new boss who has a better plan for proceeding. 

            I think that’d be an easy sell, frankly.  This team could sneak into the playoffs if a lot of unlikely things happen (Uribe & Loney go on a tear) AND the Giants and DBax collapse.  But be real, this isn’t a championship team.  Swap in Pujols for Loney, and that’s still true.

    • Anonymous

      >> If you weren’t trying to trade for Ryan Dempster in this last off season, then why would you do it now?

      During the off-season, we acquired two starting pitchers who were both younger than Dempster and who both have better career numbers than Dempster.  At the time, nobody could have anticipated that Dempster would have the year he’s having.  It’s a rare pitcher indeed whose age 35 season shows an ERA more than two runs under his career number.  But his numbers this year make Dempster a highly desirable commodity on the trade market.  (I don’t like the idea, because I see numbers like that as unsustainable and likely to regress to his personal mean, but that’s the answer to your question.)

      • Anonymous

         nsxtasy… I like your entire answer. 

      • Anonymous

        When you say that nobody could have anticipated the year Dempster is having, you are assuming that everyone looks to ERA as a legitimate and valuable statistic either to interpret past results or to predict future results. It would surprise me if any front office today thought that way in 2012. If you use advanced metrics like xFIP, you will see that Dempster has performed at a stable level for several years going, including this year.

        Whether Dempster’s ERA will regress to his personal mean is a meaningless question. ERA is not a personal stat. It’s Dempster’s xFIP and SIERA numbers show that he will be a valuable piece to the Dodgers.

  15. Anonymous


  16. Anonymous

    Still no official word on tonight’s starter.

    I’m guessing they’re waiting to decide whether Bills can pitch (Donnie says it’s unlikely), and if not, then it will be Fife.

    I’m also guessing Fife is sitting in a hotel room somewhere in L.A., waiting to hear. That must be nerve-wracking.

    Incidentally, Fife is already on the 40-man. With Guerra expected back from leave in the next few days, they could easily send Wall back down to make room for Fife, since he was probably headed back anyway.

    By the way, nice outing for Tolleson last night (nice silver lining in that dark cloud). He could turn out to be a keeper!

  17. Anonymous

    By the way, nice outing for Tolleson last night (nice silver lining in that dark cloud).  He could turn out to be a keeper!

    • Anonymous

       Heh, I thought that was Guerra while half-watching.

    • well he pitched last night like the way he’s dominated the minor leagues the last two years. his first five outings weren’t too good. and it was either anxiety about pitching in the bigs or a lack of command. the last three innings suggest it may have been nerves.

    • Anonymous

      Was he the one who struck out Howard or was that Elbert? The pitch was beautiful.

      • Anonymous

        In the sixth, Tolleson struck out Howard and Pence, with Ruiz fouling out in between. He also pitched a perfect seventh.

        Elbert pitched the eighth, allowing two baserunners and no runs. No strikeouts either.

  18. I’d like to know why they would try and get Carlos Lee but say no to Youkilis. Who’s choice was that??  We could probably use his  .323 BA, his 416OBP and .939 OPS and OPS+ of 150 at first or third which is what he is doing for the White Sox

    • Anonymous

      At the time, his numbers were pretty poor: .233/.315/.377/.692  It was unlikely that he’d suddenly start hitting above his career averages.  (And it’s probably unlikely that that will continue, IMHO, but time will tell.)

      • So I will ask it again why Carlos Lee and not Youkilis?  His numbers were also poor at the time. Maybe not as poor but pretty poor. He is also a lifetime OBp at .339 and OPS+ 114

        Youkilis is above career numbers but if they come back to normal career marks we are looking at a guy with a lifetime OPS+ of 126. Lifetime OBP at .388..and can play 2 spots that we need hitters at not just one adding more flexibility.

        So I am ok with them saying no. Just not no to him but yes to Carlos Lee. Maybe other factors are involved. I just don’t think Ned Values the type of players I would.

  19. I didn’t hear what they said but I just saw a picture of Fife next to Halladay on MLB network. No word from the Dodgers yet but it looks like we’ll see Fife’s major league debut tonight.

  20. Anonymous

    The Dodgers won’t be sellers simply because they have nothing anyone wants to buy. It’s like a garage sale in a crappy neighborhood.  What piece of the puzzle do they have for some other team? Kemp and Kershaw are untouchable. Ethier has a huge contract.  Loney, Rivera, Gordon, Uribe, Kennedy, Treanor and Gwynn are all terrible.  

    If somebody offered the Dodgers decent prospects for either of the Ellises, Capuano, Harang, or Billingsley, I think they’d jump at the chance. But I just don’t think there’s much interest in their wares.

  21. Anonymous

    According to Forbes, the Dodgers are the sixth most valuable professional sports franchise in the world (see The Yankees are third.

    • Anonymous

      You might want to edit your post to put a space between the website address and the close parenthesis “)” character.  As it is now, the link doesn’t work because it includes the close parenthesis in the webite address.

    •  I wanna play. Here is my guesses for top 6

      1. Manchester United
      2. Barcelona
      3. Yankees
      4. Cowboys
      5. Real Madrid
      6. Dodgers

  22. Anonymous

    Nate Eovaldi…
    One of the Dodger coaches was on the radio the other night saying that he’s got “electric stuff” ….
    The comment struck me funny because I immediately thought to myself….
    “I haven’t even heard of this guy until a month or so ago when he came up…”
    With all the pitching injuries, woes, inconsistency, etc…. over the last few years…
    Why haven’t I heard of this guy?
    I recall hearing about Chuck Tiffany (seemed to go hand-in-hand with Bills mentions) for a couple of years while he was in the Dodgers’ minor league system….
    So, if Nate Eovaldi is really that good…How come I haven’t really heard much about him over the last few years?

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know why you haven’t heard of him.  He was pitching well at Chattanooga last year, then was called up to the Dodgers and pitched pretty well in 6 starts and 4 relief appearances.  I think most of us considered him the #6 starter on the Dodgers depth chart at the start of the year (#7 if you wanted to count Rubby) and the guy they would call up if anyone got hurt.  The fact that he did get called up to take Lilly’s place was not a surprise.

    • Anonymous

      Eovaldi was on the big club last year. 

      It’s not Eovaldi’s fault that you aren’t paying attention.

    • Anonymous

       He throws pretty hard, with good movement. He lacks polish, and is still very young.

    • Anonymous

       If he has “electric stuff,” it must be much in the same way that Loney has a “nice swing.” It doesn’t matter if you can throw 95 mph or not if you strike out fewer batters than Zito. And yes, he came up last season and was equally awful, yet he got lucky and had good “results,” i.e. good ERA, leading to inflated expectations.

  23. Ely was just listed in tonights Topes line up. Fife is looking more and more likely.

    • Anonymous

      I agree, but they sure are taking their time about announcing it.  Four hours to game time and still nothing official…

  24. Anonymous

    According to MLBTR, the Fish may be willing to move Giancarlo Stanton, but it would take a lot.

    • Anonymous

      Has Wayne Huizenga bought the team back from Jeffrey Loria?

    • Anonymous

      The article also notes that moving Stanton is unlikely.

  25. Anonymous

    Some of the accompanying comments are pretty funny in hindsight:

  26. Anonymous

    Josh Fields is hitting in AAA but probably not fielding all that well.  Uribe is the Dodgers best fielding third baseman and should improve offensively in the second half as should Loney.  I don’t see Abreu or Rivera improving in the second half.  The Dodgers need a left fielder more than any other position.

    They could trade for Upton or wait and try to sign Hamilton this off season.

    Building from within it would be Fields at third and Pueg in left field.  

    • Anonymous

       Obviously, you’re unfamiliar with the fact that ABQ and Colorado Springs are halfway to the moon, meaning every player should have 500 .OPS deducted.  Putting Fields at a roughly equal OPS to Juan.  /sarcasm

      • Anonymous


        • Anonymous

          Less sarcastically, Hairston makes more sense as a left-fielder than 3d baseman, at least in terms of not being a defensive liability.

          • Anonymous

            But as a weak hitter, he makes more sense as an infielder.  Good-hitting LFers have to be easier to find than good-hitting infielders.

    • Anonymous

      >> Josh Fields is hitting in AAA

      Only at home.

      Fields 2012 at ABQ: .416/.478/.618/1.096
      Fields 2012 away: .269/.332/.395/.727

      • Anonymous

        Its probably harder to sign veteran role players like Hairston, Kennedy, Rivera, Abreu if a team has a propensity of DFAing those types of players.  This hurts the chances of Fields to be added the 40 and brought up.  

        Average fielding and less than outstanding offense keeps some down like Fields but not for others like Van Slyke.

    • Anonymous

      Except for the fact that his contract runs through next season, Uribe’s career is (or should be) over.

      • Anonymous

        Send him back to the White Sox and he’ll suddenly be hitting like an All-Star again.  :)

        • Anonymous

          He has never hit like an All-Star. He has always been mediocre, but had occasional hot streaks to justify a spot in the lineup.

          • WBBs it’s amazing you don’t get called for breaking a rule or two regarding Uribe. If it was me I’d be lectured and admonished and maybe killed by now. You must carry weight. I salute you.

  27. Anonymous

    EO has pitched 52 innings in the majors this year and I don’t know how many in the minors.  How many innings do you think they let him pitch this year?

    • Anonymous

      Nate had 35 innings at Chattanooga this year before his callup.  Last year he pitched 103 there, 35 with L.A. An innings limit is not likely to be an issue, at least not before the roster expansions in September and probably not at all.

  28. Anonymous

    Fife is now officially the starter tonight, per

  29. Anonymous

    Who will be first to use the following headline:

    Fife drummed out after xx innings. 

  30. Anonymous

    Let’s hope Ned does not notice that the Royals have DFA’d Jonathan Sanchez.

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