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By Jon Weisman
Above, a highlight package of the Dodgers’ 2014 season. Below, some odds and ends for the first offseason Thursday …
- Probably the most worthwhile post-playoffs article you can read on the Dodgers is Mike Petriello’s piece for Fangraphs on how the Dodger bullpen was constructed. It was an obvious disappointment, but not for lack of effort, and potential remedies were few and far between. An excerpt:
… As the season went on, it became clear this was an issue and it was not getting better. But the deadline came and went without any moves. Ned Colletti was crushed for that, perhaps not unfairly, though only two valuable relievers — Joakim Soria and Andrew Miller — were actually moved, and neither came cheaply. (Soria also didn’t help Detroit much around being injured.) In retrospect, that looks like a huge mistake; however, we don’t know the deals on the table, and if it had been something like “Joc Pederson for Hector Rondon,” or whatever was actually on the table, perhaps it’s better undone. We’ll never know, and as we saw anyway, teams making big trades didn’t automatically get anywhere in October. …
Ken Gurnick has more analysis of the bullpen’s devolution at MLB.com.
- You might have a sense of how unlikely it was for Clayton Kershaw to give up a three-run home run to a left-handed batter on a curveball, but August Fagerstrom really spells it out at Fangraphs.
- Kershaw hadn’t allowed a three-run homer to any Major League hitter since June 9, 2012 — a span of 577 regular-season innings plus the postseason. The batter: Miguel Olivo.
- Kershaw made the case for retaining A.J. Ellis in Dylan Hernandez article for the Times. “Just the tireless work that he does, it’s so selfless,” Kershaw said. “It’s invaluable to know that what he’s putting down, there’s so much thought, so much work behind it. It gives me confidence to throw it.”
- Josh Beckett’s retirement isn’t official, though as he’s indicated before, he’s moving entirely in that direction. Gurnick published the latest update at MLB.com.
- Hanley Ramirez is the Dodgers’ highest-profile potential free agent. In lieu of a multiyear contract, the Dodgers can make him a one-year qualifying offer, but as Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. details, no potential free agent in the big leagues has ever accepted this option.
- Tommy Lasorda received the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award, writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, for possessing “the values, integrity and dedication to serving the United States in a manner Feller displayed.”
- From last month: Dirk Hayhurst wrote at the Hardball Times about how harrowing his first experience on a Major League mound was.
- From August: MLB official historian John Thorn passed along this lengthy examination at Our Game of forgotten black baseball players from the 1800s.
- Vin Scully talked last month for 22 minutes with Seth Davis of Campus Insiders in this video passed along by Roberto Baly at Vin Scully Is My Homeboy. It’s almost entirely made up of stories you’ve heard before, but at the 17-minute mark, he is asked to discuss a topic he rarely addresses — the family tragedies in his life. “I found in my lifetime, the biggest waste of time is trying to figure out life. There’s just no answer: Why did that happen? Why did this have to happen to me? We don’t do that.”
- Keep Scully’s words in mind as you contemplate something meaningful to us but less profound. Jon SooHoo’s final set of photos from the actual 2014 season can be found at LA Photog Blog. Below, he captures the three moments that essentially ended the Dodgers’ championship bid.