Dodger Thoughts

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

Month: October 2015 (Page 1 of 6)

Save the date: 2016 Dodger FanFest is January 30

FanFest Save the Date

As announced in October’s Dodger Insider magazine, next year’s Dodger FanFest at Dodger Stadium will take place January 30. (For a recap of the 2015 event, click here.)

— Jon Weisman

Next season, Clayton Kershaw could become NL’s youngest with 2,000 K


By Jon Weisman

What historical milestone awaits Clayton Kershaw in 2016, other than hopefully his first World Series title?

If the lefty ace can strike out at least 254 batters by the end of the regular season October 2, he will become the youngest pitcher in National League history to reach 2,000 career strikeouts — by more than a year.

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Awards season begins with nods for Greinke, Gonzalez

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Zack Greinke was named a 2015 National League All-Star by The Sporting News and a finalist for the Gold Glove Award by Rawlings.

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez is the Dodgers’ other Gold Glove finalist, competing against San Francisco’s Brandon Belt and Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt. Gonzalez is a four-time Gold Glove winner, including 2014.

Greinke, who led the Major Leagues in adjusted ERA and WHIP, also finished fourth in the balloting for Sporting News MLB Player of the Year, behind Toronto’s Josh Donaldson, Washington’s Bryce Harper and Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta, who had 43 votes to Greinke’s 40.

Joc Pederson tied Chicago’s Kyle Schwarber for fourth in the vote for Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year, after the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, San Francisco’s Matt Duffy and Pittsburgh’s Jung Ho Kang.

Andre Ethier was fifth in the Sporting News balloting for NL Comeback Player of the Year, won by Mets pitcher Matt Harvey.

Arrieta and Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole are the other NL pitcher finalists for the Gold Glove, which Greinke previously won last year.

Gold Glove selection and voting criteria can be found here.

Report: Don Mattingly to manage Marlins

Dee Gordon says hello to Don Mattingly in his first game at Dodger Stadium as a Miami Marlin on May 11, as Lorenzo Bundy observes. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Dee Gordon says hello to Don Mattingly before Gordon’s first game at Dodger Stadium as a Miami Marlin on May 11, as Lorenzo Bundy observes. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Don Mattingly and the Marlins have agreed to a deal for him to become the next Miami manager, Joe Frisaro of confirmed today.

An official announcement is expected after the World Series. Mattingly will be the 15th manager in Marlins history and the second with Dodger ties, following Jeff Torborg (2002-03).

John Boles (1996-2001) later became a Dodger senior advisor, and Cookie Rojas, who managed the Marlins for one game in 2006 between Rene Lachemann and Boles, was the starting second baseman as a roookie for the Reds in the first game ever at Dodger Stadium. A week later, according to, Rojas got his first Major League hit — off Sandy Koufax.

But I digress. Mattingly will return April 25-28 to Los Angeles, when Miami plays at Dodger Stadium to start the Dodgers’ second homestand of the year.

Vin Scully suits up for interview, 2016 return

By Jon Weisman

In his first interview since the end of the 2015 regular season, Vin Scully re-confirms that he is definitely returning to the Dodgers in 2016.

Scully spoke to SportsNet LA’s Alanna Rizzo today for a conversation that will air at 7 p.m. Thursday.

“Yes,” Scully told Rizzo in regards to the 2016 season. “Oh yeah, definitely. I’m looking forward to next year, maybe because it’s my last year. I’m looking forward to it as much as my second year, because I got by the first year and I was so thrilled there was another one coming up — well, that’s how I feel about ’16. I am chafing at the bit.”

Click here for a link to the clip

Scully underwent a medical procedure three weeks ago that sidelined him from postseason duty, but he was his vibrant self today, pulling up a chair (if you will) opposite Rizzo.

World Series Game 1 had something for everyone — even Dodger fans

By Jon Weisman

“I just hope for a memorable World Series, something we’ll remember for generations,” Mark Langill wrote Tuesday. Then that night, Game 1 between the Mets and the Royals delivered, offering so much that even Dodger fans still nursing their playoff wounds had to marvel.

Moreover, it wasn’t hard to find several Dodger connections to Kansas City’s marathon 14-inning, 5-4 victory over New York.

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Eight storylines for 2016 you can ponder now

Ryu Pederson

By Jon Weisman

It’s no secret that this will be another offseason of change for the Dodgers.

Already, manager Don Mattingly and vice president of medical services Stan Conte have departed. Five days after the World Series ends — sometime before November 10 — free agency begins. And you never know what the trade market will bring or take away.

The winter months will address several issues facing the Dodgers. But whatever happens will still leave several questions that won’t be answered until we’re well into the 2016 season.

Among them, these:

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The chase

Tommy and Fred Claire with World Series trophy 1988

By Jon Weisman

While I finished my last final exam in college and turned pro, the Dodgers were in Vero Beach, preparing to defend their 1988 World Series title, five short, happy months after winning.

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Deconstructing the departure of Don Mattingly

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Andrew Friedman at the televised press conference discussing Don Mattingly’s exit.

Don Mattingly and Andrew Friedman chat at an October 7 workout. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Don Mattingly and Andrew Friedman chat at an October 7 workout. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

This would have been a good day to own stock in the word “mutual.”

Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi — along with outgoing manager Don Mattingly — fought an uphill battle before a skeptical press corps this afternoon to emphasize that the decision for Mattingly to leave the Dodgers was a shared one.

“If there was a reason that this happened, we would share it,” Friedman said during a 45-minute session for him and Zaidi at Dodger Stadium. “There’s not. It was a collection of a lot of different conversations over many days that got us to this point. So it’s not so black and white here. There is a huge middle, and it’s gray, and that’s how everything played out.”

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Dodgers, Don Mattingly part ways

Don Mattingly went 446-363 as Dodger manager. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Don Mattingly went 446-363 as Dodger manager. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Eight people have managed the Dodgers since their last World Series in 1988, and soon there will be a ninth.

Here’s this morning’s announcement:

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Don Mattingly have mutually agreed that Mattingly will not return to manage the club in 2016.

Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, general manager Farhan Zaidi and senior vice-president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes met and talked extensively with Mattingly for several days following the conclusion of the season.

“As our end-of-season process began, we discussed the past year, our future goals, necessary changes, roster needs and other matters relating to next year’s campaign,” said Friedman. “As the dialogue progressed daily, it evolved to a point where we all agreed that it might be best for both sides to start fresh. We decided to think about it for a couple of days and when we spoke again, we felt comfortable that this was the direction to go. I have the utmost respect for Donnie and thoroughly enjoyed working with him this past season. I want to thank him for his hard work and collaboration, as well as his accomplishments, including three consecutive National League West titles. I wish him nothing but success in the future.”

“I’m honored and proud to have had the opportunity to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers,” said Mattingly. “I’ve enjoyed my experiences and relationships with the organization’s staff and players throughout my eight years in L.A. After meeting with Andrew, Farhan and Josh, we all felt that a fresh start would be good for both the organization and me. We talked about several scenarios, including my returning in 2016. However, I believe this is the right time and right move for both parties. I’m still very passionate about managing and hope to get the opportunity in the near future. In the meantime, I want to thank the Dodger organization, the city and our fans for the opportunity and wish the club well going forward.”

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Dodgers claim pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla

[mlbvideo id=”51366683″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]
By Jon Weisman

Lisalverto Bonilla, a right-handed pitcher who is recovering from mid-April Tommy John surgery, has been claimed by the Dodgers and placed on the 60-day disabled list.

The 25-year-old Bonilla had a 3.05 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 20 2/3 innings for the Rangers in 2014, striking out 17. He also had a 4.10 ERA in 74 2/3 innings that year for Triple-A Round Rock, starting six games and relieving in 33.

Bonilla missed the entire 2015 season due to injury after making his Major League debut in 2014 and going 3-0 with a 3.05 ERA in five games (three starts) with the Rangers. He originally signed with the Phillies out of the Dominican Republic at age 18, before going to Texas in a trade that with one-time Dodger pitcher Josh Lindblom for another one-time Dodger in Michael Young.

During an eventful four-inning Spring Training stint against the Dodgers in the pinball-like Alamodome on March 21, Bonilla struck out seven while allowing six runs. Adrian Gonzalez and Buck Britton homered off Bonilla, while Yasmani Grandal (twice), Alex Guerrero, Matt Carson (twice), Tyler Ogle and Kyle Jensen whiffed.

Through his minor-league career, Bonilla has averaged more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings.

Adrian Gonzalez’s Bat 4 Hope Celebrity Softball Game comes November 7 to Dodger Stadium

Gonzalez 201510070505a

Adrian Gonzalez and actress Eva Longoria are co-hosting Bat4Hope, a celebrity softball game benefiting children and young adults with cancer November 7 at Dodger Stadium.

The organization behind the event is PADRES Contra El Cancer, a nonprofit organization that for 30 years has been committed to improving the quality of life for children and young adults with cancer, along with their families, throughout Southern and Central California. Event proceeds will benefit family bilingual cancer education, quality of life and economic assistance programs.

Advance tickets are available to purchase through Eventbrite. For more details, visit the Bat4Hope event website.

Dodger exit velocities, 2015

Contact and speed

With the caveat that I might be punching out of my weight class, here’s a comparison of exit velocities off the bats of Dodger hitters in 2015 (with swing-and-miss rates also noted), using data from Brooks Baseball. Players with at least 100 plate appearances as a Dodger this year are listed. Click the image above to enlarge.

— Jon Weisman

America’s irrational pastime

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Daniel Murphy.

It’s not just us. He killed our team, and now he’s killing my Dad’s team. He’s reminding me why it’s never safe to expect our lovable, horrible, irrational sport to make sense.

Daniel Murphy has had a good career. Solid. Even an All-Star in 2014. But home runs in four consecutive playoff games — off Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta?

Do you know what Daniel Murphy’s longest streak of consecutive games with a home run was, before October? Two. Once in his career, Daniel Murphy hit a home run in one game, and then hit a home run in the very next game. That was 6 1/2 years ago.

Daniel Murphy. For some reason I can’t just call him Murphy, even on second reference. It’s just too familiar, too pal-sy. I need to maintain a formal distance from this person, this person who pulled the bat from the stone. Daniel Murphy has no right to do what he has done over the past four games. Except he has every right, because it’s baseball.

It makes me tired. It makes me wonder why one reads or writes or plans before a baseball game. Because no matter what you do, no matter how smart you think you are or that you might actually be, that baseball game’s going to do whatever it wants.

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Dodger medical services head Stan Conte resigns

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Stan Conte at Spring Training in February (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Dodger vice president of medical services and head athletic trainer Stan Conte has resigned from the organization.

“I want to thank the Dodger organization and specifically each and every one of the dedicated medical staff for their support these last nine seasons in Los Angeles,” Conte said in a statement. “My resignation will allow me to focus on my research in baseball injury analytics as I remain committed to determining the causes and effects of various baseball injuries.”

While athletes face the risk of injuries during their careers, it’s reassuring to know that urgent care facilities like urgent care Douglastan are available to provide timely and comprehensive medical care when needed. A walk-in clinic like those is reassuring for unforeseen circumstances. Their expertise in treating sports-related injuries can aid athletes in their recovery and ensure they receive the necessary care to get back on the field.

Conte joined the Dodgers in October 2006, following 15 seasons with the San Francisco Giants.

“I want to thank Stan for his contributions to the Dodgers over the past nine years as well as all he has done for the entire community of sports medicine,” said Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. “He was an integral member of the organization and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”

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