Dodger Thoughts

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

Month: December 2015 (Page 2 of 3)

Dodgers name coaches for 2016

Juan Castro making a play on July 9, 2009 at Citi Field. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Juan Castro makes a play next to a sliding Alex Cora on July 9, 2009 at Citi Field. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

We’ve got the names of next year’s Dodger coaches, and all but two will be new to their positions in Los Angeles.

Joining pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and catching instructor Steve Yeager with the Dodgers will be Bob Geren as bench coach, Turner Ward as hitting coach, George Lombard as first-base coach, Chris Woodward as third base coach, Josh Bard as bullpen coach, Tim Hyers as assistant hitting coach and good ol’ Juan Castro — who started the Dodgers’ first triple play in Los Angeles on June 15, 1996 — in the newly created position of quality assurance coach.

Here’s more on everyone joining the staff, from the Dodgers’ public relations department:

Read More

Frankie Montas: Future starter or fireman?

Jon Durr/Getty Images

Jon Durr/Getty Images

By Jon Weisman

With many young pitchers, the Dodgers take their time to decide whether a starting or relief role is best. With newly acquired Frankie Montas, it will be no different.

Read More

Cuban reunions and revelations for Puig, Kershaw

Photos by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Photos by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Cuba TripBy Jon Weisman

In between visits with kids of all ages on MLB’s goodwill tour of Cuba, Yasiel Puig had a reunion with his half-brother, as Kevin Baxter writes for the Times.

… While Puig is of Cuba, until this week he hadn’t been in Cuba for nearly five years. And that seemed like an eternity to Yoan Hernandez, Puig’s half brother.

“I missed him,” Hernandez said Wednesday, a day after an emotional reunion. …

Cuba Trip

Cuba TripIn addition, Clayton Kershaw met family members of his teammate and Cuba native, Yasmani Grandal.

… Yohandri Grandal and his father Avelino sat in the first row of the grandstands, watching the clinic. Baseball, and politics, have separated their family as well.

Cuba TripYohandri’s brother, Yasmani, a Dodgers catcher, left Cuba for Miami with his mother 17 years ago. The siblings have rarely seen each other since and Avelino said he hasn’t seen his son since 2010.

He got a little closer Wednesday when Clayton Kershaw, who is also participating in the goodwill tour, saw Avelino waving a tiny blue Dodgers jersey with Grandal’s name and number. So Kershaw walked over to the two men and reached up into stands to shake their hands.

For now, talking to the pitcher who throws to his brother is about as close as Yohandri figures to get to a reunion. But he’s hopeful the negotiations between baseball officials in the U.S. and Cuba can change that. …

[mlbvideo id=”534840583″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

Alden Gonzalez of has more on Kershaw, who is the only player on the trip who doesn’t speak Spanish.

“They keep saying, ‘Baseball’s the way of life,’ but you don’t really know what that means,” Kershaw said. “Then you come here and you kind of understand. It’s so important, and it’s so new, too, this whole trip and what the people here can experience and what we as players can do. It’s just such new territory for us. I think the excitement of being here is infectious.”

Cuba Trip

One more piece for you: Over at Historic Dodgertown is a history of the relationship between the Dodger and Cuba.


Thompson to trayce new path in Los Angeles

(David Banks/Getty Images)

(David Banks/Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

Maybe when you’re the son and brother of NBA stars, there’s extra pressure to make a name for yourself. Or maybe there’s just the normal pressure that every would-be Major Leaguer faces.

Either way, Trayce Thompson — the son of former Laker Mychal Thompson and brother of current Warrior Klay Thompson — quickly became his own man last summer.

Read More

Passing on Todd Frazier, Dodgers show commitment to Justin Turner


By Jon Weisman

From the Dodgers’ perspective, today’s three-team trade with the Reds and White Sox was about picking up three 24-and-under players who have already had a taste of the Major Leagues.

But in an unmistakable way, it was also about a player who wasn’t part of the trade at all — Justin Turner.

Read More

Dodgers acquire trio from White Sox in three-way deal

From the Dodgers’ public relations department:

The Dodgers today announced the completion of a three-team trade with the Reds and White Sox, with the Dodgers receiving right-handed pitcher Frankie Montas, outfielder Trayce Thompson and second baseman Micah Johnson; the Reds receiving Jose Peraza, outfielder Scott Schebler and minor league infielder Brandon Dixon; and the White Sox receiving third baseman Todd Frazier.

Read More

Puig, Kershaw arrive in Cuba

(Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

(Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

Yasiel Puig, Clayton Kershaw and the rest of MLB’s goodwill tour to Cuba landed today. Michael Weissenstein of The Associated Press has more:

Puig, who fled to Mexico in a smuggler’s fast-boat in 2012 and then crossed the border to Texas, wrapped his childhood coach Juan Arechavaleta in a bear-hug, resting the side of his face atop the smaller man’s head.

“I’m very happy to be here,” said Puig, who had been barred from returning to Cuba until he was granted special permission for this week’s trip.

Still more on the trip can be found from Jesse Sanchez of and Kevin Baxter of the Times. In addition, The Players’ Tribune passed along this happy video of Kershaw.

Update: Alden Gonzalez of has a feature focusing on Puig, including this quote from Kershaw:

“I know I’m probably not going to be able to go to Cienfuegos, where he’s from,” Kershaw said of Puig, “but just being here, seeing the culture and being here, it can only help me understand him a little bit more as a person, and maybe give me a little bit more credibility with him. It’s important.”

Said Puig: “I’m very emotional about going back to my country, to spend some time with the kids over there. … It’s going to feel very good.”

Dodger exec Erik Braverman becomes role model for LGBT youth


Erik Braverman has been out in his private life for years, but has kept his sexual orientation from many in baseball. With MLB’s very public embrace of the LGBT community, Braverman wants youth to know they can be out in pro sports.

So reads the subhead from Cyd Ziegler’s story at Outsports about Dodger vice president of marketing and broadcasting Erik Braverman. Here’s an excerpt:

… Inside baseball — even within Dodger Stadium — Braverman held back his private life, his truth, his identity.

“I didn’t want anyone to, in any way, not view me for the quality of my work,” Braverman told Outsports. “I don’t want to be know as the gay executive who happens to run marketing and broadcasting for the Dodgers. I want my accomplishments and my job to be first and foremost and speak for themselves.”

Since starting Outsports in 1999, I had from time to time asked Braverman if it was time yet to share his story. I had met him playing in the L.A. gay basketball league before Jim Buzinski and I had started Outsports, and long before Braverman was working in Major League Baseball. As he ascended the ranks at ESPN Radio and then the Dodgers, I kept on him, a gnat that buzzed in his ear once every couple of years.

It was only minutes before he replied: “I think the time is right.”

There are lots of reasons people in sports come out publicly. Braverman isn’t remotely doing this for himself, content with living his lifelong dream in baseball even if it’s meant some people may ask the occasional question about a missing girlfriend.

For him this is the last step to burying his fears as a kid and helping other LGBT people interested in a career in baseball take the leap. …

It’s a terrific story and one I’m really pleased to share. Read the whole story here.

Dodger children’s holiday party postponed after LAUSD closure

Because of the closure of schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District today, today’s Dodgers/Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation children’s holiday party has been postponed and will be rescheduled. Today’s 4 p.m. gift-giving event hosted by Dodger broadcaster Fernando Valenzuela at Estrada Courts will still take place.

— Jon Weisman

An offseason accounting

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Whenever it appeared the sky was falling on the Dodgers during the 11 years that I wrote Dodger Thoughts, it was sort of my niche to write posts explaining why the sky really might not be falling.

These posts, like my attempts to convince my youngest son that an earlier bedtime would actually make him less tired in the morning, were not entirely successful.

Some readers flat out disagreed with me. Others sniped that I was no better than an organization apologist. For the most part, though, people understood that I was an outsider, invested in the team, but coming from a place of independence and sincerity.

Usually, I had enough evidence on my side that it was no trouble making an argument that the glass at Dodger Stadium was more than half full. Plus, there was consistency to my point of view, which in many ways boiled down to “Can we at least play the games before jumping overboard?”

Since joining the Dodgers two years ago to blog here at Dodger Insider, it has definitely been a bigger challenge to write “keep calm” posts without seeming like a shill. For those who know me, my reputation buys me some credibility, but for those who don’t, it’s easy to be branded and dismissed as a spin artist. This might shock you, but it turns out my words don’t carry the same weight as Vin Scully’s.

Read More

Pitchers and catchers report February 19

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Those four sweet words — “pitchers and catchers report” — now have a date assigned to them for 2016.

The official report date for Dodger pitchers and catchers to Camelback Ranch is February 19, followed by the first official workout the following day.

Position players are due to report February 24, though many begin trickling in earlier. The first full-squad workout is February 25.

The Dodgers’ first Spring Training game will be with their Camelback Ranch neighbors, the Chicago White Sox, on March 3.  Opening Day for the 2016 regular season is April 4 at San Diego, with the home opener April 12.

Think Blue Review: Post-Winter Meetings edition

[mlbvideo id=”534259083″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

The latest Think Blue Review begins with the Winter Meetings and finishes with a closer look at the recent student entrepreneurs event supported by the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation.

— Jon Weisman

Utley undaunted in approach toward 2016

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Arizona Diamondbacks

By Jon Weisman

Chase Utley has seen just about everything in his 13 Major League seasons, but this winter brings something new.

As in, a whole new set of questions.

Read More

Winter Meetings update from Kasten, Friedman

Rizzo Kasten

By Jon Weisman

It’s hard to have settled feelings about a team that’s in flux. And perhaps it’s an indulgence to ask for patience.

While unable to discuss any pending transactions until they are official — sorry about that, but that’s how MLB rolls — Dodger president and CEO Stan Kasten and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman did advocate for the long view in speaking Tuesday with SportsNet LA’s Alanna Rizzo from this week’s Winter Meetings in Nashville.

Suffice it to say, today’s Chase Utley announcement won’t be the last the Dodgers make this offseason.

Read More

Chase Utley returning to Dodgers

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 6.54.17 AM

By Jon Weisman

Giving the Dodgers a left-handed hitter and veteran who could supplement second and third base in 2016, the Dodgers are bringing back Chase Utley on a one-year deal.

Utley had a .291 on-base percentage and .363 slugging percentage in 141 plate appearances for the Dodgers after being acquired August 19 for minor-leaguers John Richy and Darnell Sweeney, while also being praised for the example he set in the clubhouse and on the field.

That being said, Utley potentially would miss Opening Day even if he’s on the Opening Day roster, should any portion of his two-game suspension for his hard slide into Ruben Tejada during the National League Division Series be upheld.

The Dodgers already have right-handed Kiké Hernandez and Jose Peraza as in-house candidates to play second base, as well as Justin Turner (recovering from knee surgery) at third base. Against right-handed pitching, Utley’s OPS was .708 with Los Angeles.

Utley turns 37 on December 17.

Page 2 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén