Dodger Thoughts

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

Category: Transactions (Page 9 of 35)

Neil Rampe to lead Dodger training staff

Neil Rampe 2016 011316js106

Neil Rampe (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Neil Rampe, who has been the Arizona Diamondbacks’ manual and performance therapist since 2008, has been officially announced as the Dodgers’ new athletic trainer, replacing former vice president of medical services Stan Conte.

In addition, Nathan Lucero, who has been the Houston Astros’ head athletic trainer for seven seasons, and Thomas Albert, formerly with Cleveland, will be the Dodgers’ assistant athletic trainers.

Rampe will oversee all of the Dodgers’ medical programs, including athletic training, physical therapy, rehabilitation and strength and conditioning, as well as the training, strength and conditioning of Dodger minor league players.

He began his career as the assistant strength and conditioning coach in the University of Minnesota athletic department, then served as a certified athletic trainer at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine in Colorado from 2002-03.

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Dodgers extend 16 non-roster invites to MLB camp for Spring Training

Julio Urias signs autographs at Spring Training in 2015. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Julio Urias signs autographs at Spring Training in 2015. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

2016 non-roster invitations
Pitchers (6): Chris Anderson, Lisalverto Bonilla, Brooks Brown, Jose De Leon, Julio Urias, Matt West
Catchers (3): Kyle Farmer, Jack Murphy, Shawn Zarraga
Infielders (2): Charlie Culberson, Rob Segedin
Infielder-outfielders (2):
Cody Bellinger, Elian Herrera
Outfielders (3): Corey Brown, Alex Hassan, Rico Noel

By Jon Weisman

Minor-league pitching prospects Julio UriasJose DeLeon and Chris Anderson are among the 16 players not currently on the 40-man roster who have been invited to Major League camp for Spring Training.

The 19-year-old Urias is the No. 1 left-handed pitching prospect in baseball, according to, while DeLeon, 23, is the No. 5 righty. The 23-year-old Anderson, the Dodgers’ first-round draft choice in the 2013 draft, had a 4.05 ERA and 7.0 strikeouts per nine innings for Double-A Tulsa in 2015.

The hottest non-roster invite on the hitting side is Cody Bellinger, who is ranked sixth among first-base prospects in the minors.

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Dodgers bring back a different Joe Blanton

Joe Blanton allowed two runs in six innings of his first Dodger start, on August 5, 2012. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Joe Blanton allowed two runs in six innings of his first Dodger start, on August 5, 2012. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Joe Blanton’s new life as a full-time reliever — illustrated by his 1.57 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 21 games for the Pirates last season — has reunited him with the Dodgers for 2016 on a one-year contract.

Blanton started 10 games for the Dodgers in 2012, and it didn’t go all that well, with a 4.99 ERA and 1.42 WHIP despite an 8.0 K/9. The following season, spent with the Angels, went even worse (6.04 ERA), which led to his release in the midst of a multi-year contract.

But as Neil Weinberg of Fangraphs noted in November (via Mike Petriello of Dodgers Digest), Blanton turned the beat around by shifting emphasis to a slider and lowering his arm slot. Throw out the four starts he made in 2015 for Kansas City (which sent him to Pittsburgh near the July trading deadline), and Blanton had a 2.04 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 9.7 K/9 out of the bullpen.

The 35-year-old will give the Dodgers reliever depth as someone who can throw multiple innings in an outing. His 2015 stats on pitches 1-25 were almost identical to his numbers on pitches 26-50.


Once he pitches a 2016 game, Blanton will become the latest two-term Dodger and potential member of the Grover Cleveland All-Stars (click to enlarge).


Alex Anthopoulos takes long view of Dodger tenure

Alex Anthopoulos at Spring Training in Dunedin, Florida last year. (Nathan Denette/AP/The Canadian Press)

Alex Anthopoulos at Spring Training in Dunedin, Florida in 2015. (Nathan Denette/AP/The Canadian Press)

By Jon Weisman

As word spread of Alex Anthopoulos joining the Dodgers as vice president of baseball operations, one big question naturally followed. How long would a lead actor (just named 2015 Sporting News MLB Executive of the Year) want to take on a supporting part in another organization?

But Anthopoulos worried about the spotlight, nor is he putting a time limit on his move to Los Angeles. In fact, he’s doubling down on his commitment by moving his family to Southern California after school lets out in Toronto this year.

“That came up with a few of the clubs that I spoke to,” the former Blue Jays senior vice president and general manager said in a conference call with reporters today. “A few of them said, ‘You’re probably only going to be here for a year.’ It was flattering to hear that, but at the same time, we know that there’s only 28 of these jobs with other teams. I wouldn’t move my family out here if I felt this was going to be a quick stay.”

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Infielder-outfielder Rob Segedin joins Dodgers

[milbvideo id=”115901183″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

Seg 574847By Jon Weisman

Ronald Torreyes, who was designated for assignment when Kenta Maeda was signed, and Tyler Olson, who met the same fate the day Brandon Beachy returned to the Dodgers, have been traded to the New York Yankees for minor-league infielder/outfielder Rob Segedin and a player to be named later or cash considerations.

The 27-year-old Segedin had a .379 on-base percentage at Double-A Trenton last year and a .350 OBP in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, slugging .426 combined. A right-handed hitter, he has played 265 career professional games at third base, 66 in right field, 48 at first base and 44 in left field.

According to the Bergen Record, Segedin earned his degree in 3 1/2 years, with a double major in finance and management from Tulane, the alma mater of his new boss, former Green Wave ballplayer Andrew Friedman.

Dodgers trade Joe Wieland for Erick Mejia

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Mejia 1443710By Jon Weisman

Speedy, switch-hitting minor-league infielder Erick Mejia has been acquired by the Dodgers from Seattle in exchange for right-handed pitcher Joe Wieland.

Mejia, who turned 21 in November, played at four levels in 2015, spending most of his time with Single-A Everett, where he had a .361 on-base percentage and was successful in all 18 of his stolen-base attempts. Over his last two years, Mejia has stolen 33 bases in 36 attempts.

On August 3, Mejia was named Northwest League Player of the Week, after going 12 for 28 with a double, triple, two walks and two steals.

Wieland, who was acquired 13 months ago in the Yasmani Grandal trade, made two starts for the Dodgers, allowing eight runs in 8 2/3 innings. He spent most of the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, delivering a 4.59 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings. He turns 26 later this month.

The lowdown on new Dodger righty Kenta Maeda

Kenta Maeda pitches in the second inning against the MLB All-Stars at the Kyocera Dome during the Japan All-Star Series on November 12, 2014 in Osaka. (Yuki Taguchi/MLB Photos)

Kenta Maeda pitches in the second inning against the MLB All-Stars at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome during the Japan All-Star Series on November 12, 2014. (Yuki Taguchi/MLB Photos)

By Jon Weisman

Bolstering their starting rotation, the Dodgers have signed 27-year-old right-hander Kenta Maeda to a contract. Not just any contract, but an eight-year contract.

“We are excited to be bringing Kenta Maeda into the Dodger organization,” Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “We have had the chance to scout him extensively in Japan and on the international stage and believe he has all the tools to be a successful Major League starting pitcher. We were honored to hear of his strong desire to be a Dodger and that only added to our motivation to bring him on board. We look forward to Kenta adding another chapter to the Dodgers’ global legacy and to him strengthening our ballclub in the years ahead.”

Listed at a slender 6 feet, 154 pounds, Maeda follows a line of pitchers from Japan including Hideo Nomo, Kazuhisa Ishii, Takashi Saito and Hideki Kuroda. He has a 2.39 career ERA in 1,509 2/3 career innings with the Hiroshima Carp of the Japan Central League, striking out 7.4 batters per nine innings.

By comparison, Kuroda — who also pitched for Hiroshima, from 1997-2007 — had an ERA of 3.69 and 6.7 strikeouts per nine innings when he joined the Dodgers at age 33. Kuroda went on to have a 3.73 ERA (3.59 FIP) in his first season with Los Angeles and 3.45 ERA (3.55 FIP) in four seasons.

In 2015, Maeda’s ERA was 2.14 in 206 1/3 innings — his seventh consecutive season with at least 175 innings. He was fourth in the league in ERA and third in strikeouts, and won his second Sawamura Award, the Japanese equivalent of the Cy Young Award.

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BABIP: Brandon Alan Beachy in play for Dodgers

On July 11, Brandon Beachy threw 78 pitches in his first MLB game since 2014. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Brandon Beachy prepares to take the mound July 11 for his first MLB game since 2013. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Brandon Beachy, who made two starts for the Dodgers last year during his attempt to comeback from a second Tommy John surgery, has signed a one-year contract with Los Angeles for 2016.

The 29-year-old right-hander still has a 3.36 career ERA (3.41 FIP) with 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings and a 1.16 WHIP. However, he has made only seven Major League starts in the past three years, including a pair of four-inning efforts for the Dodgers in July.

Beachy’s July 11 start for the Dodgers, in which he allowed three runs, was his first MLB outing in nearly 23 months. In his second game July 20, he was one strike away from retiring his eighth batter in a row before faltering. Each time, he blamed his inability to execute his pitches rather than his stuff.

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Dodgers are all right with lefty Kazmir

The Dodgers are Scott Kazmir's sixth team. Here are three of them (Getty Images)

Scott Kazmir is joining his sixth MLB team. Above are three of them. (Getty Images)

leftoriumBy Jon Weisman

Though Scott Kazmir potentially gives the Dodgers an all-lefty starting rotation, the newest Dodger isn’t your usual southpaw.

Over the past two seasons, right-handed batters have a .643 OPS against Kazmir. That’s the seventh-best figure in baseball for lefties, just ahead of Madison Bumgarner. (Clayton Kershaw, not surprisingly, is No. 1, while Alex Wood and Brett Anderson are in the top 15.)

“Kaz is a guy who’s got a very balanced split,” Dodger general manager Farhan Zaidi said in a conference call with reporters today, shortly after the Dodgers announced the acquisition of the soon-to-be 32-year-old. “His best pitch is his changeup, which really neutralizes righties. He’s not a lefty in the conventional sense.”

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Farhan Zaidi comments briefly on Aroldis Chapman

During a conference call with reporters today about the Scott Kazmir signing, Dodger general manager Farhan Zaidi was asked about Aroldis Chapman, who was traded by the Reds this week to the Yankees. Here was his reply …

“We obviously, around the time when this down around the winter meetings, didn’t want to comment, and even now I’ll keep my words fairly brief,” Zaidi said. “This is the one time I’m going to comment on it, because we’re talking about a player on another team’s roster. We did come to an agreement in principle (to acquire Chapman), but as (additional) details came to light, we just weren’t comfortable making the move. Every situation is different, every organization has to make their own decision about it. We made the decision based on the information that (was) at hand, we stand by it and we move on.”

— Jon Weisman

Dodgers sign Scott Kazmir

Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Ed Zurga/Getty Images

By Jon Weisman

Three-time All-Star left-hander Scott Kazmir has signed a three-year deal with the Dodgers.

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Dodgers acquire LHP Tyler Olson

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

By Jon Weisman

Left-handed pitcher Tyler Olson has been acquired by the Dodgers from Seattle in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later.

To make room for Olson on the 40-man roster, Los Angeles designated right-hander Daniel Reynolds for assignment. Reynolds was claimed by the Dodgers 11 days ago.

Olson made his Major League debut in 2015 with the Mariners, striking out eight while allowing 29 baserunners in 13 1/3 innings. His WHIP was 2.10, but that’s a bit deceptive. Rather remarkably, Olson had seven intentional walks to lead the entire American League, despite pitching his final MLB game of the year on May 2.

To put that in perspective, the Major League leaders in intentional walks, with eight, were Philadelphia’s Luis Garcia (66 2/3 innings) and Atlanta’s Shelby Miller (205 1/3 innings).

Only one pitcher in big-league history, Butch Metzger with the Giants in 1974, has ever had at least seven intentional walks with fewer innings pitched in a season than Olson.

On April 15, Olson intentionally walked Joc Pederson with two out in the fifth and Howie Kendrick with two out in the sixth. Neither scored. Overall, two of the seven players walked intentionally by Olson in 2015 eventually came across the plate.

Spending most of his 2015 season in Triple-A Tacoma, Olson had a 4.47 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings — with no intentional walks. He turned 25 in October.

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:

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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.

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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.

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