Dodger Thoughts

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

Page 126 of 362

Andrew Friedman speaks about the Dodger front office

By Jon Weisman

Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman spoke this morning to reporters about his new hires: Farhan Zaidi as general manager and Josh Byrnes as senior vice president of baseball operations. Here are several excerpts:

“Where we are in the offseason, the pace of game is fast and nobody has any sympathy for us, and they’re not slowing things down to allow us to catch up.

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The Los Angeles Giants?

Clark-JohnsonBy Jon Weisman

Well, there’s a word combination that will make your head spin.

But no, it’s not that the Dodgers’ top rivals are moving into (with apologies to the dearly departed Tom Magliozzi) our fair city. Rather, via Ernest Reyes at Blue Heaven, we find from the site Agate Type that more than 100 years ago, there was a Los Angeles Giants team made up of black baseball players — and future Hall of Famer Walter Johnson faced them in October 1908 while pitching for an Orange County team.

The game went extra innings, and Johnson (a graduate of Fullerton Union High School who had made his Major League debut at age 19 in August 1907) ended up striking out 20 in 10 1/3 innings of a 6-5 loss to the Giants.

Bud Clark allowed two hits in eight innings for the Giants, striking out 10.

November doings: Greinkes in New York, Kershaw’s Challenge in Dallas

By Jon Weisman

In between winning awards, the Dodgers’ top two pitchers have kept busy this week.

Zack Greinke is in New York for tonight’s Gold Glove award ceremony, and his wife Emily has shared pictures on Instagram of their travels to Rockefeller Center and “Jersey Boys” on Broadway.

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Down in Dallas, Clayton and Ellen Kershaw hosted the city’s first Kershaw’s Challenge event Thursday, featuring guest musician Clay Walker, and there are photos of the event from Instagram as well.

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Dodgers name Farhan Zaidi as general manager, Josh Byrnes to oversee scouting and player development

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By Jon Weisman

Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has officially named his top two lieutenants in the front office, announcing Farhan Zaidi as the franchise’s 11th general manager and Josh Byrnes as senior vice president of baseball operations.

The 37-year-old Zaidi had been the assistant general manager and director of baseball operations in Oakland, while Byrnes was most recently executive vice president and general manager of the Padres.

“It is very exciting for us to be able to add two exceptional, veteran baseball executives like Farhan and Josh,” Friedman said. “Farhan’s primary focus will be the Major League team and player acquisitions while Josh will concentrate on the oversight of scouting and player development. However, they will both work closely with me on all aspects of baseball operations in our efforts to make the Dodgers’ front office and team the best it can possibly be.”

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Video: Tommy Lasorda accepts Bob Feller Act of Valor Award

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Tommy Lasorda received the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award on Wednesday at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington D.C., as Andrew Simon chronicles for Above, please enjoy Lasorda’s speech at the ceremony, courtesy of Jeff Malet.

— Jon Weisman

Gonzalez, Uribe win Wilson Defensive Player of the Year honors

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By Jon Weisman

You thought Tuesday’s Gold Glove announcement meant that we were done with fielding awards? You thought wrong.

Adrian Gonzalez and Juan Uribe have been named winners at their positions of the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards, the defensive award officially recognized by Major League Baseball.

Winners were determined using a formula that combines traditional defensive stats with advanced metrics, as well as data via scouting service Inside Edge.

Unlike Gonzalez, Uribe did not win a Gold Glove, but we talked about his fielding bonafides two weeks ago.

Gonzalez on playoff exit: ‘Until you win a World Series, you’re not satisfied’

NLDS-Game Four-Los Angeles Dodgers against the St.Louis Cardinals

Adrian Gonzalez, asked tonight about the Dodgers’ early departure from the 2014 MLB playoffs:

“It still sits with us, at least with me. It’s not something you say, ‘OK, I’m over it.’ You have that feeling (that) we should have done more. To be honest, I know it’s a cliche, but until you win a World Series, you’re not satisfied.”

— Jon Weisman

Adrian Gonzalez, Zack Greinke win Gold Gloves

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Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Adrian Gonzalez and Zack Greinke have each won their first Gold Gloves as Dodgers.

Gonzalez, who earned two Gold Gloves with San Diego and one with Boston, had 12 defensive runs saved, tops in the NL and 50 percent more than runners-up Justin Morneau and Matt Adams. Gonzalez also tied for first among NL first basemen in assists with 118 and led in putouts with 1,318.

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Greinke, known for years as one of the most athletic pitchers in baseball, followed up his Silver Slugger-winning 2013 season by beating out teammate Clayton Kershaw for the Gold Glove. Greinke led all NL pitchers in putouts with 28 and was a narrow second behind Miami’s Henderson Alvarez in range factor. He was also tied for third in defensive runs saved with five (Kershaw led with seven).

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Update: Gonzalez praised Greinke on a conference call with reporters after the awards were announced.

“We have a bunch of pitchers that can really field their position,” Gonzalez said. “Zack is one of them – he’s shown since he’s been here that his athletic ability is incredible. He can do anything – he’s a guy you can put at any position on the field and he’s going to do a good job with it. He’s a guy who has an incredible feel for the game. When he’s pitching he positions us – tells us exactly where he wants us.”

I asked Gonzalez if fielding skills were easier to maintain than hitting skills as his career marched on.

“The best way to describe it is nobody’s hitting the ball any harder (when you’re on defense),” he said. “Pitchers are pitching the ball a lot harder compared to when I first came up.”

“Defensively, I think, experience plays a bigger role. Learning how to position yourself, knowing where to be, not relying as much on pure athleticism and pure range. Wally (bench coach Tim Wallach) does a great job of positioning me.”

Kershaw officially a finalist for NL Cy Young, MVP

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

As expected, Clayton Kershaw is one of three finalists for the National League Cy Young Award and the NL Most Valuable Player Award, the Baseball Writers Association of America announced today.

Kershaw is competing with fellow finalists Adam Wainwright and Johnny Cueto for the Cy Young Award, which would be Kershaw’s third in four years if he wins. That award wll be revealed at 3 p.m. November 12 on MLB Network.

In his bid for his first MVP trophy, to be announced at 3 p.m. November 13 on MLB Network, Kershaw is up against Andrew McCutchen and Giancarlo Stanton.

Need a refresher on everything Kershaw accomplished in the 2014 regular season? Click here.

Clayton Kershaw first to win three MLB Players Choice Awards in single year

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw, bowled over with honors. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Citizen Kershaw has been honored thrice over by the Major League Baseball Players Association. Here’s how the press release sums it up …

Clayton Kershaw on Monday became the first player to ever win three Players Choice Awards in a single year as he was recognized by his fellow players as the NL’s Outstanding Pitcher and the overall Player of the Year as well as the Marvin Miller Man of the Year, which goes to the player in either league who most inspires others through his efforts on and off the field.

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Dodgers acquire infielder Ryan Jackson

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By Jon Weisman

There is a new Dodger to announce: Ryan Jackson.

The team claimed the 26-year-old infielder, who is 2 for 24 with a walk in his MLB career, from San Diego and added him to the 40-man roster.

Jackson had his best minor-league season in 2011 with the Cardinals’ Double-A team in Springfield, posting a .334 on-base percentage and .415 slugging percentage.

Note: If you’ve never really seen MLB’s authentication process at work, the video of Jackson’s first career big-league hit above will show it to you. An interview with his parents on the day of his MLB debut is below.

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Dodger comings and goings: Ramirez, Wilson, Elbert

Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers have made a qualifying offer to Hanley Ramirez for the 2015 season, which he has until November 10 to accept.

If Ramirez declines the one-year deal, as every other player has since MLB instituted since this process began two seasons ago, he will remain a free agent. The Dodgers can continue to negotiate with him if they choose, but will receive draft-pick compensation (between the first and second rounds in 2015) if he signs with another team.

Meanwhile, Brian Wilson has exercised his option to return to the Dodgers for 2015, but Scott Elbert — designated for assignment in July before returning to the organization and ending up on the 2014 playoff roster — has become a free agent.

Clayton Kershaw named Fangraphs player of the year

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The latest accolade for Dodger lefty Clayton Kershaw: FanGraphs Player of the Year. Kershaw edged Angels outfielder Mike Trout for the honor.

— Jon Weisman

Chad Billingsley’s legacy a dividing line for Dodger fans

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For some, Chad Billingsley never stopped being the pitcher who imploded in the 2008 National League Championship Series, failing to make it out of the third inning in either of his two starts and condemned for supposed spinelessness along the way.

For me, Billingsley — one of the five best pitchers the Dodger system has produced in the past 25 years — remains a pitcher to admire, even accounting for his struggles.

The two sides of Billingsley illustrate a rift between fans that is even more pointed than the Old School-New School debate that for so long has dominated baseball conversation.

Simply put: Should a player be defined by his failures or his successes?

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Chris Withrow’s rehab is for the faint of heart

Chris Withrow joined in the Dodgers' NL West title celebration September 24 (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Chris Withrow joined in the Dodgers’ NL West title celebration September 24 (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

This got lost in the September shuffle, but here’s a story about the time Chris Withrow nearly passed out.

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