Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Farhan Zaidi (Page 1 of 2)

The Dodgers, Dave Roberts and the human element

Dave Roberts (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

In front of an emotionally eviscerated Dodger fan base, in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2018 World Series on October 27, Kiké Hernández came to the plate at Dodger Stadium.

Only an hour earlier, a thrilling glow suffused Chavez Ravine. Having survived an 18-inning Game 3 marathon, Los Angeles had taken a 4-0 lead into the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox. The Dodgers were eight outs away from evening the Fall Classic at two games apiece.

Then their world collapsed around them like a dream in Inception. Nine Boston baserunners crossed the plate, the final four in the top of the ninth, obliterating a beautiful consciousness.

In that soul-darkening ninth inning, Hernández stood at the plate as a symbol of star-crossed Octobers. Coming off the most successful regular season of his major-league career, Hernández homered in his 2018 playoff debut, the Dodgers’ 6-0 trouncing of Atlanta in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. The multiposition master, baseball’s Swiss Army knife, then went 12 consecutive games without a single extra-base hit or RBI.

Hernández couldn’t hit right-handed pitching. He couldn’t hit left-handed pitching. He couldn’t hit, period. Entering the gloom of Game 4’s waning moments, Hernández had made 30 outs in his past 33 at-bats.

As another fallen hope stood on first base in the person of Brian Dozier, Hernández took two fastballs from Boston closer Craig Kimbrel, then let rip at a knuckle-curve and launched a fly ball to deep left-center for a two-run home run. Except for the fleeting sliver of hope it kindled in those who could conceive the greatest miracle postseason comeback in Dodger history, it was a footnote. The Dodgers lost the game by the score of 9-6 instead of 9-4.

The next day, in a game the Dodgers could not spare, Hernández was in the starting lineup against Boston lefty David Price, batting third.

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One celebration down, ‘three more celebrations’ to go for NL West champion Dodgers


By Jon Weisman

One of these years, it wasn’t going to happen. One of these years, the National League West title would go to someone else.

Three months ago, 2016 looked dangerously like it would be that year. The Dodgers began the season in pursuit of their fourth straight division championship, but on June 26, eight games down in the division, one ace down on the disabled list — it was a feeding frenzy for those looking to bury Los Angeles.

Exactly three months later, on September 26, the Dodgers will wake up not eight games down in the NL West, but eight games up — and playoff bound.

Instead of surrendering with Clayton Kershaw out, the Dodgers found a deep resolve. Not coincidentally, it came from a deep roster.

“We talked a lot at Spring Training about depth in the organization,” president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said, in the bombastic clubhouse after today’s clinching victory over Colorado. “It wasn’t something that we were necessarily eager to showcase, as early as we did and as often as we did. But it’s an incredible organization. The number of fingerprints on this division title spans so many different players and so many different departments in our organization. So many people can be proud of it.

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Live-blog: Farhan Zaidi talks post-deadline Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Farhan Zaidi is speaking to reporters today about the state of the Dodgers after today’s three trades that yielded Rich Hill and Josh Reddick, Jesse Chavez and Josh Fields, at the cost of Jharel Cotton, Grant Holmes, Frankie Montas, Mike Bolsinger and Yordan Alvarez. We’ll live-blog his comments as they come, beginning shortly after 3:30 p.m. …

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Dodgers discuss direction after Anderson injury


By Jon Weisman

In the hours since Brett Anderson’s second disc injury in three years was announced, it was easy to say how easy this was to predict.

But according to Dodger general manager Farhan Zaidi, the people who actually do this kind of prediction said it was highly unlikely.

“Going through the diagnosis yesterday, we were told the chance of recurrence of something like this was pretty low, something around 10 percent of the time,” Zaidi said. “It’s obviously an unfortunate thing to happen. He had a healthy season last year, (and) he came in this year in great shape, was doing a lot of preventative stuff to keep something like this from happening.

“In (asking) the doctors, ‘Was this a single traumatic thing, was it something that happened over time?’ — it really could be either. But it was obviously a very quick thing from throwing live BP and looking great, to feeling something, to having some tests done and realizing that he needed surgery. … The fortunate part of it is we’re still hopeful we see him at some point this season, most likely in the second half. But just to get back, the actuarial chances of recurrence are really low in this case, so it was just a bit of bad luck.”

Speaking shortly after striking out two in his two-inning Spring Training debut today, Clayton Kershaw didn’t downplay the significance of what Anderson’s injury meant.

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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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Video: The return of Think Blue Review

[mlbvideo id=”528976783″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

It’s time to offer a laurel and hearty handshake to Think Blue Review, the Dodgers’ weekly video series updating the team’s offseason activities. In the first 2015-16 edition, topics include award season, Adrian Gonzalez’s recent charity softball game and a look ahead to cricket at Dodger Stadium.

Below, a bonus video: general manager Farhan Zaidi talking about the Dodgers’ offseason from this week’s GM meetings in Florida.

— Jon Weisman

[mlbvideo id=”528978883″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

Deconstructing the departure of Don Mattingly

Friedman IMG_2246

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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Zaidi: Clubhouse key for managers

Dodger general manager Farhan Zaidi, speaking today on what’s most important for a manager today.

“I think the longer I’ve been in baseball, the more it’s tilted toward managing the clubhouse and the personalities and the egos,” Zaidi said. “I think from the outside, the average person watching the game just sees the Xs and Os, and whether you took a reliever out or left him in, but again, in my view, a lot of those are 52-48, 55-45 decisions. You get judged by the outcome rather than the process. But kind of being behind the scenes, (you realize) how important it is to manage personalities, get guys to buy into their roles, maintain the peace in the clubhouse.

“You know, it’s funny: The position is called ‘the manager,’ and in every other industry, being a manager means managing people. And in baseball, we think it’s just Xs and Os, but the reality is, this job is being a manager like it is being a manager of a business, except you also are making X and O moves out there in public. I think they’re both important, but I think from when I first got into baseball 10 years ago to now, I realize that managing down there in the clubhouse is more important than I realized.”

— Jon Weisman

Live-blog: Farhan Zaidi speaks about Chase Utley trade and state of the Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

In the wake of tonight’s acquisition of Chase Utley, Dodger general manager Farhan Zaidi spoke on a conference call with reporters. Here are some selected quotes …

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Farhan Zaidi offers insight into dealmaking process

FZBy Jon Weisman

As you might suspect, Major League trades — especially when there’s a deadline — don’t come in a neat and tidy process. It’s sloppy and time-consuming and anything but linear.

Tonight, Dodger general manager Farhan Zaidi spoke tonight the Dodgers’ deadline deals, and offered some interesting perspective about how they actually get approached and executed.

Here is a sampling of what he said. Well, not really a sampling — a rather large, detailed chunk …

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In case you missed it: Opening Day is one month away

Kid collage 030515js393

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

For more photos from Thursday, visit LA Photog Blog.

By Jon Weisman

Opening Day is one month away. Opening Day is one month away. And this kid looks ready.

Here are the latest links:

  • Clayton Kershaw looked outstanding Thursday, but he said he had to make an adjustment to fix his slider before his second inning, according to Ken Gurnick of
  • As Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles points out, Spring Training for Kershaw is as much about building endurance as anything else.
  • Saxon also had a good Q&A with Ellis, touching quickly on several different subjects.
  • Kershaw and Ellis described their adjustment to the new 145-second time limit between innings, in this Dylan Hernandez story for the Times. More from both in this video here.
  • It’s actually fun to watch big-leaguers adjust to MLB’s caveat-filled directive to keep one foot in the batter’s box, as Mike Oz points out at Big League Stew.
  • Farhan Zaidi talked platooning in this story by Bill Plunkett of the Register. An excerpt:

    (Joc) Pederson has a mercurial relationship with left-handed pitching. He hit lefties well in the Class-A California League (a .330 average), struggled against them in Double-A two years ago (.200) then handled them well in Triple-A last year (.299 with a 1.020 OPS).

    “It’s interesting. I think with lefties you see that more,” Zaidi said of the fluctuations. “One, you’re dealing with left-on-left sample sizes that are pretty small. So there’s just some noise there anyway. And then I just think with lefties it kind of comes and goes a little bit.

    “As a general rule, righties will have more consistent splits from year to year. Lefties will have a good year against left-handed pitching and then they’ll have a down year. Really getting a gauge for how guys are performing in that role as early as possible definitely helps. I’ll say this – the sort of exciting thing about him (Pederson) is that he has everyday potential because he has had seasons of success against lefties. There are guys who always struggle in that role.”

  • It might take all of Spring Training for Don Mattingly to decide how he sets up his bullpen in the absence of Kenley Jansen, Mattingly told Gurnick.
  • Here’s an exhaustive evaluation of top Dodger prospects by Kiley McDaniel at Fangraphs.
  • MLB official historian John Thorn has been running a series of posts at Our Game on baseball’s greatest photographs. Here is Part 5, and here is a cool Neil Leifer shot of Willie Davis in Part 2.
  • NYU, the school that produced Ralph Branca (and my wife), has brought back varsity baseball after a 41-year absence, writes Tom Pedulla for the New York Times. A group photo from the early 1940s that includes Branca runs with the story.

In case you missed it: Shiny happy people laughing

Los Angeles Dodgers workout

For more images from today, visit LA Photog Blog. 

By Jon Weisman

Share a Spring Training smile with Yasiel Puig and Davey Lopes, then head on down to tonight’s links …
Los Angeles Dodgers workout

  • The circumstances surrounding Kenley Jansen’s foot surgery are detailed by Ken Gurnick of
  • The effort of David Aardsma (pictured at right with Orel Hershiser) to reinvent his mechanics is the subject of a lengthy feature by Gurnick.
  • The newest newest Dodger, Dustin McGowan, is discussed in this Eric Stephen piece at True Blue L.A.
  • Stephen also offers some perspective on Andre Ethier, who reported to camp today.
  • Mark Saxon delved into the topic of Dodger players and social media at ESPN Los Angeles, including an interview with our old friend Josh Tucker. Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson and David Huff also had interesting things to say to Saxon.
  • J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News explores the Dodgers’ process of determining Julio Urias’ workload in 2015.
  • It’s not out of the question that MLB could revert to a 154-game season, according to new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, though don’t look for it anytime soon.
  • What is your opinion of Dave Kingman’s performance? As Will Leitch writes at Sports on Earth, it might deserve to change, given the current era of strikeouts.
  • Farhan Zaidi won the Dodger front-office Oscar pool by picking 20 out of 24 winners.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles…42 days until #OpeningDayLA.

A post shared by Los Angeles Dodgers (@dodgers) on

In case you missed it: Juan Uribe in the house

Los Angeles Dodgers workout

For more images from today, visit LA Photog Blog

By Jon Weisman

Well, now that Uribear is here, the party can really start …

  • Zack Greinke had a planned lubricating injection in his right elbow. Greinke, who has already thrown five bullpen sessions, had the procedure done as a precaution, as Ken Gurnick of reports.
  • Today’s health log also includes new reliever Joel Peralta, who had right shoulder discomfort in a bullpen session two weeks ago, Gurnick notes, but was checked out by a doctor plans to resume playing catch Sunday.
  • In addition, Don Mattingly said today that non-roster submariner Ben Rowen, recovering from thoracic surgery, is on a reduced workload.
  • Brandon Beachy and Farhan Zaidi spoke to reporters today about the latter signing the former. Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. has quotes, including this:

    “We’re going to be conservative with it because it’s his second one and we have an investment in him not just for 2015 but 2016 as well,” Zaidi said. “We’re hoping he’ll be ready to go midseason, All-Star break, in that range, but that’s just a guess. His timeline will be determined by how well he progresses.”

  • Mattingly told reporters today that he doesn’t expect to see Julio Urias pitch for the Major League club in 2015.
  • The Dodgers have the No. 1 lineup in baseball, according to Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post, and the No. 3 pitching staff.
  • Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson both review analytics but exploit them in different ways, writes J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News.
  • It’s Spring Training, but McCarthy is in midseason Twitter form.

Chat wrap: Farhan Zaidi on @Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

We had a good time Friday with general manager Farhan Zaidi taking over the Dodgers’ Twitter account for nearly 45 minutes to chat with fans, even if Zaidi couldn’t answer every specific question asked, jokingly or naively, about what deals the Dodgers might do in the future. (That’s not how life works.) Still, Zaidi got in some fun replies along the way. Here’s how it went …

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Live Twitter chat with Farhan Zaidi on Friday

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodger general manager Farhan Zaidi will answer fan questions live on the Dodgers’ Twitter account at 11 a.m. on Friday. With Spring Training just around the corner, it’s a perfect time to check in. Tweet your queries to @Dodgers with the hashtag #AskFarhan.

— Jon Weisman

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