— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) January 24, 2014
By Jon Weisman
The first full-squad Dodgers workout at Camelback Ranch is three weeks from today. Three weeks.
- Using a point system for its top 100 prospects where teams received 100 points for the No. 1 spot and 1 point for being No. 100, the Dodgers ranked seventh in the majors by MLB.com and first in the National League West. Individually, Corey Seager was 34th, Joc Pederson 36th, Zach Lee 63rd and Julio Urias 64th. Considering the promising Urias might be underrated on this chart (and that Alexander Guerrero was ineligible for consideration), this is a strong showing. More details here from Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
- As Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. points out, MLB.com (Seager), Baseball America (Pederson) and Baseball Prospectus (Urias) have each put different players atop the Dodger prospect list.
- Dustin Nosler takes his Dodger prospect rundown to Nos. 31-40 at Dodgers Digest.
- Oh, hey — occasionally, major-league talent gets ranked as well. USA Today looks at starting pitchers, with Clayton Kershaw first and Zack Greinke 13th. Madison Bumgarner was the only NL West pitcher above Greinke.
- Another Cuban contender for the majors is 28-year-old catcher Yenier Bello. Jesse Sanchez at the Park has details (via J.P Hoornstra of the Daily News).
- Coming up from Orange County for Saturday’s NHL Stadium Series game at Dodger Stadium? Emma Amaya has public transportation details at Dodger Blue World.
- Steve Garvey will have his Michigan State Spartan jersey retired at a ceremony in East Lansing on Sunday.
- Willie Crawford gets a career retrospective from Bruce Marksen at the Hardball Times. An excerpt:
… In 1964, the 17-year-old Crawford drew the interest of every one of the 20 major league teams in existence. With his combination of five-tool talents, clubs like the Dodgers, Yankees, and Kansas City A’s envisioned him as the centerpiece to their outfield futures.
Dodgers executive Al Campanis simply raved about Crawford’s ability. He filed a scouting report with his superiors that indicated Crawford “hits with the power of Roberto Clemente and Tommy Davis at a similar age.” A’s owner Charlie Finley offered an even higher opinion of Crawford, calling the teenaged flychaser “a Willie Mays with the speed of Willie Davis.” In the context of early 1960s baseball, it was hard to get much better than a combination of Clemente, Mays, and the two Davises.
Finley liked Crawford so much that he gave the youngster a large, framed, signed portrait of himself, which eventually hung in the Crawford living room. Even more pertinently, Finley offered Crawford a bonus of $200,000 to play center field for his A’s; it was a staggering amount of money in the mid-1960s scheme of things. Crawford seemed genuinely intrigued by the advances of Finley, referring to him as “one of the nicest millionaires I know.”
Crawford gave serious consideration to Finley’s offer. At the same time, he also received warm overtures from the Dodgers, who sent a young scout named Tommy Lasorda to Crawford’s home. Only two days after he graduated from Fremont, Lasorda reached an agreement with Crawford. The youngster signed a contract giving him a bonus of $100,000. While it was only half of Finley’s offer, it was the largest bonus ever secured by an African-American player, exceeding the previous amounts given to Richie Allen and Tommie Agee.
So why did Crawford take the lesser sum of money? As a native and resident of the Watts section of Los Angeles, Crawford simply did not feel comfortable moving far away from the California coast. He also found himself swayed by Lasorda, a Dodgers scout at the time and a man who had taken the time to attend the funeral of Crawford’s grandfather. …
- I’ve addressed this issue before, but Brad Johnson at the Hardball Times revisits the implicit reasons why teams agree to player opt-outs.
- I mentioned “The Battered Bastards of Baseball” the other day, but here’s more on the project: Jeff Labrecque of EW.com interviews Todd Field, the director of “Little Children” who was a 13-year-old batboy for the subjects of the documentary, the Portland Mavericks. And also comes the news from Justin Kroll of Variety that the doc will be adapted into a feature film, with Field writing and directing.