Weaver vs. Weaver

And Jeff wins!!!
I know the game isn’t over yet but Jeff was just removed in favor of Ronald (Mc)Belisario.
This has been a fun game thus far and I’m glad Jeff is at this point the winning pitcher.

I know I haven’t been on here much since I initially created this thing but school got far busier than I anticipated and since the semester ended I went right into summer school which has been equally as busy. But I’m back a dangerously ill (not really) and ready to blog. GO DODGERS!

The starting pitching market is dwindling

So I haven’t said much lately, but not a whole lot has been happening with the Dodgers as far as free agent signings go (plus my new semester started so I’m reading and writing 23 hours out of the day). Sure they signed Ausmus….big whoop hes gonna play what? 7 innings. Big deal. Ardoin was a fine back up.

Anyway, so now that Oliver Perez is a Met for the next three years the Dodgers are running out of options. While I was taking a look at the article on mlbtraderumors.com I saw a comment that basically echoes the way I feel, so I’m just going to post it:

If the Dodgers do indeed sign Wolf, they are a solid 2nd or 3rd starter away from having a good/solid starting rotation. Bills, Kuroda, Wolf, Kershaw would be good if we had a good/solid/consistent starter to put in between Bills and Kuroda. Kuroda is not a #2 (he’s still good, just not a #2) but I can see him as a #3 starter and if Wolf can stay healthy he is a #4. I just don’t understand who Colletti thinks would be the fifth starter if he only signs Wolf. Does he really have that much faith in Schmidt? Even if Schmidt is able to pitch, will he ever be the same? The guy hasn’t pitched competitively at the major league level for about two years! I hope he isn’t expecting Estes or Vargas to be the 5th starter. I’m afraid that this is the case though, especially now that the Dodgers have announced that McDonald will start the year as a reliever (I agree with this decision though). I still believe that Sheets is the difference between a very competitive team that has a great shot at going deep into the playoffs and one that doesn’t. While not perfect this rotation would be at least as good as last year’s:

Bills
Sheets
Kuroda
Wolf
Kershaw

Solid on paper. Vargas, Estes, McDonald, and Stults can all make spot starts were necessary, but to expect any of them to be the 5th starter all year long is foolish (especially since McDonald would be the best choice and keeping him in the pen for as long as possible is best for his development). ” – cutmeibleedblue

Is Sheets’ price tag that high that they can’t take a gamble? If Ned can sign Sheets for cheap and he breaks down, it would still be a better deal than Schmidt or Jones. I don’t see why Ned wouldn’t even look at him. To me Sheets, with his market being only the Rangers at this point, is a very low risk and very high reward gamble considering what they are looking to pay for Wolf who, when healthy, isn’t all that great. As cutme said, I really think the Dodgers need to sign two starters, forget Schmidt he’s done. Jones and Jason can go play in the beer softball league in the Valley or something. So if LA gets Wolf then I think they have only resolved half of the issue, they need a more proven and dominant starter in there. The 1-2 punch of Lowe and Penny worked out great and if the Dodgers get Wolf then they still only have a 1 punch in Billingsly. That is not really going to cut it. Kuroda is good but not great. Kershaw will be great but I doubt that will happen this season.

NED SIGN SHEETS!

If Sheets can pitch even 2/3 of the season behind Chad then LA has a dominant 1-2 punch again and even if Sheets flames out toward the end, then that is the time to throw McDonald into the lion’s den and see what he can do. That’s how they did it with Chad and now Chad is the ace of the staff.

If Ned signs Wolf, which don’t get me wrong I think is a good idea, then they still, as cutme said above, need a 5th starter. I guess they can just throw an arm out there and hope for the best, but what if someone gets hurt? Or what if suddenly Kershaw or whoever Ned was planning on making the 5th starter can’t hang? If Ned signs Wolf and refuses to look at Sheets then LA should sign Looper as well. Looper will be cheap, he is proven and reliable and he’d fit the bill nicely. Although signing Wolf and Looper still leaves Chad with a lot of weight on his shoulders to be the one.

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And Manny? I don’t know. Whatever blah blah blah, Manny or Dunn I don’t care. I’d prefer Manny but if he is really intent on being hard to get then he can sign with SF for like 7 mill because now there will be NO ONE who will pay him. If Manny and Boras would remove their heads from their behinds and make a counter offer to Ned then the negotiations can proceed. ‘Til then whatev. Ned is playing this right, just keep focusing on pitching. Like I said, Dunn would be OK too, he wants to come to LA where there is a winning chance and I’d be happy to have him, plus he could spell Loney at first every now and then. Unless you sign both Manny and Dunn and trade Loney for Peavy…that’d work too, but I like Loney so I’m not pushing it. Plus James is a hundred times better at first than Dunn anyway. But two bats like that in a lineup, now that is a frightening thought.

uh…the weather?

Why the hell is it so hot? What the hell is going on? Aren’t we in the middle of Winter? Why the hell is it saying it’s 88 degrees in Moorpark? I complain about it being 88 degrees in the summer but then it makes sense. 88 degrees in the Winter? Srsly? This is still the winter right? I’m typing this downstairs on my laptop with a fan on in my undies cuz it’s too damn hot to go upstairs lest I burst into flames. Human fat combusts quite easily you know and lord knows I have plenty of it…
I know people make fun of the SoCal weather being all mild and whatnot but dude…anywhere that is 88 degrees in the middle of winter and is not the Sahara is having weather problems. People in New York are freezing to death right now and I’m trying to take off as much clothing as possible (without offending the neighbors, who already don’t like me) so I don’t friggin shvitz to death.

Oy vey what is it with this weather? I can’t believe it is going to be like this all week. OK that is enough kvetching for right now.

Tales of Relative Interest

Sew…so…doesn’t the word “sew” look like it should be pronounced “sue?”

Anyway, so it looks like Ned Colletti reads my blog…. Or at least has similar ideas to me.

OK well either way it looks as if Pettitte is almost certain to not return to the Yankees which is good news indeed for the Dodgers. Also the Dodgers took a look at Chad Cordero. Ned if you are indeed reading my blog. Sign me up for something!!! I’m a little fluffier than I was when I could hit Cordero, but I can still hit. I wont be able to run as fast but I was never that fast to begin with. Plus I can be the bench catcher, I used to catch in high school. Come on Ned I’ll sign for cheap, and for no bonus! Hell, I’ll be a bullpen catcher.

OK, enough of that. Anyway, the Giants looked to have been making an actual move for Manny. So what does LA do in response? Do they offer him another contract or start talking more to Dunn? I suppose we shall see.

The Dodgers are evidently looking hard at Looper, Wolf and Garland. Read my post below, there is a reason I didn’t even mention Wolf and that’s because he is a lefty like a certain Andy Pettitte.

Oh Ned, take a look at Sheets price tag. If the Rangers can afford him I think LA should take a shot.

Oh also Glavine is jealous about Smoltzy landing in Bahston. Maybe he could make Smoltz jealous by landing in LA huh?

Hmm.

So Tim Redding looks like he will become a Met shortly. Apparently the Dodgers were chasing him too. While I still think LA should take a gamble with Braden Looper, there are a couple things I forgot about/didn’t know.

LA still has Eric Stults waiting to become a full time major leaguer, and he is not half bad by any stretch. My estimation is, if he plays the whole year with the big club I bet he could at the very least put up Looper/Redding numbers. So maybe that is what Ned had in mind and maybe that’s why he isn’t chasing after any old average armed starting pitcher.

Another thing: The Dodgers signed a certain Claudio Vargas to a minor league contract. Never heard of him? Me neither but he appears to have potential also. According to his stats in 2006 he won 12 games, struck out 127 in only 167 innings. So he is not a workhorse but those numbers in those few of innings means he probably has some stuff. Maybe he will make an impression during Spring Training and find himself a 5th starter. Which would be fantastic for LA since they got him so damn cheap.

I’d still like for LA to go after Pettitte and/or Sheets, that way you get somebody who is proven and why not Looper?

Oh apparently LA is after Juan Cruz. Awesome I think the Dodgers could really use his arm, and potential closing abilities since nobody is really sure if Broxton is cut of the closing cloth.

Possibilities to un-lame the Dodgers pitching situation.

OK I went over Jeff Pasan’s amazingly ultimate free agent tracker and found a few possible ways for the Dodgers to salvage their off season and have a competitive pitching staff for ’09. The Dodgers have major holes in their rotation. They only have 3 proven starters: Chad Billingsly, Clayton Kershaw, and Hiroki Kuroda. So if LA wants a 5 man rotation they need at least 2 more starters (duh). Rumor is James McDonald is being given a look as a possible starter for ’09 but lets not get ahead of ourselves. The bullpen is in need of a couple of set up men and certainly a closer. Broxton isn’t consistent enough to write in as a closer just yet and the Dodgers non-tendered Saito so lets take a look.

Starters: The Dodgers really need 2 for sure, but maybe only one super solid guy and perhaps a fall back guy to switch with James McDonald if and when he becomes ready.
1. Ben Sheets – Yeah he is injury prone, but he is still amazing. Because of the injury history he will be a relative bargain but the numbers at least warrant the gamble: 3.19 ERA over 199 innings. He struck out 158 and won 13. He is still dominant regardless of the injuries.
2. Oliver Perez – Um..this is pretty risky actually. But perhaps with the right coaching, ie. Rick Honeycutt’s mentoring he might be able to steady himself out a little bit. Sometimes he dominates and other times he looks like he can get dominated by t-ballers. He did pitch 199 innings last year and had 180 strikeouts, so he’s definitely an option and the 4.22 ERA is OK, not bad, not great.
3. Braden Looper – He had a decent year last year and if the Dodgers decide to get Sheets then Looper is not a bad discount innings eater. His numbers are not overwhelming by any stretch but they aren’t a detriment: His 4.16 ERA is the best of the list (save for Sheets), 108 k’s isn’t a lot but it’s above Garland’s 90. He won 12 games and ate 199 innings, so that at least that pretty much replaces the loss of Lowe’s innings. Actually upon looking at the stats, I think I want Looper to be in LA and as Passan said in his article “he can always shift back to the bullpen if need be.” I don’t know how much he is asking for, but I think it’s worth a shot.
4. Andy Pettitte – I’ve been rooting for him to become a Dodger since it got brought up before the winter meetings. The reason why is because he is solid all around. He had 14 wins and 14 losses, he pitched 204 innings and had 158 k’s. His era was 4.54 but he is solid. Even if last year was an off year I still believe Andy is the guy who in one man can fill most of the Dodgers needs, except for that of a proven ace, which is why he is so far down on the list. But he can be the mentor pitcher also that the Ned seems to value so much.
5. John Garland – Yeah his era was 4.90. Pretty friggin high, but he’d for sure eat up the 200+ innings that LA lost when losing Lowe. 90 k’s isn’t amazing but he did win 14 and only lose 8 so that’s something. Plus he is a local boy. Really though, he should be the fallback guy. If LA gets Sheets, Garland should be signed only as an insurance policy.

My opinion – Get Looper at least. He isn’t making a whole lot of buzz on the Hot Stove pages so he is under everyone’s radar and kind of looks like a potential diamond in the rough. He wont be expensive and he can always return to the ‘pen. Looper isn’t going to solve the Dodgers problem though. If Billingsly becomes the ace and…I don’t know Kershaw 2nd then Kuroda 3rd in the rotation; you still need 2 pitchers to round out the 5 man rotation. But Looper isn’t a bad 4th or 5th starter I think and for cheap. But I would still like to see someone dominant, or potentially dominant as the ace or second or third pitcher in the rotation. Kuroda isn’t overwhelming either, and Kershaw can be, but isn’t, at least not yet. Billingsly is actually pretty dominating and solid so LA might not exactly need and ace, so any combo of Looper and any of the other pitchers listed above (except Garland) would be good additions. Ideally I’d lIke to see Pettite be the 2nd starter and Looper added as 4th or 5th depending. But if the Dodgers go after Sheets, I’d be OK with that too.

Relief Pitchers – The Dodgers are already after Mota and Reyes but they need a closer and with Hoffman and Wood off the market there aren’t many choices left:
1. Juan Cruz – Not really a closer, but there is no one left on the market so what else is LA going to do? You can turn him into one, his ERA was only 2.61 in 51 innings. Looks to me like a pretty good bet.
2. Brian Shouse – I’m just going to quote Passan again “The good: .180 batting average and .486 OPS against, 28-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio against lefties. The bad: 1.27 ERA at Miller Park vs. 4.70 on the road.” Safe to say he is not a closer option,Reyes doesn’t want to sign for some reason, at least there is Shouse.
3. Chad Cordero – Just talking about this guy makes me upset since I, one time, in high school hit a double off him that one hopped the fence in the right field gap, however he is a pro who turned out to be an incredible all-star caliber closer until he got hurt. So will he pitch this season? I don’t know but he probably will next season and that might be good enough, because even though I can hit him, he is still an all-star and young, so he will bounce back eventually.

My opinion – Well the pickin’s are certainly slim here. I think LA should make an attempt to convert Cruz into a closer, and if there is money left take a shot at Cordero and hope he can bounce back at some point, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Lame.

OK so the Dodgers appear to have missed their chance on Trevor Hoffman and John Smoltz.

LA did offer contracts to Denys Reyes and their former closer in waiting Guillermo Mota. Which is fine if they sign, LA does need set up men, but the Dodgers really need a closer and I still think they need 2 starting pitchers. In fact everyone knows they need 2 starters. But who is left? Smoltz, who I thought would be a great pitcher to get cheap since I was sure every team would be weary of his faulty arm, is on his way to Boston. The Unit is a Giant….That leaves pretty much only Pettitte. UGH!

Pettitte is fine, but he is only one person. They still need another starter. Are they seriously considering using James McDonald? I hope not! Schmidt? lol
And who are they gonna throw in to close out the games? Broxton is a proven amazing 8th inning set up guy, but it’s also been proven that he falters a bit in the 9th. The Dodgers need Hoffman and now he’s heading to Milwaukee.

I hope Ned has a back up plan that no one knows about. Like…Ben Sheets? Just don’t throw Schmidt money at him. Because then it will assure his being absent for his entire contract. I mean Ben is really an amazingly dominant pitcher, but he doesn’t last long. His arm sputters and breaks and then what? Now you are paying Sheets a lot for him to sit and ice his arm for half the season. So who else do you have? Maybe McDonald will be ready by then. That’d be nice, but can you count on it?

And Boston apparently agreed with me that Rocco Baldelli would indeed be a great fourth outfielder because they signed him too.

Ned is doing a fine job on the Manny waiting game. It has become apparent that LA is really the only place for him and it appears everyone knows it…except for Boras and Manny.

With Manny still unsigned; Who needs a title?

Well not much is happening on the Dodger front, and in this case no news is bad news indeed!

“Why?” You ask?

Well:

-The Dodgers have a projected starting rotation that is solid through only the first two pitchers, perhaps three. LA needs starting pitching! Penny is officially in Bahston and Lowe appears to be scoffing at the Mets’ offer but the Yanks might sign him, who knows. All I know is he aint comin’ back to LA. Pettite, apparently, has again denied and will continue to deny the Yanks’ offer…so here is hoping he wants to reunite with Torre! Of course Sheets is available but why? When you can resign Schmidt to a butt-load of money for him not to play.

– The Outfield. Where’s Manny? Is he coming back? Is Dunn really the best replacement for Manny? Well I believe LA has the best shot at getting Manny, they have the biggest market, and with the restructuring of Andruw “I forgot how to hit a baseball” Jones’ contract they now have a little more freed money in their pockets. Sabathia has officially sold his soul to the Yankees, so where is Ned going to spend that money? Probably Manny.

Why not Abreu or Dunn instead of Manny to save some money?
– Well the first thing is production and flat out talent. As this article states: Dunn has so many holes in his swing its ridiculous. Of course hitting exactly 40 home runs a year for 4 years straight is also pretty ridiculous, but so is getting struck out 160-200 times a year. Dunn is a pretty ridiculous dude. No doubt he can hit the ball hard and no doubt he can swing and miss hard. The 40 bombs to Manny’s 37 is just a stat, you have to look deeper like situationally. Dunn is no Manny replacement.
– So Abreu? Nah, pass. Why? Because he is not much better, if he is indeed better at all, than Kemp and Ethier. LA needs a BIG run and home run guy, not another face in the crowd. Plus Abreu is way more costly than guys like Kemp so if they just want to match the other outfielders they should just pull up Repko or someone else, but a 20 hr a year guy isn’t really going to solve the problem. Abreu is no replacement for Manny, and with Burrell signed, well Manny is the only choice here but if he wants too much Dunn will get you some bombs and rbi. But against top notch pitchers Dunn folds, whereas Manny would take them yard. Still no one has offered Manny anything so I think he will ultimately land in LA. I just hope he isn’t pouty over the money he gets and doesn’t play as hard as the whole world saw him play with the Dodgers for the 2 months and the playoffs.

Anyway you slice it Dunn’s 40 bombs do not equal Manny’s 37, plus Manny batted .332 to Dunn’s .236. There is no real comparison here. So I think if the Dodgers can’t sign him they should just throw Pierre in left and sign some good starting pitching. There is not a whole lot left in the market for starters and relief but LA needs to snatch them up fairly quick, the arms in the stable are thin and few in number. Ned needs to move his butt and sign some pitching. That is my primary concern. A big bat would be very welcome, I mean if we have to money to get Dunn and pitching then maybe that is a good idea, but if LA can’t get Manny they should try to get Dunn cheaply. At least as cheap as 40 homers a year for 4 years will allow.

Happy New Year!

Ok, I was away from the blog for a couple of weeks to celebrate the completion of my semester and the holidays, but now I am back!

So back to the Dodgers and baseball! Well the Big Unit is officially now a Giant Unit in SF. Pettitte is still unsigned and we have yet to hear from anyone who exactly that mystery team was that offered him 36 million for 3 years. It’s definitely a better offer than 10 mill for 1 year so that means either that 36 mill is still not enough, or he really only wants to be a Yank but still finds the first offer insulting. Who knows? I’d like to know who that mystery team is, I’d like for Pettitte to be a Dodger!

Some light rumors of Detroit being interested in Smoltz are floating around but nothing has yet happened, and the word on the street is Glavine will probably remain a Brave or simply retire

Evidently Ned Coletti has been listening to me a little bit…The Dodgers have reported interest in Dunn and Abreu! That’s probably just a red herring to light a fire under Scott Boras and Manny’s behind, but still. I wouldn’t mind seeing Dunn a Dodger.

Other news:

Chan Ho is now a Phillie. Saito is still on the market, and the Dodgers are still in need of a reliable closer. Lowe got an offer from the Mets but he was only slightly amused by the offer if nothing else. Penny is officially signed by Boston. Beimel is still floating out there on the market, I hope he will return to LA, I think he was greatly under appreciated this past year. Trevor Hoffman is still on the market…but the Dodgers still need a reliable closer, and some starters!

So Saito is gone?

OY!

Non tendered!? Really?!

…well I hope that doesn’t bite them in the ***.