December 2007 - Los Angeles Dodgers Wiretap
Dodgers' Saito Emerging As Team Ambassador
It wasn't all that long ago that many skeptics considered Takashi Saito a long shot to make the jump from Japan to the Major Leagues. However, in the span of just two years, Saito has established himself as an All-Star closer and an ambassador for the Dodgers. The 37-year-old from Miyagi, Japan, compiled 63 saves over the past two seasons while earning the admiration of his teammates for his play on the field. And his personality quickly made the man they call "Sammy" one of the more popular players in the Dodgers' clubhouse. The Dodgers think so highly of their right-hander that they asked him to fly back to Los Angeles from his home in Japan to be one of four current players, along with Nomar Garciaparra, Hong-Chih Kuo and James Loney, to represent the team on their first official float at the 2008 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena on Tuesday. "It's an honor for me to be a part of this parade," said Saito through his interpreter, Kuni Nakatani. "I always enjoy seeing my teammates, but more than that I am excited to see the famous former Dodger players. I'm very excited and can't wait to see them."
Dodgers Sign C Bennett To Back Up Martin
Being exposed by the Mitchell Report apparently will not keep Gary Bennett out of the majors. The Dodgers on Monday signed the Bennett to a one-year contract to back up All-Star catcher Russell Martin. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Kuroda Takes Mound For Dodgers
Wearing a Dodgers' jersey over his dress shirt and tie, Hiroki Kuroda took the Dodger Stadium mound for the first time on a sunny Sunday in Los Angeles. The conditions were appropriate considering the free-agent Japanese right-hander said moments earlier at an introductory news conference that weather was a factor in his decision to sign with the Dodgers. While it was nothing more than a photo opportunity, Kuroda seemed to enjoy the feeling of his new ballpark. "You can tell it's going to be a great setting to play," he said through a translator, mentioning the tradition as well. For the Dodgers, it was a vision they've awaited for a long time. "We've been thinking about this for well over a year," GM Ned Colletti said a day after Kuroda agreed to a three-year, $35.3 million contract. "Our expectation is he's going to be a real solid pitcher for us, make a lot of starts, pitches a lot of innings."
Source: Dodgers, Kuroda Agree On Deal
Free-agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda has reached an agreement on a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, a baseball source told ESPN.com. The Los Angeles Daily News reported the contract is worth $36 million-$40 million. Kuroda chose the Dodgers over the Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks and the Kansas City Royals. The deal is pending a physical, the source said. Kuroda, 32, went 103-89 with a 3.69 ERA in 11 seasons while pitching in a hitter's park for the Hiroshima Carp. He throws a fastball at 92-94 mph and an above average slider and changeup, and some scouts have compared him favorably with Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Reds, Mariners And Dodgers Interested In Bedard
The Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers are among the teams seeking Erik Bedard. As of last night, two team sources said no deals were imminent, but the five-player return for Tejada and the fact that the Astros are assuming the $26 million (over two years) on his contract puts the Orioles in good position. "There are some other things that we'd still like to do," Andy MacPhail said. "But I think you have to evaluate things on a case-by-case basis and see if it sets up to the standard over whether you are better off after you do [the trade] than before. We think we are better off after [today's deal] than we were before."
Kent Will Return To Dodgers In 2008
Second baseman Jeff Kent has notified the Dodgers he will return for the 2008 season, according to his agent Jeffrey Klein. "Jeff has advised Dodgers' GM Ned Colletti that he intends to play in 2008 and is looking forward to returning for his fourth season with the Dodgers," Klein wrote in an e-mail.
Joe Torre Has Knee-Replacement Surgery
New Dodgers' Manager Joe Torre had knee replacement surgery this week. Los Angeles Dodgers' GM Ned Colletti said Thursday that the operation took place Wednesday. The 67-year-old Torre, a former major league catcher, had said for several years that he needed the operation. He had limped more noticeably during the past year. After managing the New York Yankees to four World Series titles in 12 seasons, Torre joined the Dodgers last month.
Grading The Deal: Dodgers Add Andruw Jones
Scott Boras and Ned Colletti negotiated a two-year, $36.2 million deal for Andruw Jones that ultimately benefits everyone for these six reasons. 1. Jones? annual salary is on par with what he?d command on a six-year level had he not plummeted so catastrophically in 2007. 2. Jones is saved from the one-year contract embarrassment. 3. Jones will reenter the open market at a still relatively young age of 32. 4. The Dodgers are not handcuffed long term if Jones? 2007 doesn?t turn out to be the aberration most believe it to be. 5. The Dodgers are able to rent Jones for two prime seasons. 6. Most importantly, the Dodgers address their need for a power bat. The last time Jones struggled as badly as he did in 2007 (.222/.311/.413) was all the way back in 2001 (.251/.312/.461). But he rebounded the following season by having one of his best two or three campaigns of his career (.264/.366/.513). But as I wrote in my Dodgers? State of the Franchise article, their biggest problem on offense was power production, not in getting runners on base. They hit just 129 homeruns in 2007, 15th in the NL and had a slugging percentage of just .406, this was despite being second in the NL in batting (.275). Jones will unquestionably improve this area of deficiency for the Dodgers, even if he bats .250. However, he will not recover and become a high .200?s or even a .300 hitter as he was in 2000, Joe Torre can?t expect that. But if he can hit 26 homeruns in such a dreadful year, his total will certainly be closer to his typical 35 or even in the low 40s. Over the past 10 seasons, Jones has hit 363 homeruns, good for eighth in the entire MLB. Unfortunately, his career numbers at Dodger Stadium are discouraging, as he has a .735 OPS in 155 plate appearances. Defensively, Jones is still a legitimate Gold Glover and any sort of way you can move Juan Pierre to left field, even if I was playing in center to replace him, improves their defense. This move also allows them to comfortably move Matt Kemp (a player I am extremely high on) in a package for a starting pitcher such as Dan Haren or Erik Bedard. Colletti was livid last winter when J.D. Drew opted out of his contract and went to Boston, but this signing gives the Dodgers a far better ballclub than they would put on the field if Drew remained. Drew would have blocked Andre Ethier in rightfield, so you would be looking at Ethier/Kemp in left, Pierre in center and Drew in right, instead of Pierre in left, Jones in center and Ethier/Kemp in right. The Dodgers' opening day lineup likely will be as follows and is very formidable: 1. Rafael Furcal 2. Russell Martin 3. James Loney 4. Andruw Jones 5. Jeff Kent 6. Andre Ethier 7. Nomar Garciaparra 8. Juan Pierre Grade for Dodgers: A-
Andruw Jones Headed To LA
The Dodgers landed the bat they've been seeking, reaching agreement on Wednesday night with free-agent outfielder Andruw Jones on a two-year, $36 million contract, according to a baseball official. The deal is contingent on Jones passing a physical exam. Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove winner and five-time All Star, will take over center field, with Juan Pierre likely moving to left.
Mets Offer Gomez, Humber And Heilman For Bedard
The Mets and Dodgers are at the forefront of talks involving Orioles ace lefty Erik Bedard, but Baltimore president/GM Andy MacPhail is expected to take his time. The Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays were also thought to have interest, but O's owner Peter Angelos had told people that he has no intention of trading Bedard within the division, meaning the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays can probably forget it. The Mets offered a combination of outfielder Carlos Gomez, pitching prospect Phil Humber and reliever Aaron Heilman for Bedard and are believed willing to make adjustments if they have a realistic shot at landing Bedard (the two players the Mets will not trade are Jose Reyes and David Wright). The Dodgers are very well-stocked in the minors, and several of their young players would interest Baltimore, including outfielder Matt Kemp, pitching prospect Clayton Kershaw and top reliever Jonathan Broxton. The Dodgers have been understandably reluctant to part with those highly-coveted young players, though. Now not Minaya's time