March 2008 - Los Angeles Dodgers Wiretap
Torre Plans To Go With Ethier Over Pierre In Left
The Dodgers chose speed over power when they picked up Juan Pierre in free agency, but now they have fast-tracked the outfielder to their bench in year No. 2 of his $44M contract, according to ESPN.com. The day before his team's Monday opener against the Giants, first-year Dodgers' Manager Joe Torre announced Andre Ethier will play left field.
Red Sox Beat Dodgers Before Record 115,300 Fans At LA Coliseum
The Dodgers used a five-man infield against the Red Sox. Too bad they weren?t allowed to put a player or two in the Los Angeles Coliseum stands. Kevin Cash and Kevin Youkilis hit cheap homers off Esteban Loaiza to account for five runs in the first three innings, and the Red Sox beat the Dodgers 7-4 Saturday night before an announced crowd of 115,300?largest ever to watch a baseball game, as reported by the Associated Press.
Torre Names Penny Opening Day Starter
Dodgers' Manager Joe Torre has named Brad Penny the team's Opening Day starter, according to MLB.com. "I'll take it just like another game," said Penny. "I won't get too emotional for a start like this. It's not like a World Series or playoff game, but I'm excited about it." Penny is coming off the best spring training of his career. "I'm mixing it up and getting smarter," Penny said. "I've got command of my pitches better than I did before. Usually my springs are horrible, but maybe that's because I didn't have a splitter and a curveball." "I'm moving it in and out, up and down. I'm locating the four-seamer and I've got the split, so if I got behind in the count in the past, hitters knew they were getting a fastball. Now, they're not so sure. I'm just smarter," he added.
Rockies Trying To Deal Giles To Dodgers
The Rockies have essentially declared Jayson Nix the winner at second base, and they are attempting to trade Marcus Giles to the Dodgers. "No, I won't be going to the minors, but I can't thank this organization enough for giving me a chance when teams weren't exactly beating my door down," Giles said. "I feel like I am stronger than I have ever been." "But Nixy showed he's ready. He's a great guy, a great teammate, and I am not surprised they are going in that direction."
Kent Questionable For Opening Day
Jeff Kent is running out of time to heal his strained right hamstring as the 2008 season draws closer, according to the Los Angeles Times. "It may be debatable whether he has enough at-bats," Torre said of Kent. "I know opening day is in sight. We have to evaluate how much is enough and make that decision." Kent is expected to bat in a simulated game for the Dodgers on Sunday.
Garciaparra Has Broken Right Hand
Nomar Garciaparra has a broken bone in his right hand, and the Dodgers' third baseman might not be ready for Opening Day, as reported by ESPN.com. Garciaparra had an MRI on Wednesday in Los Angeles that revealed a microfracture. The Dodgers do not consider the injury to be as serious as a complete fracture of a bone and expect to know more once he is examined Thursday by the team's medical staff in Arizona.
Dodgertown Days Come To An End
Tom Lasorda waved to the fans for the final time at Dodgertown. Down in the right-field corner, his players and coaches silently gathered and formed two lines. Crossing bats overhead in a sacred baseball tradition, they created a tunnel for Lasorda to walk through and close this special place the Dodgers called their spring home for 60 years. ?These guys want me to cry,? the Hall of Fame manager said Monday. He didn?t, but chances are a few people in the overflow crowd did. Some of them stood in the bottom of the ninth, bidding farewell to their team?and a piece of paradise lost?as Los Angeles fell to the Astros 12-10 in its last game on these grounds.
Dodgers, Padres Play To 3-3 Tie In China
China?s red flag with its yellow stars blew in a stiff breeze in deep left field alongside the U.S. Stars and Stripes. Except for this, the first MLB game in China mostly looked like any afternoon at the ballpark in America, according to an Associated Press report. The Dodgers and the Padres played to a 3-3 tie on a near-perfect Saturday in Beijing, with clear blue skies replacing the city?s usual smog, and 50-degree temperatures making it a glorious debut for baseball. The second game is set for Sunday. Both teams are using only a half dozen players who will be on the opening day 25-man roster. The game at the new Olympic venue drew an announced crowd of 12,224?a near sellout?and had many of the touches of home: vendors selling peanuts, hot dogs, beer, soft drinks, or?and this is China?plastic bottles of tea.
Chan Ho Park Has Shot To Be Dodgers' 5th Starter
Chan Ho Park was a non-roster invitee to Dodgers' camp and actually has a chance to become their fifth starter. He threw three scoreless innings Monday against the Baltimore Orioles. "It's a battle for me to stay here," he said. "I have to stay focused."
2008 Season Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers were a popular choice to win the NL West in 2007, but they found themselves well behind the Colorado Rockies (NL Champions), Arizona Diamondbacks (NL West Champions) and San Diego Padres (tied for Wild Card). The Dodgers were second in the NL in batting (.275), but 10th in runs at 4.5 per game. This gap was largely a result of their .406 slugging percentage and just 129 homeruns (15th in the NL). With Andruw Jones now in centerfield, will he help put more runs on the board at Chavez Ravine? 2007 Record: 82-80 2007 Pythagorean Record: 82-80 Team FIC Batting: 7.56 per game (10th overall) Team FIC Pitching: 9.66 per game (8th overall) Click here for more information about the Field Impact Counter and the Reina Value What Happened Last Season At the plate: As mentioned above, the Dodgers had a horrible time scoring runs despite a collection of very smart and talented hitters. Russell Martin had an .843 OPS, third amongst all catchers, behind just Jorge Posada and Victor Martinez. James Loney hit .331, with an OPS of .919 while fielding a very fine first base. Rafael Furcal had the most disappointing season of his career in 2007, largely due to his ankle injury. His .270 average and .355 slugging percentage were both career lows. Nomar Garciaparra followed up a very nice resurgence in 2006 (.303/20/93) with a frustrating 2007 (.283/7/59) in nearly the same amount of games. Juan Pierre drew the ire of many Dodgers? fans because of his high-priced salary, but he had the highest season FIC of any hitter on their club and had a +14% Reina Value. What made the Ned Colleti move problematic is how it stunted the development of Matt Kemp, who had an .894 OPS in just 311 plate appearances. Jeff Kent had another typical Jeff Kent year, hitting .302/.375/.500 while also rubbing some of the young players on the club the wrong way. On the mound: Brad Penny was especially strong, with his 3.03 ERA, good for fourth in MLB. He had a season FIC of 233 or 7.06 per start. For the third straight season, Derek Lowe had a sub-4.00 ERA. He did seem to tire down the stretch, posting a 5.23 ERA in the second half. Chad Billingsley split time between the bullpen and finished the season very strong, posting a 3.12 ERA in the second half. But high-priced free agent acquisition Jason Schmidt made just six starts. Takashi Saito had 39 saves and a 1.40 ERA, while allowing just 13 walks. Saito was setup very well by Jonathan Broxton, who is certainly being groomed to eventually be the Dodgers? closer. What Happened In The Offseason Grady Little was pushed into resignation in late October and the Dodgers subsequently hired Joe Torre on a $14.5 million, three-year contract. Torre did a masterful job of blending young players (Jeter, Bernie, Mariano) and veterans (O?Neill, Boggs, Cone) when he arrived in the Bronx in the mid-90?s and the Dodgers believe he can do likewise in Los Angeles. The Dodgers took a short-term risk on Andruw Jones. 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). Over the past 10 seasons, Jones has hit 363 homeruns, good for eighth in the entire MLB. The Dodgers are counting on at least 30 homeruns from Jones, as Kent led the team in homers last season with just 20. They also signed Hiroki Kuroda to a three-year, $35.3 million deal and he should eat a lot of innings in the back end of their rotation. He is a ground-ball specialist and has a 3.69 career ERA and 103-89 record in Japan. What Could Happen This Season At the plate: The Dodgers continue to produce baserunners and follow it up by coming up with big hits and more importantly, long hits. Jones turns into a nice bargain by hitting 40 homers and hitting .280. The young hitters all increase their OPS by showing more power and evolving as more patient hitters. Garciaparra bounces back and becomes the game?s most dangerous pinch hitter. On the mound: Penny and Lowe make a serious push towards Jake Peavy and Chris Young as the NL West?s best 1-2 punch. Billingsley gives the Dodgers 25 quality starts, while Kuroda throws 200 solid innings. Meanwhile, the bullpen is as consistent as it was last season. What Should Happen This Season The Rockies and Diamondbacks are bound to fall off from their 2007 success, giving way for a Dodgers team that has the best balance of talent in the NL West. If they don?t return to the playoffs, it really will either be a result of injuries to their rotation or chemistry issues at the desk of Joe Torre. Five biggest questions 1. Will Penny and Lowe stay healthy enough to start 64 games between them? 2. How will Torre juggle four outfielders that expect to play everyday? 3. Will Martin, Loney, Kemp, Ethier and LaRoche take another step forward as they get older? 4. Will Colletti consolidate their deep team by making a trade for a true impact player? 5. Can Torre?s presence change the culture in the clubhouse? Prediction: 92-70 - Christopher Reina is the executive editor of RealGM and the creator of the Reina Value.
Dodgers' LaRoche To Have Thumb Surgery
Dodgers' 3B prospect Andy LaRoche is expected to miss eight to 10 weeks following surgery to repair a ligament off the base of his right thumb.
Kent Sidelined By Hamstring Strain
Jeff Kent has been sidelined by a right hamstring strain just a few days shy of his fortieth birthday.
Oakland Interested In Juan Pierre?
In 2007, Juan Pierre had a season FIC of 193 and a Reina Value of +14%.