Monday, October 31, 2005
Minor League Scorebook
Wood: 0-4, 2 K
Bass: 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3.26 ERA
Barzilla: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 9.22 ERA
Demaria: (L, 1-2) (in relief), 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 K, 1 BB, 5.59 ERA
Drew: 2-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Loney: 2-5, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
Ethier: 3-6, 1 RBI, 1 K
LaRoche: 0-3, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K
Barton: 2-4, 1 BB, 1 K
Saltalamacchia: 2-4, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Komine: (W, 1-1), 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 K, 1 BB, 0.96 ERA
Angels Decline Christiansen's Option
Theo Epstein Resigns As Red Sox GM
The Dodgers could do worse, I suppose.
Update: Rotoworld says Epstein will likely take time off rather than consider another GM position.
Update 2: now the ESPN story page above is reverting to Epstein rejecting the $4.5M/3 years contract. From the Boston Herald story:
Epstein had come close to agreeing to a deal Saturday evening but had not officially conveyed acceptance of it. On Sunday, he began having serious misgivings about staying on. A leading contributing factor, according to sources close to the situation, was a column in Sunday’s Boston Globe in which too much inside information about the relationship between Epstein and his mentor, team president and CEO Larry Lucchino, was revealed -- in a manner slanted too much in Lucchino’s favor. Epstein, according to these sources, had several reasons to believe Lucchino was a primary source behind the column and came to the realization that if this information were leaked hours before Epstein was going to agree to a new long-term deal, it signaled excessive bad faith between him and Lucchino.
A Panic Button We Hope Never To Use
Pickoff Moves, Lunchtime Edition
Meta: Sea ChangesAnd so the blog goes full circle. I hadn't intended on this becoming a 24/7 diatribe against the McCourts, although it surely started that way. Nonetheless, for those here for Angels material, consider yourselves perhaps a bit warned while Hurricane Frank revs back up to a category 5 storm.
Other GMs Surprised At Frank's HairtriggerOther GMs, perhaps used to thinking of the Dodgers in their glory days, find DePodesta's firing disconcerting:
"It's very surprising to everybody within the industry," said Jim Duquette, who was recently hired by the Baltimore Orioles as vice president of baseball operations.What did I say about the Dodgers being run like the Mets?
"A lot of people scratched their heads that after two years Paul would be out."
Duquette said he could relate to DePodesta's plight because he was replaced by the New York Mets in 2004 after 15 months as GM. He's hoping for a longer leash with Baltimore.
"Typically, the first year is for evaluating the operation," he said.
"Year 2 is often a transition year, and Year 3 is the make-or-break year for many GMs.
"From Paul's standpoint, I think it is a little unfair to pull the plug on a process that he was just in the process of building."
Billy Beane in Oakland said he would welcome back DePodesta as an assistant.
"Paul is a capable, bright and talented guy," said Mark Shapiro, general manager of the Cleveland Indians. "It's hard for me to believe that given enough time in the right environment, he wouldn't be extremely successful."
Veteran Presence GM Pool ShrinksI wonder that the Dodgers ultimately don't come down to a situation like that in Oakland, where Billy Beane ultimately decided to re-sign Ken Macha after failing to find a better manager available on the open market. First, we discover that the Red Sox have re-signed Theo Epstein, and second, the Times reports that Pat Gillick is nearing a deal with Philadelphia. Who's left? Jim Bowden? Orel Hershiser? Tommy Lasorda? The mind boggles...
McCourt has scaled back an earlier promise of a $100-million payroll, and now says somewhat vaguely, "We will spend what it takes to win." But sources said DePodesta operated within a strict budget that is more likely to shrink than grow.
What A Lousy World Series -- For FoxAcknowledging the incremental improvement over last year's dull sweep, this year's Fall Classic remained a sweep with little drama over the series as a whole, though the individual games themselves still held my attention. Nonetheless, Maury Brown writes, this was the worst-rated World Series in the history of the game, even worse than the 2002 Angels/Giants matchup, in my view the most exciting series played since 2000. Yet, what most coverage of the ratings fail to report on is the fact that the World Series collectively still had more viewers than any other program in those time slots. That is, the Series suffers from the same problem afflicting all other TV these days, and that is it's just one of many things to watch on an increasingly fragmented dial. That it still holds sway as the main event on the days it's going is something baseball should be proud of, and extremely pleased with.
Bobby Jenks Offers To Turn The Other (Butt) Cheekwho gave up on him:
"For everyone that ever doubted me," Jenks said. "I say, kiss my ass."It'll be interesting to see just how long the Wizard Named Ozzie will be making those "big boy" calls...
Short-Season Leagues May Yet ReturnBaseball America says that as time grows from the original proposal to eliminate the AZL and GCL, so does opposition to it and inertia to keep things as they are. This is good news for the Angels, let's face it: they love longshot prospects that can't be tested any other way than in these situations.
Silver Sluggers AwardedJeff Kent of the Dodgers and Vladimir Guerrero of the Angels both won Silver Sluggers. Kent was the only NL player to have been previously awarded the trophy.
The Serpent's Tongue And The Bitgod
In the Dodger case, the resistance [to Paul DePodesta's designs] is centered around Tom Lasorda, the ultimate Bitgod. For him, the fight is not so much ideological as it is personal. Sure, he favors the model that he cut his teeth on and managed in; that's perfectly natural if not always functional. But his own political power base within the Dodgers is in the process and people who were paramount in the old pre-DePodesta model the young G.M. was committed to change.It looks like Angus is planning a series based on the Dodgers front office escapades. Stay tuned.
No Tectonic Slip, But A Slide Nonetheless
The Angels outsold the Dodgers in season tickets and exceeded them in television ratings this year, evidence enough to persuade Fox Sports Net to offer the Angels a cable contract on par with the Dodgers'.Now, it should probably be noted that these kinds of stories have been coming out ever since Frank McCourt won the lottery and got the team from a News Corp. all too happy to deliver the team unto an owner too financially weak to negotiate broadcast terms as an equal. Certainly, there would seem to be a goodly number of questions over how many years the McCourts can field bad teams before they go upside down on their debt service. As Shaikin accurately notes, the Dodgers' history makes the threat of a collapse into something like the Royals somewhat remote.
"I'm not so sure the Dodgers are L.A.'s team any more. The team doesn't seem to have a particular direction," said former Angel President Richard Brown, citing this winter's renovations at Dodger Stadium. "The team doesn't seem to be fan-oriented — $20 million for taking seats out and putting seats in rather than putting it into the team?"
"If, with every hurdle that comes, McCourt is going to fire somebody, that increases the chances he'll turn the team into the Royals, a team that is constantly starting over and repairing mistakes," said Jon Weisman, proprietor of the independent website http://www.dodgerthoughts.com.
The Kansas City Royals, another once-proud franchise, lost 106 games last season. They have not appeared in the playoffs since winning the World Series in 1985.
At the same time, history gives us an example of a two-team market where one team had success while the other did not, with the second team finally giving up and moving away. That market was Boston, and the team, ironically enough, was the Braves, a team Frank McCourt's grandfather had a stake in. A powerhouse in the second half of the 19th century, the Braves won two titles in the 20th, but mostly were a second-division team in a market large enough to only grant long-term survival to one club. Outdrawn every year but seven in the 52 years of their coexistance, the Braves finally left in 1952.
Certainly, no one's suggesting this fate will happen in the near future to the Dodgers; that's many years of losing ahead, if ever. But for the moment, all McCourt has to sell is hope:
"We're trying to create greatness here," McCourt said. "We look forward to the stability we're going to bring. You can't build anything without a strong foundation. And until you get the strong foundation in place, you're not going to have the stability this franchise needs and deserves."His grandfather's club didn't exactly set the town on fire; from the moment the AL rival Red Sox walked in, the Braves were outdrawn consistently, in many years by better than 2:1. They weren't that stable, either, churning through 24 managers in the period 1901-1952. (It should be noted, though, that the far more successful Yankees went through 18 managers in that same time; in those days, managers were expendable, even on winning teams.) It's not a good precedent.
McCourt fired the senior marketing executive he inherited, hired a replacement, then fired him in April. He has yet to fill the vacancy, with the winter drive to sell tickets and sponsorships upon him and no manager or general manager in place [emphasis mine].Nobody, I think, doubts the sincerity of the McCourts in their desire to field a winning team, only their ability to do so. With Tommy Lasorda whispering sweet nothings into his ear about Dodger tradition, the way is being paved, not for a rebirth, but for ongoing mediocrity. Fox could sustain the ensuing losses; it's far from clear whether McCourt can.
"Usually, a franchise that didn't make the playoffs is selling hope right now," said David Carter of the Sports Business Group in Redondo Beach. "What the Dodgers are selling is, 'Trust us, we'll be in a position to sell hope soon.' That makes the off-season that much more difficult."
Sunday, October 30, 2005
OT: Huge Crack On 405 Nearly Causes Accident
A "New" Angels Photoblogger
Pickoff Moves, Late Edition
Dodgers To Interview Pat GillickIn the non-news category, the Dodgers are set to interview Pat Gillick for their abruptly, stupidly, arrogantly vacated GM position. I refer you all to Rich's questions:
16. What would Gillick bring to the table today that he didn't back when he interviewed for the same position in 2004?
17. If McCourt "wants Dodgers here," then how does Gillick fit into that goal?
More, More, More On PlaschkeMatt Welch has his own fisking of the Plaschke column, as does Friend-of-Matt's Steve Smith. Also, it turns out that the BTF kids have more on this as well. Finally, this appears to be the last straw for the new blog Fire The McCourts.
Minor League ScorebookThe AFL had the day off.
At Last, Lasorda's Blog Proves Useful
The New Model Dodgers
Update: I can't believe I missed an opportunity to say this: as with Hollywood, the Dodgers' future is to become filled with refuse and nephews.
Night Of The Long Knives
- "Let me tell you all you need to know about the Dodger Way, about Dodger tradition", Jon writes, echoing Leon and his "Let me tell you about my mother."
- Blue Think Tank thinks it's a case of the tail wagging the dog, with useless rump Tommy Lasorda blowing smoke up McCourts' posterior. Money quote: "Way to wag the dog,
WormtongueTommy! A return to the Dark Ages of FOX without the stupid money to throw around!"
- Noted jackass T.J. Simers gets Lasorda to comment on reports by Fox's Ken Rosenthal that he, Lasorda, was behind the firing:
"That is the biggest lie; in front of God, it's a stinking, no good lie," Lasorda shouted, and I noticed he shouted a little louder when he saw a TV camera rolling. "He has absolutely no proof of that. I never said anything bad about Paul DePodesta. I have never, ever said a bad word about Paul DePodesta to Frank."
- Lasorda, on the selection process involved in the new GM:
"I've mentioned my selection to Frank, and you'll know as soon as we get a new GM if he was listening to me," Lasorda said with that smug smile he gives when he already knows the answer.
- Steve Henson reports that, for all that the McCourts complained about DePodesta's poor communication skills, they are no better:
DePodesta learned that he would be fired from a reporter Friday. McCourt did not speak to him until Saturday morning, but by the afternoon DePodesta seemed to have come to terms with losing his job. He has three years left on a five-year contract and will be paid about $2.2 million.Paul also has practiced the art of giving the good quote on the way out, something Dan Evans also understood:
"I truly believe that this franchise is poised to begin the next great era of Dodger baseball," DePodesta said. "I have a tremendous amount of affection for the players, staff and front office and I wish everyone the best of luck. Most importantly, I want to thank the fans for their unparalleled support of the team."The key to the next generation of front office leadership? Being a Dodger once upon a time:
Now Hershiser is considered a candidate for a front-office position as well as for manager. A source said Dodger special advisor Tom Lasorda twice met with Hershiser in Texas about a month ago.Because of course Branch Rickey didn't work for anyone else before coming to the Dodgers, no sir...
"He obviously keenly understands what it means to be a Dodger," McCourt said. "We want to restore the glory and we want to achieve greatness. The Dodgers are a special franchise and we want Dodgers here."
DePodesta, despite nearly two years on the Dodger payroll, was an outsider to McCourt, who was perplexed by DePodesta's reclusive nature. A strategic communications firm hired by the Dodgers in spring training became frustrated by DePodesta's seeming indifference to public relations and helped convince McCourt that someone more fan-friendly was necessary.Somebody needs to explain to me why the GM should be responsible for public relations. I thought that was the lookout of the team president...
- David Pinto observes that Lasorda's blog has maintained radio silence on the matter, thus reinforcing my opinion of the (zero) value of same.
- Tommy Lasorda surprisingly comes out against Hershiser as GM:
"Leadership is a very important characteristic," McCourt said. "No question he has to have a keen eye for baseball talent. I want a good communicator and someone with experience to do the job."
Lasorda echoed that list, surprisingly calling Hershiser "not qualified" for the GM position because of his lack of front-office experience. Hershiser spent less than a year as an assistant to Hart in the Rangers' front office before becoming the team's pitching coach.
- Steve Dilbeck of the Daily News is a little more impishly sympathetic:
I want to be hired by the Dodgers.He gloms onto what is now obvious:
This comes from both my boyish desire to join the circus, and keen eye for recognizing a sweet gig.
It's just all so tempting. Get a five-year deal, get fired after a year, maybe two, and then get paid for doing nothing. I can do that.
This means three things: McCourt's most important single advisor now clearly is Lasorda; McCourt's approach is taking a 180-degree turn from a stat guy to traditional baseball people; and the circus will remain in town.
- Speaking of sympathetic, how about the Register's Mark Whicker?
The McCourt Jesters are silly putty for an operator like Lasorda. They know nothing of baseball, but they do know him - "60 years of experience," Frank chortled - and they can't imagine that Lasorda wouldn't have the Dodgers' best interest at heart.
They might check with Fred Claire and Bill Russell, the general manager/manager combo that got zapped in June of 1998.
A Possibly Tortured SimileAs a girl, my wife had a dog who had an itch so bad he chewed through his skin all the way to the bone, nicking an artery. So do the Dodgers engage in self-destruction. (The dog lived, by the way, but only thanks to prompt veterinary care.)
Braves Tap Roger McDowell As Pitching CoachThe Atlanta Braves have signed Las Vegas pitching coach Roger McDowell to replace Leo Mazzone as their pitching coach.
Padres To Interview Glenn Hoffman For Third Base CoachI mean, why not? Nobody else besides Dictator For Life Tommy Lasorda will be left standing, anyway.
Minor League Scorebook
Buchholz: 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 1.93 ERA
Doyne: (W, 1-1) (in relief), 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 K, 1 BB, 10.00 ERA
Sanches: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 2.92 ERA
LaRoche: 4-4, 1 2B
Saltalamacchia: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Abreu: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Shields: (W, 2-1), 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 6 K, 0 BB, 1.80 ERA
Woo hoo and a tiger for LaRoche!
Still More On The DePodesta Firing: Deconstructing Plaschke
Paul DePodesta has been fired as Dodger general manager, days after the organizational meetings, days before he was going to announce a new manager, weeks after the end of an awful season.Yeah, Bill, your order, one that consists largely of mean-spirited attacks on someone who did exactly jack to you.
Some will say this means the Dodgers are in chaos. I say this means they are finally seeking order.
Some will say DePodesta wasn't given a fair chance. I say he never should have been hired in the first place.Wow -- a two-sentence paragraph! Dazzle us with your brilliance, Bill. I know you can. Because, hey, splattering a guy's character before he's even made a single move is just so mature!
You say, a hasty firing. I say, a smart trade.Smart? How did we ever have time to find out? Or is it just because you agree with guys who bellow and steam and provide good quote... like Tommy Lasorda? Once upon a time, Lasorda was just a likeable blowhard, but his post-managerial career has seen him careen to sheer incompetence. If, as seems likely, he engineered DePodesta's excision and has hand-selected some ex-Dodger great -- Hershiser seems likely -- to take over at GM for no apparent reason, he, not DePodesta, now has my undying loathing -- and Plaschke along with it for inflaming such stupid tendencies in the front office.
Here's guessing Gillick and his World Series rings will be the new general manager. Hershiser and his World Series ring will be the assistant. Bobby Valentine and his World Series appearance will be the manager.Like Gillick's Toronto rings did Seattle any good. Like Hershiser has the aptitude or knowledge to be an assistant GM. Like Bobby Valentine has either a significant connection to the Dodgers or a track record as a successful manager.
None of this would be possible if DePodesta were still around.And we will remember every last word of this foolish counsel when the team goes below .500. We will remember this when Whoever T. Hell, General Manager, Los Angeles Dodgers, trades this year's Pedro Martinez for this year's Delino DeShields because Frank McCourt actually heeds the shrieking voices in the Times the rest of us merely laugh at.
None of this would be possible if DePodesta were still around.More important question: should anyone deigning to fill said shoes listen to a waffler like Plaschke? Plaschke, you may recall, had nothing nice to say about DePodesta (see post 100 by Matt Welch) upon his hiring, yet with his very first act as general manager -- the trade for Milton Bradley -- he effused "Paul DePodesta swung for the fences, and it says here he connected."
The kid's computer, once foolishly hailed by McCourt as the organizational savior, had become little more than a flashy box blocking the door.
McCourt should have known better. Or, at least, he should have asked someone other than Oakland's Billy Beane, the most famous general manager who has never won a playoff series.
To fill shoes once worn by Branch Rickey and Al Campanis, should McCourt really have hired a 31-year-old who had never been to Dodger Stadium? Who had never met Tom Lasorda? Who, when with Oakland, had been the most invisible No. 2 executive in the game?
Plaschke is not a man to take seriously.
Remember when, during DePodesta's hiring news conference 21 months ago, McCourt mentioned how it was so cool that his teenage son had been surfing chat rooms that claimed DePodesta joining the Dodgers was like Alex Rodriguez joining the New York Yankees?Well, what did you expect? The man had never been a GM before. Mistakes were bound to happen even if his name were Branch Rickey. Oh, but wait -- it was McCourt's kids who were excited by it. Serves him right for listening to his own offspring -- who, by the way, are now deeply embedded in the Dodgers operations, what with Drew McCourt running the marketing department.
Bigger error, McCourt.
"There's no question I've learned a tremendous amount the last couple of years," McCourt said at Dodger Stadium, filled these days with destroyed seats and shattered potential.No. Not back to "heart and soul" again. Please. For the love of all that is holy, not that.
DePodesta was harmless, a quiet fellow who kept to himself, until he suddenly tore apart a first-place team halfway through his first season.
At the time, the Dodgers were 60-42.Now that... that's just lame, Bill. Cheap. Stupid. This from the same Bill Plaschke who bagged on Dan Evans for trading Gary Sheffield after he had made himself into a complete nuisance by demanding a contract extension just after signing another contract with the Dodgers. This is the same Bill Plaschke who, on January 13, 2004, had the nerve to say that "[The Dodgers] haven't been able to say that [they have a team all of LA can be proud of] for 16 years." This is the tradition he's defending?
For the rest of his tenure, they went 104-118.
It was as if he thought he was smarter than predecessor Dan Evans, who built the eventual division champions. It was as if he cared little about the fans who loved them.
They won the NL West title in spite of his clubhouse remodelingExcept for that part about Steve Finley, who I think had a little bit to do with winning the division. Yeah, just forget that part, Bill.
then he inexplicably tore the team apart again last winter, his struggles with personnel acquisitions matched only by his failures to communicate.Well, it's not as though it isn't at least partially true!
Many will blame this season's 71-91 record on injuries.
But DePodesta was the one who gave big money to injury-prone J.D. Drew and malingering Odalis Perez.... and your answers would have been to keep Beltre and his lousy production, and sign what starting pitcher?
DePodesta was the one who gutted the bullpen such that Eric Gagne's loss became a nightmare.Uh... wha? Is he just hoping we all forget that the only major player in the 2004 bullpen not to appear in the 2005 edition was Guillermo Mota, who hasn't exactly been successful in Florida?
I was in favor of his signing of Milton Bradley, so it's unfair of me to blame him for that.Wow... a brief flash of honesty. Could it be menopause?
His trade last year for Steve Finley was tremendousWait, I thought that was bad... so confused!
and his signing of Jeff Kent was brilliant, so he did some good things.And I'm sure that if you had a little weasel undermining everything you had tried to implement, you, too, would have a poor opinion of your underling.
But, by the time this season ended, the clubhouse was divided by guys who shouldn't have been lumped together, his pet projects like Antonio Perez were not everyday players, and DePodesta couldn't get along with the manager.
McCourt claims he would have fired Jim Tracy anyway. I wonder.Well, Steve can hope, anyway.
But even then, DePodesta was given one last chance, his managerial search serving as McCourt's final test.Translated: to a list I can at least recognize. How many times will it have to be pointed out to leadheads like Plaschke that Walter Alston had no major league managerial experience prior to being named Dodgers skipper?
When his odd list of candidates did not resemble one put together by a savvy general manager with lots of contacts --
and when he didn't even try to ask for permission to talk to Mike Scioscia ---- who, as a rational adult, and nay, a genuinely classy individual, would have to simply say, "That's not even an issue. ... I don't know a better job in baseball than right here", if he weren't giggling inside thanks to the self-destructive acts the team has made since he's left. I mean, Arte... McCourt... left hand... right hand... uh. Um. It's a wonder you can't hear Mike busting out laughing in his Westlake Village home all the way down in Anaheim from the very suggestion.
the decision was made.How nice of you to man up for the Dodgers, Bill! Any other front office mayhem you want to suggest while you're here? Maybe firing the team janitor? Did the groundskeepers annoy your lordly gaze at the park today? Want Frank to fire those guys, too?
It's awful, it's embarrassing, it cost the Dodgers an important month of off-season work.
But it had to be done.
"I can't point to any one thing," McCourt said of his reasons for the firing. "I'm a builder by nature, and, to build, you need a strong foundation."I thought, as the Parking Lot Attendant, he hadn't built anything besides a few squares of asphalt. What would he know about foundations?
Now that McCourt has fixed this huge crack, he needs to remember, the foundation starts with him.Uh oh.
As their blunders pile up like peanut shells on a July night, McCourt and his wife, Jamie, need to show more personal accountability for everything from Lon Rosen to obstructed-view seats.Wait, so the buck doesn't stop with DePodesta? You mean, there's somebody else who maybe, possibly, could be at fault if things don't work out?
Not once Saturday would McCourt acknowledge that he blew it with DePodesta. How can we believe they have learned if they never admit they have failed?I may have to saw off a limb here. I actually agree with Plaschke on something.
Even the way they began Saturday's news conference was disingenuous, with new flack Camille Johnston refusing to announce that DePodesta had been fired, instead announcing only that they were beginning a search for a new general manager.Yeah, 'cause taking Plaschke and Simers seriously isn't a good way to do that.
C'mon, Dodgers. Have more respect for your fans.
You hired the wrong guy to run your team. Two years later, you fired him. Admit it and move on.... aaaand what championship tradition would that be? As the LA Observed piece above notes, the Dodgers haven't won jack post-1988, and Bobby Valentine's connection to the organization is tenuous at best. So, yes, let's talk about this championship tradition. It's got nothing whatsoever to do with bloviating bozos in the Times and everything to do with pioneers like Branch Rickey, guys who used statistical analysis and had a gift for finding players in unlikely places -- you know, like the Negro Leagues.
DePodesta will be paid for three more years, the wealthiest 32-year-old former general manager on the planet. He will undoubtedly become a great No. 2 executive somewhere else. He'll survive.
This is about something much bigger than him, bigger than the team, bigger than Chavez Ravine. This is about a Dodger championship tradition worth saving even at the risk of the public humiliation that McCourt will endure, and deserve.
The Dodger owner did an unsightly, uncomfortable thing Saturday.If there were any justice, the Times would do an unsightly, uncomfortable thing and lance the boils currently infesting its sports pages.
But for the first time in a long time, he did the right thing.It's going to be a long offseason. Cripes. A million monkeys and a million typewriters couldn't make up stuff this bad, I swear.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Does It Really Work That Way?
And for sure, this happens: Season ticket sales show a net increase, with more people happy than sad that DePodesta is gone. The Dodgers improve in 2006 thanks to the talent that DePodesta and Dan Evans helped assemble, the new regime takes credit, and the McCourts crow all year.Mm, dunno. Off the top of my head,
- The starting pitching will be four-of-five the same crew, minus Weaver (unless the team goes into panic mode and re-signs him), plus whatever free agent/whatever can be crated up and boxed from some other team via trade. All of them are aging, save for Jackson, who hasn't proven he can pitch consistently at any level higher than AA.
- The relief corps will be plus Gagné but minus any credible middle relief. Carrara is older, Broxton doesn't impress me much, and everyone else is pretty unimpressive and likely to stay that way.
- The team will be plus Drew unless he gets another package from the Injury-of-the-Month Club.
So the team will be without Drew for at least two months.
- Jayson Werth was a good player in 2004, no?
- Milton Bradley is gone. Whoever do they get to play center?
- Jeff Kent will probably demand a trade after these offseason shenanigans, so expect him to be replaced with singles-hitting Antonio Perez.
- Navarro gets to stay behind the dish.
- Choi will get traded, else he will never get playing time at Chavez Ravine with the likes of Valentine running the show.
- Izturis has a so-so year at the plate, but still retains the OBP problems for which he is famous. Oh, and he's only with the team for four months thanks to his surgery.
- Andy LaRoche won't be ready to play third until 2007. Welcome to a third helping of Nakamura/Saenz/Edwards/somebody even worse from Las Vegas, or random waiver wire droppings.
- The bench... ouch.
Following another non-losing season, season tickets sales will be appreciably south of their former levels, but Dodger fans, eternal patsies that they are, will show up to the tune of 3,000,000+. So does the cycle begin anew, as the spring brings forth wolf cubs and spring lambs alike.
DePodesta To Be Fired
On the heels of a fourth-place finish and in the midst of a managerial search, the Dodgers are expected to fire General Manager Paul DePodesta, perhaps as early as this weekend, highly placed sources in the organization said Friday.If anything is likely to make me change my mind about the McCourts, it's this. After a year and a half or so of new ownership, I had softened a bit on them, but it seems they've lost their minds. Tinkering around the edges by firing front office communication personnel like Lon Rosen is one thing; having a revolving door at the GM's chair is quite another. The franchise enters an offseason of great tumult around baseball in that position, with Theo Epstein renegotiating his contract amid public disagreements with ownership, Brian Cashman using his potential exit from the Yankees to emphasize a point about who's boss, John Hart resigning from the Rangers, the Phillies fired Ed Wade, and the Devil Rays gave Chuck LaMar the boot. (Am I missing someone?) Finding a proven GM will be difficult.
Barring a change of heart by Frank McCourt, all that is left is for the Dodger owner to meet with DePodesta and make an announcement. DePodesta did not speak with McCourt as of late Friday, although the owner and his wife, team President Jamie McCourt, were in their offices into the early evening.
A GM search now will also complicate the managerial search. They'll have somebody to fill out the lineup card next year, somebody to blame for whatever troubles the team has, but it won't matter much. They'll also have a GM who's likely to start making some furious trades. I didn't see much coming out of the Dodger farm system before 2007; with this change and the pressure behind it, it's all too plausible to see the likes of Andy LaRoche traded for some magic beans and a handful of aging, marquee veterans, a la the early 90's Dodgers.
Finally, to fire DePodesta after only a year in that position marks McCourt as someone who can't tolerate media carping. If the likes of the Plaschkes and Simers of the press keep Frank McCourt awake at night, if the Doug Krikorians give him indigestion, then the kinds of idiotic, reactionary moves that punctuated Kevin Malone's tenure as GM will almost assuredly ensue. That is, the Dodgers will be run like the Mets or the Phillies: a second-class organization without a clue that swings heedlessly to whatever sentiment inflames the fans this month.
This is profoundly saddening. I'll say this: it makes me appreciate Arte that much more. And I wish Jon were around; for sure, he'd have something sharp to say. I don't have the time, and the Toaster appears to be unplugged right now. If you want, the (limited) BTF thread is here.
It appears the firing is official, according to ESPN.
"I met with Paul DePodesta this morning and let him know that the Los Angeles Dodgers were moving on," McCourt said at the afternoon news conference at Dodger Stadium. "I thanked him for his contributions."Of course, the ones who should be fired are the McCourts.
Lasorda, whose influence seems to have increased steadily with McCourt, said he would sit in on interviews with candidates for the openings.Which is a good thing, but his increasing influence is not. Lasorda, by the way, was responsible, wholly or partially, for two of the worst post-Walter-O'Malley incidents in Dodger history. First, the catastrophic trade of Pedro Martinez; and second, trading Paul Konerko for Jeff Shaw, forgetting that Shaw had the right to ask for a trade. He did not, but the lopsidedness of the deal clearly showed Lasorda's incompetance at the front office role; the very thought of him sending "advice" of any kind to McCourt simply staggers the imagination, and beggars the lexicon.
"He [McCourt] asks me questions and I give him answers," Lasorda said. "He doesn't listen to me all the time."
Arte, in case I haven't sent you a valentine, consider this it.
Update 2: LA Observed chimes in; the blogosphere sentiment is pretty uniformly negative.
Update 3: and David Pinto. Also, Peter Gammons, from behind the tollbooth, issues a prediction that pretty much agrees with Rich: Orel Hershiser will be the Dodgers' new GM, and Bobby Valentine the new manager.
But after meeting with Orel Hershiser and Tom Lasorda, McCourt, ever sensitive to the Los Angeles media, changed direction. Friday, DePodesta was ordered to meet with ownership at 10 p.m. PT, and was subsequently dismissed. Now, what could be better PR to sell the Dodger tradition than hiring Hershiser as GM and bringing Dodger blueblood -- and Lasorda favorite -- Bobby Valentine back as manager from his historic triumph in Japan.Update 4: Jerry Crasnick, behind the $$$ wall:
"Don't bet against it," said one person acquainted with the scene. "Tommy really wants Bobby back with the Dodgers."
What most frustrated DePodesta was that -- with arguably baseball's best farm system about to give the Dodgers a potential dynasty by 2007 -- he was not given the opportunity to implement what he saw as his viable plan.
"There is talent here to build a Dodger dynasty for a long period of time," said DePodesta.
"I told Paul he is better off being out of that situation," said another general manager. "It is crazy."
"The McCourts can't deal with the media pressure," said a person close to the Dodgers situation. "So every time they start getting hammered, they try and figure out who they can get rid of that's not helping them alleviate the pressure or is hurting them.One thing seems to be rapidly clearing up, and that is that never in the history of the organization, save when he was GM, has Tommy Lasorda had such influence upon the future of the Dodgers. What a sad turn of affairs.
"It's all ego-driven with the McCourts. That's the sad part. They think if they sell themselves, the Dodgers will rise up as an organization. But it's really the other way around."
Two years ago, before Frank and Jamie hired DePodesta, Lasorda pushed for Pat Gillick to get the job. And while DePodesta wanted Terry Collins or Giants coach Ron Wotus to succeed Tracy as manager, Lasorda lobbied passionately for Orel Hershiser or Bobby Valentine.
Lasorda's argument: The best way for the Dodgers to repair the damage is by evoking feel-good images from the past.
If only it were that easy. Dodger Blue once had great meaning to lots of people because of the organization's reputation for loyalty, integrity and class. The version making the rounds these days is nothing more than a pale imitation.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Pickoff Moves, Bedtime Edition
- The Reds declined mutual options with Rich Aurilia and former Angel Ramon Ortiz. Ortiz's option was worth $4.55 million.
- The Giants re-signed Jeff Fassero, for $750,000 and one year. Fassero will be 44 in January.
- The Cubs declined a mutual option on Jeromy Burnitz. They also picked up the option on Todd Walker.
Phillies To Move Fences At Citizens Bank ParkOne of the most homer-happy parks in the majors, Citizens Bank Park, will have the fences extended in the offseason, at least, in left field.
Kevin Towers To Stay In San DiegoNot much of a surprise -- for now -- but GM Kevin Towers will stay put, despite his discussions with Arizona about their previously vacant position.
OT: George "Sulu" Takei: "I'm Gay"Rest of World: No, really?
Minor League Scorebook
- Adam LaRoche updates his journal.
- Rancho Cucamonga GM North Johnson won Cal League Executive of the Year honors.
- Johnathan May at MILB.com picks his list of AFL All Stars. Brandon Wood, Kendry Morales, and Howie Kendrick all made the list.
- The MILB.com Dodgers system review is up, listing Edwin Jackson (why?), Joel Guzman, James Loney, Chad Billingsley, and Greg Miller among author Jason Ratliff's "five faves".
- Update: angelsbaseball.com has their weekly AFL review up, including comments about David Austin, who I must have overlooked. Howie Kendrick leads the league in hits, apparently, and Brandon Wood leads the league in homers.
- Likewise, so does Dodgers.com have their weekly AFL update, including the good news about James Loney (he's homered in four of five games).
Gordon: 2-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Morales: 3-5, 1 2B
Wood: 0-4, 1 BB, 1 K
Haerther: 2-5, 1 2B
Tupman: 3-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Weaver: (L, 0-3), 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 3 K, 2 BB, 2 HR, 6.75 ERA
A good game from Howie Kendrick and Kendry Morales, the former collecting another walk, and the latter going 3-5 with a double. Not much from Brandon Wood, and Jered Weaver still has trouble getting so many strikeouts at higher levels, collecting seven flyball outs to three grounders. Two home runs? Ouch.
Loney: 1-5, 1 K
Ethier: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB
LaRoche: 3-5, 1 2B, 3 RBI
Saltalamacchia: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB
Stokes: (W, 2-0), 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 2 K, 2 BB, 3.57 ERA
On the Dodgers side of the fence, a really nice day for Andy LaRoche. Adam Ethier, an A's prospect, was responsible for one of the two homers against Weaver.
Diamondbacks Name Josh Byrnes As New GM
Stephen Smith Pulls The Plug On FutureAngels
Salt Lake Changes Franchise Name To Bees
The AAA franchise website is now slbees.com. Sidebar changes to be made presently...
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Pickoff Moves, Bedtime Edition
2005 World Series Worst-Rated EverVia BTF, it appears that the 2005 World Series is the lowest-rated ever. The previous record-holder was the 2002 Series. Too bad, because that was easily the most exciting series played out of the last half-decade or so, with the 2001 series right behind it.
Will Carroll, RumormongerNot really a rumor since he was involved in the proceedings, I guess, but in case you hadn't noticed in the comments of my lunchtime post, Will Carroll tags a postseason outfielder as having done steroids, someone with "a name we're actually going to care about". I don't, generally, but those who do may keep their ears pricked. And I agree with David Pinto, the likeliest candidate is Steve Finley.
Did You Really Think Ozzie Would Retire?Heh, no.
F'r Chrissakes, Pick A Name And Stick With ItSo now
Giants Keep Five VetsMoises Alou, Jason Schmidt, Randy Winn, LaTroy Hawkins, and Ray Durham will all return to the Giants in 2006.
Minor League Scorebook
Kendrick: 1-3, 1 BB
Morales: 3-5, 1 2B, 3 RBI
Wood: 1-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Gordon: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB
Mathieson: 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 4 K, 2 BB, 5.89 ERA
Demaria: (W, 1-1) (in relief), 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 3 K, 1 BB, 5.19 ERA
Nice that Wood got his 11th homer and all, but he's only hitting .240 in his last six games. Adam Kennedy took forever getting his first home run, and in a similar fashion (har de har har), Howie Kendrick gets the walk monkey off his back. Kendry Morales seems to be having the best AFL of any of them. Most of the damage was done against Yankees prospect Matt Smith, who surrendered six earned runs while only getting two outs.
Kemp: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 K
Hull: (L, 0-1), 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 11 H, 5 K, 1 BB, 1 HR, 3.94 ERA
A pasting here, but not by the right team.
Don't Be Chicken, Click On Da Link
Pickoff Moves, Lunchtime Edition
Lawyer Sues Over Open Roof At Minute Maid ParkI thought it was lame, too, but this is amazing:
Houston attorney Lisa Sechelski is planning to file a class action lawsuit against Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig.Via The Dugout, which I liked better when it was Astros Girl or some such.
She claims some fans got sick because they weren't given adequate notice that the roof would be open and therefore, weren't prepared for temperatures in the 50's. Some think the lawsuit is a joke, but Sechelski says she's serious.
"They expected to go and enjoy a game instead they were met with conditions they weren't prepared for," said Sechelski.
"I'd be surprised if a judge let this case get very far. But again there may be facts that none of us know about," said U of H law professor Richard Alderman.
Front Office Go-Round
- Brian Cashman will stick around as the Yankees GM. Has there ever, in the history of the game, been such an appropriately named GM?
- The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Phils are interviewing AGM Mike Arbuckle for the big chair GM job.
- Jim Bowden was given a six-month extension as GM of the Nationals, probably due to the fact that there's no new ownership group in place yet in Washington.
- The Blue Jays fired AGM Tim McCleary.
Isn't It A Little Early To Declare D-Mac A Bust?Not if you're Joe Sheehan, who declares McPherson's star to be on the decline. Wake me when he's had a healthy season.
Update: Correspondant Joe (apparently from the heretofore unknown Angels blog SoapBox Sports) thinks D-Mac looks more like "the next [Russell] Branyan". It seems fairly close when you look at it; Branyan's a free swinger who hit a ton in the minors but has never really translated that to major league success. He hit 40 homers in single-A Columbus in 1996, and in '97 he hit 39 dingers between two levels, single-A Kinston and AA Akron. And also like D-Mac, Branyan has had a history of injury dating to before he was even in the Show. In 1998, he injured his wrist and spent much of the year recovering. In a sense, he's never been the same player, although once more, he provides a useful warning for those who think Brandon Wood will be something useful unless he can cut down on his strikeouts.
The same is still true of Dallas McPherson. There's plenty of reason to believe D-Mac could get appreciably better in the Show -- he had back injuries throughout his career in the minors, and his hip surgery could be the fix for that -- but we still have to wait and see. As I told Joe, only 110 days until pitchers and catchers report.
You Can Ring That Pavlovian Bell: Free Agents ListAt long last, the AP has a list of free agents, and of course acres to talk about; does Kevin Towers, assuming he's still the Padres GM by the time the dust settles, re-up their great closer, Trevor Hoffman? Do the A's even care about Octavio Dotel? Will somebody else pay for him to spend part of a season ineffective and possibly never be as good as he was before surgery again? Is Kevin Brown's career over? (Is the Pope Catholic?) Does anybody (aside from astonished Orioles fans, who are probably grateful he won't be in Baltimore next year) care if the Rocks sign Mike DeJean to a one-year deal?
Three Finalists For Dodger Manager SpotThe Press Telegram reports that the Dodgers' managerial search has been narrowed to three candidates, with Orel Hirsheiser and Terry Collins as the two known quantities, and an unknown (but likely Alan Trammell) as the third. Whoever takes over, the announcement won't be made until next week. Some coaches are expected to be retained, though pitching coach Jim Colborn and bench coach Jim Lett are already gone; hitting coach Tim Wallach is not expected to return.
Las Vegas Pitching Coach McDowell Expected To Join MarinersRoger McDowell of the Las Vegas 51's is one of two finalists to join the Mariners as a pitching coach, according to the Kitap Sun. The other finalist is the former pitching coach of the Yankees, Mel Stottlemyre.
Jermaine Dye Wins Series MVPTalk about unlikely, Jermaine Dye won the World Series MVP, getting hits in every game, and driving in runs in both the first game, and crucially, in the last. It was his first injury-free season in five years. And to think, only a year ago he was a high-priced bust with the A's.
Some Schmuck Advances To BBWAA PresidentPeter Schmuck, that is, so now when you see the Cooperstown votes next year, you'll know who's at the head of that heap.
Cubs-Flavored Sour GrapesI suppose Jim Litke is right; the chances of the Chisox repeating are about zero, especially considering the number of rounds in the playoffs, not to mention the fact that A.J. Pierzynski hasn't hit 18 home runs in his freaking career outside of 2005, not to mention their Pythagorean standings, etc., etc., etc. Will it light a fire under the Cubs to improve? Sure. Will they? Ask the Dodgers...
Failures In Scouting, One In A Series: Albert PujolsHow would you like to be one of the many scouts who failed to recognize Albert Pujols' talent?
"For a while, I just thought I was hexed," said Dan Jennings, who is now the vice president of player personnel for the Marlins. "I'd come in the room when he first got in the big leagues and it would be Pujols hitting a double, Pujols driving in a run. I'd say, 'God, I get the message.' You can make one bad decision and it will bite you forever."The Padres, Devil Rays, Marlins, Reds, Brewers, Red Sox, Royals, and Rockies -- all failed to pick up on the earthshattering talent that is Albert Pujols. Just amazing. (Pujols ended up signing as the 402nd pick overall, in the 13th round of the 1999 draft for $60,000.) Will the Angels regret letting Bobby Jenks and Derrick Turnbow go? Sure. But at least neither are Pujols.
MILB.com Angels Minor League Roundup
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
No More Waiting, Chicago: White Sox 1, Astros 0
The Astros hadn't scored in their last 15 innings. Wow. But 88 years without a World Series win ended today.
And now to the offseason, and the pent-up announcements that will soon clutter the landscape.
Update: Wouldn't it be nice if, next year, they actually go to five games? This sweep stuff is getting pretty old, pretty fast.
Time Warner Cable, You Incompetent Jerks
And on top of all of this, Gameday tells me the White Sox just went up 1-0 over the Astros. Cripes.
Minor League Scorebook
Let's take a random season. . . the 1997 AFL.Just looking at that list (I'm going to let you go take a peek at the pitching numbers), I'd say there were a lot of "false positives" in terms of the number of players who did well and later turned into a pumpkin. On the other hand, there also are some good players, too.
Batting Average Qualifiers, 1997 Arizona Fall League Brad Fullmer, .414 Sean Casey, .396 Ryan Jackson, .378 Damian Jackson, .374 Paul LoDuca, .363 Chris Sexton, .351 Charles Gipson, .346 Chad Hermansen, .341 J.P. Roberge, .336 Pat Watkins, .336 Kevin Barker, .331 Dan McKinley, .331 Adam Riggs. .317 Robert Smith, .316 Mark Kotsay, .313
Let's take a random season. . . the 1997 AFL.
Batting Average Qualifiers, 1997 Arizona Fall League
Brad Fullmer, .414
Sean Casey, .396
Ryan Jackson, .378
Damian Jackson, .374
Paul LoDuca, .363
Chris Sexton, .351
Charles Gipson, .346
Chad Hermansen, .341
J.P. Roberge, .336
Pat Watkins, .336
Kevin Barker, .331
Dan McKinley, .331
Adam Riggs. .317
Robert Smith, .316
Mark Kotsay, .313
And with that, and a sudden outage by Time Warner Cable during the World Friggin' Series -- on to the show.
Butler: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI
Morales: 1-3, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K
Lambert: 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 3.00 ERA
Sanches: (BS, 1)(L, 0-2) (in relief), 1.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 H, 3 K, 2 BB, 1 HR, 3.48 ERA
Wood's slumping a bit, hitting .238/.273/.381 in his last six games.
Drew: 1-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Loney: 2-3, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Saltalamacchia: 0-2, 2 BB
Bush: (W, 3-1), 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 3 HR, 5.50 ERA
Loney now sports a .478/.478/1.043 line. Nary a walk in the AFL, but that's some nice power in very limited exposure.
Hershiser Interview "Went Really Well"
Tommy Lasorda, Dodgers special advisor to the chairman and the club's former manager (including Hershiser's tenure from 1983-94), introduced Hershiser to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and took part in the interview.
"It was very comfortable because Tommy was there," said Hershiser, just before flying back to Texas on Wednesday. "He was able to ask some questions to help Frank McCourt get to know me better."
Hershiser, 47, said he spent the evening in the interview and got a few updates on Game 3 of the World Series. He said Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta was not at the interview, but that he spoke at length with him by phone.
"I think it went really well," Hershiser said. "It's exciting to go through the process. We'll just wait and see."
Fratricide: Yard Work On FJM
All of which is a setup for their latest piece, one of a series in which they don the dour garb of the Gray Lady's Daniel Okrent, the former public editor of the New York Times. Once in a while, you'll catch the Yard Work boys writing in someone else's persona and seeming to be writing from their own perspective in camoflage, and this looks to be one of those times. Fire Joe Morgan, it seems, has gotten altogether too much press, and too many are making it out to be actually funny:
I shudder to use scare quotes, but using the word “writers” to describe the purveyors of the unhinged vitriol permeating FJM without qualifying it with some lyrical asterisk would do folks with actual writerly talent a grave disservice. The fish FJM posters aim at are in a barrel already chockfull of buckshot. In addition to attacking Joe Morgan, they gang-tackle bloviating gum-flappers and key-bangers such as John Kruk, Tim McCarver, Bill Simmons, and Skip Bayless, as well as lesser lights plying their trade for Fox Sports and MSNBC. Unable or unwilling to develop a distinct writerly voice from which to compose their ruminations on the national pastime, the pseudonymous FJM cabal settles for viciously attacking those whose opinions are deemed to be inferior to their own. The typical post on FJM contains text from the article / online chat in question, and comments from the author of the post, disparaging what the offending target has said. Take this snippet from a Joe Morgan chat:I have to agree with "Okrent" here; even the likes of Mike Carminati had to give up the artless sport of hunting chained elephants once ESPN put a tollbooth at the edge of the reservation. But perhaps I'm complaining too much. The last time I vented my spleen in the direction of someone else's attempt at comedy, I found myself as the one lacking a sense of humor. I'm not sure it will work out the same way with FJM, but you never know....
JOE MORGAN: Replay would not have helped. I saw the replay over and over and you could say it was inconclusive although I believe he caught the ball.
FIRE JOE MORGAN: You could say it was inconclusive, but you would be wrong.
Oh, the laughter to be had! Clearly the comic timing offered in this brief morsel of prose is the stuff that fuels the best brain-addled drivel television sitcoms have to offer. Ever since the sports hoi polloi took to using Q-Tips, attacking Joe Morgan has become a tradition.
BA Does A Pretty Good Job
My general impression is that the two rank orders much pretty well. Seventeen teams are within five spots of their BA ranking. They may match up for the wrong reasons, ie BA thought prospects A, B, C were great, but in reality it’s prospects X, Y, Z who actually were productive, but given the difficulty of the task I’m ok with calling that a basically “correct” prediction without going through each team. I will go through the eleven misses individually though.What this means is that the Dodgers' farm system is likely to produce at least a few major leaguers who are pretty good, although it should be noted in this study that the Dodgers were one of the clubs whose prospects ended up being overrated.
For people who like correlations, the correlation of the two rank orders is a surprising (to me anyway) 0.54. I wouldn’t suggest trying to get a drug approved at the FDA with that kind of a correlation, but in the world of baseball statistics that’s pretty good. IIRC, the correlation between year 1 DIPS ERA and year 2 actual ERA is about 0.4.
Some fans grumble that enhancing their experience should start with a better selection of food than currently is available. Then they mention something about the quality of the baseball team.A long, dull offseason, featuring the worst free agent class in memory, means we can expect a lot more of this. David Lassen in the Ventura County Star offers similar thoughts, though not quite so acidic:
That's petty. That's sniping.
But [fan comments reflect] the degree to which the public at large remains wholly skeptical of the McCourts, their motivations and their ability to run a franchise -- a skepticism they have done little to alleviate to date with some questionable personnel moves, a failure to live up to a McCourt vow to spend $100 million on player payroll, and a lengthy string of public-relations disasters (including, of course, the hiring of a disaster-management PR firm.)Just wondering: what free agents did the Dodgers miss because they didn't spend enough money? Eh, whatever. It's probably not worth complaining about this sort of thing; the local Plaschkettes can be counted on to bay at the moon until the Dodgers win the World Series, and even then they'll carp about payroll.
Minor League Scorebook
I'm a pretty aggressive hitter (Editor's note: Kendrick hasn't drawn a walk in the AFL this year) and I think that's been a benefit for me. Oh-fers are going to happen. How often they happen is what separates a good hitter from an average hitter. I think my aggressiveness works for me with that. I don't walk a lot. I look for pitches early in the count. I don't mind hitting with two strikes. I see it as a challenge. I just try to be aggressive at the plate and it's been working to my benefit. Sometimes it depends on how you're feeling. Sometimes I feel I want to go out and hit the first pitch. Sometimes I want to see a couple. What it comes down to for anyone is not missing your pitches to hit. When I'm struggling, I'm not seeing those pitches and I'm missing them. But when I'm going good, I don't miss the good pitches to hit.I fear for the future of the Angels' organization...
To the games. A makeup doubleheader for Surprise, who probably wish they hadn't played either one...
Morales: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 K
Wood: 1-3, 1 RBI
Hubele: 1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Bourn: 0-1, 2 BB
Bass: (L, 1-1), 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 10 H, 4 K, 0 BB, 2 HR, 2.93 ERA
Brian Bass, a Royals product, blew this one, but he looks to be more filler sent to round out the AFL.
Wood: 0-3, 2 K
Barzilla: (L, 2-1), 1.1 IP, 8 ER, 9 H, 0 K, 2 BB, 1 HR, 10.80 ERA
Cameron: 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 2 K, 2 BB, 4.82 ERA
Not a very impressive day for the Angels prospects all told. Their mound opponent was the Mariners' Clint Nageotte.
Ethier: 0-1, 1 RBI, 3 BB
Murphy: (L, 2-1), 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 7 K, 3 BB, 5.40 ERA
Basner: 1.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 4.66 ERA
Grand Canyon's four-run fifth sealed this one, in which only Tony Abreu was the only Dodgers participant.
Minor League Free Agents
- Clayton Andrews: 27-year-old with a 6.31 ERA and an 8-8 record at Salt Lake. Showed promise at high-A Hagerstown in the Blue Jays system but got found out and never really recovered. Played indy league ball for three years before the Angels signed him in 2005 as a free agent.
- Eric Cyr: like Eric Gagné of the Dodgers, a francophone Canadian who somehow ended up playing baseball in Seminole Junior College in Oklahoma. Excellent strikeout-to-walk ratio, but not much else to recommend him. Spent time in the Padres and Reds systems as well.
- Justin Dowdy: from Moneyball's "factory", Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego. Never played in any league over high-A, he's forgettable; had decent strikeout rates but gave up far too many taters.
- Delvin James: 27-year-olds in AA are not prospects.
- Jason Olson: a reliever for the Dodgers in AA Jacksonville, he was part of a late-season trade. Olson had okayish strikeout rates in AA Jacksonville but got hit hard in limited service with AA Arkansas and AAA Salt Lake. Missed 2003-4 from an elbow injury. Had a 2.66 ERA with a 7.06 K/9 rate, meaning he was probably pitching over his head.
- Alex Serrano: a Venezuelan player, Serrano was a July pickup after he was released from the Colorado Springs Sky Sox' roster. Has had double-digit K/9 rates twice in his career, but guys who spend four years in Rookie-A ball and are 24 are at best fringe-y.
- Evan Thomas: Brendan Donnelly's feel-good story aside, the number of 31-year-old guys who pitch well in the Show after spending five years at AAA between five different organizations is vanishingly small. Thomas won't be one of them most likely.
- Francisco Villegas: This could be a screwup on BA's part; Baseball Cube shows him as part of the Yankees organization.
- Mark Watson: another 31-year-old, in seven organizations, never accomplished anything worthy of note.
Emmanuel Santana: not sure this is correct, as the Cube says he's only been in the Angels system for a year. But then, their data is known to have holes.
Ivan Reyes: weak-hitting third baseman, formerly with the Yankees. Played some in indy ball. Beyond cheap/free/replacement.
- Luke Allen: fringy fifth outfielder type; depth at most.
- Brian Gordon: 25, can take a walk sometimes, but strikes out about four times as often. Has some pop (hit 22 home runs last year at Salt Lake).
- Curtis Pride: 36, has no business occupying a major league uniform anymore. Time to see what Nick Gorneault can add to this role.
- Chris Prieto: nothing special, 32, two major league at bats under his belt.
- Alfredo Gonzalez: 25, working his way into suspect category, probably 3/4 there. Earned "best changeup" in Baseball America's 2004 Dodgers system ranking. Had strong strikeout rates in lower levels that declined somewhat as he went through the system. Principally used as a reliever now, had a 4.91 ERA with Las Vegas, but a 5.86 K/9. Beware.
- Thomas "T.J." Nall: despite his nickname, he doesn't seem to have missed any time due to injury. The best thing you can say about him is he throws strikes; the bad thing is, they turn into hits (12.83 H/9 in 108 IP at Las Vegas).
- Mike Neu: had phenominal early years in the Reds organization, Neu was the Miami Hurricanes closer in college. Selected in the 27th round, he had outstanding strikeout rates until he was traded to Oakland; ever since, he's walked a lot of guys.
- Beltran Perez: former Diamondbacks prospect, he was part of the return in the Shawn Green trade. Posted the best ERA and K/9 of his career at the AA level, which may not be saying much since this was his third tour at that level. Baseball America named him one of the top 20 players in the AZL in 2000.
- Victor Perez: can't find a match for him in the Baseball Cube or Baseball America.
- Dimas Reina: 23-year-old in single-A ball. Nope.
- Ryan Rupe: 31, never been better than adequate at any level, and lately topping 6.00 ERA in Las Vegas. Just Say No.
- Mike Venafro: 31 and left-handed tell you all you need to know. Professional baseball is littered with guys like him. Not appearing on any upper-division team and certainly not on a contender.
Edwin Bellorin: weak-hitting, poor eye, must have some defensive value, else the Dodgers wouldn't have held on to him for so long. 23, so he's probably got some value in a system deprived of catching depth, if nothing else as an organizational player.
Jose Flores: infield depth purchased early on by DePodesta from the Oakland organization, he was the subject of some early bad doggerel around these parts. A 4-A type, he's never going to see a significant number of at bats, and probably will scurry off to whatever club needs a sixth infielder in their AAA club just in case.
- Todd Donovan: six-year veteran of the Padres system, has never hit well outside of hitters' leagues/parks.
- Nick Theodorou: 30, pretty much the same story as Donovan: no pop, weak hitter. Former Bruin.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Marathon: White Sox 7, Astros 5
San Jose Still Courting The A's
Monday, October 24, 2005
Groan: Rich Lederer And His Seven Petty Opinions
Selig To Make The Call On An Open Roof For Game 3?
Commissioner Bud Selig will make the final call on whether the roof will be open or closed. Pat Courtney, a spokesman for the commissioner's office, said baseball would consult with the teams and make the decision based on weather conditions Tuesday.Hey, whoever's paying to throw the series: write the check out to Bud Selig. That's "S" as in "snake", "e" as in "eel", "l" as in lycanthrope, "i" as in idiot, and "g" as in "graft". (Hat tip: BTF.)
"We just really want to have some standard procedure in place, to do what the club does regularly during the season," Courtney said.
Update: ESPN says Selig wants it open.
Minor League Scorebook
- Former Dodgers prospect Reggie Abercrombie has an easy-on-the-eyes .372/.413/.581 line in the AFL, and was hitting .500 over his last four games.
- Angels catcher Ryan Budde has been dropped from the AFL, due to a knee injury. He's replaced by Orioles catcher Ryan Hubele.
Wood: 1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Smith: 1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Buchholz: 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1.80 ERA
Demaria: (BS, 1)(L, 0-1) (in relief), 1.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 7.11 ERA
Today's was Brandon Wood's tenth homer in the AFL; the record is 12. Otherwise, quite a "Surprise"-ing game for Surprise, who got ambushed in the eighth with five runs. Chris Demaria of the Royals system gave up all five runs, four earned, as Surprise made four fielding errors in the game.
Drew: 0-3, 2 BB
Loney: 1-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Ethier: 1-1, 1 RBI, 3 BB
LaRoche: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Bankston: 2-4, 2 RBI, 1 BB
Shields: 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 8 K, 1 BB, 2 HR, 2.37 ERA
Hoorelbeke: (W, 1-0) (in relief), 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 0.00 ERA
Wow -- a 4-4 game Saturday, and now a home run from Loney. Kemp, who hadn't been hitting so much, also has a good day with a multi-hit game and a homer of his own.