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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dodgers Place Jason Repko On Waivers

Via MSTI, the Dodgers have apparently placed Jason Repko on waivers. Combined with the earlier news that Eric Stults was being sold to the Hiroshima Carp, the Dodgers now have four slots empty on their 40-man roster.

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Dodgers Ship Eric Stults To Japan

Okay. I just don't get it, though; he was a lefty, he was cheap, he was reasonably effective ... what's the deal here?

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Ka-boom: The McCourts Blow Up

Now we see the violence inherent in the system:
Is Frank wrong about having to rein in spending? I don't think anyone who's followed this saga would say so. [...]

But such a lifestyle cannot be funded by the club in such a way as to damage the health of the organization. It's bad enough that major league payroll is obscenely low for a team playing in such a huge market. And it's bad enough that this frugality at the major league level isn't balanced by spending on amateur free agents or premium draft picks. And it's bad enough that plans are in place to double ticket prices without increasing player spending.

Update 3/30: There's a new AP story about the split:
Dennis Wasser, who represents Jamie McCourt, said Monday that the agreement didn't provide equitable allocation for his client. When the document was signed, Frank McCourt's value was about $380 million, while Jamie McCourt's was around $68 million, he said.

"There was already unequal division," Wasser said.

Which points at the legal angle Team Jamie will likely use, pushing the court toward a sale of the Dodgers (if necessary), in whole or in part, to satisfy the "unequal division" problem.
"We're in fantasyland here," he said. "It's Alice in Wonderland. I don't have my 3-D glasses on."

Jamie McCourt is seeking nearly $1 million a month in temporary spousal support. Trope offered her $150,000 in monthly assistance and argued his client can't tap credit lines to maintain Jamie McCourt's lavish lifestyle, despite his $5 million annual salary.

"If we look at this case, realistically, you can't order Mr. McCourt to borrow money to pay support," Trope told Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon, who also will preside at Tuesday's hearing.

And Josh Fisher was on Fred Roggin's show yesterday.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Vicente Padilla Named Opening Day Starter

It must be a matter of being the closest to ready. I really can't make up my mind about this, unless the Dodgers have figured this should be a motivation tool for young Mssrs. Kershaw and Billingsley to step up their respective games. Even so, Padilla has a 4.50 ERA, while Kershaw (1.80) and Bills (1.86) are doing a lot better this spring, in roughly the same number of innings. (Via True Blue LA.)


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dodger Stadium Shuttle To Run Again This Year

Thanks to a $300,000 clean air grant, the Dodger Stadium shuttle will once again run this year. Now, will they arrange access so that it's not just another crawl out of the parking lot?

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pickoff Moves

More On The McCourt Divorce

A USA Today interview with Frank McCourt over the divorce yields the following odd graf:
"Just the uncertainty of the future and what this divorce is going to do to the team has people very apprehensive," former Dodgers general manager Kevin Malone says. "I think it's a justifiable concern. People don't know if the McCourts will still own the team."
That in itself isn't the problem. It's the fire sale needed to liquidate the team (as happened in San Diego) in order to satisfy the demands of the divorce decree.

And then this:

"There's been an impression created that this is going to have a big impact on the team, when, in fact, it's having no impact," McCourt says. "There's almost a disconnect in what is written and what the reality is. What's important for the fans to know is that it's business as usual here.

"The team isn't for sale. I'm going to own the team for a long time. And, God willing one day, my four boys will own the team."

Well, we'll see about that. Everything hinges on the prenuptual agreement.

I can't tell from Joshua Fisher's week-old post on the subject, and he doesn't come out with a link indicating it, but it sounds like Jamie has changed attorneys.

Dodgers Awake From Teh Stupid, Release Angel Berroa

It's about time. MSTI has a bunch more on that, including links to their past columns on the matter.

Also at the link, Jamie Hoffman returns to the Dodgers from the Yankees, who estimated that keeping the former Rule 5 pick on their roster wouldn't be feasible.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dodgers Release Eric Gagne

Sorry about that.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Finis, And The Kids Are Alright, Sorta: Angels 10, Brewers 5

So, the last game of the spring training stint, this time at Maryvale. Once again, we got there late for various reasons, and so decided to park on surface streets away from the main lot; this proved a good idea as well again, because we didn't have to fuss with all the lousy traffic after the game. (Of course, the neighborhood near the Maryvale park is one of Phoenix's shabbier neighborhoods, as evidenced by the number of homes with bars over their windows, and graffiti on the open walls.)

The Angels' opponent, the Milwaukee Brewers, finally had a lone good season in 2008 that got them into the postseason for the first time since 1982; in those days, they were an AL team, and thumped the Angels in three straight following two losses that should have sealed an Angels series win and their first World Series appearance ever. Instead, and as the 1986 Red Sox found out, beating the Angels in the league postseason games is no guarantee of advancement. A long stretch of misery ensued; the Brewers' first winning season since 1992 wasn't until three years ago, opening a stretch of three straight winning seasons.

But 2008 was paid for on the installment plan, as Bernie Brewer found himself overdrawn to bring in C.C. Sabathia as a short-timer, moving the blocked Matt LaPorta to the American League Cleveland franchise in exchange, where his cement hands and wickedly hot bat could have some value. After an unimpressive first-round exit, 2009 proved the hangover from that all-too-brief party. That squad wasn't horrible, but the rotation couldn't handle the twin blows of losing Sabathia and never-quite-healthy ace-in-training Ben Sheets; and the offense became a less-impressive echo of the early oughts Giants, with Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun distantly recalling Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent, and everybody else (save 3B Casey McGehee, whose career year must have shocked his former Cubs overlords) doing their best Seven Dwarfs imitations.

So what the Angels caught today was pretty much an A-list Brewers squad. Featuring Fielder, Braun, and McGehee, manager Bob Melvin filled out his starting lineup card with players whose numbers were generally below 40, save for shortstop Luis Cruz, whose 75 should be ignored because he's actually on the 25-man.

The Angels battered Jeff Suppan as though he were testing pitches, hammering him for five runs in the first, which was really the game. Three balls left the yard off Angels bats, one by Bobby Abreu in the first, another by Kendry Morales in the fifth, and the last by Peter Bourjos in the sixth. It was a genuinely long day for everyone at the park, but most especially Brewers pitching.

Angels starter Joel Pineiro got through four innings in fairly good shape, surrendering a couple runs, one each in the third and fourth. One of them should have been unearned, as I reckoned McGehee's "single" in the fourth should have been scored E5, but wasn't; and then Corey Hart made what then would have been the last out of the inning, without damage.

Unlike the usual catastrophes, the Angels' AAA squad managed to best Milwaukee's minor leaguers in late innings. This included the never-before-seen-by-me Gabe DeHoyos, who donned Piniero's 35 in the eighth in order to maximally confuse matters. A hanger-on in two prior clubs' minor league organizations (Kansas City and San Diego), he gave up two of the Brewers' runs, both on a homer to catcher George Kotteras. Kotteras, had an amazing, clean swing that just stung the ball; it seemed like every foul he hit had home run distance. Probably most famous as the PTBNL that fetched David Wells from Boston, he's 29 now and pretty long in the tooth to have a career as even a major league reserve catcher.

Jim Edmonds was there, too, for the Brew Crew, performing the role of "NRI who isn't Mike Cameron and really shouldn't be on a major league field anymore". He got a few innings in the outfield, some at first, and completed the game, providing its last out as well. He walked and struck out, but looked for the world like a veteran pretending to be a major leaguer.

So I'm ready for the Show now.

MLB.com box

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Vinny Is Fine. Really.

No. Really. He just bumped his head, which is why he was admitted to the freaking hospital.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dodgers, Yay, Parking Lot, Boo: Dodgers 7, Cubs 3

I should start this post — hold on, kids, it's gonna be a doozy — by a encapsulated review of the game itself, which featured Manny Ramirez playing the field, apparently for the first time this spring training, a storyline stumbled into by the national media. Being the only time I was going to visit the Dodgers this year, it proved helpful that we also got to see Chad Billingsley make a start, and a strong effort it was, with the now-anointed ace going 4.2 innings and all but walking away with the win.

He would have gotten the win, that is, save for one of Joe Torre's inexplicable hooks, bringing in southpaw Jon Link to face the hapless Kosuke Fukudome. If you've been keeping up with the Cubs' outfield lately (or just follow the link), you should know that sending a lefty against Fukudome is something like kicking a puppy (.242/.343/.324 career vs. lefties, vs. .262/.372/.417 against righties). But that aside, Bills posted a very fine outing and generally appeared the stud we all hope and imagine he will be.

Cubs starter Ryan Dempster came within three outs of a quality start, but unlike Billingsley, was nowhere near as convincing. Thanks to forgotten tickets, we were forced to hurry back to our Tempe condo just after we arrived at Camelback. By the time we arrived, the first half inning was over; and by the time we arrived within audible distance of the outfield, we heard the unmistakable bass thumps of a home team home run. Sure enough, there was Manny doing the honors, cashing in Matt Kemp, who had previously doubled.

The Dodgers mounted another threat in the second with a leadoff walk by Blake DeWitt and a Casey Blake double, but Dempster dispatched the next three batters in succession. The third and fourth were even quieter, but the Dodgers started beating on his replacements, former Pirates closer John Grabow, and the wholly unremarkable (in this spring training, at least) John Gaub. Gaub is being severely challenged by this spring assignment — his ERA at the end of the game was a fairly brutal 7.94 — but he also jumped two levels last year. His high strikeout rate in even AAA (11.9 K/9) coupled with very reasonable walk rates (hovering around 2-3 K/BB) means this is not the last the league has seen of this fellow.

The Dodgers replacement machine started churning in the fifth, with Garret Anderson and his uniform double zeros spelling Manny. It got into high gear in the sixth and seventh, after which every starter save Brad Ausmus had been sent off to shower; and by the end of the eighth, so with him, too. GA got a couple hits, the first a double, and eventually scored on DeWitt's RBI single. Anderson went 2-for-2 in the game on a seventh-inning single, which probably padded his resume for the lefty pinch-hitter job I hear is still open. Also — and I add this to burnish my wife's resume — she called the Reed Johnson three-run homer in the seventh against Gaub.

The Cubs scored again against butterfly specialist Charlie Haeger in the sixth. Now, one of the oddities of Camelback's main stadium is that, unlike Dodger Stadium (and most rational parks) that face north or northeast, Camelback inexplicably faces southeast. This has several unfortunate consequences:

  1. The audience will be in sun almost the entire time for afternoon games, save for the people who pay to be away from the field.
  2. The prevailing winds will always favor right-handed pull hitters by pushing the ball more to the short end of the fence.
  3. Knuckleballers will almost always suck because the prevailing winds in Phoenix are inevitably eastward. Since knuckleballers always do better tossing their floaters into the wind, this means poor Charlie is always at a disadvantage.
Just as I figured, Haegar — hardly a control artist under ideal circumstances — was as wild as I've ever seen him in my limited exposure. He gave up a leadoff walk (on four pitches? I was too busy tracking lineup changes to count) to Derrick Lee to start off the sixth. A stolen base and a single from Tyler Colvin later, and next thing you know the Cubs are nibbling their way back to a 2-2 tie.

The offensive outburst didn't last long, because Haeger got the next two in succession; despite a second walk in the inning, he got Geovanny Soto to pop out to short to end the frame.

Aside from some late-innings anti-heroics from the B-team Cubs — there was a hilarious series of incidents in which Bobby Scales had three separate opportunities to score, but only did so once — the game was never really in doubt. And so the afternoon.

But thence to the other topic of discussion, the parking lot. About a year ago, I made a number of entirely reasonable suggestions in the midst of a rant about parking lot operations at Camelback Ranch. Two things about this, after a one year lapse, now appear fairly obvious to me now:
  1. Clearly, some of these issues were patently obvious, because the baseball operations people have done something about them, and
  2. They have managed to screw things up in different, but equally perplexing and infuriating dimensions.
To recap, my points from last year: My friend Al Yellon, who irascibly blogs about the Cubs at Bleed Cubbie Blue, parked in the main lot and accordingly reported a Dantean disaster in trying to escape:

I had been warned about this before I went to Camelback Ranch -- had not been there before today -- but until I saw it for myself, it was not for believing. It took almost two hours to get back to where I'm staying in Scottsdale. I could have returned from a game in Tucson faster.

After today's game -- which set a Cactus League record for single-game attendance with 13,391, breaking a six-year-old record from a Cubs/Mariners game in Peoria on March 12, 2004 -- it took one hour to get out of the parking lot. This included thirty minutes of not moving at all. And this was after about half the crowd had left before the game ended.

I have been at sold-out major league stadiums in Philadelphia and New York -- 45,000 or so people -- where I got out of the parking lot in less than five minutes. I have been at two Fiesta Bowls here in the Valley -- about 75,000 fans total -- where I got out of the parking lot in less than ten minutes. There is absolutely no excuse for the design of this spring training complex, which seats about 13,000, to have a parking and traffic pattern this terrible. It ruins the experience. When I finally did get out of the lot, police forced me to go west on Camelback Road rather than east toward the 101 loop, forcing me to take a long detour north and go north, rather than south, on the 101.

Here are some comments written last year by my friend Rob at the Angels/Dodgers blog 6-4-2; they echo my sentiments. There's plenty of open land around the complex; there is absolutely no reason to route traffic the way they did. Parking is free -- obviously, you get what you pay for. Since I already have a ticket for tomorrow's game vs. the White Sox at the same location, I'm going back. But unless they fix the problem, that will be the last time I attend a game at Camelback Ranch.

An incidental thanks for the link, but I fear he hasn't really appreciated that I actually suggested the traffic routing in question. At the time, because we were afraid of exactly the catastrophe he encountered, we parked in the residential streets south of West Camelback Road, walked through all the parking lots there, and still beat Al out of the parking lot (I know because I texted him at the time). We could have been a mile further out and still managed a better time from exiting the park to getting in the car and on the road.

The good news is that we weren't charged for parking the first time we entered, and I understand from a conversation with the woman directing traffic in our section that this is now de rigueur, along with a $2 surcharge on the tickets. Given the Kafkaesque lines last year just getting into the park, this strikes a sensible note. But Al mentioned privately that there was only a single lane exiting the park, which may have been overall or just in his section, but either way, it represents a profoundly callous thumb on the nose at the paying customers. I'm less inclined to get my hate on for the McCourts these days, but it's stuff like this that really makes me think they're not thinking even very obvious things through, and their much-vaunted gas about fan experience is just that.

MLB.com box

Update: Some quick validation with Google Maps indicates that Camelback is the one of only two spring training facilities in a southeast orientation, the other being soon-retired Hi Corbett Field. Among spring training parks, the only fields currently in use in the Grapefruit League with an unconventional orientation include The Ballpark At Disney's Wide World Of Sports (Braves), Ed Smith Stadium (Orioles), and possibly others, but I'm running out of time at the moment.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Long, Slow Wait For The Regular Season: Diamondbacks 7, Angels 6

There's no way to sugarcoat this: the Angels relief corps blew a five-run lead. And it's not like it was some dude who'll spend his days praying for Scot Shields' surgically repaired knee to give way, either, but Matt Palmer, somebody who appears still likely to return to the 25-man roster. Based on his spring thus far, last year's savior spare part is this spring training's apparent candidate for Most Likely To Become A Cucurbita Maxima.

It wasn't as though things were horrible from the get-go; Palmer entered the game in the top of the fifth, giving up only a single and conveniently getting out of the frame in part thanks to Steven Drew erasing himself on the base paths. The sixth was rougher, with a solo blast to Mark Reynolds (okay, he does that), but also a walk to Miguel Montero, a player not exactly fond of the walk.

But it was the seventh that really proved Palmer's undoing, because he gave up hard-hit balls to Tony Abreu (double), Cole Gillespie (RBI triple), and Jose Macias (RBI single). After a fly out off the bat of Rusty Ryal for the inning's second out, he then failed to make an out against the next three batters. Granted, it was a warm-ish day (probably in the 80's by this time), but he looked as thoroughly and completely lost as I have ever seen a pitcher in my life. The walk at the end was the anti-cherry on top of this turd sundae.

Which is really too bad, because the Angels offense went to town against Ian Kennedy and Leo Rosales, pummeling both for six runs, all earned, four against a Kennedy who left the mound every bit as perplexed as Palmer would three frames later.

Will a pitcher, any relief pitcher, please answer the white courtesy phone?

MLB.com box

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Ron Washington Tests Positive For Cocaine

Why are they testing managers for drugs?

He'll have to go to some counseling, because that's what they do for first-time offenders where the team doesn't want to fire the individual. The team has known about this since last year, and elected to retain his services. He will face no suspension.

Nothing to see here. Move on.

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Silva Lining For Cubs: Cubs 4, Rangers 1

Carlos Silva threw his best game in a very long while, and certainly his best of the spring, after learning his mother would be admitted to the U.S. on a 10-year visa. Posting four frames of scoreless ball against a starting lineup that could be what a Rangers team might vaguely look like if they were hard-hit by injury, the Rangers didn't finally score until Justin Smoak took Marcos Mateo deep in the eighth, a solo blast that didn't change the outcome of the game.

Surprise of the game: Esmailin Caridad, who threw a very convincing two frames while allowing only one baserunner, Joaquin Arias, who promptly erased himself to end the fifth. It was a very impressive outing for him, and I expect his name will come up in discussions about the eighth inning for the Cubs this year.

MLB.com box

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cory Wade Done For Months

Shoulder surgery. Ouch.

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Pickoff Moves

Rangers Sale Once More Nixed

Via David Pinto, Tom Hicks' creditors have vetoed the most recent sale plan for that franchise.
This doesn't mean Greenberg doesn't end up with the Rangers at some point. It does, however, yet again, render the rosy "every little thing gonna be alright" jazz he's been peddling since December increasingly silly. Deals of this size get derailed over far less than $60 million, and even if they end up going through, a difference in that amount can utterly destroy the timeline.

Upshot: there's a very real possibility that the Rangers may spend another season, or at least a good chunk of it, in the same kind of financial limbo they were in last year. A year in which they had to beg MLB for loans.

Gagne Reassigned To Minor League Camp

Game Over is over, at least, that's my reading of it.
In addition to Gagne, the Dodgers optioned pitcher Scott Elbert and reassigned pitcher Scott Dohmann, outfielder Michael Restovich and infielder John Lindsey. Elbert had been in the running for the fifth starter job, but had been hampered by a sore shoulder early in camp and a 20.25 ERA more recently.

The Dodgers also returned left-handed Rule 5 pick Armando Zerpa to the Boston organization.

After their 4-0 victory over the Angels in Tempe, Ariz., on Monday, the Dodgers made four additional camp cuts. Right-hander Travis Schlichting, lefty Brent Leach and infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr. were optioned to the Minor League camp. Reassigned to the Minors camp was infielder Argenis Reyes, a non-roster invitee.

I expect we haven't seen the last of Elbert this year; pitching has a way of calling guys up.

Dodgers Blank Angels: Dodgers 4, Angels 0

The only good news in this for the Angels was the solid spring debuts of Fernando Rodney and Kevin Jepson; otherwise, not much to talk about, as the Dodgers beat up on Scott Kazmir and Sean O'Sullivan some. Expect to see a lot more articles like this one on MLB.com talking up Kazmir's learning a new pitch, or some other wishcasting designed to take the sting away from Sean Rodriguez now being in Tampa Bay's hands.

The Dodgers got four scoreless innings from Ramon Ortiz, who faced a pretty much straight-up Angels squad the whole time. I don't read too much into it, but it's pretty good for a guy who hasn't pitched in the Show in three years.

MLB.com box

Abreu, Aybar, Willits Injured

... and none appeared in yesterday's game. None of it's serious, though; Abreu has a sore oblique, Aybar a stiff arm, and Willits a sore hamstring.

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Hi Corbett, And Bye: Rockies 5, Cubs 2

The main point of this exercise was really to see the last of Spring Training in Tucson, because both the Rockies and Diamondbacks have announced their intention to move to Phoenix for 2011. In a sense, that's too bad; Tucson summer average temperatures are about 20°F below Phoenix, though that makes no difference for Spring.

Hi Corbett Field itself was an anachronism, a sub-9,000-capacity park with some of the most dilapidated stands I've seen in the circuit; no cup holders, aluminum bench seats almost everywhere (though with the plus of actual shade for at least the seats back of home plate — make it so, Arte), and cramped concourses built for a park about a third smaller, the Rockies clearly weren't planning on a lot of snowbirds winging their way south. In fact, the stands were mostly filled with Cub fans, and we sat next to a group of such, including one team-challenged guy wearing a Cards shirt whose wife, apparently, was a Cubs fan also.

The restrooms were clearly built for a smaller capacity, too, and about them, the less said, the better.

The game itself was amusing, mostly for Carlos Zambrano's RBI double in the second inning off Rockies starter Jeff Francis. Under ordinary circumstances, I would say that watching Z run the bases is like seeing what any of the Molina brothers might do if they ever indulged in speed, but Zambrano seems to have lost weight in the offseason, so maybe he's getting a lift that way.

Otherwise, the Rockies pretty much beat up on the junk end of the Cubs' bullpen hopefuls, only one of whom, Justin Berg, gave any indication he was a serious candidate to make the team (and he probably won't).

MLB.com box

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Making The Missus Happy: Cubs 8, Angels 7

I didn't think much of Joel Piniero when he was a Mariner, though maybe I should have; his age 22-24 seasons were very good for someone that age, especially considering the number of guys who don't even make it to the Show until they're 26. The M's cut bait on him in his walk year following a trio of down performances marked by elbow and minor shoulder trouble, then a conversion to relief; he's done nothing since then to convince me he's anything but a back-end-of-the-rotation guy. For all that Cardinals supercoach Dave Duncan has been able to convert junkpile pickups into usable rotation pieces, the tell for Piniero has been the collapse in his K/9 rates to sub-Washburnian levels.

He's made up for that by getting a lot more ground balls — last year's 3.89 G/F ratio was a high-water mark for his career. What's strange about this is how he's suddenly started relying heavily on his fastball, throwing it 70% of the time, despite getting hammered when he throws it.

As everyone else has been quick to point out, there's no use extrapolating from a single spring training game, but Pineiro did not look at all sharp yesterday. If there was any value in it, it was seeing some of the names I didn't know until I picked up my Baseball America Prospect Handbook 2010, mainly Alexi Amarista, who appears to be another in the Angels' middle infield machine. Already pegged for second base because of concerns about his range and arm, he'll have to develop some baserunning smarts, as he was caught stealing in 66% of his attempts last year. That he got a look in major league camp is indicative of what the Angels think he's capable of.

As has been typical of these games, the non-Pineiro portion of the roster ended up losing it, with Rich Thompson and his on-again, off-again skills surrendering the loss. It took until the ninth, a B- squad from the Cubs, and Anthony Ortega before the Angels were again able to keep the Cubs off the board. I realize it's only spring, but it would be nice to see some of the kids haul themselves up and throw well.

Update: Bobby Abreu was a scratch (side tightness) in yesterday's game, as was Erick Aybar (sore arm).

MLB box

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Echo Of Justin Speier: Royals 12, Angels 3

Unlike years past, I didn't order my copy of Baseball Prospectus from Amazon, but kept dawdling until we actually arrived in Phoenix. I've only just now started reading it, but already I've got some criticisms of it and its sister website: Getting back to yesterday's game — and the reason for my hauling the 2010 annual into this discusssion — the anonymous author of the Angels' section reminded us of just how awful the 2009 Angels' bullpen was, enduring the injury and temporary ineffectiveness of Darren Oliver, a fall to earth (and then some) from Jose Arredondo, another injury year to the now-no-longer-quite-so-resilient Scot Shields, the increasingly corroded Brian Fuentes, and the plain crappiness of a superannuated Justin Speier.

What's obvious is that the Angels need pitching depth, now more than ever. Unfortunately, if yesterday's performance is any indication, the guys on the B team behind the likely 25-man-roster are not ready for the Show, and may never be. Rafael Rodriguez and Ryan Brasier both got lit up by the Royals' B+ squad, Rodriguez in particular giving up a couple longballs that were no doubters to right center. The recent model Angels have managed to win with depth, and for the first time since 2002, they don't appear to have it.

MLB box

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Friday, March 12, 2010

The Return Of Angels Kremlinology

Almost didn't notice this one, but now we've got Bobby Abreu, Jered Weaver, and Torii Hunter as the Faces of the Franchise.

Update: Season tickets:

Torii Hunter, Hideki Matsui, Erick Aybar, Bobby Abreu, and Scott Kazmir. Kazmir over Weaver seems like an odd choice.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

One Geezer Gone: Brian Giles Retires

His knee isn't getting better, so whew. And, congratulations on a very nice career, Mr. Giles.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'm Late, I'm Late

Sorely overdue bullet points (in some cases, literally) —

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Simers On Anderson

It's a rare thing when T.J. Simers isn't either acrid or jejune, but today's column hits the right note about Garret Anderson's possible retirement if GA doesn't make the Dodgers as a left-handed pinch-hitting specialist:
"A few years ago when Tim Salmon was a guest at Angels camp he says to me, 'It's funny when you come up, you got to show them you can play, and when you get older you got to show them again you can play.'

"But it's like I told my kids when I left L.A., either way it goes, I'm coming home. I'm coming home for good, or I'm coming home to play for the Dodgers."

Either is possible, and given the Dodgers' outfield situation, it's likely he'll be sipping mai tais in April. Good luck to you, Garret. You were a great Angel.

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Saturday, March 06, 2010

One Expensive Divorce: $19M Price Tag For The McCourts' Bustup

That's, like, eight months of Roy Halladay.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Dodgers' Belisario Stuck In Venezuela As DUI Delays His Visa

Ronald Belisario is still stuck in Venezuela with visa issues stemming from his drunk-driving arrest last summer; apparently, he knew the visa process would take longer with this on his record, but he waited until the last minute to apply.
There also is a provision, known as Regulation 6, in the current Basic Agreement between owners and the players' union that would allow the Dodgers to suspend Belisario without pay and require him to stay behind in extended spring training when the team breaks camp if he doesn't report at least 33 days before the start of the season.
More on this from Jon, who is concerned that the Dodgers are more worried about his tardiness than they were about the DUI that caused the delay.

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Dodgers Sign Garret Anderson To Minor League Deal

He'll be competing with Brian Giles and Doug Mientkiewicz for a left-handed pinch-hitting role with the team. With the Dodgers' outfield, you have to believe the number of at-bats he's gonna get is pretty slim. The 37-year-old hit .268/.303/.401 with the Braves in 2009 over a surprisingly large 534 plate appearances. It's not a bad deal for the Dodgers, and I would have to guess that at this point Anderson might just be the best fourth outfielder the Dodgers have at the moment, having paid little attention to the bench role jockeying in the offseason. It's kind of a surprise to see him go this late in the offseason, considering.

Update: MSTI slaps me out of my torpor, reminding me that Xavier Paul has the fourth OF job sewn up, or really, any of several different candidates. So this is really a puzzler.

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Ex-Angels System Pitcher Victor Rojas To Take Over The TV Booth From Rory Markus

Son of former Angels manager Cookie Rojas, Victor Rojas has been tabbed to replace the late Rory Markus in the Angels' TV booth. It's an odd choice all things considered, but I also haven't heard him call any games; I certainly missed his MLB Network calls of the Caribbean World Series. He was also a broadcaster in the radio and TV booths for the Texas Rangers, and in 2003 for the Diamondbacks on radio.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

John Sickels' 2010 Sleepers Lists

One Dodger and five Angels highlight John Sickels' 2010 sleepers list:
Alexia Amarista, 2B, Los Angeles Angels
Jon Bachanov, RHP, Los Angeles Angels
Ryan Chaffee, RHP, Los Angeles Angels
Carlos Ramirez, C, Los Angles Angels
Andrew Taylor, LHP, Los Angeles Angels
Allen Webster, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

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Kendry Morales Finally In The House

Kendry Morales has reported to Tempe at last.

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Dodgers, Angels Among Four Cactus League Teams Boycotting Kickoff Breakfast

... as a protest against ticket surcharges levied by the Arizona legislature to pay for the Cubs' new splendiferous park they're supposed to get. I find it hilarious that, once the legislature decides these wealthy deadbeats should have to pay for their own stadiums by way of a levy, they suddenly get upset about it.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Talk About High Maintenance: Jamie McCourt's Wish List

Via True Blue LA, TMZ lists Jamie McCourt's monthly expenses at $568,829 a month, with the total coming to near double that at $988,845. Double!

The hate will necessarily and rightly attach to Jamie McCourt. And that is, mainly, as it should be. However, for her to ring up these kinds of bills in the first place, Frank had to know about it. This does not speak of someone accustomed to saying "no" to unusual and possibly uneconomic expenses; see, for instance, Joshua Fisher's analysis of her ~$290k/mo. private jet last week. How could Frank not know about this, and what sort of equally obscene, if not more so, personal expenses has he granted himself?

Something to remember next time the Dodgers tell you they don't have $500,000 for a second-round draftee, or $1.5M for a Dominican phenom.

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Awesome Downloadable iCal, Outlook, And Other Schedules Now Available At MLB.com!

For the Angels and Dodgers, schedules compatible with Apple iCal, Microsoft Outlook, and Google and Yahoo Calendar formats, plus good-old-fashioned CSV. Neat! (Thanks to Helen for spotting this.)

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