Monday, March 14, 2016

Left Behind

Remember when the Dodgers had an all lefty rotation? Allow me to clear my throat. A-hem. Excuse me.

Yes, it is like what, the third week of practice baseball. I understand that, you understand that, and Bill Shaikin understands that. Still…we gotta talk about the fact that Scott Kazmir, so far, looks awful. So where does that leave the Dodgers?

Hello Mike Bolsinger story!

Hello Kenta Maeda story!

Hello Brandon Beachy story!

And, yes, hello to, my man, Zack Lee and a story ‘bout him, too!

You gotta love Spring and all the nervous energy that comes with it. 

Do not fret, though, Dodgers fans. As long as we have Clayton Kershaw, we'll be alright. Even if we’re never gonna be all-right.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

I'm No Doctor, But...

...shoulder looks good.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My Point is Zach Lee!

Spring Training is almost here. Pitchers and catchers will start throwing and catching this weekend at Camelback Ranch and there will be plenty to feast our eyes on at Dodgers' camp including hyped prospects and new arms recently added to the rotation. One intriguing new arm that I was really looking forward to seeing in action is the one attached to the torso of highly touted prospect Frankie Montas. The big righty from San Cristobal can reportedly reach over 100 mph with his fastball. Unfortunately, the Montasaurus, acquired earlier this offseason in a trade with the White Sox, will neither be springing nor training, as he just had rib surgery and will miss up to 4 months.

Even with the loss of Montas there stands to be some serious competition among pitchers at camp. As has been the case in the past, there again will be a skirmish for at least one of the bottom rotation slots. What makes this year a little different is that, usually, you would expect one of the finalists who narrowly misses out on the chance to be in the rotation to stick around as a long or middle reliever, but that seat appears to be already Joe Blanton(?).

In a magical world where pitchers are as healthy as they say, Los Angeles' starting five would be:
  1. Whats-his-name?
  2. Scott Kazmir, LHP
  3. Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP
  4. Brett Anderson, LHP
  5. Kenta Maeda, RHP
In the world I know, baseball teams always need guys to pitch innings for the other guys who can't. So, for the sake of argument let's ponder some of the Dodgers' other options to start should such an opportunity present itself. First I'll mention some names already on the 40-man roster that I imagine would be given the opportunity.  Alex Wood makes the most sense to me as a sixth starter with his only knock being that he is another left-hander. Mike Bolsinger throws from the right side, has major league experience with decent success, and will probably be used in the same emergency starter capacity that we have seen him in for the past two years because of his options remaining that allow him to be sent to and from AAA all year long. Of the non-roster options, we have some of the best pitching prospects in the game in lefty Julio Urias and the right handed Jose De Leon. Throw in Brandon Beachy as a reclamation project with upside and you see the potential future that intrigues eager Dodger fans.

Still, with all the eye candy, I have not soured on a former first rounder who is my pick to have a sweet year, Zach Lee. According to Los Angeles's organizational pitching coordinator, Rick Knapp, Lee is "a reliable option right now, and I think he will pitch big innings for us". That is a solid endorsement from a man who has coached for the likes of a 20 year-old Rick Porcello when he was a Major League pitching instructor with the Tigers. Knapp also says of Lee that "his command has improved immensely. He uses his cutter on both sides of the plate".

It would be nice if all our well paid starters pitched 160 or more innings this year but, if not, the point is that we seem to be pretty well insured against injury. I'm especially excited to see the younger throwers get a shot to start in 2016 and I agree wholeheartedly with Rick Knapp's assessment of Zach Lee: "I think he's on the cusp of a breakthrough".

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bait Presentation

Holy mackerel! Jose De Leon is tipping the scales at fifth on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 RHP Prospects list. Why am I casting his name out there? Because, having emerged from obscurity, De Leon has evolved from being reeled in in the 24th round of the 2013 draft and spawning a 6.96 ERA, to leading MiLB in K's per nine in just two years. He would make a great catch for any team looking for a major league-ready starter in the bottom half of their rotation that could be cost controlled for years to come.

Please don't trust me because I've been wrong before and I'll be wrong again. My instinct tells me, though, that the Dodgers are shopping prospects along with some dead money like Carl Crawford.

I'll be curious to see what happens, for reel!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Justin Upside

Just like me, Adrian Gonzalez is optimistic about the Dodgers roster in 2016. In an LA Times story from last month about his off-season training regimen, Gonzalez says of the defection of Zack Greinke to Arizona, "you're not going to replace him, but you can use that money that you didn't spend on a couple starters and a bat."

In the time since that piece was published on December 24, the Dodgers have spent on a couple starters. Their names are Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda and they committed to reasonable contracts.

The only item left from Adrian's proclamation is the "bat".

"These guys could be working on something really big that no one is thinking of. I don't worry about it. Right now, it might seem slow, it might seem like they're not doing much, but they could be doing a ton behind the scenes.

People focus on today," Gonzalez said. "They don't focus on what it might look like in February. I tell everyone to be patient. The off-season doesn't end until Game 1 of the regular season. You never know."

Just in time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Have A Cigar

Q: What's the difference between a humidor and the Los Angeles Dodgers?

A: The Dodgers have more Cubans!

The Dodgers have reached an agreement with Cuban righty Yaisel Sierra. He will join a host of fellow countrymen on his new team. The posse of established (to various degrees) teammates now includes similarly spelled given-namer Yasiel Puig, deliciously lobed Alex Guerrero, and the enigmatic Erisbel Arruebarrena.

Stud Cuban prospects were added in the form of outfielder Yusniel Diaz and infielder Omar Estevez. There's right-hander Yadiel Alvarez, outfielder Starling Heredia, and infielder Ronny Brito, too. Also, outfielders Christopher Arias and Carlos Rincon. Oh, and shortstop Oneal Cruz.

[take a breath] Picked 12th overall in the 2010 draft, Yasmani Grandal was born in Havana. In addition, the Dodgers had previously signed Cuban defector Hector Olivera for $62.5M and subsequently traded him. I probably missed one or two dozen, but you get the idea.

Could Lazarito be next?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hock a Loogy

...and so it begins.

We've known it would come to this; we knew that eventually the opening of a few roster spots would be necessary in order to accommodate adding some players not currently included on the 40-man roster to the team.

So now here we are one body lighter on the U.S.S. Dodgertown due to the return of left-handed reliever Armando Zerpa to his former team, the Boston Red Sox. This, combined with the ominous-sounding report of Hong-Chih Kuo’s sore elbow, combined with George Sherrill's Spring aches and lack of command, combined with recently demoted Scott Elbert's sore shoulder and 20.25 ERA, and combined with Brent Leach's struggles last year all lead me to believe that Cooletti is looking to hook Joe Torre and company up with an experiencied left-hander to help ease the bullpen burden.

As the Free Agent market for loogies dwindles down, there really are only a few names worth considering. Ron Mahay and Joe Beimel get the most play in rumors for any team that is looking to add a lefty, although Alan Embree is also available.

The Dodgers are getting to be obviously desperate with all the tough lefty luck lately, so I would expect any of the remaining free agents to be able to demand a Major League contract or an opt out of a Minor League deal like the one Will Ohman and his agent (hosed us on) were able to negotiate last year.