The Rangers claimed Rule 5 righty Seth Rosin, and the White Sox claimed reliever Javy Guerra from the Dodgers on Wednesday. While Guerra seemed to be a lost cause for the Dodgers, Rosin on the other hand was coming out of a very good spring training and was one player I really wanted to see make it.
Rosin would have been a good addition to the bullpen and a great weapon to have in your back pocket. Being a former starter for the Phillies double A club last year means he could go out for more than an inning of work. While he may not have been headed to being a top of the rotation starter, he was defiantly on his way to being an above average reliever, with Rosin dropping his below average changeup, and sticking to a really good fastball-slider combination instead. Look at how Chris Withrow has gone from starting to relieving for example.
With the Dodgers pitching coaches with him, and the fact the Rosin is only 25 years old, I feel that the Dodgers could be missing out on a really good piece in the pen for a years to come. The Dodgers also paid the Mets $50 thousand dollars to pick Rosin in the Rule 5 Draft. I know money doesn’t matter to the Dodgers, but I just thought I’d throw it out there that they are literally throwing that money in the trash, but I guess that’s nothing new.
Two factors kept Rosin from making the Dodgers. One happens to be that the Dodgers have a really good bullpen already. It’s hard to find room for a spot when you have proven pitchers like Rodriguez, Howell, Withrow, Perez, Wilson and Jansen. So I can see, from the Dodgers front office point of view, why a pitcher like Rosin is expendable. To them it doesn’t really matter that they spent $50 thousand dollars on a player to pitch four spring training games just to give him away to the Rangers. After all the Dodgers have wasted a lot more money than that on below average players.
Speaking of wasting money on below average players, that brings me to reason number two, Brandon League. Instead of having a pitcher that could be useful like Rosin in the pen, the Dodgers are burning $7.5 million dollars a year, for two more agonizing years, for a pitcher that even they don’t really want to use. Now, who’s to say for certain that Rosin would still be a Dodger even if League wasn’t on the team, but League is using up a roster spot that could definitely go to someone more deserving of it. Instead of having a spot for a young player hungry for a chance in the Majors, the spot is wasting away on a player who’s walking the shores of Southern California looking for his career because it’s washed up.
predicted this would happen back in his February article for the LA Times. At the end he made a great point of another pitcher who had a good spring and didn’t make the team.
“Now, the Dodgers will tell you these things have a way of working themselves out, though certainly not always. Last year Kevin Gregg was terrific in the spring and Manager Don Mattingly wanted to keep him. Instead, he was let go. He went on to sign with the Cubs and became their closer, saving 33 games.”
While the Dodgers can’t change the past, and unfortunately had to let Rosin go, I wish him good luck with the Rangers. I’ll be looking for his name in the box scores.
The season is finally here, well at least briefly, as the Dodgers and D-Backs open up their two game series in Australia Saturday morning. Though it will be a half a world away this Dodgers fan is excited to see a few meaningful games. My excitement can be summed up in the words of Entourage’s great Ari Gold when he said,“We are gonna get drunk with Russell Crowe and we’re gonna head-butt some goddamn kangaroos.”
Clayton “No Flaw” KKKershaw will get the start for the Dodgers in the land down under. While he might not be one to head-butt kangaroos with me, he is one to completely manhandle a team. Kershaw has had a rough spring by his standards but looks to turn it around in the series opener. Kershaw is 7-6 with a 2.22 ERA lifetime vs. the D-backs. he owns most of the hitters but will have to be mindful when facing Gerardo Parra. Out of all the D-Backs, Parra has had the most success against Kershaw, posting a .333 batting average in 18 career AB against the lefty.
Wade “They Hit It Off Me A” Miley will get the start for the D-Backs. Miley is replacing Patrick Corbin, after Corbin damaged his ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. This change won’t make the game any easier for the Dodgers as Miley is a pretty solid pitcher in his own right. Miley is 3-1 with a 3.59 ERA lifetime about the Dodgers. Keep a lookout for Hanley Ramirez in this game as Ramirez seems to own Miley. Ramirez is batting .455 with a home run and 3 RBI’s in 11 career AB against Miley.
Tim Welke is scheduled to be calling the balls and strikes in the first game of the series. Welke habits in 2013 were calling strikes on 10.46% of balls out of the strikezone. That percentage is the 12th highest for umpires
One thing that is kinda cool for me as a baseball fan, is to see non roster invitee Justin Turner not only make the team, but actually start the first game of the season at second base. Turner earned a spot with the Dodgers after posting a triple slash line of .355/.447/.484 this spring with some solid defence too. It also means we won’t have to see Dee “I Like Big Bunts And I Can Not Lie” Gordon until Sunday.
So get hyped up for a long morning Dodger fans, and get ready to hear Vin Scully, who made the trip to Australia, utter those magic words, “It’s Time For Dodgers Baseball!”
On Thursday, 23-year-old Cuban shortstop Barbaro Erisbel Arruebarrena finally got his visa and showed up to camp. Last month the Dodgers signed Arruebarrena to 5 yr/$25 million dollar contract. Now as much as everybody gets excited about Cuban players, Arruebarrena deffinetly has some question marks in his game and would need to work hard to have a chance to play with the team this season. It’s with good reason to think he’ll play in the minors all year. especially since Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti called Arruebarrena’s offense “a work in progress.”
Arruebarrena, who defected from Cuba in the fall of 2013, is the third prominent Cuban player signed by the Dodgers in a short span, following Yasiel Puig and Alex Guerrero. When asked how he felt about being in camp, Arruebarrena stated, “I’m really excited, not nervous. I’m going to get ready to play baseball. I’m happy to sign with the Dodgers.” Arruebarrena will wear Manny Mota’s No. 11 jersey.
Arruebarrena has all the defensive tools you could ask for in a shortstop (check out the video below), but in a article by Ben Badle, Badle talked to an international scouting director who broke it down how Arruebarrena would fit on a team. “He’s a premium defender at a premium position with questions on the bat,” said the scouting director. “If you’re built well offensively around the field other than shortstop, you can live with that if you get outstanding defense. But the bat is still the question mark.”
As much work as Arruebarrena has in front of him, mostly everyone one agrees that his potential ceiling his very high. It’s also very low risk for a team like the Dodgers who seem to have money to throw away if need be. If Arruebarrena becomes a star it’s a good deal. If he doesn’t, what’s $25 million dollars to owners with deep pockets?
In an article at MLB.com, it stated that Arruebarrena felt he was in shape to play now, but hasn’t played regularly since the winter. Either way, I’m super excited and curious to see what he looks like in his first game.
In the hip hop song “Glamor Life,” Cuban Link says, “If it doesn’t make dollars then it doesn’t make sense.” Well the Dodgers have dollars and Clayton Kershaw definitely makes sense. How much sense does Kershaw make for the Dodgers? About $215 million dollars worth of sense as it was announced on Wednesday that, the Dodgers and Kershaw came to an agreement on a 7 year/$215 million dollar contract extension. The contract also has a player opt out clause after 5 years, which would mean Kershaw could be a free agent at the age of 30.
[Update] On Thursday Joel Sherman of the new york post reported via Twitter that, Kershaw could void his contract before the start of the next season if traded to another team mid-season, or immediately after the season ends if he is traded before the season begins. Further more, if Kershaw is traded in the off-season he would get a one time $3 million dollar bonus. Kershaw could also earn bonuses with the Dodgers. He would get $1 million for winning the Cy Young award or, $500,000 for coming in second or third.
This kind of contract is most deserving for the two reasons. The first reason is his age, while most players get this kind of contract in their peak or tail end of their prime, Kershaw is 2 to 3 years away from entering his prime. The second is his dominance on the mound. Kershaw has proved he’s no flash in the pan talent. With his 1.83 ERA in 2013, Kershaw became only the third pitcher in MLB history to lead the MLB in ERA three years in a row. He’s not just the number one guy for the Dodgers, Kershaw is a “true” ace that could go to any team in the Majors and automatically be their number one guy. That type of pitcher are a rarity in baseball to be sure.
In the last three seasons Kershaw has been simply amazing, posting a 2.21 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 9.15 K/9, and a 2.19 BB/9 in that time span, which is good for a 18.5 WAR. One of the reasons Kershaw has been so dominate is his continued improvement on his slider. When he debuted with the Dodgers in 2008, Clayton threw a fastball (93mph), changeup (85mph), and the most devastating curveball (74mph) known to man. The only flaw was that batters got wise with two strike and would just let the curve go without taking a swing.
In 2009 he added the slider (85mph) to his repertoire to solve the problem and, every year it just keeps getting better. As you can see looking at Kershaws Wiff Percentage in the chart above, via Brooks Baseball, the rate at which batters swing and miss on his slider has not only jumped up almost every year and is the second most thrown pitch next to the fastball. He’s still mostly a three pitch pitcher as he rarely uses the changeup.
Besides his on-field talents another reason it’s a good move by the Dodgers is his off-field actions. Kershaw involves himself in a lot of charity work through Kershaw’s Challenge, a foundation that aids at-risk children. Its cornerstone charity, Arise Africa,has built and is maintaining an orphanage in Zambia. Kershaw is also involved with Sharefest in Los Angeles and Mercy Street in Dallas, which both sponsor after-school programs and sports for children. He also donated $500 dollars for every strikeout he’s gotten since 2011, which has amounted to $354,500 dollars to date.
All this earned Kershaw the 2013 Branch Rickey Award, which is designed to honor those in baseball who contribute unselfishly to their communities and who are strong role models for young people. Speaking of being a role model Clayton is probably one of the best you can have. Despite his success and popularity he maintains a relatively quiet privet life. You won’t see him on TMZ rubbing shoulders with celebrities, running up $25,000 dollar tabs at the club, or getting arrested for doing 110 mph.
In fact in my opinion, and some may argue this, Kershaw has quietly passed up Matt Kemp to become the face of the franchise. Ticket sales are a little higher when he starts because fans know it’s almost an automatic win for the team. So Dodger fans breathe a sigh of relief because Clayton Kershaw is going to be a Dodger for a long time to come. This deal is good for the franchise, the team, and most importantly us fans.
On Wednesday the Dodgers announced a list of upgrades to Dodger Stadium that will be in place by opening day of the 2014 season. The new ownership has continued to take big initiative to upgrade the soon to be 52-year-old stadium, the third oldest in baseball, in an effort to make it as modern as possible.
Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten said in the press release,
“Dodger Stadium is one of the most fan-friendly and family-oriented venues in all of baseball. Our goal is to ensure that we maintain that elite status while continuing to do everything in our power to bring a world championship to Dodger fans.”
In 2013 a few of the big upgrades the Dodgers made for the fans were, renovating and enlarging every restroom on the Top Deck, Reserve, Loge and Pavilion levels, and replacing the 1962 power supply with modern equipment in order to add WiFi and cell service.
Here’s what the Dodgers have in store for 2014:
1. Expansion of the entries at the Field level, enabling all fans with Pavilion, Dugout, Field, Loge and Club tickets to enter the convenient entrances on the north side of the stadium. These new entries will also house new team stores and concessions and memorabilia to celebrate the team history, including its famous seasons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as its five-plus decades in Los Angeles.
2. Seating and lounging areas at bars and drink rails overlooking the bullpens in the outfield, giving focus to pitchers warming up as well as infield game views.
3. New food services with outdoor grills and specialty fare such as Tommy Lasorda’s Italian and hot-off-the-grill BBQ, areas where the Hall of Fame manager and other former players will spend time with fans.
4. An expansion of the popular Reserve Level “La Taqueria” stand near the kids play area at the left field Reserve entry.
5. Relocating the visiting team clubhouse to an area near the visiting team dugout at field level so that all visiting team areas are in a single new area adjacent to the batting tunnel, conditioning room and training area built in newly created space in 2013.
6. Continuing work on the upgrade of the electrical infrastructure that supports the 1962 stadium. In 2013, significant new equipment and substations were installed in coordination with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Work will continue this offseason to connect to the new equipment to improve safety and provide the best technology available for fans.
7. Enhancement of the ballpark’s landscaping. All 33 trees in the outfield area have been replanted on site and the Dodgers, the only team in baseball with a full-time arborist, will have three times as many trees in the outfield by April as before. The display of the famed “Three Sisters” behind the left-field bullpen will remain.
On Tuesday the Dodgers and manager Don Mattingly have agreed to a three-year extention, as first reported by Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. While the terms of the deal are still unknown, this will definitely cool the obvious tensions that had previously, and publicly, existed between the two sides. Mattingly was currently signed through 2014 when his option vested after winning the NLDS.
[Update] On Wednesday Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times tweets that Ned Colletti officially announces that Mattingly has signed a new contract with the Dodgers.
At a press conference with last year Mattingly, who led the Dodgers’ to the NLCS last season, pulled what WWE fans would call a “pipe bomb,” when he stated in front of Dodgers GM Ned Colletti and the press, “My option vested when we beat Atlanta, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be back.” The press conference (see video below) left many wondering if the relationship between the Dodgers’ and Mattingly had come to an end.
Although Mattingly has a winning record in his three seasons as the Dodgers manager, 260-225 for a .536 W-L%, his in-game tactics have been criticized by fans and media in the past. Most notably with his bullpen management and, his seeming obsession to bunt with players that are better off swinging away than dropping a bunt down.
Despite his in-game tactics, Mattingly has been masterful in his clubhouse managing. Even in their early season struggles last year the Dodgers’ moral, as a team, seems to be a pretty positive one. The players seem to really have high admiration and respect for Mattingly. He’s done a great job of keeping everyone’s ego in check and has been able to get the most out of his players, who have seemed to developed a good chemistry with each other, despite only playing together a short time.
This extension, in my opinion, is good news for Dodger fans. This will give the team stability that they will need in the future if this team has any plans to win the World Series. Bringing in someone new would have been a big risk and could have potentially ruined the chemistry that Mattingly had built up. Besides the Dodgers have built up their bullpen this year it is improbable the he can screw tit up this season. Face it fans, “Donnie Baseball” is here to stay. So prepare to watch the fun in the dugout, prepare to be frustrated as all hell with weird in-game tactics, but most important prepare to win and hopefully win big. After all, isn’t that all that matters in the end.
Yasiel Puig was arrested on Saturday in Florida for reckless driving by the Florida Highway Patrol. Puig allegedly was doing 110 mph on a part of Interstate 75 that had a 75 mph speed limit.
The Dodgers released the following press statement about the arrest on Sunday.
“We have spoken to Yasiel and made it clear that we, as an organization, are very disappointed in his recent behavior. This is a very serious issue to us and we will continue to educate him and strive to further develop his growth off the field and as a member of this community.”
This is the second time Puig has been arrested for the same charge. He was arrested in Tennessee back in April, while still in the minor leagues, for doing 97 mph in a 50-mph zone, but the charges were later dropped.
You would think Puig would have learned his lesson the first time but, in all fairness, I can’t imagine coming from Cuba flat broke and getting a $40 million dollar contract at 23 years old.
Add that factor and throw in the instant popularity he had from his rookie season, It’s hard to think I would be anymore mature in my decisions if faced with the same situation. God knows I made my share of mistakes in my early 20’s, so lets not be too hard on him and hope this is the last of his escapades.