Aug 202009
 

Was it all a dream? I know I watched a young ball-club come together and blast through the first half of the season. First they broke the new record with the home wins streak. We watched Matt Kemp find his groove and become the dangerous five tool player. Then the shocking news of Manny Ramirez being suspended for 50 games came, and nobody expected what happened next. The Dodgers pulled together and built an amazing chemistry, and though players like Furcal and Martin have struggled throughout the season. The Dodgers found life behind the bats of Casey Blake and Orlando Hudson. Those two guys carried the weight of the team and helped ease the pain of losing Manny for half the season. Juan Pierre filled in perfectly at left field and put on a first half MVP award like show. Pierre got it done with Manny being absent and it’s as simple as that. The rest of the young crew Ethier, Kemp, and Loney found ways to generate offense and provide excellent defense to help lead this team to hold the best record in baseball for several months.

The pitching was and still is very questionable at times with Kuroda off and on the disabled list, and the incredibly inexperienced but talented bullpen. We have Broxton no doubt when he is on his game he is the best closer in baseball. However between his bum toe and his lack of consistency has blown five saves this season. You can bet eyebrows are being raised as those five games would make our lead look much more comfy. Then you have these once in a lifetime pitchers like Billingsley and Kershaw who have all of the talent in the world yet can’t find a way to be consistent. Billingsley had a great Cy Young candidate like first half, however he struggled quite a bit through the month of July. He was recently on the disabled list for a strained hamstring and is hopefully on track after his amazing performance Monday against Chris Carpenter. Kershaw, I just can’t figure this guy out. At times he looks like the best pitcher in all of baseball and then he looks like he did last night throwing 4 innings of mediocre at best baseball. Both Billingsley and Kershaw are very young and may be struggling by adding pressure to themselves as they seem to be pressing at times, and it’s obvious their mental toughness is just not there yet.

There is no doubt this club is struggling and it seems that Dr. Evil has stolen their mojo. The Dodgers have gone from the best team in baseball to a team desperately trying to hold on to first place. The bullpen is exhausted since the starting rotation has a rough time going more than five innings except on the rare occasion. The offense seems to be hanging in there and the team as a whole seems to be going through a major slump. I will say if there was a good time for a major slump now would be it. There is still plenty of Dodgers baseball to be played and plenty of time for the Dodgers to get back in the groove and get their mojo back. It wasn’t by luck or chance that this team was the best team in baseball. They have the tools, the coaching, and the chemistry to win it all. The Dodgers need to regroup and regain focus and know that it’s times like these that make you stronger and become a better baseball team. The time is now there is no time to waste. Let’s go Dodgers and remember THINK BLUE.

 08/20/2009  Posted by at 7:30 am Dodgers Rumors No Responses »
Aug 192009
 

Update 5:09pm: It’s a done deal Padilla has signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers. The Dodgers signed him for slightly less than $100K, and he will make at least one start in the minors before being assigned to the major league roster. Padilla has not pitched in over two weeks, so the minors assignment is necessary for him to get back in the groove. There is also a roster space issue, and this could spell a trip to the disabled list for Kuroda. This is a great signing by Ned Colletti, as we get a decent pitcher that can burn some innings and the only risk is small amount of cash. Padilla should make a nice contribution to this team, and the change of scenery will be and added bonus for him. Hopefully a rejuvenated Padilla can slide into the fifth rotation spot successfully. I mentioned before that Padilla’s stats were somewhat inflated and I wanted to take a moment and clarify. Take a look at Padilla’s road stats in 8 games 51 innings pitched. Padilla has posted the following stats, 3.88 ERA, with a 1.25 WHIP, and he has given up 23 walks with only 25 strikeouts. However the best stat of all is that hitters are hitting just .227 against him. The Rangers Arlington Park is definitely a tough park to pitch in, so the road numbers should provide a little bit of more relative stats to base your opinions on. The move to Dodger Stadium, on a winning team, plus the change of scenery with a coach like Joe Torre on your side should rejuvenate Padilla. He will provide some much needed depth, and if he can pitch anywhere near his road stats this move will be another solid signing by Ned Colletti.

Update 2:21pm: The Dodgers are now “very” close to a deal with Padilla. His agent Paul Kinzer has been trying to get his client in Dodger Blue for about a week now. Looks like Kinzer will get his wish as Padilla will likely be a Dodger by the end of the evening.

The Dodgers are reportedly close to an agreement with Vicente Padilla according to Jon Paul Morosi at Foxsports.com. With no official word yet let’s recap and dive into the Padilla facts we know so far.

Padilla was labeled as a huge distraction for the Rangers, and was also said to be a terrible clubhouse teammate.

Joe Torre had been recently quoted to saying “he doesn’t think a player with Padilla’s reputation would cause problems in the Dodgers’ clubhouse.” Torre managed a Yankee team with it’s definite share of personality problems and egos. He also managed to turn Manny Ramirez around seemingly overnight from his nasty divorce with the Red Sox management.

There has been almost no interest so far in Padilla’s services even with the high demand for pitching. There are not any better pitching options available to my knowledge. Arroyo and Harang could be argued as slightly better, however you have to factor in the millions of dollars they cost compared to the 100K that Padilla would cost.

You can see a recent post on why Padilla is a good fit for the Dodgers here.

 08/19/2009  Posted by at 2:18 pm Dodgers Rumors No Responses »
Aug 192009
 

Update 8/19 9:50am: Vicente Padilla is close to being signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers according to Jon Paul Morosi. Not a big surprise as I have thought he was a perfect fit all along. The Dodgers are reportedly close to an agreement no official word yet.

Update 8/19 9:32am:
John Smoltz has officially cleared waivers and has signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. He will be assigned as the fifth starter in the rotation at least for now.

Update 6:31pm: Jayson Stark via Twitter says Smoltz is close to signing with the Cardinals, and wants to make a decision tomorrow. Stark also later says that the Dodgers were recently interested in signing Smoltz. We could see a late push by the Dodgers with the Cardinals being close to an agreement.

Update 4:30pm:
Jon Paul Morosi has a conflicting report against the earlier L.A. Times report. He says the Dodgers are among the teams still looking at Padilla. Here are the highlights from the post “The Dodgers have some interest in Vicente Padilla, one major-league source said Wednesday, although one Dodgers official downplayed the chances that the team will sign the right-hander. Padilla is expected to clear waivers on Wednesday afternoon and could sign with a new team soon afterward, one source said. He was placed on waivers by Texas on Monday.”

The Dodgers are still in full court press mode as they continue to look for pitching help down the stretch. Colletti is apparently looking at several different options that are available externally. He is known to have on inquired on Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang of the Reds with no luck so far.

Colletti has made formal interest in John Smoltz, but a report this morning says he has “major concerns about his throwing shoulder.” The Cardinals have made the most effort so far in obtaining Smoltz’s services. I would say the Dodgers have crossed Smoltz off their list, and look for Smoltz to sign with St. Louis by the end of the week. Smoltz is a free agent now that he has been formally released by the Boston Red Sox.

The other possible target is Vicente Padilla, and this looks like it is a dead issue as well after the recent L.A. Times report. I don’t agree with the report as this seems like the best fit for both Padilla and the Dodgers. Once you factor in the risk only being a pro-rated league minimum salary I think this is win-win situation.

 08/19/2009  Posted by at 12:23 pm Dodgers Rumors No Responses »
Aug 172009
 

Got some Around the Bases for you Dodger fans that missed the action over the weekend.

A very scary incident during Saturdays game with the D’backs starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Rusty Ryal. Kuroda was taken off the field on a stretcher. In case you missed this live and would like to see the video, click here. The good news Kuroda is doing fine after spending the night in the hospital. He is listed as day to day and should not see any time on the disabled list. You can read a recent interview with him about the incident here.

Torre is quoted as saying he is “still confident” in Jonathon Broxton as his closer. Broxton has been struggling as of late and blew another save Saturday night.

Chad Billingsley has been cleared of his hamstring cramp and will pitch Tuesday against St. Louis.

The Dodgers took 1 out of 2 against the D’backs thanks to Randy Wolf and his excellent performance yesterday. Wolf fell a triple short of hitting for the cycle and had a marvelous day on the mound. The Dodgers may have ended their slumping ways yesterday with the 9-3 win. They have three games with the Cardinals and then four with the Cubs before heading to Colorado. Three very critical match-ups coming up for the Dodgers, so they had better get it together. The Dodgers have won six of the last fifteen games and need to turn things around rather quickly to regain their momentum heading into the final weeks of the season.

 08/17/2009  Posted by at 11:48 am Dodgers Rumors No Responses »