Mar 272013
 

The Dodgers have announced their opening week starting rotation, but as we know things are always subject to change in Dodgertown. April 1st is just around the corner and the Dodgers opening series is against none-other than their arch rival San Francisco Giants. Still looking for Los Angeles Dodgers Tickets? Opening week tickets are still available, don’t wait. It is looking like the Dodgers will go with only four starters for now, and it appears that right hander Chad Billingsley is going to spend the beginning of the season on the DL. But not for his elbow injury, the good news. The elbow appears to be healed as of right now, which is nothing short of a miracle at this point. Billingsley is recovering from an elbow injury that usually requires Tommy John surgery, but he seems to be in the clear, unfortunately a fingernail bruise on his pitching hand is causing some trouble, so to the disabled list he goes.

Opening day, April 1st, the Dodgers will be going with 2011 Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw. Free agent signee  Hyun-jin Ryu will get the start on April 2nd, and Josh Beckett will start the third game of the series on April 3rd. The Dodgers have an off-day on April 4th, and then begin a three game set with the Pirates on April 5. Here’s where things get tricky, Zack Greinke, assuming he’s cleared to start will make his Dodger debut on April 5th. Greinke has been dealing with elbow pain over the last few weeks, but the Dodgers got some good news after pitching pain free last Wednesday. If all goes according to plan, Clayton Kershaw would make his second start on April 6. From there is a complete mystery at this point. The Dodgers have off-days on April 4, and 8, which means they won’t need a fifth starter until the 13th at the earliest. That should give Billingsley’s nail plenty of time to heal and then the Dodgers would then slide him into the rotation.

Where does that leave Ted Lilly, Aaron Harang, and Chris Capuano? So far not even a whisper, but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s fair to assume that at least one of the trio will be dealt. The Dodgers also have to decide what to do with the bullpen if they do decide to hang on to the surplus of starting pitching. Of course, Scott Elbert and Ronald Belisario are both out of options, so that brings a whole other issue as it pertains to the Dodgers 25-man roster crunch. Who should stay, and who should go?

Mar 112013
 

Earlier today we heard that Zack Greinke may miss the start of the 2013 season. The inflammation in Greinke’s right elbow may cause him to miss the start of the 2013 season. The Dodgers will more than likely err on the side of caution with their $147MM investment, meaning that if Greinke starts the season on the disabled list that would help the Dodgers in two ways. First, that would provide some what is expected to be much needed flexibility on the 25-man roster when the final roster cuts need to be made. That would also eliminate one man from the Dodgers current eight-man rotation.

Speculation is growing that the Dodgers are leaning towards going with Ted Lilly over Hyun-Jin Ryu in the 2013 starting rotation, at least for now. However, if Greinke does in fact miss the start of the season that would likely mean Ryu would remain in the rotation. This also further points to the fact that Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano are all but destined to be with a different organization come opening day.

Bill Plunkett of the OC Register is reporting that the Dodgers are prepared to sit on their pitching surplus while they play wait and see on Greinke’s and Billingsley’s health. I’m calling shenanigans. I think this is purely a ploy by the Dodgers to keep the prices on their pitching surplus from plummeting. Reports are starting to surface that teams are trying to force the Dodgers into a jam by lowballing them on trade offers as they know the Dodgers are going to have serious issues when they try to set their 25-man roster.

The other scenario would involve moving the starting surplus to the bullpen, but that doesn’t make sense either because it would create a logjam that is ridiculously unnecessary, especially for guys like Matt Guerrier and a number of the Dodgers young relievers. Factoring in the concerns of Harang, Ryu, and Capuano surviving the dramatic shift of moving into a bullpen routine over proven guys like Javy Guerra and Kenley Jansen, the probability is remote at best that it works. Perhaps one of the three, likley Ryu, but there is no way the Dodgers put three starters in the bullpen, ain’t happening folks. I’m surprised we aren’t hearing talks of Chad Billingsley being shifted to the bullpen, he had some success there back in the day, plus with his health concerns it makes the most sense.

According to Nick Cafardo there is more interest on Ted Lilly right now than the other surplus starters Capuano and Harang. That comes as a bit of a surprise to me, but I can see all three being a fit for the Pirates, Blue Jays, Rockies, Brewers, Orioles, and Mariners who are all looking to upgrade their starting rotations before the start of the season. I like Lilly going to Toronto, Harang to Baltimore, and Capuano heading north to Seattle. I’m dying to see how Colletti pulls this off without coming out on the wrong end of the deal.

 03/11/2013  Posted by at 10:02 pm Dodgers Rumors, Thinking Blue No Responses »
Mar 072013
 

Update: Roch Kubatko tweeted earlier today that the Orioles have also been scouting Ted Lilly and Chris Capuano. Something may be cooking here ladies and gentlemen.

Yesterday we heard that the Baltimore Orioles and Milwaukee Brewers had scouts in attendance for Aaron Harang‘s start at Camelback Ranch. Harang put forth three scoreless innings, throwing an additional 16 pitches on the side. Great timing to put up a good performance, for the Dodgers that is. I don’t know what Harang’s trade value is at the moment, but I would venture to guess it’s a mid-level prospect at best. Whatever the case, yesterday’s performance certainly didn’t hurt the Dodgers situation.

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has gone on record on more than one occasion saying that he has no problem holding onto his pitching surplus. Makes sense to me considering the long term concerns regarding the health of Chad Billingsley. I stand affirmed saying I highly doubt Billingsley pitches the entire 2013 season. Come July, I will be saying I told you so. For that reason, I’m not sure why Billingsley’s name hasn’t turned up in trade rumor talks. Plus factor in the wishy-washy seasons Josh Beckett has had over the last couple seasons, and this being Ryu’s first season in the majors, the Dodgers have some question marks in the rotation that are still unanswered.

However, it remains likely that the Dodgers will do as they are expected to and unload at least one starter before the start the of the 2013 season. With eight guaranteed starting pitchers under contract, it makes sense to unload the unnecessary.  Chris Capuano has drawn the most interest on the trade market, however, it looks like interest in Harang is picking up. I still wouldn’t rule out Ted Lilly or Chad Billingsley at this point either, though on the surface they seem more probable to stay in Dodger blue for now. Josh Beckett is all but destined to remain in Los Angeles until the end of the 2014 season, simply due the $31.5M remaining on his contract.

Harang is probably the more affordable trade chip for potential suitors, even at his $7MM salary. Despite being 34 years old going into the 2013 season it appears Harang still has plenty left in the tank after going 10-10 with a 3.61 ERA and 179 2/3 innings in 2012. Harang is the perfect stop-gap player for a team needing rotation help much like the Dodgers were in when they signed Harang before the 2012 season. Not sure how much he will fetch on the open market, but I would love to see Colletti pry catcher Michael Ohlman away from the Orioles. Then again I would be happy with a Brian Roberts and Taylor Teagarden for Harang and Juan Uribe trade as well. All joking aside, the trade actually makes sense for both sides.

 03/07/2013  Posted by at 6:14 pm Dodgers Rumors No Responses »
Feb 222013
 

The Dodgers bench is looking bleak offensively for the 2013 season. Unless something of the miracle type happens during the spring, the Dodgers bench is not looking very impressive. Juan Uribe, Jerry Hairston, Skip Schumaker, Nick Punto, and Tim Federowicz just don’t scream or even whisper “offensive threat” off the bench to me. First of all, the Dodgers bench is of the ripened variety, especially with Federowicz removed from the equation. The Dodgers need to get younger and more offensive focused on the bench. Sure our bench can play a solid defense, but when you need a big hit off the bench I wouldn’t exactly want to trust any one of these guys. In fact, I would take Elian Herrera over any one of these guys any day of the week. Speaking of Elian, what ever happened to him? He got buried by Juan Uribe and Jerry Hairston. Yuck. Hopefully he can make a statement this spring.

Notice anything glaring wrong with the picture? No backup first baseman? Ding-ding-ding! Apparently Juan Uribe is going to get the first crack at winning the job, but unless I’m mistaken he has never played a single game at first base. Even if he has, Uribe can’t hit a baseball all that well these days, and I don’t really want to see him getting more opportunities to prove to us what we already know.

Enter Casper Wells, currently buried on the Seattle Mariners depth chart. Wells, 28, is a solid option to help get the Dodgers bench going in the right direction. Wells plays first base and all three outfield spots, with above average defense too. Casper has been playing great outfield defense at SafeCo Field, and he possesses a strong arm to boot. Not the greatest of basestealers but he has decent speed, that’s for sure.

But wait, this is where it gets good, Casper, he has power, having clubbed 25 home runs and 29 doubles in 656 career plate appearances in the big leagues with Detroit and Seattle since the start of the 2010 season. Wells also posted a respectable .698 OPS in 2012, and his career mark is .752. He’s has shown to be a good hitter with men in scoring position to this point, with a career .865 OPS in those situations. Add two outs to the equation and the number jumps up to a very impressive career OPS average of .953, not too shabby. That is leaps and bounds better than any of our current bench options, but you already guessed that I’m sure.

Not only is he a solid right-handed bench option, he could also help give situational rest to guys like Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, and Adrian Gonzalez, that could get him some decent playing time. Topping it all off, Casper was one of the best right-handed situational hitters in the league last season. So why with all this information and data is Casper on the outside looking in? I honestly have no clue. I thought for sure he’d have an everyday job this season. That doesn’t appear to be the case, perhaps the time to strike a deal has come.

Casper Wells isn’t perfect, trust me, I know. He strikes out quite a bit and I don’t see him being an MVP anytime soon, or ever. But he has a very nice skillset, is a low cost, relatively young option and he would fit in to the Dodgers current scheme quite nicely. I don’t see him costing much to acquire, my guess is the Mariners would take Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, or Ted Lilly straight up for him. Working out the financial aspect of the trade could be quite tricky. Either way you slice it the Dodgers need a 1B/OF, and the Mariners need a boost in their rotation and all three of those guys, if healthy, would do just that.

 02/22/2013  Posted by at 4:07 pm Dodgers Rumors, Thinking Blue No Responses »
Dec 232012
 

Update: Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports that the Indians have signed Nick Swisher to a four-year, $56 million contract.The deal also includes a $14 million option for 2017 that will vest based on his number of plate appearances in 2016.

The hot stove is burning in Los Angeles as as the rumor storm continues to brew in Dodgertown. We already heard today that Joel Hanrahan will be dealt to the Boston Red Sox and former Dodger Jerry Sands is indeed part of the return package. Well, at least he will get some playing time in Pittsburgh, and former Dodgers tend to thrive in Pittsburgh, so best wishes to you Jerry. Before Hanrahan was dealt we heard that the Pirates were wanting Dee Gordon in any deal for Hanrahan.

The Mariners recently spoke with the Dodgers about Chris Capuano, Jon Paul Morosi reports. However, it doesn’t appear that discussion went very far. We heard earlier today that the Mets were also in hot pursuit of Capuano and Aaron Harang.

The Red Sox asked the Dodgers about Andre Ethier at the start of the winter and heard he was “not available,” according to a recent tweet by Jon Heyman. For the millionth time there is zero chance Ethier is traded this winter, unless the Dodgers can pry the disgruntled Giancarlo Stanton away from the Miami Marlins. Apparently the Mariners also asked about Ethier, unsurprisingly talks didn’t get far.

Then there is Nick Swisher, who apparently has the Dodgers and Angels high on his wishlist. Jim Bowden is tweeting that Nick Swisher is giving “serious consideration” to the four-year, $52MM offer from the Indians.

In some not rumor related Dodgers info, the Dodgers signed 32-year-old journeyman third baseman Dallas McPherson. He will serve as organizational depth as a member of the Albuquerque Isotopes.

 12/23/2012  Posted by at 8:43 am Dodgers News, Dodgers Rumors, Transactions No Responses »