Dec 042012

I am excited. I am about excited as anyone else about what the Dodgers can potentially score this offseason. I am also a bit worried, so I guess that makes me anxious? Feelings aside, we have to examine if a spending a boat load of money is going to get the Dodgers into the post-season and a championship berth. That is the goal, isn’t it? The immediate goal appears to be showing Los Angeles fans that the new Dodger ownership is not just about winning, but spending whatever it takes to get winning. Remind you of anyone?

I like to joke and chide some of my Giants and Angels fans when saying the Dodgers are the “West-Coast Yankees”, but come to think of it, most Dodger fans HATE the Yankees, maybe with a Derek Jeter exception. Why do Dodger fans hate Yankees? Because they buy their wins, they spend the most money, they have the swagger that LA should have. Every day we are becoming more and more like the Yankees because our wallets are open and we are not getting the wins to show for it. The Yankees have plenty of collapses and blown opportunities and money drained to show for it, but so do the Dodgers, just not to the magnitude we are approaching. I like to be cautiously optimistic about the situation. The season hasn’t started, players need to adjust to the league, Don Mattingly is only getting better, signings haven’t happened and a lot of work needs to be done before the boys in blue take the field, I’m still anxious. But are we on the right course?

Take Zach Greinke. The prize of the pitching market. Much like the supremely talented Josh Hamilton, they’re both damaged goods. Hamilton has showed signs of alcholic relapse and Zach Greinke has struggled with a depressing Social Anxiety Disorder from his days in Kansas City. Although it appears those days are behind him, most players go through a physical evaluation before signing, not a mental evaluation. The bright lights of Los Angeles may be too much for Greinke, with the not-so-forgiving fans and a new ownership bent on making the post-season no matter what the costs.

How about Adrian Gonzalez? Jersey sales will be through the roof this year but the So-Cal native has much to do in 2013 to earn his keep and potentially become the favor over Matt Kemp. Luckily anything he does will be a leap over James Loney, who in over 300+ at-bats scraped out 4 home-runs to Gonzalez’s 3 in under 200. But that will only last for so long. Dodger newcomers are not in for an easy day at the office, they were getting a substantial contract to perform in their prior teams, now it’ll feel like they really have to earn their pay.

So time will tell. We do know baseball doesn’t care about injuries, excuses, adjustments or anything else. Just winning.

We know where the heads of the ownership and fans are, now it’s a matter of the players following suit.

 12/04/2012  Posted by at 2:45 pm Dodgers News 1 Response »
Aug 252012

The Dodgers have completed one of the biggest trades in MLB history. It’s a blockbuster for the ages as the Dodgers trade James Loney, Jerry Sands, Rubby De La Rosa, Ivan De Jesus, and Allen Webster to the Boston Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto. I’m still in shock. It’s almost surreal, like I’m going nuts building the ultimate team on MLB ’12 The Show, except it’s the real deal. There was a lot of doubt about the new owners ability to re-characterize the Dodgers franchise, but after today that has all been eliminated. There is nothing to doubt about Guggenheim Baseball, in a few short months Guggenheim has made the Dodgers the team to beat in MLB.

“We’re going to make it so nobody wants to play the Dodgers,” words recently uttered by Mark Walter. Mission accomplished.

Since the arrival of Guggenheim Baseball in Los Angeles we have seen the short-lived return of Aaron Miles,  a five-year extension for Andre Ethier, the additions of Bobby Abreu, Wes Roemer, Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez, Randy Choate, Joe Blanton, Ozzie Martinez, Brandon League, and Shane Victorino. Wow! Quite a statement right? That’s a major overhaul, but it wasn’t good enough for Walter and Co. The Dodgers failed to land the additional starting pitcher they desired at the trade deadline, missing out on Ryan Dempster. The Dodgers also tried to make an August waiver trade for Cliff Lee, but the Phillies never really intended on trading him.

Now the Dodgers have gotten exactly what they wanted, the best first baseman in all of baseball. A starting pitcher with World Series experience, a veteran infielder for the bench, and one of the best all-around players in baseball.

Gonzo is a four time All-Star, 2011 Silver Slugger, a three time Gold Glove winner, and one of the top-ten players in the game. A-Gon is scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles today, and he is scheduled to be in tonight’s lineup wearing number 23.

A-Gon is batting .304/.349/.478 with 15 home runs and 85 RBI in 516 plate appearances this season. Gonzalez also owns a very respectable 2.9 WAR tying with Mark Teixeira, and behind only Edwin Encarnacion (3.7), Prince Fielder (3.4) , Paul Goldschimdt (3.2), and Albert Pujols (3.1).

Defensively, well, A-Gon is king. Adrian currently has a UZR of 14.0 and a RZR of .871 in 916 innings of play this season. Gonzalez has registered 155 plays at first base this season. That equates to Gonzo being the best defensive first baseman in all of baseball, the next player behind him isn’t even close.  A-Gon will be earning Gold Gloves for the Dodgers until 2018.

Crawford just underwent Tommy John surgery two days ago, so he is lost for the 2012 season. Crawford won’t get his shot to make an impact for the Dodgers until next season, but word on the street is, he’s smiling. The arrival of Crawford will likely mean the Dodgers let Shane Victorino walk as a free agent. Crawford will likely sit in the number two spot in the Dodgers lineup where he will be able to do the most damage. With the addition of Crawford the Dodgers have also blocked Yasiel Puig from arriving in the bigs next year. This leaves a huge question mark on the what the Dodgers will do about the little predicament. My guess is the Dodgers look to trade Crawford around the deadline next year. I wouldn’t rule out the Dodgers trading Puig for a front-end rotation pitcher this winter.

Josh Beckett has floundered this season over in Boston, his ERA continues to balloon, his confidence continues to sink, and now he gets a chance to go to a team that is favored to make a World Series appearance this season. Beckett has the ability to rise to the occasion, he is one of the most confident pitchers in baseball, and with his World Series experience this becomes a great addition for the Dodgers. Beckett will be sticking around for a couple of seasons. Even if he doesn’t get closer to his ace form he once had, the change of scenery should help him get out of the funk he has been in. I definitely can see Beckett rebounding and thriving in Los Angeles.

Nick Punto will be a good veteran addition to the bench for the Dodgers for the next season and a half. He can’t hit all that well, but with the rosters expanding it isn’t a big deal to bring him on board, especially if it becomes the end of the road for Juan Uribe. That would be a great addition to this trade, but I doubt it happens. Punto is under contract until the end of next season, meaning, a roster decision has to be made on the infield logjam the Dodgers are currently faced with.

The Dodgers are expected to take on about $259.5MM of the $271.5MM from the Red Sox, getting $12MM in cash from Boston.

Adrian Gonzalez will earn $21MM per season through 2016 and obtain a raise to $21.5MM for 2017-18. The total is about $131.82MM when factoring in the remainder of his 2012 salary. Josh Beckett will earn $15.75MM per season through 2014. Carl Crawford will earn $20MM in 2013, $20.25MM in 2014, $20.5MM in 2015, $20.75MM in 2016 and $21MM in 2017. Nick Punto earns $1.5MM per season through 2013.

The Dodgers may have just completed the biggest trade is MLB history. It’s some of the biggest names in baseball coming to the Dodgers, of course the Dodgers have dealt some of their brightest talent to the Red Sox to make it happen. The biggest prize Rubby De La Rosa, who has gained Pedro Martinez comparisons from some of the league’s best scouts. Ivan De Jesus, once a top prospect has had his path to the majors blocked for various reasons over the last few years. Jerry Sands, another top outfield/first base prospect. Sands will finally get an opportunity to shine in Boston, and he definitely has the talent to make the Dodgers regret trading him. With A-Gon locked in at first, and all of the outfield talent the Dodgers suddenly have, Sands was no longer going to fit into their long term plans. The other top prospect, Allen Webster, coveted by many other teams in the league over the last couple months. The Cubs wanted him, the Phillies, the Twins, pretty much every team the Dodgers have talked to in trade discussions. The Dodgers saved him for the right deal, and it payed off. The final piece, James Loney, good riddance! He was going to be non-tendered any way. I am so glad that this is the last time I have to right about him.

Basically how it shakes down is Loney, Rubby, De Jesus, Webster, and Sands for Adrian Gonzalez. The fact is the Dodgers would’ve had to trade that package if not more just to get Gonzo. The only reason Zach Lee is around is because we took Punto, Crawford, and Beckett of their hands. If you look at it that way it’s a lot easier to digest. We are talking the best first baseman in baseball. There really isn’t any prospect I wouldn’t have included to get Gonzalez. Not gonna lie, I am struggling with letting Rubby go, but hey, we got Gonzo! Suck on that Giants! Who wants a piece of the Dodgers? All I gotta say is good luck!

Aug 242012

8:43pm According to Michael Silverman, the Dodgers are expected to pick up more than $260MM of the $271.5MM in the combined Red Sox salaries. Wow! That’s astronomical. The deal is being reviewed by Commissioner Selig tonight, so I wouldn’t expect a decision until tomorrow. All that’s left is for Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to waive their no-trade rights. This is not expected to be an issue according to multiple sources including Jon Heyman, Ken Rosenthal, and others.

5:52pm The Dodgers and Red Sox have agreed in principle on a deal that will send Rubby De La Rosa, Jerry Sands, Allen Webster, Ivan De Jesus, and James Loney to the Boston Red Sox for Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Nick Punto. There is cash going to the Dodgers, but there are no other details at this time. The Red Sox have yet to secure permission from Beckett, who has 10-and-5 rights, or Crawford, who has a partial no-trade clause. Neither player is expected to block the deal. Medical records are currently being reviewed. The trade should be completed by early tomorrow.

4:44pm Here it is, not final yet, but it’s Webster, Rubby, Sands, Ivan De Jesus, and Loney going to Boston for Beckett, Gonzalez, Crawford, and Punto. Rubby would go as PTBNL I suspect, and Webster is not on the 40-man roster so he doesn’t need to clear waivers. This thing is close as close can be without it being final.

4:33pm Rubby De La Rosa has been demoted to the minors. Rubby is expected to be a PTBNL in the eventual deal. A-Gon has been scratched from today’s lineup. Jerry Sands is not in the Isotopes lineup. The Adrian Gonzalez picture at Fenway has been taken down. James Loney has also been scratched from the lineup today. When asked why, he smiled, my numbers aren’t good against Eovaldi.

4:30pm Jon Paul Morosi points out that CrawfO.D. Gonzalez, and Beckett are owed roughly $250MM after this season.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox are close to completing to completing a deal that would send Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers, according to multiple sources. There are two proposed mega deals on the table right now, things are serious, and a deal could be done today. The first proposed deal would send Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers. The other is a reported nine-player deal that would send Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto to the Dodgers. The Red Sox would get some players consisting of Allen Webster, Zach Lee, Rubby De La Rosa, Jerry Sands, James Loney, and possibly others.

Though nothing is finalized yet, a deal is expected to happen. The Red Sox will get prospects in either deal, in return the Dodgers will get some cash from the Red Sox.

Here is a breakdown of all the big contracts the Dodgers may be absorbing in the next 24 hours.

Adrian Gonzalez will earn $21MM per season through 2016 and obtain a raise to $21.5MM for 2017-18. The total is about $131.82MM when factoring in the remainder of his 2012 salary. The Dodgers are not on his no-trade list.

Josh Beckett will earn $15.75MM per season through 2014. Beckett can veto any deal.

Carl Crawford will earn $20MM in 2013, $20.25MM in 2014, $20.5MM in 2015, $20.75MM in 2016 and $21MM in 2017. His contract allows him to block trades to two teams, no word if the Dodgers are one of them.

Nick Punto earns $1.5MM per season through 2013.

Things are about to get very interesting. It seems that A-Gon will be a Dodger one way or the other. One of the biggest trades in MLB history is in the final stages, stay tuned.

 08/24/2012  Posted by at 4:28 pm Dodgers Rumors 1 Response »
Aug 222012

Update: Dylan Hernandez is tweeting that A-Gon’s limited no-trade clause doesn’t allow him to block a trade to the Dodgers.

Sean McAdam is reporting via Twitter that the Boston Red Sox have placed Adrian Gonzalez on waivers. You may remember that several days after the July trade deadline passed word broke that the Dodgers had attempted to connect with the Red Sox on a possible A-Gon trade. Of course talks didn’t last very long, with time not on their side the Dodgers moved on. Now that Gonzalez is on waivers the Dodgers are given another opportunity to land the best first baseman in all of baseball. Those not familiar with how things work in August, you should take a look at the rules of August waiver trades.

So just because Gonzalez is on waivers doesn’t mean he will be traded or claimed, but the door has definitely opened for that possibility. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti had offered several pieces that would build towards Boston’s future. No mention of any specific players, but you  better believe it would take Zach Lee and at least three others in the top 15 to get a deal done.

Gonzalez is owed a massive $131.82MM through 2018, which includes the remainder of his 2012 salary. That’s a huge committment. In return, the Dodgers would solidify their lineup with one of the league’s elite hitters and upgrade to a legit Gold Glove caliber player. A-Gon is batting .304/.349/.478 with 15 home runs and 85 RBI in 516 plate appearances this season. Gonzalez also owns a very respectable 2.9 WAR tying with Mark Teixeira, and behind only Edwin Encarnacion (3.7), Prince Fielder (3.4) , Paul Goldschimdt (3.2), and Albert Pujols (3.1).

Defensively, well, A-Gon is king. Adrian currently has a UZR of 14.0 and a RZR of .871 in 916 innings of play this season. Gonzalez has registered 155 plays at first base this season. Compare that to James Loney who has a UZR of 4.9 and a RZR of .793. Loney however, has only 69 plays logged at first base, and has 746 innings at first base. So Loney’s numbers could actually take a hit, whereas Adrian has already proved that he is by far the best defending first baseman in all of baseball.

I wouldn’t be all that surprised to see Gonzalez clear waivers as most teams would be scared to take the hit on payroll should the Red Sox not be bluffing. The Dodgers should not take that chance and they must absolutely place a claim on Gonzalez if Colletti hasn’t done so already.

 08/22/2012  Posted by at 9:12 pm Dodgers Rumors, Thinking Blue 2 Responses »
Aug 202012

I remember a time when I thought James Loney was going to be the first baseman of the future, that pretty swing, his natural athleticism, boy did he fool us. It’s rare that someone with all the talent that James Loney possesses is unable to put it all together. Especially after putting together a couple of nice seasons. 2009 seems like such a long time ago. That was the last time Loney put together a “good” season. Enter the downward spiral, which at the end of the of the 2010 season I said it was make or break time for Loney. The Dodgers didn’t give up on Loney after passing on top  free agent targets Adam Dunn and Prince Fielder.

I have said for two years now that the Dodgers should non-tender James Loney. Thus far the Dodgers have opted to pay Loney $14.36MM over the last three years. In return Loney has given the Dodgers a .270/.323/.386 average batting line over the last three seasons. Loney is on pace to post his career worst numbers in 2012 in a noticeable regression, and here it comes, I told you so.

I predicted that Colletti would regret it and so far Loney has been unable to prove me wrong, the chart below proves it. Instead of breaking out, Loney has continued to regress and now Loney is on the verge of failing in his last chance of “make it or break it.” Typically posting career worst numbers in every statistical category isn’t the best way to go about things as you head into your first year of free agency. Loney currently accounts for 5.98% of the Dodgers payroll, subsequently accounting  for -3.64% of the team’s on-field performance. Loney has a WAR of 0.0, ranking above only Mark Reynolds, Eric Hosmer, Casey Kotchman, Justin Smoak, and Michael Young, who are all negative WAR.

2006 111 20 29 6 5 4 18 1 8 10 .284 .342 .559
2007 375 41 114 18 4 15 67 0 28 48 .331 .381 .538
2008 651 66 172 35 6 13 90 7 45 85 .289 .338 .434
2009 652 73 162 25 2 13 90 7 70 68 .281 .357 .399
2010 648 67 157 41 2 10 88 10 52 95 .267 .329 .395
2011 582 56 153 30 1 12 65 4 42 67 .288 .339 .416
2012 354 32 84 18 0 4 33 0 23 39 .255 .303 .347
7 Yrs 3373 355 871 173 20 71 451 29 268 412 .284 .341 .423
162 Game Avg. 611 64 158 31 4 13 82 5 49 75 .284 .341 .423
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 8/20/2012.

So all the talk of his defense, right? Sure it’s great. It’s awesome. It’s among the MLB’s best. But it doesn’t make Loney a good first baseman. He certainly doesn’t make up for his lack of offense with his defense. That WAR number doesn’t lie. It’s the best statistic in baseball for measuring a players value. So what’s left is a defensive baseball player. How many teams want a first baseman that can only play defense? Maybe a few AL teams that have a lineup that already is stacked with great hitters and an elite DH. That equates to not a whole lot if we do the math. Of course there may be a few AL teams that have a solid DH and want a better defensive first baseman. I could definitely see that scenario  work too. In baseball generally teams want a first baseman that can hit, and that can hit consistently. Why? Because in the game of baseball first base is a hitting position, where defense is a luxury and nothing more. More importantly, first base is a power position, something else Loney is not. Loney is not a hitter, he’s not a power hitter, and he’s not an offensive player. Loney is nothing more than a great defensive baseball player that doesn’t carry his weight and can’t hit a baseball very well at all.

I fully expect the Dodgers to finally move on from the James Loney experiment this winter. They made that very clear this summer when they opted to go with Carlos Lee over Loney, of course that trade fell through. Then at the deadline the Dodgers checked in on Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Morneau, but talks didn’t last long. We have finally entered the final days of James Loney. When the final day comes and Loney is a free agent, poor James is going to be lucky to find a Major League contract. Loney will likely end up signing with a small market team like the Rays, Nationals, or Orioles on a Minor League deal. I could also see him heading to his hometown of Houston and taking a deal for the Astros. All-in-all even on a Minor League deal Loney is going to struggle beating out some of these young first basemen emerging into the game, which means we probably won’t hear his name all that much anymore. It’s hard to swallow, I know, the truth usually is, right? I know all you Loney lovers will disagree, but you are wrong. Not even Ned Colletti or Don Mattingly believe in him anymore, making an August trade even more probable. Justin Morneau has the highest probability of being traded right now and I am sure there are a couple others lurking out there. Ned still has a chance to upgrade the club before the rosters expand in September, no whispers in the rumor mill yet though.

I would expect the Dodgers to explore all trade options this winter as I would assume impending free agent Mike Napoli will end up staying with the Rangers. The rest of the free agent market doesn’t feature a whole lot of options. Carlos Lee, Carlos Pena, Ty Wigginton, Lance Berkman, and Casey Kotchman are the only real options out there this winter. The trade market? Well your guess is as good as mine. Pretty much every player can be had during the winter months as long as you are willing to pay the price. As the Dodgers have shown, you can’t rule them out on any deal these days.

 08/20/2012  Posted by at 9:00 pm Dodgers Rumors, Thinking Blue No Responses »