Posted tagged ‘Los Angeles Dodgers’

Ballpark Review: Dodger Stadium

June 26, 2015

Franchise: Los Angeles Dodgers

Year Opened: 1962

Capacity: 56,000

Game Attended: June 13, 2014 v Arizona Diamondbacks

Section 158

I had the pleasure of attending a game at Dodger Stadium last year. What made it even more special is that Clayton Kershaw was on the mound and the Kings won the Stanley Cup that night, so 20% of the stadium responded accordingly. The rest of the crowd had no idea who the Kings are. Dodger Stadium sneaks up on you with how old it is. It’s been around since 1962, making it the third oldest stadium in use.

1) Aesthetics- 19/25

Exterior- 3/5

It’s an old stadium and the exterior of almost every old stadium is terrible. However, there are some redeeming qualities. It is not entirely closed (open in the outfield) and palm tries are abundant around the outer concourse by the parking lot.

Interior- 8/10

Dodger Stadium was built in the 60s and it still has that feeling and look, but in a good way. You definitely get an old-timey vibe being at Dodger Stadium. Not an old-timey Fenway or Wrigley feel, but more 50s/60s. From the hills of Chavez Ravine in the backdrop to the faded blue fence and yellow seats, it does look like you hopped in a time machine. Yet it doesn’t come across as outdated or cheesy like similar stadiums built in the same time period. These days a lot of parks have giants video boards and grand stands in the outfield. Most ballparks are built in cities or the heart of a city downtown. Not Dodger Stadium.

Backdrop- 8/10

It’s out by the woods, with trees as a backdrop- and it is completely refreshing. Most parks have buildings in the background, or a closed backdrop. The trees and hills of LA are a perfect fit for this vintage park.

2) Seats & View- 12/20

Sight lines- 6/10

One of the few flaws is the view, but that is to be expected from an old stadium. Sitting on the first level isn’t bad, but when you are sitting far down the foul lines, you really have to crane your body to see the pitcher and you don’t have a good angle for most balls in play. The bleachers do seem like a great hangout spot if you really want to get down and dirty with the local fans. As for the other levels, that’s where the fights and potential violence takes place.

Proximity- 3/5

Moreover, you do feel a lot farther away from the action on the higher levels than most stadiums today. Again, it is tough to blame Dodger Stadium because of its age, but it still is a flaw.

Comfort- 3/5

No complaints here on the seating. Not living like a king but not cramped either.

3) Atmosphere- 12.5/15

Fan Participation- 4/5

LA loves their Lakers, but they also love their Dodgers. The Dodgers are definitely an “it” thing to do, but there are also a lot of dedicated, hardcore supporters.

Attendance- 4.5/5

The team is usually among the league leaders in attendance and it makes for a fun time at the stadium. Any true baseball fan will have a blast here. And those just hoping for a good time won’t be disappointed either.

Fan Knowledge- 4/5

Across the board the Dodger fans get strong marks. Even casual fans seemed to know a lot of the team.

4) Attractions9.5/15

Team Museum & Team History- 6/10

With the rich history of the Dodger franchise, Dodger Stadium is a let down. This stadium is primed for a team museum, but alas, there is none. There is a cool mural in the stadium of past players, but there isn’t much to commemorate their team history and legendary players. At the same time though, it is Dodger Stadium. You go there because it is a classic, not because of its team museum or statues.

Things to See and Do- 3.5/5

The team store is amazing. Not only is it giant, but there is plenty to choose from. I bought myself a Brooklyn hat and it is honestly the most comfortable hat I own.

5) Food & Drink- 7/10

Hot Dog- 3.5/5

Ah, the Dodger Dog, arguably the most famous hot dog in baseball. After having it, all I can say is, it’s good. Not great, not bad. Just good. Worth having when you go there, but you won’t be missing much if you don’t have it. The Dodger Dog still doesn’t top the Philly Frank for me.

Best of the Rest-3.5/5

As for the other concessions, it was pretty much all of the same. It seemed like every stand offered the same things- hot dogs, chicken fingers, fries, and drinks. So there isn’t much diversity here. Moreover, while the food is good, it is nothing special and pretty pricy.

6) Game Entertainment & Presentation- 2/5

Why the low score? Because it’s Dodger Stadium! They don’t need between inning gimmicks or mascot races. Just warm weather, good baseball, and the hills of LA in the backdrop. If anything, I wanted to give them a high score for NOT having too much of an entertainment presence.

7) Cleanliness- 4.5/5

This is one area in which I was blown away. I know Dodger Stadium is old and somewhat of a “vanilla” park, but my one major takeaway was how clean it is. You could tell they did some off season renovations because this park was cleaner and shinier than some parks I’ve been to that were built within the past decade.

8) Local Scene & Location- 3/5

It’s LA so there are a million things to do. But the low score is due to the fact that the stadium is kind of away from it all. In order to get anywhere post game, you have to drive and you have to deal with traffic. No bueno.

9) Access & Cost- 2/5

It’s no Yankee Stadium, but the Dodgers are a premium draw that can charge a lot based on team performance, the market, and the lure of the stadium. For weekend games against a top team, expect to spend a lot. But you can find deals in other parts of the park- upper deck and bleachers. However, these value seats aren’t always good seats. As for food and apparel, expect to pay up.

Your only hope is getting here is driving. The problem is that LA is notorious for terrible traffic. So while there is ample parking, expect to leave early to arrive on time.

10) Misc +4

Stats & Info- 1

This is the one park getting a bonus point for its lack of statistical information. They have a small video board and small scoreboard and aren’t looking to upgrade either any time soon. But that helps with the vintage feel this park exudes.

Concourse- 1

Tradition-1

The history of the park gives it a bonus point. They also play organ music which is always welcome.

11) Personal Opinion- 4.5/5

Dodger Stadium is a special place and I am already thinking of my next trip back. It is baseball paradise for those who want to grab a dog, a beer, and enjoy a ballgame without the thrills and complexity of modern ballparks. There is no giant video board distracting you or anything else you see at parks nowadays. When you go to Dodger Stadium expect warm weather, good baseball, a good crowd, and a fantastic time. This is arguably the best experience I’ve had at a non-Yankee game in my life.

Overall- 80/115

This is a much lower score than expected, but this definitely is in my current top 3. It’s more of the non-stadium aspects that bring it down- local scene, entertainment, etc. But the simplicity and vintage beauty of it make this a classic stadium.

Rafael Furcals to St. Louis

July 31, 2011

In a small move, the Cardinals traded Alex Castellanos for Rafael Furcal.

Castellanos is an okay hitter. His AA line this year is .319/.379/.562/.408. But he’s also 24, about to turn 25, making him old for the league. He’s never had a good walk rate, and his K rates are extremely high. I have a tough time believing he’ll amount to anything in the majors, if even given the chance.

Furcal on the other hand, looks cooked. He had a 4+ fWAR in 2010, but he has been abysmal so far in 2011. So the Dodgers should be glad to get rid of him and the $4mil left on his contract, which for that organization, is a big amount of money right now. The Cardinals are hoping Furcal turns it around, and if not, Castellanos isn’t someone to fret about losing in a trade.

 

Chad Billingsley extension

March 30, 2011

This will be a quickie as I have an exam in a tiny bit.

The other day Chad Billingsley signed a 3/$35mil deal with a $14mil option for 2015. Those three guaranteed seasons will be his age 27-29 seasons, and include his last year of arbitration and two years of free agency.

In 2012, Billingsley will earn $9mil. Using the 40/60/80 rule based on his salary for 2011, Billingsley would have made around $11-$12mil in 2012 through arbitration. So that’s a savings of a couple mil already for Los Angeles. Moreover, Billingsley has been quite good the past three full seasons. His fWAR have been 4.4, 3.2, and 4.6 with FIPs under 4 in all three seasons.

His fan projected WAR for 2011 is 4.9. So lets go forward and project a 5 WAR in 2012, 5.5 WAR in 2013, and 5 WAR in 2014. With a $ per WAR of 5, 5.25, and 5.5 in those seasons, that would bring his expected value to $25mil, $28.875mil, and $27.5mil. In those seasons he will be paid $9mil, $11mil, and $12mil. So that’s an expected value of $81.375mil compared to an actual salary of $35mil. WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOOWWOW. Talk about savings. Even if Billingsley “only” posts a 4 WAR each season, his expected value would still be $63mil, $25mil more than what he would earn in reality.

Off my head, I think this is the most team friendly deal signed in some time. I mean, I think the Dodgers are paying less than half of Billingsley’s actual worth! Normally I’d still say it’s a good deal for the player since they are getting financial and long term security, but in this case, I think Billingsley is a fool. Yeah, maybe he wants to stay in LA, but he could have easily gotten more than $50mil.

I mean, Billingsley is GOOD. Despite playing in LA, I don’t think a lot of people realize it. Especially in the MSM since he has only posted 12 wins in three of the past four seasons. But his career FIP, K/9, BB/9, HR/9, and WAR is: 3.68, 8.19, 3.89, 0.66, 14.8. Kershaw is the pitcher hyped up in LA, and for good reason, but Billingsley needs to get his respect. He is a strikeout master, who doesn’t give up HR. He also gets his fair share of ground balls. He isn’t the best at avoiding walks, but he isn’t a walk machine and makes up for it by throwing a high volume of K’s and getting ground balls. As a result he does a good job limiting runs- which is the point of his job. He is also just 26, about to turn 27 this season. The man is a star and should get his dues soon.

 

 

Divisional Previews: NL West

March 17, 2011

Despite being one of the weaker divisions in baseball for the past couple seasons, the 2010 World Champions, the San Francisco Giants, called the NL West home. Moreover, the NL West was one of three divisions that had 2 90+ win teams, and only one team had a win total below 80. What can we expect from the division in 2011?

1) San Francisco Giants (87-75)

In 2010, the Giants strength by far was its pitching and pitching should be its strong point again in 2011. The staff will be led by ace Tim Lincecum, who had himself a “down year” in 2010. With him and Cain, the Giants have a 1-2 punch that could be the best duo in baseball, up there with Philadelphia, and both LA teams. But their rotation doesn’t end there. Their aces are backed up by Jonathon Sanchez, who is an effective starter despite a bad BB rate and Madison Bumgarner. Last year the Giants only got 18 starts from Bumgarner, who was my favorite rookie entering the past season. The dood is really good at limiting the free passes and keeps the ball on the ground. In 18 starts he had a 3.66 FIP and solid 2.0 WAR. With a “rebound” year from Timmy and a full season from Bumgarner, I think the Giants pitching will be even better in 2011.

On offense though…I’m not impressed. While Aubrey Huff was a beast in 2010, I think it’s safe to assume he will regress considerably. He may not put up 2009 numbers, but he won’t be nearly the contributor that he was in 2010. The same goes for the aging Pat Burrell, whose legs won’t be doing any favors for the Giants in the outfield either. A big question mark will be Pablo Sandoval and Andres Torres. Whether or not Sandoval can overcome a terrible plate discipline could be the difference in whether SF can field a reasonable offense to score runs for their dominant staff. Moreover, was 2010 a fluke year for Torres? If the answer is yes, SF will be a lot more pedestrian than people might expect. Especially with the ancient Miguel Tejada manning shortstop. The one bright spot, in my estimation, is obviously Buster Posey. Whether or not anyone else on the team will care to hit alongside him remains to be seen. Also, the possible emergence of prospect Brandon Belt could go a long ways for an average offensive team.

Players to watch: Brandon Belt, Madison Bumgarner.

2) Colorado Rockies (83-79)

I am a big Rockies fan. I am always on their bandwagon. But I don’t think 2011 is their year. The offense should be better than San Francisco’s, with players like Troy Tulowitzski and Carlos Gonzalez. But their offense isn’t as potent as I thought it was. I am a big Seth Smith believer, but the team will be giving PAs to the likes of Jose Lopez, Ian Stewart, and a past his prime Todd Helton. So while the bats are decent, they aren’t good enough to carry a team past any other flaws.

The rotation is led by Ubaldo Jiminez who had a stellar 2010 and after him is Jhoulys Chacin, a pitcher I really like. But after those two, the rotation goes downhill. Jorge De La Rosa is okay, but nothing special. Huston Street is a real good closer, and there are some okay options out of the pen, but as a whole, the pitching isn’t spectacular- it’s okay.

That’s why I think the Rockies will be just an okay team- 83 wins. They have the potential to hit 90+ wins if players like Dexter Fowler breakout, but that’s asking a lot.

Players to watch: Jhoulys Chacin, Seth Smith

3) Los Angeles Dodgers (78-84)

It’s been a rough past year or so for LA, from ownership problems to Joe Torre ruining good, young players like Jon Broxton and Russell Martin. So I’ll start with what I like. I believe LA has a pretty darn underrated staff. Clayton Kershaw is already an ace in my book and he should continue to improve and get better as he matures. Chad Billingsley is another underrated arm who has been putting up excellent numbers and WARs for a few seasons now. Ted Lilly continues to be an average pitcher and Hideki Kuroda continues to be underrated as well. He is paid like an AS pitcher, but doesn’t get the hype of an AS pitcher. He continually posts FIPs in the mid 3’s and does everything well that a pitcher has some control over. The Dodgers have the starting pitching of a winning team. The pen should also be a strength with Kuo, Jansen, and Broxton- assuming he is over is arm issues which I of course am contributing to Torre overuse.

Now comes the bad. The defense. Gibbons, Kemp, and Ethier has to be one of the worst defensive outfields in baseball. That’s not a good thing since the outfield is spacious and there is a lot of ground to cover. The defensive isn’t so that bad, but it’s not good either. The offense is another weak aspect. Andre Ethier is a legitimate middle of the order bat and I still believe in Matt Kemp, but outside that, there are a bunch of below average or average hitters. Rod Barajas? Juan Uribe? Jay Gibbons? Yeah, no team that features those three as everyday players will have a winning record.

Players to watch: Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw

4) San Diego Padres (75-87)

Last year the Padres were the team I loved to root against, simply because they were defying the odds. Luck was on their side and it HAD to run out. In September it finally did, and I was baffled it took that long. The Padres didn’t get any better and with some regression to the mean, I think San Diego will return to being a below average team that has trouble scoring, and isn’t that effective at preventing runs.

I love Mat Latos and he should have a good campaign, but who else is on their staff? The corpse of Aaron Harang, Wade LeBlanc and the rest of the rotation are simply not talented enough or good enough to repeat their success from last season. Players like LeBlanc were aided by good fortunes and extremely high LOB%. With a return to the mean, their production will decrease from a season ago. The defense will be a strong suit again which should help the pitching staff, but I have a tough time believing the run prevention will be as good as it was in 2010.

With that said, the offense hasn’t improved. Yes, Orlando Hudson was brought in, and he is a good hitter, but he isn’t a team changing hitter and he’s played in hitter and neutral friendly parks (Arizona, Minnesota) the past few years. Moving to Petco could depress his numbers. Morever, I could make the case Hudson is the team’s best hitter. When Orlando Hudson is your best hitter, you have big problems.

Players to watch: Cameron Maybin, Mat Latos

5) Arizona Diamondbacks (71-91)

After a dreadful 2010 the D-Backs will be…well, still bad in 2011. Justin Upton took a step back in 2010, but I and many others still expect big things from him 2011 and I am expecting a 5+ WAR season. The offense should also get contributions from Chris Young, Miguel Montero, Stephen Drew, and Kelly Johnson. The offense is not a weak point, and it’s arguably the second best offense in the division. But Melvin Mora will not be a productive player at third and relying on Juan Miranda at first is a risky play that probably won’t work out.

The bullpen was historically bad last season and while JJ Putz provides a solid arm to close out games, the pen still is weak. The staff is okay, but has little potential outside Dan Hudson. I think his HR tendencies can hurt him in Arizona, but he had a great half season for them in 2011 and I expect improvement. Ian Kennedy is another solid arm, but that’s it. He is just a solid arm, not a future ace. The rest of the rotation is filled with mediocre arms like Joe Saunders. This is a team that doesn’t do anything good, and is pretty weak in several aspects. As a result, the D-Backs should be bringing up the rear once again.

Players to watch: Dan Hudson, Justin Upton

Jayson Werth is a Washington National

December 5, 2010

In what has to be the most surprising news of the off-season, the Washington Nationals have signed Jayson Werth to a 7/$126mil contract. WOW.

This is totally out of nowhere. I really thought Werth would be headed to Detroit, Boston, or stay in Philly. If you recall, I had Werth worth about $99mil over five years. When I project it out further, I think he’ll be worth about $121mil over seven years. So the Nationals are overpaying a little bit. But not by much.

For Washington, I love the move, but hate the contract details. They are relatively close to contending so I like that they are trying to make a splash and bring in a quality player. It keeps the fans happy and makes the current team better as they wait for Strasburg to get healthy and Bryce Harper to develop. BUT, seven years is a long time. By the time the Nationals young talent is ready to aim for a playoff spot, Werth figures to be done as a high impact player. Once those days are over, he will be vastly overpaid for his talent and the contract will handcuff the franchise.

So I give the contract a C+ for the team. They do get better and bring excitement back to the ball club, but by binding themselves to Werth for so long, it could hinder their ability to make moves in the future, which is when they are going to want to make moves as their young talent will be ready for lift-off.Moreover, this seemingly takes them out of the running for Cliff Lee so it appears that FA battle will be a showdown between the Yankees and Rangers.

As for Werth…I’m surprised. I would have thought he would want to go to a team where he could win the World Series. Boston, Philly, or even Los Angeles and San Francisco. But money speaks and more importantly, I take it he likes the security of seven years. But where is the loyalty these days? Juan Uribe went to Los Angeles just weeks after winning in San Fran and now a Phillies favorite is going to a divisional foe. I remember the story of Jackie Robinson retiring because he was traded to the Giants from the Dodgers. Nowadays, players would welcome the trade with open arms.

 

Ted Lilly signs with the LA Dodgers

October 21, 2010

In non-playoff baseball news, Ted Lilly signed a contract extension with the Dodgers, worth $33.5mil over three years.

It’s too early to know what the cost of 1 WAR will be this upcoming season, but lets estimate it at $4.5mil. Lilly is coming off a 2.3 WAR season, and has posted a WAR above 2 every season going back to 2003, with the exception of a shortened 2005 campaign. So Lilly has been a reliably average to above average pitcher the past several seasons. He will be staying in a pitchers park and the NL West, a division currently known for its light hitting teams compared to the rest of baseball. However, Lilly will be 35 years old next season, and 37 years old when the deal is up. So lets examine whether its a fair contract, and whether its a worthwhile contract for the Dodgers.

Lilly finished 2010 with a 4.27 FIP and 4.16 xFIP over 193 innings pitched. His K/9 was 7.71, his BB/9 was 2.04, and his HR/9 was poor 1.49. His K and BB rates are in line or better than his career norm, but he gave up more homers than usual. The reason could be contributed to his career low GB% which was 29.5% and a FB% over 50%. Pitching in Dodger Stadium compared to Wrigley Field might help that, but Lilly has always been prone to the long ball.

His fastball velocity hasn’t dipped noticeably and the only change in his pitch values is his slider. Per 100 pitches, his slider has been worth 0.87, but in 2010 it dropped to -2.30 and was his worst pitch, which is even worse when you consider he threw the pitch 20.5% of the time in 2010. Is his slider on the decline, or was it an off-year?

Either way, lets project Lilly to throw 200 innings next season and be worth 2.5 WAR. Decreasing that by 0.5 each season and over the contract his total WAR would be 6.0 WAR. At $4.5mil per win, that’s a total dollar value of $27mil. Eeesh, so the Dodgers come out in the red.Even if he pitches better than my projections, he won’t exactly give the Dodgers a surplus of value.

Moreover, the Dodgers aren’t a very good team right now. They are kind of old, don’t have a great system, and their ownership is a mess. I highly doubt the Dodgers will be contenders in 2011, for sure, and I don’t think they will contend in the years after that as well, but who knows with the NL West. To me, spending $33.5mil on Lilly is a waste. He is an average, 35 year old pitcher. He won’t make a difference between the Dodgers being a playoff team or not. For a team in financial dire because of the ownership issues, spending $33.5mil on an old pitcher is not smart. Put that money towards a younger player who will have a bigger impact, or put that money into the farm system.

For Teddy Lilly, congrats on the payday. For the Dodgers, better luck next time.

 

Should the Dodgers trade Andre Ethier?

October 12, 2010

Obviously, there is no right or wrong answer here. Andre Ethier is a good hitter, young, and is not going to make that much money in 2011. He is a fine player on any team.

But I would trade Andre Ethier.

Yes, I know he is a good hitter- and consistent as well. In 585 PA during the 2010 season he hit .292/.364/.493/.367/133 which is almost identical to his career averages of .291/.363/.491/.364/126. Moreover, his periphs have not changed. From his walk rate to his batted ball data, to his plate discipline, his 2010 numbers are near identical to his career totals. So I don’t see a performance decline in the foreseeable future.

I would trade Andre Ethier because of what I like to call “Brad Hawpe Syndrome”. He SUCKS at fielding his position. In 5656 career outfield innings, Andre Ethier has a -33.2 UZR. The older he gets, the worse his range and glove should get. DRS has not been kind to him either, rating him as -11 during his career- and -27 over the past three seasons.

The result of his poor defense is an average overall value. Despite being a very good hitter, his defensive misgivings have led to a WAR’s of 2.1, 1.7, 3.4, 2.7, and 2.2 since joining the Dodgers in 2006. Even though he is a high quality offensive player, as a whole Ethier is slightly above average. While any team can use an above average player, it would be smart for the Dodgers to parlay Ethier into something more valuable.

In my opinion, I’d assume a vast majority of ML teams value Andre Ethier a lot higher than the numbers suggest, because he is becoming a star offensively. With a salary of $9.5mil in 2011, I would assume other teams would overpay for the 28 year old right fielder. Right now the Dodgers don’t look like they’ll be a very good team in 2011, so losing Ethier’s production won’t hurt them too much.

If Ethier is a 2.5 WAR player in 2011 and earns $9.5 mil, his net value would be around 0. Yet I would imagine the Dodgers would receive some high end prospects in return for Ethier. For an aging team that needs an overhaul of the minor league system, this trade could be a good start.

HOWEVER- there could be another way to handle Andre Ethier. Make him a first baseman.

Yes, the Dodgers already have a 26 year old first baseman in James Loney. But in just under four full seasons, he has a career WAR of 6.5. He’s only had one season north of an average WAR, and that was 2.1 in 2007. That’s not cutting it for a first baseman.

Andre Ethier loses a ton of value because of his defense. But at first base his defense will be much improved. Even if he isn’t a good first baseman, I highly doubt he will as much as 1.5 wins there, like he loses in the outfield right now. Granted the positional adjustment for first is worse than the outfield, but it’s a smaller disparity than the expected disparity in the defensive switch. As a result, Ethier can become a more valuable player has a whole (I’m thinking around a 3 WAR player compared to 2 WAR player) and his bat will still play at first base.

Then when his contract runs up after 2011, you can see if you can re-sign him at an affordable price, or let him walk for a presumable two draft picks.

Even though there are no rumors surrounding Ethier and I doubt LA trades him (because they probably consider him their best player) I think he is an interesting case. The Dodgers should make the most of the situation and trade him while his value around the league, or make him a first baseman to limit his defensive liability. Otherwise, the Brad Hawpe Syndrome could strangle the Dodgers, much like the Rockies eventually became strangled by Brad Hawpe this past season.

 

Joe Torre the coward

September 23, 2010

In a recent podcast, former Yankee David Wells called Joe Torre a “coward”. Here is the quote in full:

Quote:

“I had [Yankees pitching coach] Mel Stottlemyre come up to me in ’97 and tell me they were going to sit me out in the first round against Cleveland,” Wells told us. “I said, ‘If you’re going to sit me out the first round, you might as well just send me home.’ That pissed me off because I won like 15, 16 games for them. […] That’s pretty degrading when you have your manager tell your pitching coach to tell you, ‘Hey, you’re going to sit out,’ rather than telling you himself. That’s what Joe Torre is to me, a coward.

“I don’t like him at all. As a manager, I think he’s terrible. He wasn’t a fair manager. He didn’t treat people the same. He definitely didn’t treat me the same. […] If he tells you anything else, he’s a liar.”

Talk about being blunt.

Now, I don’t hate Joe Torre, but I’m not his biggest fan. He is one of the more overrated managers in baseball history. Yes, he won four World Series, but the teams he had were not only insanely good, but had their share of luck come the SSS of playoff baseball (hello, 2000 and 2001). He’s been given too much credit for the Yankees success, considering managers have actual little affect on outcomes of games as, in the end, it is the players who play the game. His in-game managing is brutal (A-Rod batting 8th) and he sure knows how to ruin a bullpen (Scott Proctor, Jon Broxton).

More to what Boomer is saying and something that often goes unnoticed- he treats players unfairly. This is not the first time someone has accused Torre of that type of behavior. Both Kenny Lofton and Gary Sheffield complained of receiving different treatment from Torre. Alex Rodriguez also had his differences with the former Yankees manager.

The MSM has a deep love affair with Joe Torre- mainly because he is considered a winning manager. But lets take a step back from the field. On many repeated instances, his leadership and character have been questioned. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I think it’s about time people start changing their tune about “Clueless” Joe and start to examine his character a little bit further.


Yankees should claim Hiroki Kuroda

August 25, 2010

Hiroki Kuroda of the LA Dodgers hit waivers yesterday, but New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman is standing pat. He believes there is no pitcher on the market worth making a claim for, because he believes Dustin Moseley has pitched better than anyone available.

Before I get into Cashman’s opinions, I want to talk about Kuroda.

He is good. Real good. Now that I think about it, he may be the most underrated pitcher in baseball. Seriously- the dood is a very good pitcher and I NEVER he his name mentioned as being a great pitcher by the MSM. That is especially intriguing since he pitches in LA, but I digress.

Since his debut in 2008, Kuroda has had a sub-4 ERA, FIP, xFIP, and tERA. Whoa. His career line is 6.45 K/9, 2.09 BB/9, 0.74 HR/9 with a 3.66 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 3.77 xFIP, and 3.59 tERA. Talk about consistent across the board. He also has a career 51.2% GB rate and 30.5% FB rate. So besides keeping runners off the bases by not issuing walks, he limits fly balls which prevents home runs, and induces ground balls which is key considering he has a good, but not special K rate. His 2010 season has been right in line with his career to date. He has a 7.21 K/9, 2.32 BB/9, 0.73 HR/9 with a 3.48 ERA and 3.41 FIP over 147 innings. His GB% is also at 52.6%, so Kuroda is still getting ground balls. Going forward, ZiPS believes Kuroda will maintain his production and finish with a 3.50 ERA and 3.48 FIP.

Hiroki Kuroda would be a great fit in NYS. While the jury is still out, especially with limited sample size, it looks as though NYS actually deflates a pitchers K numbers, just looking at the numbers of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Javy Vazquez. So Kuroda won’t be losing a weapon of his, since he is not a strikeout pitcher. Also, home runs are inflated at NYS, so the fact Kuroda really limits homers is crucial. As long as he keeps generating ground ball outs, the negatives of NYS will not effect him. Kuroda would also be a key member of the rotation down the stretch. Right now, the Yankees rotation as a whole is not World Series caliber. Yes, CC has been awesome as usual, but outside him there are several question marks. Vazquez was just relegated to the bullpen and was replaced by a rookie. Andy Pettitte’s injury is not healing and no one knows how will pitch when he returns, if he returns. AJ Burnett is Jekyll and Hyde. Phil Hughes has an innings limit and hasn’t been that great in the second half. Moselely is Moseley. Kuroda could step in and be our surefire number two and really bolster the rotation. CC/Kuroda/Pettitte/Burnett or Hughes sounds a lot better than CC/Pettitte/Burnett/Hughes.

So why is Brian Cashman saying the Yankees are content with what they currently have? Personally, I think it’s a bluff. In order to get Kuroda, no other team in baseball will have made a claim on him. So I believe Cashman is showing no interest on the outside no team tries to block him from the Yankees. At the same time, by “showing faith” in Moseley, Cashman is trying to bump Moseley’s value. Cashman is not a fool. Moseley was never good in the past, and hasn’t pitched that well in New York. He knows Kuroda is better. So he is probably trying to inflate Moseley’s worth and perceived value, while trying to make sure no one blocks Kuroda from New York.

Now what will it cost to get Kuroda? I cannot imagine it will be much. Including October, the number of starts he would make as a Yankee would be in the single digits, or just above ten. Despite that, the Yanks will still owe him a couple million dollars, which is offset by the fact he is a type B free agent (but I doubt New York would offer him arbitration). If the Yanks give up more than a C or D prospect, I would be disappointed. But it might just be worth it if New York wants to really strengthen its chances of beating Texas, Minnesota, or Tampa Bay in the postseason.

Octavio Dotel traded to Los Angeles in last major reported trade of the deadline

July 31, 2010

The Pittsburgh Pirates traded closer Octavio Dotel to the LA Dodgers for James McDonald and another prospect.

I don’t get this trade for LA. Look, I love Octavio Dotel. I really do. I used to play a game called MLB Showdown and Dotel was my ace reliever. I loved him. But you do not trade a pitcher like James McDonald for two months of a relief pitcher. Dotel can still bring the gas face as shown by his 10.80 K/9, which is actually below his career average. Along with Jon Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo the Dodgers now have three reliable relievers to close out a ballgame. But that price is not worth James McDonald.

James McDonald is not the high upside arm many thought he would be. He is 26 now, has spotty command, and gives up fly balls and home runs. But he is still capable of being an above starter, thanks in part to an ability to get swinging strikes and K’s. The Pirates will have five cost-controlled years of McDonald, where he can fit in nicely as their #3-#4 starter.

Dotel will fetch the Dodgers a compensation pick, but those are worth $2.5mil. McDonald will certainly be worth more than that. And I haven’t even discussed the other prospect going to Pittsburgh.

LA could get a good player with their pick, but considering the low success rate of prospects, it will be a long shot if that pick can get the current status that McDonald has reached.