Monday, April 27, 2015

When will it be Time?

Photo Credit: Jon Soohoo

The Dodgers bounced back from getting swept in San Francisco and took 2 out of 3 in San Diego. The only down side to this weekend, Yasiel Puig going on the DL with a hamstring issue and Brandon McCarthy exiting Saturday's game with "tightness in his right elbow." McCarthy is scheduled to have an MRI today in Los Angeles. As for Puig, Don Mattingley has decided to take it easy on him, with Abdre Ethier playing well they will not rush Puig and allow for Andre's trade value to go up. But the big story emerging is the emergence of yet another Cuban rookie, Alex Guerrero has been scorching hot! He is second in the team in HR and RBIs, with only handful of at bats in a pinch hitting role and back up to Juan Uribe. Uribe started the season cold and has now warmed up a bit, been still not producing anywhere close to Guerrero's numbers. So when will Donnie pencil Guerrero on regularly on the starting lineup ? The defense that Uribe gives the team and his decent batting stats have kept him in the starting role. Unless he struggles considerably, look for Guerrero to come off the bench. I doubt Guerrero gets traded, Uribe has but a year left. So it seems like Guerrero is the third baseman of the future. With Puig out, look for Guerrero to start in Left Field vs Left handed  pitchers and of course, a couple games at third to give Uribe's off days. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Giants Sweep the Dodgers

Photo Credit: Jon Soohoo

 Abandon ship! Dodgers just got swept in SF!! This past series vs the hated rivals was hard to swallow. Offense looked enimic and the bullpen was terrible! Tuesday night's game was filled with errors and miss cues, along with Lincecum shutting down the Dodgers in a 6-1 victory. Wednesday was a pitching dual, Kershaw vs Bumgarner. They both have up 2 runs but the Dodgers bullpen gave up the winning walk off run in the bottom of the 9th. Yesterday, Thursday, the Dodgers called up Bolsinger from AAA. He was great, giving up 1 run in 5 and 2/3 innings. Hatcher came in and got the last out of the top of the 6th. Yimi had a scoreless 7th. But the 8th and 9th were shaky. JP got 2 outs before giving up a hit and Donnie went to Peralta. Peralta walked the bases loaded before giving up a screemer that was snagged by a diving Kendrick, and saving the game for at least 1 more inning. In the 9th Baez came in to close, but gave up a quick single then a Triple to Crawford tying up the game. Dodgers failed to score in the top of the 10th and Juan Nicasio was called upon to get a shut down inning, but failed. As the Giants walked off for a second straight game. 
Yes the bullpen stats may be decent, good, but apart from Yimi Garcia they are shaky. Peralta and Howell can't seem to find the strike zone. Hatcher has been hit around, sporting an ERA over 12.00. Nicasio is the long man and failed to go more than 1 inning in the series. Baez blew a save and Donnie seems not to trust Paco. The season is young and I'm not worried about the team, just the bullpen.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dodgers Sit Atop of the NL West

Photo Credit: Jon Soohoo

It's been a while since my last post, so let's recap;
Dodgers went into Arizona and dropped 2/3 vs the DBacks. They managed to savage the Sunday game, and haven't lost since. 
They swept the Mariners, at home. 2 of those games, Monday and Tuesday, were walk-off wins. Puig hurt his hamstring during the Monday game and sat out Tuesday's and Thursday's games.
Coming into the weekend home stand vs the Rockies everyone thought Puig would be fine, but that hamstring is lingering. 
The Dodgers swept the Rockies behind starts by Kershaw, Greinke, and McCarthy. Despite Puig only starting Saturday's game. Andre Ethier has started 4 out of the 6 games this week. This could serve as rest for Puig and potentially raising Ethier's trade value.
Along with Ethier performing well in Puig's absence, Howie Kendrick has raised some eyebrows. Yes, we all know that he is a true professional, but the Dodgers seemed to be very impressed by his character and play. So impressed that they have started contract extension talks with Howie's agent. Coming into the season I knew Rollins was only a rental, get a year out of him before calling up Corey Seager to be the starting Short Stop next year. But I found it weird that the Dodgers would trade a top pitching prospect, acquired from the Marlins via Dee Gordon trade, for 1 year of Kendrick. Specially since there isn't a clear cut 2nd basemen of the future. Alex Guerrero or newly acquired Olivera seem to be the best bets to start next season at 3B, and Darnell Sweeneu has been playing all over the place in the minors. So it makes sense for the Dodgers to try and lock up Kendrick for a few more years. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Dodgers Drop the First of Three in Arizona

Before I get to the game I would just like to mention that today I went to a book signing, for Tommy Lasorda's book "My Way," and Tommy is probably one of the nicest, kind hearted person I have met. Like any Dodger fan would, I tried to get a ball signed by him as I he and the author of the book, Colin Gunderson, were signing my copy of the book. Tommy was about to grab the ball when Mr. Gunderson, in a very annoyed manor, exclaimed it was books only. Tommy then turned to me and told me if I waited for all the books to be signed he would then sign my ball. So I stuck around and even after all the books were signed Mr. Guderson still insisted on no memorabilia to be signed. Tommy turned to him, whispered something in his ear, and then proceeded to sign for fans. I turned to be polite and say thank you to Mr. Gunderson and he just shook his head in disgust. Needles to say I am very grateful to Tommy for the autographs, but I will not be reading the book and will soon go on eBay. 

Now to the game. Brett Anderson looked good. Apart from the 1 mistake he made to Goldschmidt, giving up a 3 run HR, he was solid. Puig is struggling, he will be benched for Ethier tonight. Gonzalez was pitched to cautiously, he only picked up a single and a couple walks. Grandal picked up his first hit, a solo HR in this game. The bullpen, apart from JP Howell who is still struggling, did well. Dodgers lost 4-3 in the 10th.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Historic Night

Photo Credit: Jon Soohoo

Last nights rubber match vs the Padres started off with a ceremony, presenting Zack Greinke and Adrian Gonzalez with their 2014 Gold Glove Awards.Gonzalez was also honored with the 2014 Silver Slugger, and last night he showed it was well deserved. El Titan clobbered 3 HR in his first three at bats and finished up the night with a single. He went 4-4 with 4 RBIs. He is the only player in MLB history to hit 5 HRs in the first 3 games to start off a season. The Dodgers went on to win this rubber match, winning the Opening Series 2-1 vs the new look Padres and Matt Kemp. Picking up the Win was Brandon McCarthy, who gave up 4 runs in 5 innings of work, and the Save was picked up by Joel Peralta. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Disappointing Loss

Photo Credit: Jon Soohoo

It was bound to happen in a 162 games Season, but last night's loss to the Padres was rough. The bullpen looked great on Opening Day Monday afternoon, but last night they just couldn't find the strike zone. Not to mention the hero during the season opener,Jimmy Rollins, having a rough night. Forget about the errors he committed, forget getting thrown out at third trying stretch a double into a triple when the play wasin front of him, but that missed pop up with 2 outs and runners on second and third, while the Dodgers were up 2-1 in the top of the 8th, that allowed 2 runs to score was devastating. Yes, Gonzales tied back up at 3 a piece in the bottom of the 8th with a solo home run, but being up 2-1 going into the bottom of the 8th would have been a bit better. Chris Hatcher who picked up the save on Monday, picked up the loss last night, after giving up a hit and ultimately the winning run to Will Myers, first hit of the season. And to put the cherry on top, leading 7-3, newly acquired Padre Craig Kimbrel came in to close it out, though not a "save" situation, he did strike out the side in the bottom of the 9th to end the game. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

New Look Dodgers Start the 2015 Season 1-0

Photo Credit: Jon Soohoo

The Dodgers defeated the Padres in today's Opening Game at Chavez Ravine by a score of 6-3. The biggest hit was delivered in the bottom of the 8th by a long time Phily, Jimmy Rollins. Stepping in with 1 out, score tied at 3, and runners on 1st and 2nd he battled until he got a fast ball, low and inside, and just turned on it, clearing the right field fence and putting his new team up 6-3! 
Rollins went 2-4 with a walk, all 3 of his RBIs coming on that HR, and also stole a base. The other new comer Howie Kendrick showed his quick hands and turned a couple double plays beautifully, also added 2 hits, an RBI, and a run scored. The rookie, Joc Pederson, started off his day on a rough note, striking out his first at bat and stranding a runner on third with 1 out his second at bat. But later doubled in his second at bat, in his third at bat walked and was on second to watch Rollin's big fly.Veteran  Joel Peralta came in in relief, pitched a scoreless top of the 8th and ultimately picked up the Win, thanks to Chris Hatcher picking up the Save and closing out the game. 

On a side note, long time Dodger Matt Kemp picked up all of the Padres' RBIs, going 2-4 with a pair of singles. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hard Decisions Ahead

Photo Credit: Jon Soohoo 

With Spring Training camp about to break Don Mattingly and the Dodgers front office have some tough decisions to make. 
First, the ovious one, the bullpen. With Jansen and League both out, they will have to piece an Opening Day bullpen together that can compete and hold the leads for the first 2 months of the season. J.P Howell to me might be the only "lock" to make the team, other relievers such as: David Aardsma, Pedro Barz, Paco Rodriguez, Sergio Santos, Carlos Frias, Yimi Garcia, Joel Peralta, and Adam Liberator all have a viable chance of breaking with the Major League clubs out of Spring. Dustin McGowan has been cut after a rough spring and Mike Adams has been sent to the minors, with an opt out clause if he doesn't make the big league roster by June 1. 

Now, the 5th spot in the rotation. If they teams in healthy the rotation come April 6th will be: Kershaw, Greinke, McCarthy, Anderson. The Dodgers won't need a 5th starter until about the second week of the regular season. Joe Weiland has been optioned to Triple-A but he looked good in today's start versus the Chicago White Sox, only allowing 2 runs in 5 innings of work. Juan Nicasio could also be an option, both to break with the Dodgers and be the 5th starter, as they could use him out of the bullpen and start him when 5th starter is needed. Erik Bedard getting hurt affected his chances of making the club, along with Chad Gaudin they both may start in the minors or be released. 

The bench situation may be the toughest of all the decisions Donny will have to make. Justin Turner and Scott Van Slyke will be with the big league club on April 6th, but which other 2 players will join them? If Andre Ethier is not traded we could see him or Joc Pederson as a lefty and Out Fielder off the bench and Dodgers will have to choose between Darwin Barney and Alex Guerrero for the last spot on the bench. But if Ethier is traded or Pederson gets sent to the minors, which could occur just so he can get reps in before Ethier is traded, then both Guerrero and Barney will be with the Big League camp at the end of spring training. Some other players with an outside chance of making the Opening Day roster are: Chris Heisey (OF) , Kike Hernandez (Utl), Darnell Sweeney (Utl), and Scott Schebler (OF). 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Dodgers sign Garcia

I'm guessing a pitcher other than the starting 4 (Kershaw, Greinke,McCarthy, and Anderson) has not impressed the Dodger front office. Tonight the Dodgers went out and signed Freddy Garcia. The 38 year old Venezuelan has not pitched in the majors since 2013. He made 3 starts, 6 appearances only logging in 27.1 innings before being released by the Braves. He only signed a minor league deal, so they might just want to see what he has left in the tank. Ryu is scheduled for another MRI next week, after finding nothing in his left shoulder last week and being shut down for rest this week. So we will see the extent of Ryu's absence and whether Garcia still has what it takes to pitch in the big leagues.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

In Need of Pitching

Photo Credit: John Soohoo

The Dodgers have been bitten by the injury bug this spring. First it was Jansen, then Ryu, and now League. League was a favorite to take over the closer role while Jansen was out, not a popular choice if you ask Dodger fans but his numbers were very good last year. Now with both League and Jansen out the Dodgers might have to rely on new faces. Joel Peralta (acquired from the Rays) was hurt in the beginning of camp but now seems to be on track to be on the Opening Day roster. Dustin McCown seems to be another viable bullpen arm, along with David Aardsma (both signed minor league contracts at the start of mapping training). Joe Weiland (squired from the Padres) and Chris Hatcher (aquired from the Marlins) are having solid springs and have a good shot at starting the MLB season in the bullpen, though Weiland is also being looked at to fill in for Ryu. Ex White Soxs and Blue Jays closer Sergio Santos (also under minor league contract) has turned some heads and has shown that he might still have MLB closer quality "stuff." These new faces along with some young faces that we saw last year in the majors bullpe; Yimi Garcia, Carlos Frias, and Pedro Baez, are battling for bullpen spots as right handed relievers. On the left side it's down to 3 possible candidates; J.P Howell, Paco Rodriguez, and Adam Liberatore for 2 or 1 (last season Dodgers opened the season with only J.P Howell as their lone lefty in the pen) spot. 

As for the Ryu situation, he will start the season on the DL. Dodgers are saying that they are trying to aquire a back of the rotation starter. Possible candidates include two Orioles in Ubaldo Jimenez and Miguel Gonzalez, Gavin Floyd (now with the Indians), and Tanner Roark. Some in house options include: Juan Nicasio, Joe Weiland, Erik Bedard (minor league contract), and Zac Lee. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Filling in for Ryu

Photo Credit: Jon Soohoo 

Hun-Jin Ryu is having shoulder trouble again. He is set to fly to Los Angeles and have it checked out by team doctors. Don Matingley meanwhile has scratched him from the Opening Day roster, stating that they will take their time with him and will most likely go on the DL.
 As for the extent of the injury, we are not sure yet. At first they thought it might be fatigue, now they fear it's much worse. The Dodgers do have a couple players in camp that can fill in while Ryu returns. No, Julio Urias is not one of them. Some in house starting pitchers that can potentially fill in as the 5th starter are: Juan Nicasio (who was sign this season), Erik Bedard (who currently has a minor league contract), Joe Weiland (who the Dodgers acquired in the Matt Kemp deal), Zac Lee (who isn't too impressive this spring), and Carlos Frias (who had a couple starts with the Dodgers last season, but mainly came out of the pen). The Dodgers can also try and add another starter via trade. No they are not going to trade for Cole Hammels, they are looking for a back of the rotation starter, some examples could be: Ubaldo Jimenez (Dodgers can take on the contract and give up little to no prospects ) , Gavin Floyd (now with the Indians), Jesse Chavez (from the A's), or Tanner Roark (he maybe a long shot, but he is also the Nationals odd man out in their 5 man rotation). 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Guerrero is Heating Up

Photo Credit: Jon Soohoo 

 The Center Field battle is not the only one that is heating up! Joc Pederson has been playing well all spring, but now Andre Ethier is heating up. And with no one taking a flyer on Ethier, even though there are reports that the Dodgers are willing to pay for half his salary for solid piece(s) back. But there is word that the Dodgers are not only are offering Ethier, but either Darwin Barney or Alex Guerrero to go with him. Barney is a solid defender with an inconsistent bat, he does posses some speed, and is proven a professional. On the other hand we have Guerrero, who is turning heads and has stated that he wants to be in the Majors this year, either with the Dodgers or else where. Guerrero has an out clause if the Dodgers don't keep him  in the Major League roster come Opening Day. With Justin Turner and Scott Van Slyke a lock to be bench players come April, there might only be 2 spots left on the bench. This is assuming Ethier gets traded or Pederson gets sent down.  Guerrero has played a little in Left Field, so Don Mattingley might elect to have both Guerrero and Barney on the major league roster, with only Van Slyke being the true OF. But he has stated that he would want two OF so he has the option of playing Van Slyke at 1st base, giving Adrian Gonzalez days off. So, in my opinion Chris Heisey, Darnell Sweeney, and Scott Schebler will be in the Majors come April along side Van Slyke and Turner. As for the Guerrero and Barney situation, I believe Guerrero has the biggest upside and can become a starting third baseman next year when Uribe is no longer under contract, so keep him! And we will see Ethier and Barney traded by the end of Spring Training, Dodgers need the bullpen help. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Another Young Dodger Turning Heads

Photo Credit: Jon Soohoo 

Most Dodger fans know about the Dodgers' top three prospects: Corey Seager, Julio Urias, and Joc Pederson. But there has been another Dodger turning heads, Darnell Sweeney. The 24 year old college Short Stop out of the University of Central was drafted by the Dodgers in the 13th round of the 2012 First Year Player Draft. But with Seager at short the Dodgers have elected to convert him in to a utility player, mainly playing Second Base and Center Field. Last year while playing for the Dodgers' AA affiliate Chattanooga Lookouts he was selected to the Southern League All-Star Game and in 132 games played he finished with a .288 batting average, 14 Home Runs, 15 steals, and led the Southern League with 88 runs scored. He followed that impressive minor league season by playing in the Arizona Fall League with the Glendale Desert Dogs  where he posted a .316 batting average, with 2 home runs, 3 steals, and 14 runs scored in 19 games. The 6 foot 1 switch hitter climbed up the prospect rankings last year and is now the Dodgers' 13th top prospect. This spring he has impressed, hitting 2 home runs, batting .429, and 6 RBIs in 14 at bats. 4 of those RBIs came in today's game vs the A's, when he launched an opposite field Grand Slam. He might not make the Dodgers' opening day roster, but I have good feeling he will be wearing a Dodger uniform in the big leagues this year. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Future Dodger SS

Photo Credit: Jon Soohoo

If you haven't yet heard of him, you will after this Spring. Dodgers's top prospect, rated higher than Julio Urias, Corey Seager. The 6 foot 4, 19 year old has been turning heads with his quick bat, great plate discipline, and slick fielding. In 15 at bats this spring he has 3 base hits and 5 walks, that's a .300 batting average. With Jimmy Rollins under contract for only this year, and the Dodgers trying to go younger... Joc Pederson may win the Rookie of the Year this year and Corey Seager next year. It could be like the 90's all over again, with solid Rookie of the Years in consecutive years. And let's not forget young Julio Urias, who the Dodgers want to take their time with, but we might see soon enough.  

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Kershaw with the W

Photo Credot: Jon Soohoo

It might only be Spring Training but Kershaw looked dominant. He went 2 innings and struck out 3, including Jose Abreu with a knee buckling curve. Kershaw was not the only one who impressed, in the battle for the Center Field starting job Joc Pederson picked up another single, going 1-2. Corey Seager also saw his first action of the spring at SS, following his 1-1 (with a walk) performance yesterday after coming in as a DH (taking over for Joc) he went 0-1 but did work out 2 base on balls. Puig saw his first at bats of this spring, he went 0-2 but did pick up an RBI. Taking over for Puig in RF was O'Koyea Dickson, who has been turning heads. Dickson who hit a solo HR in yesterday's game (going 1-2), hit an RBI double today (also going 1-2). And Guerrero continues to hit as well, as he is battling for a bench role, he went 1-2 with a run scored. Dodgers won 6-1. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Dodgers vs White Sox

Photo Credit: Jon Soohoo

Spring training games are on their way and the Dodgers and White Sox had their first game of the Spring today. The Dodgers fell 6-4 but there was a lot to happy about for Dodger fans. For starters, yes Andre Ethier started in CF where he dropped a tough catch going towards the CF wall and went 0 for 2 with 2 K's, but the rookie Joc Pederson shined at the plate. Yes I know it's only the first game of Spring Training, but Joc went 2-2 and his swing seemed to have shortened up since last year. So thus far in the battle for the starting CF job it's Joc 1 - Ethier 0. Also in today's game we saw Corey Seager pick up a single and a base on balls going 1-1. Sweeney, a Dodger short stop prospect, in CF also going 1-1 with a single and a walk. Alex Guerrero who is looking to be in the MLB at the start at the regular season played some third base today, backing up Juan Uribe and going 2-2. The Dodgers are out of options when it comes to Guerrero, it's either keep him at the big league level or pay the remainder of his contract and watch him walk. 
There are a lot of stories to follow this Spring for the Dodgers: the CF battle, who will make the "bench squad" , who will start the season as the closer (while Kenley is out), who will be the set-up man, who will be the 5th starting pitcher, and can Puig be a bat the Dodgers can rely on. 
Tomorrow we get our first look at the Dodgers opening day starter, last years Cy Young and MVP, Clayton Kershaw. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Predictions for 2015

Photo Credit Jon Soohoo

Don Mattingley has announced today that Clayton Kershaw will get the ball to start the 2015 season for the Dodgers vs the Padres, and Matt Kemp, at Chavez Ravine. This comes to no ones surprise, this could be Kershaw's 5th consecutive Opening Game start. 

With Spring Training games on their way, the Dodgers face the White Sox at Camelback Ranch this Wednesday. And it will be the veteran lefty getting the start. No, not Kershaw, Erick Bedard. Bedard will start in hopes he can find a roster spot, after only getting a Spring Training invite this winter. He will kick off the Dodgers quest for a World Series ring. 

Now with all that being said, here are my predictions for the 2015 season: 
Let's start with the National League,
NL West     - Dodgers 
NL East      - Nationals
NL Central  - Cardinals
Wild Cards  - Pirates 
                   - Marlins

I don't see the Padres getting a Wild Card do to their terrible Outfield defense. Yes they have gotten better offensively , but they don't have a true CF, SS, or lead off. As for the Giants, it's an even year. Cubs are a year away from truly competing and Brewers will find a way to collapse in the second half. 

American League: 
AL West - Mariners
AL East - Orioles 
AL Central - White Sox
Wild Cards - Tigers
                  - Red Sox

I still think that the AL East is the most competitive division in the AL, but don't sleep on Buck's O's. I don't think that the Yankees have done enough to bolster their rotation, there are still a lot of question marks there. Blue Jays still need pitching. Rays have cleaned house, and with no Maddon there, don't think it will work as well. Indians have tons of pitching, but lack the offense. Royals will miss James Shield and their offense will be lacking without Billy Butler. Twins, will finish in last. Astros are a couple years away from competing. A's and Billy Bean have tinkered way too much, losing power bats in Moss, Cespedes, and Donaldson will hurt them. Rangers will compete, but feel like they will fall short. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

" Juliomania "

Photo Credit: Jon Soohoo

"That's how God works, he gave me a bad left eye but a good left arm"
The 18 year old Mexican lefty has benging mass on his left eye that barely allows him to see. But that hasn't stopped him from working towards his ultimate goal, reaching the MLB. Dodgers discovered and signed Urias during the same scouting trip they took to Mexico to look at Puig. He was 16 when he signed with the Dodgers and last year at 17 he was pitching for Rancho Cucamanga. Posting a 2.36 ERA in 20 starts, with 109 strike outs. This phenom, who is now ranked as the Dodgers second best prospect, behind Corey Seager, on average was hitting 96 mph on the radar gun, occasionally touching 98! But that's not what has impressed veteran Dodger catcher A.J Ellis this spring. He caught one of Urias's bullpens this spring, A.J was quoted as saying that what impressed him about Urias was his composure.  A.J loved his tempo and his ability to stay the same through out his bullpen, whether he hit his spot or not. "He has the confidence and the composure of a seasoned veteran," said A.J of Urias. 

Julio Urias might be ready for the big leagues this season, but the Dodgers don't want to rush him. They see him as a starter, potential ace to go along side with Kershaw. With 5+ potential starters this season for the Dodgers and Urias pitching less than 90 innings in the minors last season, you probably won't see him in the rotation come Opening Day. He might be up in September, Dodgers could use him out of the pen. But with Coulombe, who pitched in the majors last year, and Chris Reed, who was a closer at Stanford, now in the 40 man roster, Urias might have to wait. 

Compared to fellow Mexican native Fernando Valenzuela, who made his MLB debut for the Dodgers at the age of 19, Julio Urias is an exciting Dodger prospect to follow. Wether he gets called up in September or follows in one of his idol's foot steps and makes his MLB debut next year at 19, one thing is for sure... "Juliomania" will soon arrive to Chavez Ravine, and will be here to stay. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Why didn't the Dodgers sign Yoan Moncada?

Let me first start off by congratulating the Boston Red Sox, they had the "winning bid" of $31.5 mil. The 19 year old prospect, who has been compared to Robinson Cano, is a great acquisition.

Now, the Dodgers. They sent Friedman and Mattingley to Moncada's work out day when he was here in L.A. Yes they were impressed, yes they wanted him, but ultimately they felt that the cost might not match the reward. This was a tricky negotiation, team with the winning bid (Boston in this case) would have had to pay 100% tax for going over the international signing threshold. So Boston is paying about $63 million dollars to sign him, $31.5 signing bonus $31.5 in taxes. I believe that the money wasn't the issue for the Dodgers, they have all the money in the world. The big issue was the penalty that came along with anyone who signed Moncada, not being able to sign international talent (for more than the minimum) for the next 2 years. With Cuba possibly opening their doors to the MLB in the near future and the number of scouts the Dodgers have internationally, I believe it was the right move. 
There are plenty Cuban talent up for grabs. You have 18 year old right handed pitcher Yadier Alverez and fellow 21 second basemen Andy Ibanez. But the problem with those two players is that they might be subjected to the similar rules and penalties that Moncada signed for. Look for the Dodgers to be aggressive in pursuing, soon to be Cuban free agent, 29 year old Hector Olivares. He is seen as an MLB ready 2nd or 3rd baseman who can hit 20+ Homeruns in the MLB. And with Howie and Uribe only under contract for this year, this makes sense.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dodgers' Offseason

Oh no Matt Kemp is gone!
Let me start off by saying that I, for one, am relieved! Don't get me wrong, I love Matt Kemp and would have loved to keep him as a Dodger for the remainder of his career, but injuries have slowed him down. I agree that when healthy he is arguably the best player in the league and worth that massive contract awarded to him by Colletti. But that is a big if, I do believe in Kemp, but don't believe he can stay healthy for a long period of time. Yes, we could have gotten a bit more than Yasmani  Grandal and Joe Weiland, but it was more of a salary dump.
Now on to Hanley Ramirez..... this move made sense! We upgraded defensively by acquiring Jimmy Rollins, who is basically a rental, 2016 will be the year of the Seager! Corey Seager. We can be looking at back to back "Rookie of the Year" award winners in Joc Pederson and Corey Seager. And Julio Urias could win the ROY in 2017, if he isn't called up to the majors before then.
Dee Gordon was the trade that hurt the most to me, coming off of a career season and then watch him go. We got a great haul for him in Kike Hernandez and Andrew Heaney. Then, seemingly traded Heaney seconds later for Howie Kendrick. Now Howie is a big upgrade from Dee Gordon.  Howie, not the AL MVP, led the Angels in hits last season. He is a consistent hitter and solid defender, definition of professional. My only concern is signing him to an extension, with Yoan Moncada going to Boston and no real prospect in the Dodgers' farm system to take over 2B next year, not having Howie can leave a big hole in our line up and at 2B. Not to mention giving up a top pitching prospect in Heaney to get him.
Now for the pitching staff. I love the rotation; Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, and now McCarthy and Anderson. That is a very good rotation. I am still skeptical about Anderson, Zaidi knows him well from his Oakland days, but Anderson has had the injury bug the past couple of years. Nicasio is being trained as you read this to be a long relief man in Arizona, so their could be a chance that we see Zach Lee or Frias pitch quite a bit this season. I like the McCarthy signing, who seemed to find him self after leaving the Diamondbacks. The best aquesition in my eyes came just days ago, Brandon Beachy. Yes he is injured, and now on the 60 day DL, but Dodgers have a club option for 2016. If Greinke leaves and/or when Anderson is gone after this year he will fit right in to the rotation.
The bullpen can still use a bit of help though, specially now that Jansen might miss a couple weeks recovering from foot surgery. I don't believe that McCown is the answer to Jansen going down, Rafeal Soriano and K-Rod are still out there. To me K-Rod seems like a great option. He can close while Jansen in out and he has worked, and done well, as a set-up man before. I do like the addition of Joel Peralta to the pen, good, veteran, relief pitcher from Tampa Bay.
The club has changed, both on the field and in the offices. Friedman and Zaidi will show what "Money Ball" and money can do.All in all I, unlike Greinke, do believe the team has improved this offseason. There are a bit more contact hitters up and down the line up, not just big name stars aiming for the fences. Way better defensively, specially up the middle. And if you are one of those that doesn't believe in Joc, the Dodgers still have a back up plan in Andre Ethier. Yes, he is still around. I believe this team will win the NL West again and will have a great shot at the title.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

First Post

For a while now friends and family have been suggesting that I start a blog, so here it is.

Let me first start by explaining the name of my blog, "Foul Ball Deep in Center." Yes, I am aware that this makes no sense in the baseball world! I have played and watched, loved this game of baseball since I was 4. So when I heard this verse in one of my favorite band's songs, Matt & Kim - Lightspeed, I found it pretty hilarious and decided to use it as the title for my blog. The pictures and lyrics around my blog are also from this song, which is actually a pretty catchy and good song, so if you haven't heard it go check it out.

Now, the content in this blog. As I mentioned I have played and loved this game for a very long time, so I understand and see the game a little differently than most fans. I also like to talk and discuss potential moves (trades, signing, etc) that teams can make to help the team and organization out. Some examples of my upcoming post include: Yoan Moncada; the pros and cons to signing him. And my thoughts on this baseball off season and next year's potential free agents and trades. I will also give my predictions for this season soon, including who I believe will be celebrating come October.

Spring Training has started, pitchers and catchers have reported to their respective camps. And I, along with many more baseball fans are excited for this upcoming 2015 season! We are 44 days away from opening game, Cardinals vs Cubs!

I bleed blue, so most post will be about the Dodgers, but I will be posting about other things going on around the league. I hope you as a reader enjoy my take on different baseball topics and if you have any suggestions on what to post or tips, please feel free to comment.