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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dodgers begin spring schedule tomorrow

Hello all! the Dodgers are all set to begin their spring schedule tomorrow with a split squad game against the giants and angels. the first game on tv is sunday afternoon against the angels.




your probably wondering with the spring schedule ready to kick off tomorrow why in the world is there a pic of yoda above? keep reading and I will get to that.....
with the first game tomorrow I began to think about the Dodgers roster and lineup and how it might shape up. IM gonna do a quick rundown of what I would do if I were the Dodgers and how I think the roster/lineup should shape out. remember this is what I would do and not what the Dodgers will do.

the 25 man roster normally is constructed with 12 pitchers and 13 position players. 5 starters, 7 relievers, the starting 8 position players, and 5 players on the bench (normally two outfielders, two infielders and a backup catcher). now there are someteams who might carry an extra relief pitcher or an extra infielder but this is how it usually goes.

THE PITCHING STAFF

this pitching staff has alot of depth. you can honestly say the dodgers could have one of the better pitching staffs in the national league.

ROTATION
1.Kershaw-staff ace turning 23. dominating
2.Billingsly-rebounded from a bad second half of 09. strong 2010
3.Kuroda-one of the most consistent dodger pitchers in recent years
4.Lilly-won first five games as a dodger finished 7-2.
5.Garland-notorious innings-eater

BULLPEN

while starting pitching is obviously this teams stregths, the bullpen will also be much improved this year.
with Bellisario MIA and Padilla shelved for a couple of months after surgery to his forearm, two spots opne up in the bullpen. not having bellisario and padilla sucks, but its not season changing as there is plenty of pitchers, and a plethora of retreads assembled in arizona.
the front four of Broxton, Kuo, Jansen, and Guerrier will form a very nasty foursome of fireballers. I think Broxton will be revamped after a long offseason, a new coaching staff, and being away from Joe Torre. Kenley Jansen the young fireballer-converted catcher who burst onto the scene late last year and blew most hitters away will provide 7th and 8th inning setup duties. as will newly acquired Matt Guerrier. Guerrier is a solid pitcher, and that could allow the Dodgers to save Kuo for high value type innings. Blake Hawksworth, picked up in the theriot trade can hop into the swing/longman role which was slated for Vicente Padilla. which is also the Jeff Weaver role.
this leaves two spots left to fill. the Dodgers invited a sleu of Non roster players to camp, alot of teams do. 20 to be exact, and half are pitchers. most of the pitchers arent worth mentioning, however there are a couple I think we should take a chance on. hey with the way things are were gonna have to roll the dice on a couple of players. if Scott Elbert struggles in the spring, Ron Mahay could and should pickup a spot. I think if he is used porperly as a loogy he can be useful. hes been terrific against lefties. career-.232 BAA and .689OPS. last year he was decent for minnesota-3.44 ERA in 41 games 8BB/25K. even though he is 39 if used properly can fill a valuable spot. the last spot could be given to Lance Cormier. I know I know I might be facepalming myself for this later on, but he has actually put up decent numbers. 3.92 ERA last year isnt terrible. his strikeout to walk ratio was poor, however he is a ground ball pitcher. once again if used properly he could be useful. and if he sucks there is a whole army of guys who will be wating in the wings in AAA. Ely, Monasterios, Jon Link, Troncoso can all be called upon for depth. its even possible they could bring back Weaver, that possibility should make Stac happy as she has always liked him.
1.Broxton-CL
2.Kuo
3.Jansesn
4.Guerrier
5.Hawksworth
6.Mahay
7.Cormier

THE OFFENSE

the big reason last year was so craptastic is because the offense was punchless. while you could say its only marginally improved power wise, still theres a couple of spots we are just going to have to hope for the best.

there is going to have to be two different lineups thanks to this power improved OBP starved lineup.
Furcal will hit leadoff as usual, and Ethier and Kemp will hit 3-4. which makes sense. Uribe should hit behind Kemp in the 5 spot. with the Gibbons/Thames plattoon batting 7th, and the catchers batting eigth. the question remains, who should bat second? thats a good question worth some arguing.
Donnie Baseball has said that he might be considering batting Blake second, which I think is a mistake, and here is why.
the options are very limited since Carroll is on the bench and really the only other options to hit second is between Blake and Loney. lets actually compare the two.

Blake  .248/.320-.720OPS 17 HR 64 RBI-48BB-138K-.305BABIP-vsLHP-.314-RHP-.222
Loney .268/.348-.723OPS 10 HR 88 RBI-52BB 95K-.302BABIP-vsLHP-.222-RHP-.286

as you can see from their 2010 season splits they put up very similar numbers. dont let blake's extra power and Loney's Higher avg fool you into thinking it means anything. or Loneys shiny 88 RBI.  here is the difference, Loney is younger and while there BABip is almost the same, Loney gets on base more .348OBP, walks more-52-48 and strikes out less. he is just a better contact hitter than blake. if you go by the book, your number two hitter should always be one of your better hitters. however there is an issue. Blake while still being able to crush lefties as shown above, cannot hit right hand pitching anymore. the same can be said of Loney but opposite. he hits righties well at .286, but cant hit lefties-.222. so this means your going to have to move Loney down in the lineup when there is a Lefty on the mound.

vs.RHP-                 vs.LHP
1.Hit Machine         Hit Machine
2.Loney                  Blake
3.Ethier                   Ethier
4.Kemp                  Kemp
5.Uribe                   Uribe
6.Blake                   Loney
7.Gibbons               Thames
8.Barajas/Ellis         Barajas/Ellis
9.Pitcher                 Pitcher

THE BENCH

this where the Dodgers have to make the right choice, although we all know they wont.
Carroll-IF
Gwynn Jr.-OF
Thames
Paul-OF
Ellis-C

last year the bench was completly useless. but should be much improved this year. Carroll returns as a diamond in the rough. I put Thames there because hell prolly only see time against lefties, and IM hoping Ellis makes the club as backup. (of coarse I know fatty Navarro will make the team since hes out of options and Ellis is not) Tony Gwynn Jr comes on board to provide late inning defense and speed.
here is where the Dodgers must choose wiselly. the last bench spot is up for grabs, and at the moment they only have one infielder. there are only two choices since the Dodgers traded away Chin-Lung Hu. both of them are very awful. either Aaron Miles, a utility infielder picked up from the Cardinals. he sucks balls, has no power, and a .675 career OPS. the other choice is the infamously attrocious......historically horrible.....can you feel those goosebumps on the back of your neck forming?..........Jaun Castro!
the question is could one of these useless retreads cost the Dodgers a young promising serviceable outfielder like Xavier Paul?   think about it for a second......search your heart you know it to be true. (im choosing to go with 3 outfielders on my hypothetical roster, while we all know the Dodgers will go with Castro)

you know what the Dodgers will do.....dont you? deep inside the labrynth of your mind you know hes gonna be there. heck hes already in spring training given a minor league deal and 500K if he makes the team. Castro is coming and theres nothing anyone can do to stop this from happening. 
remember Castro singed with the Dodgers in 1991, and is in his 4th stint with the team. he is one of the most historically terrible hitters of all time. career .228 avg and .575 OPS. the 39 year old veteran will be wasting a roster spot, striking out, and bumbling plays in the field.
sure we laughed at Auto out in 2010, however Castro is like a career Auto out. oh yes. let me give you an example here, if Anderson (auto out) was like Anakin Skywalker of auto outs, then Castro would be you guessed it.....the Yoda of Auto outs! hey when hes on the roster and stinking up the bench this year, dont say I didnt warn you! 

in other funny news around the world of Baseball Adam Wainright Cardinals number 1 will have Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL in his pitching arm. after having one of the best seasons last year finsihing second in the cy young, will miss the entire season and prolly most of next year. with this news the balance of power has shifted in the NL central, and the Reds, Beefed up Milwaukee, and rebuilding Astros and Cubs are all licking their chops! wow so since december the Cardinals traded a person for the completly useless Ryan Theriot, failed to resign Albert Pujols to a contract extension, and now have lost their franchise pitcher to injury. while there is no laughing matter about anyone getting hurt(we wish Wainright a speedy recovery) we still are very pleased we will not have to face him for a long time! talk about a team getting kicked in the nards! yikes!

and one more thing, we will have another year of Vinny. thank you Vinny from the bottom of every Dodger fans heart. you are are guide through the season. we are thrilled to have you back for another year.

only 35 more days until opening day! another wonderful year of Dodger baseball is all set to start! we all wait to hear those wonderful words we love to hear.......ITS TIIIIIIIIIME FOR DODGER BASEBALL!
check back for more spring news! lets go blue!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Vicente Padilla's Arm Surgery Goes Well

This morning Vicente Padilla had a successful surgery on his forearm which helped eleviate a entrapped radial nerve in his pitching arm. The surgery was described as a 1-inch incision in which they cut away part of the muscle deep in the forearm which is pressing against a nerve. Padilla will travel back to AZ to join his teammates in spring training, but the earliest he will be able to begin throwing again is in 3-4 weeks. Eric Gagne had a similar ulnar nerve entrapment surgery in June 2005, and he missed the rest of the season. But that was a different nerve which was affected, and recovery times vary depending in part on the extent of nerve damage. Padilla told MLB.com that "I feel like I have a new arm." Vicente began experiencing pain Sunday after a bullpen session, and was flown out to L.A. for an evaluation. Padilla was injury prone last season with similar arm problems and a bulging disc in his neck which caused him to miss 2 months of the season.


Padilla was signed this offseason for a $2 million base salary plus incentives. Ned Colletti's intentions were for him to be a reliever since his injuries were mounting last season. Padilla had said that he wanted to try to break into the starting rotation this season.


The Dodgers have now lost two pitchers before the season has even started. Ronald Belisario's murky wherabouts are still unknown and it is unlikely he will be able to enter the U.S. this season. Luckily the Dodgers picked up some pitching this winter, and the acquisitions of Hawksworth & Guerrier and of course fifth starter Jon Garland seem very smart now. It will be interesting to see who can battle to capture one of the vacancies in the bullpen. Scott Elbert, John Ely, Jon Link, Carlos Monasterios and Travis Schlichting now have a chance to make the team along with some other retreads not even worth mentioning at this point. 


Here's to a speedy recovery for Padilla and for the return of the infamous soap bubble. 


The first exhibtion game is scheduled for this Saturday, and the Sunday's game vs. the Angels will be televised on Prime Ticket at 12:05pm. Stay tuned for more Spring Training news and scores!



Thursday, February 17, 2011

where in the world is Ronald Belisario?

Greetings all! were back and spring training has begun! not much has happened since the last time we posted. the Dodgers picked up a couple of aging veteran arms on minor league deals. all the Lance Cormier's, and Ramon Colons aside, as the Dodgers begin to file in for spring training. Pitchers and catchers have already begun to report. all familiar faces have reported on time....except for one pitcher......guess who? Where in the world is Ronald Belisario?  Its about 6 o'clock, do you know where your setup man is? for the third straight year in a row Belisario will not be reporting to spring training on time. and it gets much worse. just the other day the Dodgers learned from his agent that not only will he not be arriving at spring training on time again, he wont be able to enter the US at all in 2011. when asked if this had something to do with his visa issues, his agent replied "it goes much deeper than that" Yikes! now I have no idea where belisario is at this point but I do know where he is not, and that is at the Dodgers spring training camp in Glendale Arizona.

Belisario is the right handed venezuelian setup man that burst onto the scene in 2009. putting up very solid numbers.  in 2010 he arrived over 5 weeks late to camp, and despite pitching very effective during his time early in the season, he disappeared for a month. the team reported that he had a substance abuse problem. he returned late in the year, but it was clear his head was not right. this lead to his famous mental breakdown after the aftermath of the Philadelphia meltdown, where the Dodgers blew a 9-2 lead in the 8th inning. Belisario was clearly scene crying in the dugout, and soon afterwards was once again put on restricted list.
http://sports.cbsimg.net/images/mlb/photogallery/081010belisario.jpg


there was rumors flying of his legal problems, and these fears were confirmed the other day, when his agent told the Dodgers he would most likly not going to be able  to enter the country this year.
life goes on however thankfully the Dodgers have an abundance of relief pitching and anyone can step in and take his roster spot. Now the Dodgers will still be able to keep Belisario, as they will put him on the restricted list, and this will free up a valuable roster spot. cough Xavier Paul cough cough. ahem.
the Dodgers are still deciding whether to carry 5 or 6 infielders/outfielders and vice versa.


in other news rookie manager Donnie Baseball announced that Clayton Kershaw will be the Dodgers opening day starter. more on this from the news station called DUH!

only about 9 days until the first spring training game. Stac is sick and pregnant right now so she is not in the best of spirits. im not sure when she will be able to post again. lets hope she feels better real soon. Im still here to keep you posted on all Dodgers news while spring training tredges on. this should cheer Stac up, only 44 more days until we hear those magic words we love to hear every year-  ITS TIIIIIIIIIIME FOR DODGERS BASEBALL!!!!!  lets go blue!