Categorized | Mark Timmons

Spring Training Means Nothing… And Everything!

camelbackranch-2009-084Spring Training is a “walking contradiction, partly truth anmd partly fiction” as a song once said.  On one hand you have  a guy who might hit 10 HR and not make the team (Mitch Jones-I hope he DOES make it), and on the other hand you could have  a guy who hits very little and makes it, because of the “experience” factor or some other reason.  Yesterday, our pitchers had bad numbers – Kershaw was hit semi-hard, McDonald was bombed,  Elbert threw one bad pitch for a HR and Garate and Leach, both prospects for the situational lefty position in the pen, were hammered.  Still, it’s early and I saw flashes from all the pitchers.  It was mostly location and working with a different catcher (Ausmus).    Kershaw, who was throwing about 50% curveballs, leading me to belive that he was working on that pitch, did break off a few that were downright nasty.  McDonald clearly had good stuff, but no location, and Elbert was perhaps throwing the hardest of all. 

Mota will be valuable to us this year, and he pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam yesterday.   The pitching will come around and if we need another starter by mid-season, we have the financial flexability to get one with the deferred money to Manny.  Make no mistake, McCourt wants to win and knows that the time is now.  

I have talked to a number of scouts for other teams and they are very impressed with our young arms.  To a man, they all think our pitching will be exceptional this year.    I actually think that the Dodgers are forcing their young pitchers to throw strikes right now as no batters were walked except two by leach in the 8th inning.  Thier control was not great, but they were throwing in the strike zone (and the Giants were hitting it).  Neither Kershaw, McDonald or Elbert walked anyone.

On offense, we looked much better, even though our A-Team did not play.  Andre Ethier hit a big 2-run blast to the opposite field (he looks stronger, yet slimer).  Hu and Castro hit shots that might have been out in Dodger Stadium (Camelback is cavernous), and Hu and Young both had 2 hits.  Our final cust are going to be painful.  I am assuming, that due to injury, Abreu will start at AAA, but Hu and Castro look very good.  Hu is a defensive wizard.  Period!  Castro has lost some range, but is a solid player and great teammate.  Mientkiewicz is versatile and can play 1B, 2B, 3B and RF as well as pinch hit – I think he’s a lock, as is Loretta.  DeWitt is driving in runs and can play SS in an emergency as well as 2B and 3B.  Casey Blake who is slated to hit 8th (a #8 hitter with 21 HR?-when did that last happen?), can also play multiple positions – 3B, 1B, LF, RF.  Add Russ Martin to the mix as he can play 3B, so this team has lots of lineup possibilities. 

  • One thing has come to light from a variety of sources:  “Matt Kemp is a self-centered, all-knowing, 10-year vet who doesn’t like to listen to wisdom (sounds like me when I was 23).    The oldtimers aren’t overly fond of him right now.  That is a little unsettling!  But, it could change.

  • I think that right now the Dodgers are looking for a deal for Juan Pierre.  They would probably be willing to pay 50-60% of his salary in the right deal.  How about Stults, Leach and Pierre for Jokim Soria (the Royals just signed Cruz and he can close)?

  • Here’s my current rostder standings:

     

    Starters

     

    1.

    1B

    James Loney

    2.

    2B

    Orlando Hudson

    3.

    SS

    Rafael Furcal

    4.

    3B

    Casey Blake

    5.

    LF

    Manny Ramirez

    6.

    CF

    Matt Kemp

    7.

    RF

    Andre Ethier

    8.

    C

    Russell Martin

     

    Bench

     

    9.

    1B,2B, SS, 3B

    Mark Loretta

    10.

    C

    Brad Ausmus

    11.

    1B, 3B

    Doug Mientkiewicz

    12.

    LF, CF

    Juan Pierre

    13.

    2B, SS, 3B

    Chin-lung Hu

    14.

    LF, RF

    Delwyn Young

    Pitchers

    15.

    SP

    Chad Billingsley

    16.

    SP

    Hiroki Kuroda

    17.

    SP

    Randy Wolf

    18.

    SP

    Clayton Kershaw

    19.

    SP

    Jason Schmidt

    20.

    RP

    James McDonald

    21.

    RP

    Scott Elbert

     

    22.

    RP

    Guillermo Moto

    23.

    RP

    Hong-Chih Kuo

    24.

    RP

    Cory Wade

    25.

    CL

    Jonathan Broxton

     

    Still Possible

     

    Juan Castro

    Could take Hu’s place

     

    Mitch Jones

    Can a 32-year old make it- he’s been great?

     

    Jeff Weaver

    Can he re-invent himself?

     

    Claudio Vargas

    He has a contract.

     

    Victor Garate

    Looked good so far

     

    Brent Leach

    He has the stuff to be a situational LH.

     

    Ramon Troncoso

    Has not looked good up until now.

     

    Jason Repko

    Arm, speed, and versatility.

     

    Tony Abreu

    Injured again, but unknown.

     

    Blake DeWitt

    Deserves to play in LA, needs AAA.

     

    Xavier  Paul

    Someday his time will come.

     

    Eric Milton

    He’s turning heads.

     

    Jamie Hoffman

    Has the tools to be a 5th OF.

  • For those who don’t think the economy is impacting baseball – there were 5,900 at Camelback Ranch yesterday (it holds 13,000).  A lot of fans were disguised as “empty seats.”  Here’s a shot in the 4th inning:

camelbackranch-2009-052

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

44 Responses to “Spring Training Means Nothing… And Everything!”

  1. Bill Russell says:

    I have an Idea, Haze is that Blythe California you are hunting in? If yes, it’s another 2 hours to Camelback so you can meetup with Badger who will drive 2 hours from his location and finally have a shootout in person. We can call it the LA Dodger shootout. Just remember the rules, it’s back to back and then 5 paces before you turn and fire. How about meeting at Tombstone for this event?

    Our pitching staff is lacking a premium starter but our offense is now Championship quality. Bills, Kuroda, Wolf, Kershaw and the question mark. I think our pen is good enough but if Halliday could be had, Not DOC, we would be very very good.
    Thanks for the ST reports guys. 8)

  2. Mark Timmons says:

    See post 67 on yesterday.

    :smile:

  3. Blue Haze says:

    Nah, I don’t want to waste the shells. My killing is confined to birds these days. I don’t hunt deer, elk, bear or badger anymore. Yes, it is Blythe CA where I hunt, Imperial County is one of the top spots in the country for dove mayhem. The 9 hours in the car each way, is well worth it.

    OUr pitching staff is very thin, IMHO, my biggest fear is having to rely on Broxton to close our games. I would say he will end up only being able to close out at 75% effeciency, yes that means that 25% of the time he is going to rip defeat from the jaws of victory. I wonder how Manny’s arm would fit into the closer role?

  4. lawdog says:

    Playing for blood?

    I’m your huckleberry!

    That’s just my game!

    Well, now that McCourt has managed to get Manny to play for us for zero compensation for a year and a half, and he’s managed to turn that Andruw implosion into a mere scratch–seems to me he shold have the money to go buy a starting pitcher. If we wait until August we might come up short. I can’t believe all them there runs we’ve giving up of late.

    Thanks for the link to Duck’s article Badger. ” Rugh Rough” isn’t strong enough.

    Meguesses Frankie is managing to run the team with well placed smoke columns and mirrors, plus a little puff of smoke up everyone’s skirt for good measure.

    GOOD HEAVENS MY FRIENDS! THE MAN IS OBVIOUSLY BROKE!

    And yet he can go field a team like this. He has cajones, no question about that. I’ll have to tip my hat to anyone who can bluff his way into a team like the one we have this year. Remind me to avoid high stakes poker games with him. Mewonders if Manny has those “deferred” payments secured by a deed of trust on Dodger Stadium? :shock:

  5. lawdog says:

    Twenty five million dollars? That’s an an awful lot of money.”

    “C’mon Holliday, are you in or are you out?”

    “Well just call me deranged, but I guess I’m gonna half to call!

    “Cover your ears darlin…,”

    “Isn’t that a peach of a hand?” :roll:

  6. Bill Russell says:

    Lawdog
    Then you have to pass out and get carried off to your room bleeding from the mouth.

    Tombstone and My Cousin Vinny are my 2 favorite movies.

  7. Bill Russell says:

    In the picture Mark posted it almost looks like the batter hit a green tennis ball. Until I looked further to see it was a beer vendor. 8)

  8. lawdog says:

    “Darlin, it looks like we may just have to redefine the nature of our relationship.”

    “C,mon Doc. Haven’t I always been a good woman to you.”

    Yes, you’ve always been a good woman. But then, you just might be the anti-christ!”

    Tombstone’s not the best wwestern ever done. It’s the ONLY one! Val Kilmer should have won an Oscar for his portayal of Doc.

    In fact, that’s movie’s where I got my moniker.

  9. lawdog says:

    You don’t suppose Frank had to wait for the market to fall into stag deflation in order to afford to sign Manny at all this year because he hasn’t got the capital to pay him doodley this year?

  10. Slo Dawg says:

    “You’re pushing daiseys if you do”!

    “Why Johhny Ringo you look like someone just walked on your grave”!

    I agree…Tonbstone is the best Western ever made..maybe the best movie ever made!

    Go Dodgers!!!

  11. Slo Dawg says:

    Make that Tombstone!….Sitting here at work listening to Internet Radio and trying to keep up with the Dodgers at the same time!!!

  12. lawdog says:

    Furcal ss
    Ethier rf
    Manny lf
    Loney 1b
    Martin c
    Kemp cf
    O-rod 2b
    Blake 3b

    Bench

    Loretta,
    Minkitinkalinkawinkatwitztytooya?
    Ausmus
    Castro
    DeWittyOne
    Young
    Pierre-
    Pitching

    Bills
    Kurveshaw
    Kuroda
    Wolf
    Schmidt
    McDonald
    Elbert
    Kuo
    Moto
    Vargas–the flutterballer?
    Wade
    Troncosco
    Broxton

  13. lawdog says:

    Well, I didn’t think ya had it in ya?

    I’m yer huxckleberry!
    Why Johnny Ringo, you look like someone just walked over your grave.

    Fights not with Holliday!

    Oh, I beg to diffa! Playin’ fer blood, remember?

    Oh, I was just foolin’ about!

    I wasn’t!

    All right lunger, let’s do it!

    You’re a daisy if you do.
    Say ‘when’.

    C’mon, C’mon… Why Johnny! Your no daisy! You’re no daisy at all.

    Poor soul was just too high strung. I must confess, I wasn’t quite as sick as I made out to be.

    My hypocrisy only goes so far, sir.

  14. Slo Dawg says:

    Beautiful!!!! “You called for the thunder! You tell ‘em I’m coming and Hell’s coming with me”.

    Man I’m gonna have to stick that dang movie in the DVD player tonite!

  15. mario says:

    Holliday? No way McCourt deals with Boras next year..

    I love this team, everything, even our pitching staff
    our pen is gonna shut teams down also, and Broxton is gonna come
    through.. only way we dont go far will be injuries..

  16. lawdog says:

    I agree! It’s amazing how much of the dialogue I can still rememer after all these years. It turned me into an instant Val Kilmer fan as well.

  17. lawdog says:

    Pierre pursuing trade options

    Dodgers give veteran outfielder permssion to find a deal

    By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com

    PHOENIX — The Dodgers have given Juan Pierre’s agent permission to explore potential trade partners for the outfielder who again lost his starting job with the re-signing of left fielder Manny Ramirez.
    “I understand the situation, and if they hadn’t signed Manny, it would have been a surprise,” said Pierre. “I’m not bitter about it. I totally get it, you know what I mean? But I want to play. So they gave us permission to talk to teams and try to find a situation that can work out for everybody, and that’s all I can ask for.”

    Pierre is entering the third year of a five-year, $44 million contract with $28.5 million in salary remaining. Pierre said he would defer payment if that would help facilitate a trade.

    “I realize the economic situation,” Pierre said of his contract. “I’ll defer if it makes it more attractive. I told [manager Joe] Torre today that I totally understand what’s going on, and he said he would try to get me in there whenever he can. I have no beef with that. I told Joe I will be the team guy I’ve always been.
    “Look, Manny is Manny, and they’ve got two kids in Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, and they can play. They had a chance to get Manny for free last year and they had to do it. Now, nobody is bidding for him, they had to bring him back. They kept me because they didn’t want to be left with two outfielders. I’m not saying I’m OK with it, but I understand. It’s just an unfortunate situation for me.”

    Pierre hit .283 and stole 40 bases last year playing in 119 games. He began the season on the bench, won playing time when Andruw Jones struggled, but ultimately wound up back on the bench after Ramirez’s acquisition at the end of July.

    “Stuff happens and this happened,” Pierre said. “It affects me, but I can only control what I can control.”

    Because of Pierre’s ability to play center field and his speed on the bases, Pierre would be a very useful fourth outfielder if he was accepting of the role. If the Dodgers were able to deal him, it would heighten the importance of Jason Repko, who can also play center field.

    Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

    dodgers.com

  18. Blue Haze says:

    Thanks alot guys, for screwing up my evening plans! Now you got it in my head and I’ve got to watch that flick (dammit, I love it). Who cares if Manny signed, where the hell is my movie?

    BTW, I made a movie quote, back a few subject blogs ago, that was a Jack Nicholson quote and I inadvertently attributed it to Bob DeNiro. Had a brain fart after having watched Taxi Driver on Showtime the other night. Anyways my apologies to the Academy. Another good flick that I recommend seeing.

  19. Badger says:

    I think Pierre should leave – go to some place where 50 steals and .290 can help. San Francisco comes immediately to mind.

    Done with the day’s activities, didn’t get away. Just might have to show up for dinner some night in Indianopolis Mark. Tell Patti I prefer veggie lasagna. And no, I haven’t seen the new website, but if this real estate deal goes through, I will buying an RO unit from you.

    Good quotes you guys. Tombstone was a classic, as was A Few Good Taxi Drivers. (that was for you Haze) The best movie I have seen so far this year is “The Wrestler”.

    I am thrilled Manny will be with us this year, but I hold no illusions he will stay with us any longer than that. Boras wanted that out clause for a reason, and now, once again, Manny is in a contract year. That is good for our now, not so good for our later. But, I am on the Blue Bus for 2009.

    Having said that, can someone find me another quality starter?

  20. mark says:

    Two words:

    Open Range

  21. ken says:

    Mark

    If Pierre modifies his contract to 3 years with an additional 2 – 3 years of prorata deferrals could Frank convince Schimdt to renegotiate with deferrals based upon whether he is on the DL to start the year?

    Dodgers are at 40 players. Any additions will require a subtraction. Mark please provide us with your opinion of who you think will be released if you add a player.

  22. Bill Russell says:

    Open Range was almost as bad as 3:15 to Yuma or what ever the name was.

  23. Bill Russell says:

    Unforgiven was a good western.

  24. lawdog says:

    It didn’t make the news in this country, but our planet was nearly blown to smethereens by a huge twin tailed comet that came closer than 100,000 kilometers to the earths surface.. MSNBC said that if this comet had struck our planet it wold have resulted in a crater the size of the sahara desert and killed all life as we know it.

    What happened to those early warning devices that fit like dunce caps on our heads that had propellers to clear the debris before it made a “close encounter” with our heads? We were outfitted with those keen devices when Skylab descended, remember?

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126976.200-twintailed-comet-drops-by-for-a-visit.html

  25. lawdog says:

    Why don’t articles like this ever show up in the national press after the threat is gone. I mean, this thing came down close to us and we had no warning or any kind of heads up. If it had hit us, we’d all have been vaporized.

    The fact we’ve heard nothing else makes me wonder what else is out there that might just come a little bit closer–and soon.

    BUT WHAT KIND OF HEADS UP COULD THEY GIVE? EVERYONE SPREAD YOUR LEGS AND KEEP BENDING FORWARD UNTIL YOU COME INTO CONTACT WITH YOUR BUTT. THEN CAREFULLY KISS YOUR ASS GOODBYE?

  26. Slo Dawg says:

    Open range does have the best gun battle…that’s for sure….

  27. lawdog says:

    You called down the thunder on your heads and now it’s coming . You hear me? You tell ‘em it’s comen’ with Death. You tell em I’m coming with death, and hells’ coming with me!

    Doc, what makes Ringo do the things that he does?

    Because no matter how much thieven and killing and robbin that he does, he can never get revenge?

    Revenge?

    Yes revenge.

    For what?

    Bein’ born.

    Doc, you shouldn’t even be out here. Where’s Wyatt?

    Over yonder walkin on water.

    Why do you do this Doc?

    Because Wyatt Earp is my friend!

    Hell, I’ve got lots of friends!

    I don’t!

  28. Slo Dawg says:

    You guys are awesome….

  29. Slo Dawg says:

    Lawdog you remember any of the dialogue with Billy Bob? Something about “pulling that smoke wagon”?

  30. lawdog says:

    All right, go ahead and pull that smoke wagon and see what happens.”

    Mister I’m getting tired…

    Did you hear me boy?, throw down!…

    Are you going to do anything or just sit there and bleed?

    I didn’t think so! Milt, a keepsake! Mount it over the bar!

    Alright sonny, you leave–and don’t ever come back!

    Sooo, whaddya Milt. A 1/3 of the dealers take sound fair?

  31. lawdog says:

    Val Kilmer should have won an oscar for best actor in the movie–but he was only up for best supporting actor and damned if they didn’t even give him that award. No justice in Hollywood.

  32. Slo Dawg says:

    Awesome Lawdog…Yeah Kilmer was great in that movie. He came a long way from Top Gun!!!

  33. lawdog says:

    I tok my moniker from the dialogue between Ike Clanton and Wyatt Earp. When Wyatt was pressed by Riingo for being a lawman from Kansas, Wyatt responded: “I’m retired.”

    Then Ike said:

    “That’s good lawdog cause law just doesn’t go around here. That’s real good, cause law just doesn’t go around here.”

    Earp says “Yeah, I heard you the first time;” and asks Ringo who that idiot was and is told Ike Clanton.

    —-

    How many rounds is that now Holliday, 12? Damn, nobody’s that lucky!”"

    “Maybe spellin’s just not your game Ike! I know, let’s have a spellin contest!”

  34. lawdog says:

    Damn! How to make myself look like an idiot! We’re all going to be greatly in debt to you mover when we get the edit button.

    Should have read:

    “How many hands is that in a row now Holliday, 12? Maybe pokers just not your game, Ike. I know! Let’s have a spellin’ contest!”

  35. Blue Haze says:

    I love Jack DeNiro and Robert Nicholson.

  36. Blue Haze says:

    From a Foxsports.com article today:

    Ramirez’s ignorance — attributable to that condition known as “Manny being Manny” — was understandable. But his agent’s failure to recognize the consequences of an economic meltdown already in full effect, was not. Scott Boras is the best and most resourceful agent in baseball, actually, probably, in all of sports. I have long rooted for him to get everything he could from these lazy, scoundrel owners. Like Manny, I believe devoutly in the free market. But this market turned bad, and Boras is culpable for not discerning that sooner.

    The couple who own the Dodgers are no bargain, either. In November, Jamie McCourt warned that signing Manny could — get this — imperil the franchise’s effort to refurbish public parks. Then, a few days ago, following a flurry of silly press releases, Frank McCourt swore up and down that the negotiations would now have to “start from scratch.”

    Yes, the McCourts revealed themselves as rank amateurs. But guess what? They still beat Boras.

    The identity of the highest bidder was known to Ramirez back in the first week of November. It was the Dodgers, who offered two years at $45 million with a good bit of the money deferred.

    Boras issued his response a week or so later: “On behalf of Manny Ramirez, we will, for the first time, begin accepting serious financial offers on Friday.”

    Just seems to recap many of my beliefs about this whole fiasco with ManRam.

    Anyway, it does feel good going into the season with Manny holding down the 4 spot in the order. The Dodgers all of a sudden having everyone fearing their batting order, well maybe not everyone, I heard the Giants brass interviewed today. He said that the Dodgers didn’t have enough support for Manny and Manny would be pitched around, at least 150 walks for Manny he predicted. He also made sure to let the Giants’ know that they would be issuing numerous walks to Manny this season. Sort of a defensive sour-grapes type of interview, can’t remember the Gnats brass that was being interviewed.

  37. ken says:

    As huckleberries are small, dark and rather insignificant, in the early part of the nineteenth century the word became a synonym for something humble or minor, or a tiny amount. .

  38. Bill Russell says:

    OK back to the Dodgers for a minute. Can the Dodgers unload their contract for Casey Blake to the NYY now that A-ROD may be down? I think DeWitt can put up the same numbers as Casey and at a cheaper rate. This savings might be enough to allow us to get one more high caliber pitcher for our weakened rotation. Unlike some in here, I am still a believer in Johnathan Broxton. I think he will develop into a very good closer this year. Just my opinion…. 8)

  39. Badger says:

    I think Kilmer’s best work was as Jim Morrison in The Doors. He actually did his own singing in that and the band he worked with said they couldn’t tell the difference between him and Morrison.

    Best western movie of all time? Easy – Blazing Saddles, followed by Open Range, Unforgiven, Dances With Wolves and Lonesome Dove.

    Still disagree with your Boras take Haze, but no need to go over and over tilled ground. As for McCourt, eh, I still don’t have much respect for the guy. Colletti looked damned good on ESPN today, I have some new found respect for him.

    Did you read this?

    http://www.scareduck.com/gruntle/mccourt.html

    Not such an impressive resume, but if he can get us a Championship bobbing and weaving then I am all for it.

  40. Mark Timmons says:

    Badger,

    I read some of that. It’s an annotated opinion by the writer and some of it is truth with monumental hyperbole added by the author. I have neither the time nor the inclination to discuss it line-by-line, but most of it flies in the face of truth. Look at Camelback Ranch and Dodger Stadium and see the people and you know it pure BS, written by someone who has never ran anything more than a lemonade stand and only standing in life is that of a critic.

    A critic is someone who enters the battlefield after the war is over and shoots the wounded or more specifically he beguiles people who accomplish things that he never could. It’s drivel!

  41. Badger says:

    I intend to look at Camelback Ranch. Isn’t that facility co-owned and operated? Hey, I am just the messenger. I didn’t write any of that stuff. But McCourt’s history is what it is. All that Boston stuff is fact.

    What he will accomplish out here is yet to be determined. The L.A. Dodgers are one of the flagship organizations of MLB. Having Rupert Murdoch’s Fox fingers on this team was disgusting to me. Now we have an East Coast rich kid parking lot owner who first hires a moneyball guy, that was a red flag, then changes horses in mid-stream and hires a S.F. trained guy – and we all know how they do things up there. He has his stadium paid for, a luxury not seen everywhere and since he arrived, he trails only the Yankees in total attendance. McCourt has not shown me he is ready for prime time but, like I said, I am ready to change my opinion of him.

    Let’s go get us a World Series and then we can all sing his praises.

  42. mark says:

    All that Boston stuff is fact.

    No, it’s an interpretation of fact.

  43. Mark Timmons says:

    The quotes are fact, but they may not be an accurate or true rendering…

  44. Badger says:

    What do I know. I assume that since they were reported as facts they are. But, the last several years should have taught me a lot about spin.

    Again, he can be re-born out here as far as I am concerned. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenary. Multiple 8 figrure houses on the beach ought to provide that.

    I think he is getting some OJT in baseball ownership. Maybe he is now ready for prime time.

    Still think Broad would have been a better choice.

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