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Quit Crying Wolf – You May Be Out-Foxed!

Quit Crying Wolf – You May Be Out-Foxed!

Last off-season, I predicted that it would not be Manny who made the team better, but rather “the kids.”  Martin-Loney-Ethier-Kemp

Little did I know what would happen to Manny and how he would later struggle.  If the Manny Ramirez of 2008 had played in 2009, the Dodgers might still be shaking the confetti out of their shoes, because the kids made huge strides. 

Well, some did (Kershaw, Kemp, Ethier), some stayed the same (Loney, Broxton) and some regressed (Martin and Billingsley).  I am here to once again submit that Randy Wolf or Orlando Hudson would not make us World Series Champs in 2010, but again, it on the kids – Kemp and Loney and Kershaw have to keep marching toward greatness.  Billingsley and Martin have to return to form and Broxton and Loney need to crank it up another notch. 

I believe we have at least four good starting pitchers on our team, but what might win it for us is a late spring or trade deadline deal.  Come July, we may have to decide if we want to trade Chris Withrow, Ivan DeJesus, Jr.  and Andrew Lambo for someones Ace!  Of course, that depends upon a lot of factors, including how those players are doing, but we have the horses to do a deal. 

The Dodgers didn’t want to pay Randy Wolf, who is a guy who averages 148 IP  a year and has a career 4.13 ERA, a long-term deal and they didn’t want to get stuck paying him even $9 mil a year.  There were time last year when Randy Wolf was our best pitcher, but in 2010, he could just as easily be our #5 or worse yet, injured!  If Kershaw, Billingsley, Kuroda and Haeger can pitch 800 innings, Randy Wolf will be a distant memory.

The Mets who are intent on spending money, recently had their GM recently say that their starting rotation would be Johan Santana, John Maine, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, and Jonathon Niese.  Santana has arm issues and the rest hardly strike fear into anyone’s hearts.  I think WE can do better, by standing pat for the time being.  Dodger fans are crying “Wolf” but come July, they may find they have been out-foxed!  Sometimes the best moves you make are the ones you don’t. 

MORE NEWS:

Interesting List of Top Dodger Prospects by John Sickels.  Here’s a quote from the post:

The Dodgers are strong on the pitching side: Martin and Miller could both be B+ guys a year from now, maybe even an A- if their command really sharpens up. Withrow could rank as the number one prospect ahead of Dee Gordon if you prefer pitching to hitting. His ceiling is terrific, although I’d like to see his walk rate come down. He has Homer Bailey-like risk if they rush him too fast. Elbert’s stuff is right up there with the other pitchers, but there are enough chinks in his armor (command, health history) to keep his grade slightly lower in my mind. I’m probably higher on Gould than some folks, but I see him in the same mold as the others if he develops properly. Other live arms such as Jansen, Eovaldi, Webster, and Wallach all have significant potential but enough doubts or lack of data right now to keep their ratings in the C+ range.

The hitters are led by the electric Dee Gordon, who will need some time to put his game together but has big upside. Possible comp: Rafael Furcal, circa 2000-2006. DeJesus doesn’t have the same ceiling but still has a chance to be a very useful player if his leg is OK. I haven’t given up on Lambo yet, not at age 21.

The hitting in beyond that is thin: there is a mixture of tools guys and polish guys, but they all have questionmarks of one sort of another. Adding some additional impact hitting depth for the system seems like a good idea; we’ll have to see if they address that in the 2010 draft.

Trades and graduations have thinned the system out, but overall I think Logan White and his staff do a fine job and the potential for a quick recharge seems good to me.

About Mark Timmons

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

32 Responses to “Quit Crying Wolf – You May Be Out-Foxed!”

  1. Ty says:

    I don’t agree with you much Mark but I do agree that Wolf and Hudson don’t make us a WS caliber team and the young kids will have to continue to grow to lead us to the promised land BUT leaving two open spots for two SP’s that have never done much in the majors isn’t a smart way to go. Can it work? Most definitely. Will it work? Not likely. You seem to be a huge Haeger fan but there’s a reason why no one wanted him after the White Sox let him go. You’re banking on a knuckleballer to do well as a 4th starter? Name a knuckleballer who has done well outside of Wakefield in the last 10 years? Sign one veteran SP (Padilla, Garland, someone!) and let the 5th spot go to Haeger, Elbert, McDonald, Linbdlom, etc. Let DeWitt play 2B. Our offense is fine if everyone continues to grow. The rotation still needs one more solid proven starter.

  2. ray says:

    Mark-do you think Lindblom can be the closer of the future for the Dodgers? I think he can and will make the team out of ST this year. I have a feeling that LA may deal Broxton once he becomes too expensive. Thoughts?

  3. Roger Dodger says:

    Mark, it is not just not doing the paper work on Wolf & Hudson — it is not doing much of nothing, except a few bench role guys and a few lower minor leaguers.

    Not every team the Dodgers play will be the Pirates (but even they might beat our butts), or the Nationals —- if the guys (Dodgers) did have career years, the faces change to the Red Sox, Yankees, etc.

    They have much more complete teams and rosters. Billingsley, Kershaw, Kuroda are just not enough. One older guy holding on with tape and mirrors. Two younger guys learning to pitch in situations. Their game is not complete for a complete season and the post.

    Please don’t tell us Elbert, Haeger, McDonald, Stults of which any two will win 19 & 17 games each.

    The problem now is, Bills & The Shaw will be matching up against other teams #1 & #2 pitchers.

    I am counting on Ned not letting the fans down. Pitching is the heart of all baseball games — and right now the Dodgers do not have heart and need a transfusion. That reminds me that I have to get the film “Damn Yankees” for my real to reel group and read “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant” by Douglas Wallop — and the musical DVD “Damn Yankees” — and then sing “You’ve Gotta’ Have Heart.”

  4. Badger says:

    The point that was made, and missed, was that Hudson and Wolf would have made us better than we are today. And, I am quite certain that that fact won’t change. They accept – we don’t have to look in the bushes for another starter and expect a guy like DeWitt to step in a replace a Gold Glove while hitting .280 – though I am sure Mark would tell us that is exactly what he will do.

    Nobody but Mark believes Wolf would have received $15 million. But, he is the same guy that predicts career years for everybody every year, so you have to kind of recognize he sees everything with a blue tint. But Wolf is gone now, so in the last thread he tells us that he ain’t all that and his stats prove it. Exactly. And that is why he would not have received any where near $15 million. I suspect if we would have offered twice what he made last year (what the Brewers offered) and he asked for $15 million it would have been the shortest arbitration hearing on record. Wolf is a good pitcher and would make our rotation strong enough that one pick-up, and Hudson back at 2b, we would again compete for the NL West. But, the fact of the matter is, the Dodgers are the Los Angeles Impecunians and there won’t be any additions that will do what Wolf and Hudson did. It ain’t gonna happen folks. We are counting on Elbert, Haeger, Lindblom and McDonald to step in step up. Good luck with that. Yeah, it might happen, and of course I hope it does. But to expect all of them to contribute, and to expect career years out of everybody else, all while the damn house is on fire, you have unrealistic expectations.

    .500. At this point, that is my call. That could change if Colletti pulls another rabbit out of his – hat, but he got lucky once, I wouldn’t count on it happening again.

  5. lawdog says:

    You’re wrong about Haeger, Ty. He’s the real deal. Charlie Hough (who worked extensively with him on the pitch) said he’s never seen a better knuckleball from anyone, including Wakefield or anyone develop it so quickly–age wise. Haeger is going to throw lots of shutout innings with plenty of strikeouts while scattering a few walks and gopher balls along the way. That’s pretty much what we saw of him when he was up for his cup of coffee last year. And he’s only going to get better with age. The beauty of throwing the dancer is that you can be effective into your late 40s.

    Hoyt Wilhelm was still throwing it in the bigs at age 50.

  6. A Shot of Haeger says:

    You guys know my feelings on Charlie Haeger… ^^^^^^^ As far as everything else, I’m content to wait and see what happens….mostly because I don’t own the team…. and the only thing I have at stake is my emotions, not my emotions and my pocketbook like the McCourts do. That’s right!!! I think the McCourts care about the Dodgers!

    If I did own the team, Haeger would be the 5th starter and I’d pony up the money for Ben Sheets on a one year, incentive laden deal with a club option for next year.. and start Sheets opening day and move the rest of the rotation down a notch.

    If I owned the team, I’d play Dewitt everyday… if he has trouble hitting lefties, then I’d start the platoon with Caroll

    If I owned the team, we’d win the World Series… because everything I touch is gold…including the keyboard I’m typing this response on.

  7. Badger says:

    All you need is about $750 million Haeger and the team is yours. You have my vote by the way. As long as McCourt is gone, we have a chance to stop the bleeding.

  8. Badger says:

    “Ty says:

    I don’t agree with you much Mark but I do agree that Wolf and Hudson don’t make us a WS caliber team and the young kids will have to continue to grow to lead us to the promised land BUT leaving two open spots for two SP’s that have never done much in the majors isn’t a smart way to go.”

    I agree with this. Even if we were as good as we were last year, we don’t beat the Phillies. We needed that ace pick-up to do that, and they got him instead. They got better, we are considerably weaker, so, winning the WS is a fantasyland wish. But, if we did have the same team, and our young stars continue to improve, we could win the West and once in the play-offs – who knows. Now? .500.

    According to Sickels we have no A prospects, and our highest rated players won’t be on the team next year.

    http://www.minorleagueball.com/2009/12/26/1220274/los-angeles-dodgers-top-20

  9. Roger Dodger says:

    Read the article Badger (above). What I am feeling now is this — some here always hold a high flag for Logan White as a baseball man working miracles in the minor leagues. And a great draft mind.

    Okay, I hear that. But the players in the Dodgers minor league system seem to show a few folks as needing just a bit more seasoning — and they are ready. BUT when the present corp of Dodgers (Martin, Loney, Kemp, Broxton, etc.) arrived — there are not as many future stars back in the total Dodger system as one might think, now.

    Yes, a 3bman and catcher were traded away last season . . . but I think the Dodger well, is about dry.

    I see no slugging outfielder about to emerge. There are 2 SSs that one might make it.

    Of the 20 players on that list, 1/2 are pitchers. Maybe one of those guys will be a top notch starter. Maybe 2 will be solid relievers. Maybe 1 more fit in somewhere. But bet on 2 or 3 with arm problems coming up. Count on 2 or 3 with continual control or command issues that only allow for a cup of coffee.

    Do you remember Kiki Jones??? He was a pick from Yankees as compensation for Free Agent Steve Sax. Interesting. I saw this can’t miss star in rehab here in San Antonio back 1993. They would send him out there with a pitch count of 30.

  10. Roger Dodger says:

    Let’s take a look at Kiki Jones for a moment. Signed in 1989 as the Dodgers 1ST ROUND PICK (15TH OVERALL; pick via the Yankees for Steve Sax) and sent to Great Falls at age 19. He was in the Dodger system from 1989 – 1993. Then with Tampa Bay in 1998, Independent league in 1999, and finally with Texas in 2001. All in the minor leagues. From 1994 – 1998 he was out of baseball altogether.

    In an article in 2004, here Kiki is in a list of players:

    No. 15, RHP Kiki Jones, Dodgers (Hillsborough HS, Tampa): There was a rumor in 2002 that Jones was making a comeback. Which begs the question, how can you come back if you were never there to begin with? Jones did not reach the Major League level for the Dodgers or any other team and is still discussed by Dodgers fans as a disappointment.

    In another article in 2005, Alan Schwarz wrote:

    EDDIE BANE: The best pitcher I ever saw as an amateur was Kiki Jones (No. 15 overall, 1989), and Kiki didn’t make it. We do not expect every guy we take to be a star. But if you give me both Becketts, Robbie and Josh, I want ’em.
    In that career, was 23-20, started 61 games in a total of 77. Innings were 320, with 263 Ks, 155 walks. Total Whip was 1.33.

    Another article by Alan Schwarz in 2005

    Worst: Lots to choose from here. Gary Polcynski (Reds, 1970), a Wisconsin high school shortstop, hit .194 in a four-year minor-league career. But he is joined by two prep right-handers – Kiki Jones (Dodgers, 1989), an undersized Tampa product who never put it together in the minors, and Jayson Peterson (Cubs, 1994), who had legendarily bad makeup and even worse control. If you ever wonder why high school pitchers are considered too risky to draft high, these are two main reasons.

    Not trying to be negative — but headlines on draft picks do not always work out. Hipe of a player in the minors as on the fast track, does not always work.

    Hey, any trades or signings today???

  11. Badger says:

    Yeah, I know, double post on Sickels, sorry. I guess I just felt it needed to be talked about. Our system is ok, not great. And as was mentioned, the guys we traded away aren’t exactly ripping it up, though I think Santana and LaRoche will eventually. The other guys we have that have talent are already here.

    We could have used the picks we lost by letting Wolf and Hudson just walk away. Only the Dodgers would have done that, and the reasons are obvious.

    We could have a decent year, like I have said it is possible, but I really believe this franchise is teetering. It could go either way, but, with the moves (or better said, lack of moves) just aren’t moving this anywhere. We are marking time, treading water, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    “The Dodgers just about broke even last season, according to a high-ranking baseball source who did not want to be identified because clubs are not required to reveal their financial results.”

    And where does MLB stand on this?

    “For now, according to the source, Commissioner Bud Selig considers the Dodgers no different from many other clubs that have limited spending during these uncertain economic times.”

    Nobody anywhere is talking about the Dodgers. It’s almost like they are a ghost ship.

    For the rest of the winter, we will be reading things like this:

    “We hear from you and Ned that it is “business as usual.” Yet, that is becoming increasingly difficult for fans to believe, given the actions of a major-market team that just about broke even last season. In the last two years, in addition to the Wolf decision, the Dodgers have:

    * Deferred more than $45 million in player salaries, most of that with Manny Ramirez

    * Traded top prospects in lieu of picking up contracts

    * Declined to bid on virtually every top free agent

    * Declined to bid on top international prospects

    * Spent fewer dollars than any other club in the last two drafts

    * Delayed playoff ticket refunds this year

    * Fired more than a dozen employees

    * Didn’t re-invest $19 million from the Jason Schmidt insurance payment and the Manny Ramirez suspension into baseball operations

    * Deferred renovations to the loge and reserve levels, beyond center field and in the clubhouses

    No one action raises a red flag, but doesn’t the totality of events suggest the Dodgers are experiencing financial trouble?”

    Of course it does.

  12. Roger Dodger says:

    Driving in the car yesterday (or maybe Saturday) two Home Plate (XM radio) guys were going on various teams. One mentioned that the Dodgers have really gone down as a team that used to be strong in most aspects of the game.

    Very weak starting pitching, and not seeming to revamp it as of yet. Questions for second base and catching. And the McCourt situation has their hands tied.

    I think that is where a lot of baseball analysts see the Dodgers. In somewhat of a mess, and not being able to correct it now.

    Gee, I wish something would happen so that we could talk about something else.

  13. Ken says:

    Sign a #4 pitcher, complete the bench, payroll then will be at $100 mil. Then sign some coaches who are good at player development at the MLB level like Maddox. Any hopes for more than that is a wish from a person who evolved from an Ostrich. 2010 = Desperately Seeking a Wild Card. Frank is done spending money on Free Agents and waiting for the draft picks to evolve. Frank will now put the pressure on the frequently hyped kids. Logan White’s – Your job is on the line now. Draft some position players or lose your job. NEd fire some special assistants and hire some special coaches NOW!

  14. lawdog says:

    I remember Kiki Jones. With a first name like that, how could one forget. He had excellent stuff. It wasn’t his arm that pushed him out of baseball. He got busted for a very serious felony–burglary I believe and ended up pitching for some prison team.

    “In the majors,

    If you have to do time,

    You won’t make a dime.”

    I like Shot’s analysis of what the Dogs should do at this point. Too bad we can’t turn back the clock and get those 4 extra draft picks before the second round–thanks to Perfectly’s cheapskate character.

  15. Bill Russell says:

    Ken, how do we know that Greg is a good coach if he’s never done it before? He was a great pitcher but he plainly stated that he wasn’t coming to the Dodgers to coach the kids. Maybe he just doesn’t have the patiences to teach. I hear what your saying but just not sure I agree with your coaching selection. You would think that being a great pitcher would equal a great coach but it doesn’t always work that way. Anyway, just my take…..

  16. Bill Russell says:

    Or are you speaking of Gregs brother Mike?

    • Ken says:

      I measn Greg, but not a full time coach just for spring training and periodic trips from LV to Inland Empire and ALBA. He is a great coach when he wants to be. He can call a game for a pitcher 10 times better than Torre. Even Old Bad Penny agrees with this becasue he allowed Maddux to call one of his games once and pitched lights out.

  17. fernandomania says:

    ever since your little tirade you had about not supporting the dodgers anymore and becoming a reds fan, your reads have gotten much better. i think since you went to the winter meetings you got a better feel of the organization’s tought process.the interview you did with white & watson was great for all dodgers fans who had doubts about the farm system.the dodgers are short on cash but in reality what player is available that is better then what they have in house for millions less?.im in san diego and i love it when you and dodger toughts say that we are not the padres.padres fans are the worse.they’re lucky they have the chargers, but then again neither san diego team has ever won a championship.dodgers will be good and only get better as the year goes on.thanks for your great posts on the true reality of the dodgers..i only disagree with you on haeger,even the padres cut him last year.he will get maybe 5 starts with l.a. this year.stults is a better pitcher so i hope he gets a chance if not here then with some other team.theres other pitchers in house who are better but need to step up this spring…

  18. Roger Dodger says:

    Funny how baseball is.

    During the season, on some Thursday afternoon (get away) day game — you can start a pitcher like Haeger. You can win and you can loose. Because on Friday, against another team, the team will start the #1 or #2 pitcher against their #1 or #2 pitcher.

    Move this to post season and Haeger is in the pen for long relief. And most of those other teams in the post season have 4 or 5 strong starters.

    Right now, we do not.

    I love it when a new Frando comes along. Or some guy with a stick and hits .333 with 45 HRs his first year —- but that just does not happen much in baseball.

    The present Dodger roster is not flashing — we are just fine, we are set, bring on the season. I bet ya’ that Joe wants more to work with.

  19. Badger says:

    So, we are counting on Haeger, Stultz, McDonald and Elbert? And, at 2b, we have DeWitt and Carroll? And at 3rd, we have Blake?

    .500. If we are lucky. And, since we won’t have any divorce litigation findings until June, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say we will be sellers at the deadline.

    We do have opinions based on logic in here. Speak loudly and speak often oh voices of reason.

  20. Badger says:

    Oh, forgot to mention, that Times’ sports blog poll that Ken posted yesterday – “94% of voters don’t believe the Dodgers’ party line” – it’s now up to 95% who don’t believe it.

    I wonder, other than Mark, who those 5% are?

  21. Mark Timmons says:

    Thank God conventional wisdom is almost always wrong!

  22. Badger says:

    According to Dr. Mark Collier a Stanford PhD and research specialist for Forbes magazine, CW, that’s what he calls conventional wisdom, is right 95% of the time.

    OK, I made that up, but it is true that conventional wisdom is usually right, otherwise it wouldn’t be called “wisdom”. It would be called something like – Republican wisdom.

    OK, I made that up too. But the point is…. I forgot what my point was…. oh yeah, now I remember…..

    If 95% of the people believe something, you can bet it is probably true.

  23. Jamie's Lovechild says:

    Cheapshot!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Badger, here is a test for just you. If 95% of Republicans believe that Sarah Palin’s book is true. Does that make what is in the book, true?

    If Mark believes that Martin will turn his last two years around and put his hitting and fielding back together, will that happen?

  25. Erik says:

    No. And I really hope so.

  26. Badger says:

    “If 95% of Republicans believe that Sarah Palin’s book is true. Does that make what is in the book, true?”

    I have no idea, but I am quite certain that Sarah believes everything that she says.

    “If Mark believes that Martin will turn his last two years around and put his hitting and fielding back together, will that happen?”

    Yes. But not because Mark believes it. It will happen because Russell believes it.

  27. Badger says:

    Read this on another site:

    “Some people are saying that the Dodgers will make a move at the deadline, sending some of those prospects for the player we need to beat the Phillies. That player is Babe Ruth. Only he could shut them out and hit home runs too.

    I will be the first to say the Dodgers might be sellers at the deadline. That seems to be the direction they are heading.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    I wonder if 95% think that might be true? Ah, I doubt it. I’ll bet most people think the Dodgers will be buyers.

  28. Ken says:

    Did anyone else hear Ned’s interview last week where he was asked about long term contracts for the kids and he stated that it was being considered for some of them and that he emphatically stated that they were glad that they had NOT given long term contracts to certain players over the last 2 years. My thinks that he meant Martin and possibly the Dodgers are no longer very high on him. But that is just conventionaly wisdom.

  29. Mark Timmons says:

    Well Ken,

    I can tell you for a fact that is what Ned believes. The Dodger Brass is not high on Martin right now. I am not predicting he will be a world beater, but I think he can hit .270 with a .360 OB%. I hear about his defense being bad from some people, but I don’t buy that and he did have the lowest CERA last year. I am not certain he will be as good as he once was, but like Badger said, that is up to him. He has the tools.

    Don’t be surprised if Billingsley and Loney are extended first. Kemp and Ethier will be harder. I could see them extending Brox and then trading him. Someone asked earlier about Lindblom and I do believe he can be our closer.

  30. Bill Russell says:

    Da Bears

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