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