Categorized | Mark Timmons

The Figurehead Needs to Go Figure

The Figurehead Needs to Go Figure

After a promising first inning where the Reds went down 1-2-3, Chad Billingsley suddenly started “grooving” pitches and giving up hits.  ”Here it is right down the pipe for you, go ahead and hit it,” and they did.  Chad didn’t walk anyone in his three pathetic innings.  Instead, he pitched like a man who had been told he was going to be flogged with a cat-o-nine tails if he didn’t throw that ball right down Broadway.

As someone said yesterday, you can’t fire the players, so maybe it’s time to fire the guy whose job is to instruct these guys. His training, teaching, mentoring and instruction isn’t working.  Rick Honeycutt is a genuinely nice guy, but the pitchers aren’t listening.  It’s time for a new voice.  Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, and now Ramon Troncoso, have been plagued with fits of “walkitis.”   The wildness has been an issue for a few years and maybe, just maybe, the Dodgers success in pitching the past few years has been more of a testament to the drafting ability of Logan White and Company and not a glowing endorsement of Honeycutt.  Maybe the pitchers have been as good as they have been because of their ability and not the instruction they are receiving.  Ken Howell is the bullpen coach, and while another really great guy, the Dodgers need a new voice.  This one is not working.

The Dodgers already have a seventy year-old “figurehead” manager (which may or may not be just what they need), in that Don Mattingley and Bob Schaefer handle a lot of the managing decisions. Honeycutt handles the pitching staff and Torre handles his horses. It was revealed that he was going to visit his derby horse whose name is something like “Somebody’s Homeboy or the Other.”  Look, you can visit your horse in the off-season.  This team has some issues with it’s pitching and you had better solve them, Joe.  Hold your horses, you need to be calling new candidates for the job that should be open.

The Dodgers lead all of baseball with a .306 batting average, but are 26th in ERA at 5.55 – only the Washington Nationals, Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates have allowed more runs.  Chad Billlingsley had a live arm last night, hitting 93 MPH on the gun.  When a pitcher with his stuff gets beat like a rented mule, you have to do something.  When walks plague your best setup man and costs you the game, you have to do something.  When your best pitcher has 15 bases on balls in 17 innings pitched, you have to do something.   When a team such as the Dodgers, with a long legacy of exceptional pitching has a 5.55 team ERA, you HAVE to do something.  It’s way past time to do something about it!

When you do what you have always done, you get what you have always gotten and that is INSANE!   It’s time to change.  Do Joe and Ned have the guts to do it?

There may be another BIGGER issue at work here:  Do the Dodgers have a good minor league pitching policy?  Maybe they should consider doing what the Cubs did when they made Greg Maddux a special assistant to the GM and in charge of the team’s pitching programs.  Who should fill that spot for the Dodgers?  Do we need a “Pitching Czar?”  Give me some ideas….

DODGER NOTES:

  • After 2 shutout innings where he looked pretty impressive, Jon Link was sent back to AAA while Ramon Ortiz and his 8.00 ERA got to say.  I don’t know, but I think I would have liked to see more what Jon Link is about.
  • It was obviously a bad move to insert Belliard at 1B in the bottom of the 8th inning.  Yes, I am second-guessing, but you don’t put in an inexperienced 1B in at the end of a tie game.
  • Garrett Anderson hit the ball very hard only to be robbed of a hit and extra-bases by Jay Bruce, w ho caught it at the wall.
  • Does anyone still think Casey Blake is washed up?

About Mark Timmons

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

16 Responses to “The Figurehead Needs to Go Figure”

  1. DRomo says:

    WHen does Billingsley get blamed for Billingsley failures to get to the next level. Don’t get me wrong here I think Honeycutt should go, but Chad is a problem and should be sent down. Chad’s carreer can still be salvaged but as I said yesterday, what does he give us that Jeff Weaver couldn’t or James McDonald or the departed Eric Stults couldn’t have. Many established starters have bee sent down and got it right when they came back, why is Bills above that.

    A friend asked me last night if Chad’s real last name was Ortiz? He sure looked like one last night. And last time out. And most of the 2nd half last year!

    This team is going nowhere fast. It may be early but in the past week even the great offensive games have been over shadowed by poor pitching. Last Friday our offense exploded for 10 against the Giants and we barely hung on. How many 10 spots have been dropped on us? Brayden Looper is still available as is Jared Washburn. I say pull the trigger. Let Chad get his head right and come back. Unless something changes this will be a LONG season.

  2. DRomo says:

    By the way Casey Blake looks solid as ever. I think I remember a certain poster saying we would not regret cutting ties with another 3B and holding on to “The Foundation”.

    That other 3B is about to lose his job in Pittsburgh, looks like Ned got this one right. Also Logan White conspicuously left a certain 3B off his list of prospects he is sorry were traded. Hmmm?

  3. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Braden Looper and Jared Washburn are not the answer. Both washed up has beens, in my opinion. Why do you think they’re still available?

    I didn’t see last nights game, so I can’t comment on Billingsley’s stuff. But he certainly has issues. Sending him down for a while may or may not be the answer. Probably wouldn’t hurt, and perhaps could help. Another alternative might be the bullpen. I remember Chad looking lights out in the pen when he was put there for a while in 2007. When Billingsley starts, his fastball is generally in the low 90′s. When he came out of the pen that year I recall seeing readings at 97. As we’ve seen with McDonald (and others), that’s not unusual. Also, although it apparently wasn’t the case last night, Billingsley has a history of command problems in the middle of games. Maybe he’s best suited for more focused short stints.

    New pitching coach? I’m open to the idea.

  4. steevo17 says:

    In response to DRomo, your opinion of Billingsley is well established, you have no love for him…fine. With that said, I think something drastic has to be done. Think about this though, Padilla has a higher ERA, Haeger has a higher WHIP and Kershaw has given up more than twice as many BB. Only Kuroda has been steady. The point being the whole starting staff is in disarray right now. Its true that Bills has to right himself, but so do others.

    Honeycutt should be held responsible for HIS pitching staff. With all the great raw talent he has, if he isn’t getting results, he should pay a price. Its too early to cry about the sky falling, but Honeycutt should be on a very short leash.

    My opinion, and that is all we have here, is lets give him until May 12…we will be at home, May 13 will be an off day, it will give him plenty of time to right the ship and more importantly, it will afford him the opportunity to have have his full pitching staff available…assuming both Bellisario and Kuo are back by then, so no excuses.

    I thought Link threw very well last night, its disappointing (and quite confusing) that he’s been sent back down. He did a great job stopping the bleeding in his 2 IP. But since thats a done deal, I would like to see either J.Towers or J.Miller called up. Both have been throwing well and maybe both should be called up, since Ortiz didn’t surprise last night at all. It would be nice to bring up a lefty, but no lefties have impressed at either AAA or AA.

    Mark I have an interesting suggestion for you. How about making Brad Ausmus the interim pitching coach? If Honeycutt must be replaced, why not bring in someone with current experience with the pitchers, shouldn’t be an adjustment period there. Think about it…

    DODGERS IN 2010!!!

  5. DRomo says:

    Steevo,

    My opinion IS well established on Bills. But I am willing to be proved wrong. I wish I could be. I am backing off the whole trade him or just bury him approach. I want him to be fixed or treated like the orginization wants him to succeed. Sending a pitcher down to work things out is not unusual. Good/Great pitchers have done it. Halladay & Lee for example were sent down to work out there bugs. Guys like Washburn and Looper were just names that I threw out there for fill ins until Chad gets it right. But for a emotionaly fragile guy like Chad taking a beating and imploding every 5th day is not good. I wish there were more internal options for a starter. Why not let Ramon Ortiz give it a shot? He has struggled mightily out of the pen but in a rotation he might get back what he had during the spring?

    With all the good Logan White and DeJon Watson have done in drafting and development, Where are our talented starters in the upper levels of the minor leagues. There is a gap it seems. Single A has a helluva staff (although they have been getting crushed lately) but we NEED starters now. Who has a handle on the AA & AAA starters?

  6. mark says:

    1. I have been wrong about Andy LaRoche. I watched him from A Ball to AAA and his first year in the majors. 5 Years ago he had more potential and was much better then than Loney, Martin or Kemp. So far, he has not lived up to my expectations. So far this year in just 27 AB’s he is hitting .222 with a .364 OB%.

    2. Chad Billingsley is lost right now. We could trade him – he has value, but not as much as he had a year ago. It’s pretty obvious to me that most of our staff has issues. Ramon Ortiz looks good on two batters and then gives up multiple hits. It’s like they have no plan or are too predictable.

    3. The only pitchers who COULD help us this year are McDonald, Elbert or Lindblom and all three need more time…

    4. I think some MAJOR pitchers will be available by July, but Washburn and Looper are not options in my opinion. There’s a reason why they are still unsigned. I think that the Dodgers will be players in that arena.

    5. Here’s a blockbuster (or blockhead) deal, depending upon how you look at it: How about about James Loney, James McDonald, Kyle Russell, Scott Elbert and Chris Withrow for Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman and Wandy Rodriguez?

  7. Ken says:

    Eric Stults Carp ERA 1.80. The Dodgers send Stults to Hiroshima and then the Dodger ERA goes Nuclear. Karma?

    Great Article Mark!

    With Bill’s Mechanics, Pitch Movement, Rotation and pitch selection all changing it is no wonder that he can not currently pitch. FIRE Honey “Put my hand on everyone’s” butt.

    Screw Honeycutt’s confidence just fire him.

  8. steevo17 says:

    I would pull the trigger on that deal Mark. But I would not include Withrow. Maybe we can slip a A player or two instead. Otherwise I would say its a good way to shake up the tree a little.

  9. DRomo says:

    Mark ,

    I like your blockbuster idea. But how does Oswalt look this year? I haven’t checked. But WOW what a coup that would be.

    You are right some major pitching will be available in July but where will we be then? I hate seeing all this offense wasted. With ANY decent pitching we would be off to the start we had last year easily.

    Ken, is that true about Stults? I wish that guy would have gotten a steady chance here, oh well can’t keep ‘em all.

  10. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I think that deal could be a blockhead move. Oswalt is not the pitcher he used to be (and I believe he’s had health issues), and Berkman at 34 appears that he may be on the decline. He also is just coming off arthroscopic knee surgery. Wandy Rodriguez is OK, but nothing special. Loney is an established hitter whose run production is currently off, but it’s likely to pick up. Right now, if Berkman is really in decline, Loney might be the better player. Definitely so on defense.

    If Kuo and Belisario had been in place since day 1, the Dodgers likely would be in first place now. I realize that the players mentioned in the proposed deal (except for Loney) are all question marks. But if you’re going to give up that many premium players/prospects it’s got to be for a lot more than two Astro question marks that may well be on the decline.

    We’re still only 1.5 games out of first. Guaranteed the Dodgers are talking to other teams. Let’s just see how it plays out over the next few months. And, if perchance the Dodgers should continue to slide, then so be it. It’s a chance I’m willing to take. If I have to wait until next year, then that’s what I’ll do.

  11. DRomo says:

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/04/chad-billingsley-and-the-dodgers-are-searching-for-answers.html.php

    I have a feeling something will happen with Billingsley. They are using the same language they did with Andruw Jones. My hope is he will be sent down and eased back. We’ll see. What kills me is his value was still so high this winter and last year in July and we could have sealed any deal by including him. I was standing on my keyboard begging Ned to offload him. He is our problem now. Lets try and fix it.

  12. JDavis says:

    Yes on Casey: talk to me at the end of the season.
    We should have signed CC and made a trade last year traded bill’s and Either for Doc It’s hard when you don’t have money to spend. Yes, the sky is falling its been falling for two years now.

  13. DRomo says:

    Ethier? Why trade him? You lost me with that one.

    People said the same thing about Casey Blake last season and then they said it is a career year lets see how he looks next year. Well how far do we push back the goal posts until The Foundation gets some love? He may slide some but the guy is a solid major league 3B and I’d have him out there any day of the week.

  14. mark says:

    For the record, Roy Halladay would not come to LA, so he was never a reality. He wanted to stay on the east coast.

    I wouldn’t trade Ethier or Kemp or Kershaw… PERIOD!

    Martin, Loney, Bills and anyone else is available for the right deal.

  15. JDavis says:

    Ethier plays weak D, like that was a catch

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