Categorized | Mark Timmons

Dudes or Duds?

Dudes or Duds?

There isn’t much difference between a dude and a dud – One Little Letter!

An offseason ago, it was proposed that the Yankees trade Robinson Cano for Matt Kemp.  It made sense for the Yankees:  Cano was under-performing and they needed a CF.  To me, it made no sense for the Dodgers – after all Matt was a “budding superstar”  and was growing into a Gold Glove center fielder, a feared base-stealer and a difference maker.  Through the first month of the season, Matt Kemp was taking the next step (at least offensively) to becoming an Elite Player.

Now, it’s nearly July and Robinson Cano and Matt Kemp both have three letters by their names:  Cano is MVP and Kemp is DFA!

Matt Kemp has went from one of the best center-fielders in baseball to one of the worst, and has went from a feared base-stealer to a sure out! Add in the fact that  he has hit .191 in June and you can see that Matt kemp has went from being anchor on the Dodgers team, to a boat anchor who is bringing the team down.  What is happening to Matt Kemp?  This we know:  He has incredible talent, talent to be a Superstar.  Most Fantasy Baseball guides had him in the Top 3 Outfielders.  So, if he’s not and yet shown on the major league level that he can excel (and he has), then the problem is in his head (unless he has lost his ability to see).  Head problems are hard to fix.  I don’t know Matt well and while I don’t know his parents well either, I can see that he was raised to be respectful, responsible and hard-working.  Matt was not raised to be a prima donna, and I am not saying he is, but I can only go by what I see, and what I see looks awful!  At times (like last night) he flashes leather in CF, but that’s not the usual.

Matt Kemp looks to me like a guy who just got a multi-million dollar contract and is living on his past press clippings. It’s not to last to do a 180 and get back on track, but Matt is going to have to re-dedicate himself to the game of baseball.  Something is missing – maybe he knows.  He best identify it before he becomes Raul Mondesi!

The same applies to one Russell Martin. While he is throwing out baserunners at  a 34% clip (his high), his defense has regressed and his hitting is putrid.  His OB% is decent at .351, but his bat is no longer feared.  Russell Martin is becoming a non-factor.  Look at the team woes right now and it’s easy to see that Martin and Kemp are almost single-handedly responsible for the lack of offense.  Sure, Andre Ethier has been declining, but he has a reason – he needs to nurse his pinkie back to health.   Kemp and Ethier combined for 6 K’s last night!

The Dodgers have a nice 2B combination with DeWitt and Carroll and Casey Blake is Casey Blake at 3B.  Raffy looks primed to have a good year, Manny is picking it up at bat, and the Dodger subs are doing their jobs.  Even Garrett Anderson has a pulse.  James Loney is the teams’ RBI Leader and is becoming more of a vocal leader by showing some fire with the umpires.  Atta Boy, James!  The fact is that the Dodgers cannot win unless Matt Kemp and Russ Martin play up to their talent level.  Dodger fans are calling you out!  Are you Dudes or Duds?

Dodger Notes:

  • Charlie Haeger was DFA’ed – someone will probably give him a chance.  I’d be surprised if he goes back to the minors as a Dodger, but you never know.  He sure tanked… with a quickness!  Jon Link will probably get the call until C-Bill comes of the DL next week.
  • I have not been impressed with Jerry Sands because of his lack of athleticism, but it’s starting to look like he could be a stone-cold hitter.  I would love to eat my words.
  • Kyle Russell – AA Stats:  60 AB/26 K/5 BB – Can you say OVERMATCHED?
  • Vicente Padilla was nearly as good as CC last night.  If Padilla and Ely can both pitch like they have the last two games, the back of the rotation will be solid, but I still want Lee or Oswalt!
  • Josh Lindblom is excelling out of the pen for Albuquerque Isotopes – he has not allowed a run in his last 5 innings.

About Mark Timmons

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

27 Responses to “Dudes or Duds?”

  1. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Clearly it’s early, but was Casey Blake worth this? And yes, I do believe, despite what Mark has said, Santana was included in the deal to save $2 million, which is what is often spent to sign an amateur prospect. In my opinion, we could have had our cake and eaten it too.

    http://cleveland.indians.mlb.com/stats/individual_stats_player.jsp?c_id=cle&playerID=467793

  2. Mark Timmons says:

    I would rather not have had Casey Blake – I didn’t really like the move, but I believe Logan White, who told me that Santana was the deal breaker. No Santana, No Casey Blake.

    Santana is off to a good start at Cleveland. He has thrown out 5 out of 11 runners and is hitting .317 with 3 HR and 12 RBI. I will hate the deal if he keeps it up!

  3. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I wrote the above before reading the post. Sometimes I do things backwards.

    I don’t know whether or not Kemp will pick it up in the second half. However, I believe that in the past he has tended to hit for more power after June (someone would have to check out the stats). And as I have stated previously, this may be a classic case of taking one step backward before taking two forward. Maybe he can use the offseason to reflect and re-dedicate himself to fulfilling his potential. Mark, if as you say, Cano had been “under-performing” when the deal was proposed, then there is no reason that an under-performing Kemp can’t turn it around as well. Unfortunately, waiting for that to happen may require us and the Dodgers to be paitient, at least until next year. Either that, or trade him for a package worth a superstar, even though he has not yet reached that elite level (and perhaps never will). As things stand now, I see him as too talented to give away or to give up on.

    Maybe Russell Martin also needs to do some reflection also. Maybe he’s just a slow learner, and needs two years to figure out what he’s doing wrong. If he would just learn to make contact and hit the ball up the middle he could be an on base machine. The fact that he hasn’t learned that yet is disturbing.

    Casey Blake may be Casey Blake, but we definitely need an upgrade at that position. Raffy is too streaky both at the plate and in the field. And I don’t think he’s ever going to be again what he was. Same for Manny. He’s going to look good at times, but I doubt if its going to be enough. And his defense is putrid. I’d get rid of him at the first opportunity. Maybe removing his presence from this team is part of what Matt Kemp needs to perk up, and re-adjust his attitude.

    Haeger gone is a good thing. I’ve never seen Jerry Sands, but you seem to understand that athleticism and hitting don’t always go together. Manny (and many others) is a perfect example that being athletic often has nothing to do with hitting. And we’ve all seen very athletic players who couldn’t hit (I have a feeling that Trayvon Robinson falls into that category).

    Like you, Mark, I’ve believed for a long time that Lindblom was probably much better suited to the bullpen than starting. Five innings w/o giving up a run is a good sign, but far too early to come to any conclusions as to when he might be ready.

  4. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    By the way, when they made the deal for Casey Blake I wasn’t in love with it. For me, Carlos Santana would have been a deal breaker. I also believe, that Cleveland may have traded him anyway (maybe to the Dodgers or to another team) if the Dodgers had held there ground, and perhaps if they had offered to pony up the $2 million.

    And since he works for the Dodgers, was Logan White being truly honest with you? After all, isn’t it his job to promote the party line, even if he doesn’t agree with it?

  5. Jaydavis says:

    Blake would be great off the bench, and Dewitt would be even better playing 3b. Ever since Ned called Matt out things have not been the same. come on the guy started with 9hr and now this. Maybe finding the right spot in the lineup, and Russel Russel atleast he’s throwing runners out!

  6. Mark Timmons says:

    Logan wouldn’t lie. He might not answer or might evade the question, but if he gives you an answer, it’s the truth, and that’s the answer he gave me.

  7. lawdog says:

    Santana has been the regular Indians’ catcher since 6-11 -10 when he was called up. In less than a month he’s hitting .317 with 3 hrs and 12 rbis? Plus, his OBP is over .425 and his slugging is up around .650. Add to that–he[s thrown out almost 50% of attempted steals?

    Man, we could use him at catcher right now!

    What were Ned and Fred thinking when they gave this guy away for an overpriced geezer? :shock:

  8. lawdog says:

    I wish Torre would have given Haeger one more batter. I feel sorry for the kid. In 4.2 innings he’d looked pretty good and ad only given up 2 runs. When he was removed for Trancosco-oh-no! He was wiping away tears as he left the mound. He knew he was done with the dogs, and wasn’t given a chance to get that last out and a chance at the win. Very sad. He’s got the talent to play, but he’s got to get over the yips when it comes to throwing the dancer to major league hitters. Takes ice water in one’s veins. Probably the reason so few knuckleballers make it before they’re almost 30.

  9. lawdog says:

    Prediction: Pedro Martinez will be the 5th starter for our rotation once he agrees to a one year backloaded deal with a balloon in 2020 which will pay most of his salary for the 3 months he’ll play for us.

    McCheap will announce the deal as the biggest made by the club since picking up Mannyman for free 2008.

  10. Mark Timmons says:

    Lawdog,

    I’m no Joe Torre fan, but he had seen enough of Charlie Haeger… and so had just about everyone else.

  11. Jaydavis says:

    Yeah Santana for a 3 month rental

  12. Badger says:

    Well, I see some people are finally coming around on Blake. As I have said from the beginning, he is a soon to be 37 year old decent fielding 3b, with a .265 career avg. and less than average home run power for a 3rd baseman. He would be only ok on a team like the Yankees, where he could be hidden in the 7 hole, and is at this point in his career a man with back-up potential. He won’t all of a sudden turn into David Wright. He is what he is, which is what he was when he came over here. I thought giving up a prospect like Santana for a .260 hitting 3b was dumb then, and it looks really dumb now.

    I think Matt Kemp is just in a funk. His talent will get him out of it, but it may come after this team gives up on him. Perhaps he is the kind of player that needs to get out of Los Angeles. Some people can cook in a kitchen like that, some just get distracted by all the goodies in the refrigerator.

    I don’t know what has happened to Martin. Fatigue? Maybe he is just burnt out from catching more innings that anyone in baseball.

    We need upgrades at 3b, 2b, C, and in the starting rotation. We just have to find some starters that give quality starts every time out. Our bullpen is actually quite talented when they aren’t asked to carry the load.

    Manny still auditioning for a DH job if you ask me.

    OK, Jed, time to do some of that GM stuff.

  13. lawdog says:

    I think Kemp needs to see a sports psychologist before he turns into the second coming of Raul Mondesi.

    Just lay off the breaking ball low and outside Kemp. And smack that fastball up and in. Cheat a little if you have to.

  14. lawdog says:

    I said trading Santana for a 3 month rental; of Casey Blake was felony stupid at the time it went down. Nothing has happened since to make me change that assessment. Someone should remind McCheap, money can fix almost anything, but it can’t fix STUPID!!! :roll:

  15. Bill Russell says:

    Yes Badger and you also said that Andy La Roach was a future AllStar. This is like deja vu all over again in here.

  16. Bill Russell says:

    He who harps on a certain thing over and over again, may be trying to convince themself that they are right.

    • Badger says:

      I KNOW I am right about Blake. A lot of people in here have called him “The Foundation” – and one of them was probably you and that is why you showed up to chirp about it. Blake is a below average third baseman and is costing this team about 6 times what Mark Reynolds is making. He is currently ranked 20th in the fantasy leagues. Wow, there are starting third baseman with worse numbers than him? I am amazed.

  17. Badger says:

    Where have you been Bill?

    I don’t even know who this Andy La Roach fella you are talking about is, so I doubt I said anyone with that name would be an All Star.

    I believe what I said was Andy LaRoche would have a better year than Casey Blake. It cost me 100 push-ups too. But, Andy LaRoche was needed in the Manny trade so, that deal was fine with me. The deal we are talking about was not that one, but the Blake deal. Care to comment on that, or, you are just here to bust my balls?

    A sports psychologist is not a bad idea ldog. Maybe he can hypnotize him to lay off breaking balls 6″ off the plate. He does that, and he could get back to .290 by mid summer.

  18. lawdog says:

    I was never an Andy LaRoche fan, although at one time he was a highly regarded prospect.

    Santana is out of a different mode completely. He’s now at the major league level 2 years out of A ball, starting, and tearing it up! We we’re fools to let him go when he showed so much promise. I said it was stupid when we made the deal, and stupid is as stupid does.

    You can put all the lipstick you want on this one, but a pig by any other name is still a pig! And you can’t fix felony stupid. McCheap is felony stupid!

  19. lawdog says:

    mold–not mode.

  20. Badger says:

    Thank you ldog. Your argument is well presented.

    Bill?

  21. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I wasn’t blogging here in 2008, but I remember not being very happy when the Blake deal was consummated.

    What makes matters worse, is that Casey Blake was subsequently given a three year deal (probably couldn’t have gotten more than two years from any other team) with a buy-out of a 4th option year. And there are other goodies as well, as noted below.

    Blake’s salary is $6M this year, and $5.25M next year. There is a club option for 2012 for $6M, with the Dodgers having a $1.25 million buyout option. So that makes his contract for 2011 worth $6.5M. But it gets worse. The buyout increases to $2M if he’s traded between 10/2/09 – 10/1/10. So even if he could be moved, it wouldn’t be likely to occur until after the season. Chances are, however, that we’re stuck with him for another year. So we lost our top hitting prospect, and created salary inflexibilty to compound the problem. And although I don’t know how good or bad Santana was at 3B, he did play that position before being converted to catching. Who knows, maybe he could have solved our 3B problem. Heck, maybe Santana could have become the catcher and Russell Martin could have inherited 3B. We’ll never know.

    Maybe Logan Whie doesn’t lie. But I wonder if Cleveland would have rejected the deal if the Dodgers had just offered to pay the remaining $2 million on Blake’s contract. In that case, maybe excluding Santana would not have been a deal breaker. Cleveland may have been very happy to unload that salary. And certainly there must have been another player besides Sanatana that could have been included, especially if the Dodgers had agreed to take on the $2M. Given the size of bonuses handed out to amateur prospects, maybe Cleveland could have been enticed to exclude Santana if the Dodgers threw in another $1M on top of the $2M. Casey Blake wasn’t then, and isn’t now, the sort of player who commands #1 prospects.

  22. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Lawdog,

    Felony stupid in this case also applies to Colletti. Colletti only gets a pass if Logan White was lying, and the Indians insisted on Santana as a condition on which they would pay the remaining $2 million on Blake’s contract. I could imagine a scenario where Colletti didn’t want to include Santana (although he does love veterans), but was forced to by McCheap to save the dough. Whatever the case, it was felony stupid. I thought so then (and so apparently did others), and I think so now.

    By the way, I still pine for Dan Evans.

  23. Bill Russell says:

    Remember when the deal was made throwing in Santana instead of money, Russell Martin was a different catcher back then. He was the Allstar that Andy La Roach never became. Russell was Mark’s boy. Hell Andy can’t even start for the Pirates now. Putting the blame on Ned for not seeing Russell’s decline is a little unfair in my opinion. If you want to blame someone, you have to blame McCheap because he wasn’t broke back then. That’s before Franks wife decided that she needed more from her relationship. Who would have predicted all of this crap?????

  24. Mark Timmons says:

    I can believe that Santana was the deal-breaker and I can believe that McCourt told Ned that he had to make the deal happen without any cash. The story behind the story is seldom what we think….

  25. Badger says:

    In reality, Santana was an A ball catcher then, with Lucas May in front of him on the depth charts. Yeah, Santana was a good player there, but no one in the Dodger organization really knew how good he was. I guess Cleveland knew. As I remember it, hard throwing Jon Meloan was the main man in that trade. Well, that and the fact Cleveland was more than happy to dump the aging, and average, Blake.

    Brooklyn raises an interesting question – knowing Blake was aging, and average, why give him all that money and extend him for so long? It’s not like other teams were beating down the door to get to this guy.

    OK, one in a row. That’s a start.

  26. Michael says:

    Like my Mom used to say, no use crying over spilt milk. It is history man. Nice to see Mark back, and BRuss stirring up the nest. I’ll take James Loneys 5 HR and 51 RBIs over Princes 15 HR and 31, yes, 31 RBIs any day of the week. Thanks Mark for giving James some well deserved props. Imagine Matt with James plate discipline, yikes! Now that looks better, the Blue defeat the “Evil Empire.” Be Happy

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