Let me be the first to say it:
“The fact that Tim Hallgren is leaving the Dodgers to take a scouting job with the Detroit Tigers proves that the Dodgers are a sinking ship and the rats are abandoning it.“
I know that’s what the McCourt Haters will say next, so I just beat them to the punch! Actually, I think it’s probably just a difference of opinion between Logan White and Tim which led to this. Now that Logan knows he’s staying in LA, Tim may have felt it better to move on. It happens all the time – that’s just a hunch. Their duties seemed to overlap quite a bit.
LILLY’S DEAL – It turns out that Ted Lilly’s contract counts for only $7.5 million next year as the contract is back-loaded. I think all deals will be that way until the divorce is decided.
BUSTER POSEY – Can you say “Perennial All-Star Catcher?” The Giants have a GREAT one here.
THE GIANTS – All of a sudden the Giants are some great team? Hey, I am really pulling for them. I would love to see the big spenders (Phillies and Yankees) get spanked by teams that spend dramatically less, but let’s not forget what the Giants are. You wanna’ talk about “geezers, wannabes and neverweres?”
The Giants are absolutely that: Huff, Uribe, Burrell, Sanchez, Renteria, Fontenot, Ross and others are simply “over-the-hill” or journeymen, and the 300 pound panda often looks just that. Javier Lopez who had a 9.26 ERA last year has a 2.36 ERA this year. Brian Wilson’s ERA (1.81) is half of what his career ERA is. Santiago Casilla has an ERA of 1.95, but up until this year, his career ERA was over 5.00 (it was 5.96 last year). Sergio Romo had a 3.97 ERA last year and has a 2.18 ERA this year. ”Run Backwards” Mota is also part of that pen.
The point I am making is that while the Giants have excellent starting pitching, their bullpen has been outstanding. Historically, the pitchers that they are relying on this year, have not been so reliable in the past. Bullpen’s are fickle. The Dodgers pen was horrid this year, but could lead the league next year (and Broxton could sprout wings and fly). Aubrey Huff was signed for $2 mil and had a career year. So did Uribe, and then Burrell came back from the dead. It’s a “rag-tag” team, but they have caught lightening in a bottle. Good for them. I am not a hater (except for maybe the Yankees).
Bill Shaikin of The LA Times speaks about Jamie or Magic Johnson putting together a group to buy the Dodgers, but I think it’s more likely that Frank McCourt would do that. The Dodgers and the Land around Dodger Stadium is a goldmine. Don’t under-estimate what plans Frank has and don’t think for a minute that Bug Selig can intervene. If Bud tried that, Frank would sue him until from here to the 22nd Century. Shaikin, Dilbeck, Simers and Plaschke are all delusional.
MATTINGLY’S POSSE – It looks like Trey Hillman may be the bench coach for Donnie Ballgame and the rest of the staff is shaping up with Jeff Pentland, Chili Davis and Manny Mota, Rick Honeycutt, Wallach and Howell. One could be the first base coach or another could be added. It appears that Wallach will coach 3B. Who will manage AAA is the new question?
RICK RHODEN – It appears that in addition to Matt Herges, Rick Rhoden has now returned to the Dodgers in some capacity as a coach. Again, I think the fans perception of the Dodgers is far away from the reality.
When not overseeing 60 farmhands at instructional league or welcoming Chili Davis and Rick Rhoden back to baseball as coaches, DeJon Watson is monitoring eight Dodgers farmhands playing for Don Mattingly in the Arizona Fall League.
It’s a busy time for the assistant general manager who runs the Dodgers’ Minor League system.
His most promising prospects — such as organizational pitcher of the year Rubby De La Rosa and last year’s organizational player of the year Dee Gordon — are based at the shared training complex of Camelback Ranch-Glendale.
But in the AFL are the more accomplished, including Scott Elbert, on the comeback trail after missing time with personal problems, and Jerry Sands, this year’s player of the year.
Here are Watson’s summaries of each Dodger in the Arizona Fall League:
Sands, IF/OF: “He’s on the taxi squad, so he’ll play twice a week, and we’re double-dipping with him because when he’s not in the Fall League, he’s at instructs. He’s an accomplished outfielder and first baseman, and we are working with him to get ground balls at third base, just to get another glove in his bag. He’s also working on his offensive approach. He had a big year offensively, but he still has things to work on offensively. There’s more room for growth there.”
Trayvon Robinson, OF: “He had a big year. Look at his numbers over the last three years, the trend is up. His on-base percentage has gone up 150 points in a three-year window. We’re trying to expand his overall game, to get him to be more aggressive defensively. He’s still pushing the envelope with his baserunning. We want him a little more aggressive going first to third. He gets good reads and jumps. He’s relatively close to finishing off the skill set. This will be a really good test for him. Last year he was on the taxi squad until the last two weeks. He’s playing against more advanced players to gauge where he is. And we’d like to find something [winter ball] for him after this. He has a chance to be a true center fielder down the road.”
Matt Wallach, C: “He keeps getting better. He had a strong year defensively. He finished at Double-A. His swing continues to improve. He’s changed his swing approach to be flatter. He had been a little hooky. Overall, his catching improved. We see him as a backup down the road. He has great makeup. His game-calling is getting better.”
Ivan DeJesus Jr., 2B: “With Ivan, we want to keep him playing, keep him moving. He’s coming off a broken leg and missed all of 2009. He’ll play second base, and we’ll mix him in at third, just to get his bat in lineup, not because that’s where we see him as a player. And after the Fall League, he’ll continue working at Camelback.”
Jon Link, RHP: “He was up and down [from the Minor Leagues to Major Leagues]. He has a three-pitch mix. We’ll use him here in a starting role to get him stretched out. We know he can pitch in the middle of the bullpen at the big league level. We want to get him stretched out here to create more value going into Spring Training.”
Javy Guerra, RHP: “He was off-and-on with his health this year [shoulder tendinitis]. He has a chance to be a legitimate bullpen piece. He has a 94-mph fastball and a tight slider with a change. He needs innings. And he’s more than likely going to Mazatlan to play in the Mexican Winter League and carry that into Spring Training to make up for the innings he missed while he was out.”
Justin Miller, RHP: “We’ll try to push the envelope with him. He has a sinking fastball. He’s a ground-ball pitcher, and we want to get him prepared for next level. He’ll probably start the season at Double-A. We want him facing better hitters here to understand the adjustments he’ll need to make. He can be deceptive, and we want him to get to where hitters are chasing his pitches.”
Elbert, LHP: “Obviously he missed time. We just want to get him back on the mound and acclimated and competing again. Physically, he’s healthy. He’s working out of the bullpen here, and we’ll leave him in that role. We want him to tighten up his delivery and his mechanics and see where it takes us.”