Categorized | Mark Timmons

Question Marks Abound

Question Marks Abound

Cliff Lee stayed true to himself and signed with the Phillies, spurning more money to go to a place he and his family felt comfortable (and it didn’t hurt that they are the odds-on-favorite the be the Pennant Winners in 2011).   So, if you want to argue who has the best starting rotation in baseball, it would be hard to envision a Top Four any better than Halliday, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels.  For me, it conjurs up memories of the 1971 Baltimore Orioles whose Top Four went an incredible 81-31!

All four pitchers won 20 or more games.  If you remember, it was Mike Cuellar (20-9), Pat Dobson (20-8), Dave McNally (21-5) and Jim Palmer (20-9).  The Phillies quartet is capable of doing that well.  On paper, they look hard to beat.  But remember, the game is not played “on paper,” and let’s not forget that 3/4 of that rotation is in their Mid-thirties.

Before we all throw in the towel to the Phillies, just remember a few years ago when the Giants gave a sililar contract to one Barry Zito.  I’m not saying Lee will be Zito, but I think we should probably go ahead and play out the 2011 season,

Here’s a fact: the Dodgers have some question marks for 2011, but the starting rotation is not one of them.  The Dodgers have 6 to 8 options for starting pitchers and I feel that they are looking good in the relief pitching department as well.  Most likely, the rotation will be Kershaw, Billingsley, Kuroda, Lilly and Garland – not a bad 1-5!  The Dodgers also have Vicente Padilla and John Ely as well as Carlos Monasterios (who is probably headed to AAA, but also fared very well as a reliever last year).

The Bullpen has to be better than last year.  With Kuo and Jansen in the pen, we have two young guys who were nearly unhittable last year (you say Kuo’s arm could fall off?  So could yours!).  Belisario is a question mark because of his erratic season last year, but his stuff is filthy and if his head is on right (and he can get a Visa), he can be a real asset.  Jon Broxton is another big question mark, so big that I just wish they would trade him already (and that was not “tongue-in-cheek” like what I wrote about Russ Martin yesterday.

Just so you know, I have an autographed Russ Martin photo on my desk, a Russ Martin bobblehead, a signed Russ Martin baseball and a Russ Martin Poster on the wall of my man cave.  My son has the same stuff in his room.  However, the Dodgers were right in non-tendering him and letting him walk.  He was a big question mark and not worth the risk – maybe someday he’ll return.  I know many people are putting it on Torre, but I just don’t buy that.  Look at Johnny Bench’s statistics.  He played as many games a year over an extended period of time (not just 3 years), as Martin, so I don’t think it’s reasonable to blame it on Torre.   Bench played like that for about 10 years.  Maybe it was something he took at the beginning of his career (I’m not alleging anything), but you never know…

Back to the issue at hand: Vicente Padilla is slated for the pen and make no mistake about this:  VICENTE PADILLA HAS CLOSERS STUFF!  Let’s not discount the possibility that Rubby De La Rosa could see activity out of the pen. Scott Elbert showed his promise in the AFL and could be a LH specialist out of the pen.  Ramon Troncoso suddenly “lost” his sinker.  Can he get it back?  Leach, Link are Schlichting are all capable of fitting in, but you never know.  This is a question mark.  Blake Hawksworth is a question mark as well.  What will he do?  Then there’s the newest Dodger, Matt Guerrier who has been a successful set-up man.  Can he keep it up?  The Dodgers are paying him big bucks.  That’s a question mark.

On offense, there are many question marks.  Let’s start at 1B.   Can James Loney become the player Logan White thinks he is capable of being (.300/25 HR/100 RBI) or is he a classic underacheiver?  At 2B, can Juan Uribe be even better than last year or will he be a bust?  That’s another question mark.

If healthy, Rafael Furcal could be a TOP 10 MVP candidate, or a complete bust, and at 3B, does Casey Blake have anything left or is he toast?  If the Dodgers sign Bill Hall, LF could be good for a combined 50 HR with a Hall/Gibbons platoon or it could be complete bust.  Maybe Gwynn plays CF and Kemp moves to RF and Ethier to LF and Gwynn wins a Gold Golve in CF or maybe he’s a complete bust.  The outfield is a question mark.

Another question mark is at Catcher.   Can Barajas, Ellis or Navarro be anything to write home about?  Could catcher be a strength… or a weakness?  Boy, I have no clue.  I s Beltre on the radar?   Hummmmmmm….

The 2011 Dodgers could be very good or average (not bad).  It will be interesting to see what happens.  This team could win 81 games or 101 games.  I also have a feeling that the deals are not over.  Watch and see!

P.S.   Why sign AAA quality players? Here’s why:  Guys like  Juan Castro, catcher JD Closser and Eugenio Velez probably won’t make the Big Team next year, but they are insurance and in Castro’s case, he is probably promised a position in the Dodgers’ organization if he doesn’t make the team.  The main factor is that AAA teams have fans and to put “butts in seats” you have to have a viable product (i.e., players who can play).  A few years ago in Indianapolis, the Indians (AAA affiliate of the Brewers) had Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, JJ Hardy, Bill Hall and a plethora of players who made the big show, but the team wasn’t great because they had no AAA vet players who can put on a show for the fans but aren’t good enough for the Big Club.  The AAA affiliates have to sell tickets too and make a profit and it’s up to the Big Club to gibe them to players to do that.  Nothing more, nothing less!

About Mark Timmons

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

19 Responses to “Question Marks Abound”

  1. Ken says:

    Predictions ERA/Ave Salary
    Kershaw 3.00 $475,000
    Billingsley 3.25 $5,500,000
    Kuroda 3.50 $11,250,000
    Lily 3.75 $8,167,000
    Garland 4.00 $8,000,000

    Broxton 3.00 $7,000,000
    Kuo 2.00 $3,000,000
    Jansen 2.00 $414,500
    Guerrier 3.75 $4,000,000
    Belisario 4.00 $430,000

    Padilla 3.00 $5,000,000
    Hawksworth 4.00 $500,000
    Staff 3.40 $53,736,500

    Barajas .250 $3,250,000
    Navarro .225 $1,000,000

    Loney .300 $5,000,000
    Uribe .250 $6,000,000
    Furcal .300 $12,000,000
    Blake .250 $5,250,000

    Carroll .275 $2,500,000
    Hu .225 $425,000

    Kemp .300 $7,100,000
    Ethier .300 $9,250,000
    Gibbons .250 $650,000

    Gwynn .200 $675,000
    Hoffmann .225 $414,500
    Pitchers .088
    Batting .251 $53,514,500
    $107,251,000
    DC $10,283,333
    $117,534,333

  2. lawdog says:

    It will be interesting to see Padilla as a closer. His fastball probably would rise to the 97-98 range and he’s go other off speed pitches to ix in which he can actually throw for strikes, including that big slow ephus curve. He might turn out to be what we hoped to get from Broxton since he might be almost as fast if he only has to pitch one inning and he has other ptiches and much better control of all of them.

    Too bad Broxton probably has little or no trade value right now because of his salary and blown out shoulder from over work. Plus he’s alwasy been a one trick pony with a blaing fastball that looked more like a mediocre “fatball” last half of the season. Curse you Torre for over working the lad and curse you Honeycutt for sitting on your hands and never helped him develop either a change or a slider that didn’t hang at least half the time. If his shoulder needs to be reconstructed I think he’s toast. Can’t see him developing the junk he’d need to be effective if all he has a fastball in the 90-95 range that he casn’t place in and out, up and down..

    I just don’t think he has it in him… He must regain his fastball, be able to place it, and come up with a slider that snaps that he can throw for a strike and make it look a strike before diving down and away at the last nanosecond. Either that or find how to throw that Gagne change.

    Hopefully that obvious injury to his shoulder which robbed him of the 101 fastball he couldn’t control will have scared him into trying to not only regain the heater through conditioning and work his butt off on at least one of the other two pitches. Be nice if he had all three, eh?

  3. lawdog says:

    If the Dogs sign Beltre I’ll be a happy camper once more. I don’t think McGoo has the credit line to make it happen even if he wanted to do so. I see him as being very similar to Georgia Frontiera and what she did to the LA Rams. She wanted to spend the absolute minimum for a team that would tease the fans about possibly contending to put butts in the seats, but cared less about really winning the whole thing. It was a cash cow for her and the Dogs are a cash cow for the McGoos. Their life styles come first. If we luck into the playoffs that’s good for business. If we don’t contend but pretend instead, that’s okay as long as they can keep looting the operation to sustain their own outrageous needs.

    A Beltre signing would indicate to me that they really want to field a contender and his presence would make up for Gibbons and a .275 average with as few as 15 hrs. I think Gibbons will do more based on his history.

    Blake at 87 years old will probably hit around the Mendoza line with less than 10 hrs next year. His glove will probably still be adequate, but he’s been on a downward spiral and at his age, that ain’t a good sign and is only likely to get much worse when we get into the dog days of summer.

    Go sign Beltre and I’ll start seeing that half empty glass as three quarters full and surprise all you mugs. ;)

    Stand pat and you’ll get more doom and gloom from me. Ned and fred have to still have something up their sleeve to get us another true slugger either for left or third. If we get the left fielder we can move Uribe to third and put Caroll back at second and still make it work. But it just is not a complete club, offensively, the way it’s been constructed right now.

  4. Dusto says:

    Yes, lets trade Broxton at his lowest possible value.

  5. Dusto says:

    Its reasonable to blame the Russel Martin trials on Torre. Cherry picking one guy, a hall of famer, and griping about Martin not living up to the task is a bit narrow.

  6. Dusto says:

    “(you say Kuo’s arm could fall off? So could yours!)”

    Touche!

    Except I haven’t had 4 major surgeries on my arm, and in the most recent “spell”, my arm didn’t turn purple. I’m just saying that Gurrier wasn’t the best spent 12 million dollars. I’d rather it go to a lefty.

  7. Dusto says:

    Except signing juan castro means a better player, Hu, is probably going to get released.

  8. Roger Dodger says:

    Ned, and other GMs, at this time of year through Spring Training, know that other teams will have needs. As players have injuries, other traded thus openings, etc.

    So, Ned might be seeing Hu as a possible fix for a team needing a SS or 2B. The same with the Paul the X man — and others in the system.

    Good article above Mark. My zero point for next year is Furcal. If he can go the season with 140-145 or so starts and produce both in the field and at the plate — really helps this team. Yet — the half empty glass — knows that he does have health / back issues. And maybe leg issues as the years wear on.

    If Furcal can set the table game after game, hitting between .285 and .310 this team rocks. On the other hand, if he is out of the lineup with issues — that is really bad.

  9. Badger says:

    This is interesting:

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/playersearch?POSITION=3B

    Beltre isn’t even listed… I wonder why? And our left fielder is listed as Podsednik.

    Not an All Star on the Dodgers. Even our “ace” is listed as the 17th best, 9th in the NL. Not bad I’ll grant you, but, not yet amongst the elites in the league. Of course, this is just one site’s opinion. But, it’s time to start paying attention to these kind of things if you are a fantasy player. I don’t do it anymore, but I do read the information.

    Could the Boston Red Sox afford to keep Beltre and kind of rotate Youkilis in and out at 3b, 1b and DH? Just askin’. Seems to me the best place for Beltre is to stay where he is, or go to hitters parks like in Texas. Yeah, if the Dodgers offer enough money he would come back, but, does anyone really believe he puts up anything near what he did his last year here? or… last year’s numbers last year? As much as would rather have him, I don’t see him hitting .300 here, or having the power numbers he did last year.

  10. Jaydavis says:

    Did anybody notice Ned has he’s buget for each position ( catcher 4.2 million) same offer he made Martin?
    Dodgers need more than Beltre—Vladimir Guerrero would be a nice addition for 2 years.

  11. coloblue says:

    Padilla will close in 2011 as will Kuo and Jansen (future closer).
    Broxton is definitely going to leave via trade..before march.
    Brox trade value is not as low as you think..even Papelbon had a major meltdown last yr..Brox needs one mor epitch and the right pitching coach to be elite.
    Brox is only 28..he will be traded to NYY to back up Mariano…and resume with his old buddy RMartin.
    NYY is in need of SP and RP…Greinke will not end up in NYY- bad fit for an anxiety guy. So NYY will settle for #2/#3 guy..they need a shut down RP staff. Brox is perfect fit.
    NYY had lots of talent to give us for brox..C..3b(BLaird) and SP that are about one yr from MLB ready.If we get Montero we also have to give them something back as well.

  12. Badger says:

    I do believe Broxton and his $7 million are going somewhere. Why not the Yankees? If he tubes, they can afford to swallow that much. I think Jenks makes sense for them too, if he doesn’t ask for closer money.

    Broxton’s value is down for two reasons… his salary, that most teams know we need to move, and his second half last year, which most teams probably assume was due to his being Torried mid year. He will be checked thorougly by whoever has interest. Hope he passes the physicals.

    I am fine with good arms sharing the closing role.

  13. Roger Dodger says:

    Well, has Ned signed any more A or AA or AAA players today??

  14. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Angel Pagan is a decent player with modest power. I still cannot understand the desire some people have to just give Broxton away. Maybe he’ll never regain what he lost, or maybe he just might do just that. Angel Pagan will never be much more than he’s been the last two years, and could easily regress back to the .260′s hitter he was with the Cubs. And by the way, Pagan will be 30 next season.

    There’s plenty of time to address the outfield issue. I suspect that one of the reasons Colletti has loaded up on pitching (especially relief pitching) is to create enough of a surplus to give him flexibility down the line to pull of a deal that will plug a hole in the Dodger offense. That could occur now, or it could occur after the season begins. It appears as if Colletti is taking this step-by-step, and that he’s continuing to shop.

  15. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Roger,

    That wasn’t a AA or AAA player that he signed yesterday.

  16. lawdog says:

    I agree with Brooklyn and the others who say it would be foolish to force Broxton to walk the plank off our sinking ship just because Torre overworked him last season. See if he can regain the strength in his heater. Odds are goo he can do that–he’s just a young man and it’s not like his arm fell off while he delivered a fastball with a little extra mustard on it at some point. He might just have a tired arm. He started spring training last year with a fastball that was topping out at 95 which is sub par for him and he got it back to 101 speed soon enough.

    I’m hoping this whole ordeal for him has been a wake up call for him and he’ll begin concentrating on location as being worth a mph or two, maybe work in a cutter which just requires him to hiold th ball differently which will be something different from the 4 seamer even if it’s a litle slower, and then really focus on getting that slider down and adding either a change, or if that won’t work for him, a splitter which also is easier to throw and something Roger Craig mae all his releivers develop remarking how it took no more skill than throwing a fastbll you just needed to practice it until you got the release point down.

    As Badger has remarked, any moron should be able to master some kind of effective off speed pitch to go with a fastball if they just work at it with a competent pitching coach.

    Hell, why not bring Hough in to teach him the knuckleball if all else fails!!! :mrgreen: Imagine Haeger with a 98 mph fastball to go with the dancer, eh? :roll:

    I’m obviously being facetious. But don’t 86 Broxton, or trade him for peanuts, until you’re absolutely sure he’s toast. Otherwise, as sure as you’re born, he’ll come back and bite us in the ass once he heals and is taught how to really pitch. :shock:

  17. lawdog says:

    Dang! I really love these keen smileys! I picture might not be worth a thousand words, but they’re worth at least a couple of dozen, don’t you think? :shock:

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