Categorized | Mark Timmons

Don’t Be Down on the Farm

The demise of the 2011 LA Dodgers is well-documented.  It is also clear that the Dodgers poor record this season can be attributed to THREE THINGS:

Sellers curtain calls after his first big league dinger (photo courtesy AP/Christine Cotter via Ted Sobel)

  1. James Loney
  2. Andre Ethier
  3. Injuries
At the start of the season, Andre Ethier was penciled in as the #3 hitter and James Loney was to be the #5 hitter.  Both have greatly underperformed… EVEN SUCKED!  If James Loney and Andre Ethier had played up to their potential, the Dodgers season would have been immensely different, but they didn’t and it is what it is.  Then the injuries came in bunches, and while some were predictable due to age and wear and tear (Blake, Garland, Padilla, Furcal, Uribe), others were just as insidious (Gordon, De La Rosa, et al).  At any rate, the Big Dodger in the Sky frowned on the big club again this year and it remains to be seen if he will ever smile on the Dodgers as long as Frank McCourt is owner.
That said, the Minor League System has a few players worth looking at:
  • Chris Withrow, Ethan Martin and Allen Webster all have Top-of-the-Rotation stuff to go with Control Issues – if they can get a handle on their control, the Dodgers have three very good pitchers for the near future.  I don’t have to remind you that Sandy Koufax was much older when he harnessed his control.  Chris Withrow is not as far away as some think.  I think that someday soon, the light will just click on.  I would not be surprised to see him in the Dodgers rotation in 2012.
  • Scott Van Slyke and Alfredo Silverio both are having nice years in a “hitter’s legaue” at Chattanooga.  Could Van Slyke be the Dodgers’s 1B of the future?  No prediction from me on that!
  • Jake Lemmerman moved up to AA this week.  He’s playing SS, but I would expect that if Dee Gordon shows he’s the Dodgers future SS, Jake will switch to 3B or 2B.  Jake drives the ball and could develop the requisite power to play 3B in the majors.
  • There are many other arms at AA: Tolleson, Solono, St. Clair, Miller, et al and  you have already seen De La Rosa, Lindbloom and Eovaldi.
  • Gorman Erickson and Tim Federowicz are nice defensive Catchers who both have a chance to hit a little… maybe more than that.
  • Kyle Russell has prodigious power but strikes out a bunch – I have no opinion of him.
  • At the A and Rookie Level, there are a lot of interesting prospects, but a few I really like are Jon Garcia (he could climb quickly – he really has a quick swing and crushes the ball),  Garrett Gould and of course, Zach Lee.
There are lots of other players, including Chris Reed, who could climb quickly through the system, but there are also many at the Rookie level…  and who can predict that?  The ones I mentioned above all have a shot in the next couple of years.  Some will fizzle and some will shine.  It should be fun to watch and see.  If you are a “glass half full guy” you will be hopeful.  If you area “glass half empty” guy you’ll have a different opinion.  Choose your poison.
Frank McCourt will not be inducted into sainthood anytime soon, but he’s not the devil he’s being made out to be.  It’s a media-driven feeding frenzy.  Sort of like our last Presidential election where Obama never got a hard question and the Republican challengers got eviscerated.  I am not making a political statement, just pointing out how the press can influence opinions (by the way, the President is not now getting the same treatment he got before the election).
I added a new blog today that could be very interesting today:  http://tedsobel.wordpress.com/ Check it out.  He has a good interview with everyone’s flavor of the week:  Justin Sellers.
Next the Dodgers play 4 games against a team that wins 75% of their home games.  That can’t be good!

About Mark Timmons

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

21 Responses to “Don’t Be Down on the Farm”

  1. Mark_Timmons says:

    I had heard things like this, but since Tony Jackson published it, you might as well know:

    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/686

    \”There are whispers from multiple corners of the organization about a checkered past, a too-cool-for-school attitude that often grated on teammates and coaches. By all accounts, though, the heavily tattooed Sellers has become a different guy over the past year or so, a more mature, more professional player who was deemed not only ready for his first big league promotion on Friday, but also fully deserving of it.\”

  2. Badger says:

    The demise of the 2011 LA Dodgers is well-documented. It is also clear that the Dodgers poor record this season can be attributed to THREE THINGS:

    1. James Loney
    2. Andre Ethier
    3. Injuries

    I think you left out a couple things here. Let’s not forget we started the season with a left field combination that has left us gagging and puking in the aisles. No injuries there, just lack of talent. Most of us predicted Uribe and Blake would be pedestrian – why? – because their career numbers scream that at anyone who reads them. A .200 hitting catcher just says “back-up” to me. Bullpen? Well, if you remember, some people were trying to say something was up wif Broxton since July of last year. “No, no, it’s all in his head.” The rest of those guys were new, had potential but also had “wait and see” written all over them. SP? After Kershaw, I had them as good, but not great. Bench? They are on the field. How’s that working out?

    To blame this on Ethier, an All Star, Loney and injuries is patently unfair. Yes, Loney has underperformed, and he will likely be jettisoned after this year, but he is in there everyday and doesn’t gripe. Is it his fault the depth at certain positions in this organization is pitiful?

    I got a better splanation for the Dodgers woes this year. Karma. What goes around comes around. And it is definitely coming around this year.

  3. Roger Dodger says:

    Time to jump on Mark. I agree with Badger — you left out a lot, and jumped on two players too hard. Injuries we all agree with.

    From the beginning, some of us felt that the roster did not have what it takes to challenge the Giants.

    No catching, no solid second baseman (none of them are Jeff Kent), knew Furcal would go down, no prime third baseman, no left fielder at all, and 5 iffy starters (not that Kershaw is fiffy, but the total of 5 were not strong). Also, questions in the pen beginning with Broxton.

    Also, you did not mention the disappointment in Russell Martin as the Dodger catcher. He did crash and burn at the end of the season and the Dodgers decided to let him walk have someone else pay him.

    Ethier has hit .300 all season, today he is down to .299, but that is still a lot better than than a bunch of other major league players. Loney has had a bad season with the bat — but has been better of late; upping his average to almost .260 now.

    But there is and was no Manny type of player for this season. No really fine power hitter for the others to rally around. That is Ned’s fault.

    This has been a smoke and mirror season for this team. Add to that the ownership problem and a poor GM with signings and trades — I cannot dump on Ethier and Loney. I dump on a poor roster, two or three of the starters that were average to below, and the promise of Russ Martin that blew out like a flat tire.

    After 119 games the Dodgers (this roster) is is 9 games below 500; and that is with a present 3 game winning streak against the worst team in either league.

    Also the Dodgers have jumped over the Rockies now in 3rd place only 12 games out.

    Probably Donnie’s only saving grace is if he can get this team to .500 for the season with the final 43 games. It will be tough, but a real goal to shoot for.

    26-17 would be record he will need.

  4. Mark_Timmons says:

    If Loney were hitting .290 withy his usuall RBI\’s and Andre were performing up to his 30 HR potential, don\’t you think the Dodgers would have been a lot better. Blake and Uribe should be roleplayers (pedestrian as you call it), instaed the Dodgers needed what they couldn\’t give because Loney and Ethier sucked.

    I do blame some of that on Jeff Pentland…

    The Big Dodger in the Sky is Karma, which is why I wonder if the Dodgers can get it back under McCourt.

    Ethier, Kemp and Loney should have been a \”machine\” that drove in 300+ runs. Matt Kemp has more RBI than both of them COMBINED! That sucks in any book, especially since Ethier has played all year hitting ahead of a guy pitchers don\’t like to pitch to. Loney and Ethier are a major reason the Dodgers suck!

  5. Mark_Timmons says:

    Roger,

    Kemp was Manny. Ethier and Loney have 87 RBI\’s Combined. Matt has 89!

    Anyway you slice Ethier is again Mr. Softee.

    In 2009, Ethier had 31 HR and 106 RBI and he has had Matt Kemp hitting behind him all year!

    Loney has averaged 90 RBI\’s a year.

    Anyway you cut it, Ethier and Loney are going to be about 90 RBI\’s off what they should have done.

    90 more runs would have won about 15 more games!

  6. Mark_Timmons says:

    15 more games would have put us in the hunt for the NL West title…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Ethier has 113 ab’s WRISP. He is hitting .274 with a .366 OBP in those situations. Yeah, that could be better I suppose. It might be interesting to look at what this team might have in the way of runs scored with some speed and OBP guys at the top of the lineup. However, even with that, the bottom of this lineup sucks the ruby begonia.

    I see your point Mark, but, there are so many holes in this team it’s hard for me to blame those two guys. Heck, think how bad we would be if Kemp was still dating Rihanna.

    Remember at the beginning of this year I said the Dodgers COULD win 83 IF several things went well for them. They did not go well. Stuff happens. If Loney got hot, and Ethier started hitting .300 WRISP would it make up the 12 games we are behind? I kinda doubt it. We are chasing teams that are just better than us.

  8. Badger says:

    That was me.

  9. Roger Dodger says:

    If Ethier and Loney had the year you suggestion — the D-Backs and Giants would still be in front.

    You are putting the load on these two guys. You did not address the issue of the Manny type of player that Ned omitted from the roster. You omitted the total collapse of Russ Martin and the addition of two the two catchers as .200 hitters and average to below average catchers at that. How many throws has Navarro thrown into right-center field??

    Mark, this is a soft roster. And it seems, when Donnie puts someone else to play at first base other than Loney for a game or two, they screw up a play in the field.

    But you know best. You are the expert. You always tell us that. Not an opinion. But a fact — usually with multiple posts.

    So it seems that that great Jacksonville five — is down to one. Matt Kemp. I said back then, and many times since — a team should have be bringing along 4 or 5 guys from the minors at once, and expect them all to be Matt Kemp . . .

  10. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Badger,

    In a previous thread you asked me if I thought the Dodgers were suffering due to the curse of trading Piazza. Actually, the Dodgers have had two curses, the first being owned by Newscorp, and the second being owned by McCourt. In both cases we have had ownership focused on self-aggrandizement. Newscorp used the Dodgers to enhance its media presence, and McCourt used them for personal financial gain. In both cases, baseball success took a back seat to power and greed.

    The curse will end when the Dodgers find new ownership focused on creating a legacy of winning. Any new ownership will be looking to make a buck (actually, lots of bucks). However, ownership with the wealth to profit from a long term investment, will invest in that venture with an eye to increasing its value over time through success on the field. When we have that kind of ownership, the “curse” will become nothing but a distant memory.

    So if the Dodgers are cursed it began before the Piazza trade. It began the day that O’Malley decided to sell the team to Newscorp. I don’t blame O’Malley, because he simply didn’t have the vision in 1998 to recognize that family ownership could work. That changed with the advent of regional networks, and other money flowing from MLB (e.g., MLB.TV).

    The sub-par performances of Ethier and Loney certainly contributed to the failure of this team to win. But so also did an aging third baseman, a shortstop unable to stay on the field, no second baseman to speak of (Uribe, etc.), no catching, a black hole in left field, a mostly ineffective bullpen (until recently), and the ever present injuries. And I don’t blame anyone in particular, except the owner, because in the end the buck stops at his desk. An owner committed to winning wouldn’t have increased the payroll (mostly to give the impression that he was doing something to improve the team) by signing second tier free agents like Lilly, Garland and Uribe.

  11. Roger Dodger says:

    Good post Brooklyn.

    I have said before, if Frank would have signed a new type of Manny hitter — and paid big bucks, and filled a few holes better — this team would have performed better — and more people would have come to games.

    That translates into more money. At 18,000 more fans a game, averaging only $55 per fan is about ONE MILLION more dollars per game — over 82 games, could have been about $80,000,000 more dollars in the till. That would have paid the increase of salaries — food after the game — and more.

    Of course, how much would Jamie have scooped up, is unknown . . .

  12. Michael says:

    In my opinion it’s way off base to put James at the top of the list. Loney is what he is and 90 Ribbies[totally useless stat{MSTI}] was never enough and he got his head screwed on wrong trying to please everyone.
    Andre on the other hand has really stunk it up. I think his head has left a year before his body follows him out of here.
    Pitching rich with offensive deficiencies. That seems to be the Dodger Mantra.

    Have you guys seen this Desmond Jennings of the Rays? WOW, he’s a player

  13. Mark_Timmons says:

    Well, I don’t think any ONE stat tells it all, but 90 RBI ain’t chopped liver. Certainly a great percentage of firstbasemen in baseball do better than that, but if James Loney had 70 RBI’s right now instead of 35, logic tells us that the Dodgers would have a few more wins under their belt.

    Now, tell me what free agents would have been that “Manny-type hitter?”

    For $16-20 mil a year, you could have had Carl Crawford with his .291 Juan Uribe OB% or Jason Werth with his .225 Batting avearge and 14 HR’s?

    Actually, Adrian Beltre is the only one of those Free Agents last year worth his keep… and nobody on theis board wanted him.

  14. Roger Dodger says:

    Mark, I am not the GM, and can look back on the situation last year. I had my Chemo today, and am tired.

    What bothers you, is that you expected too much from this team. Many of us said it had flat tires. Martin failed and that still bothers you. You have never like Ethier, and love to pour it on him. Not everyone here knows that. Loney is all confused with maybe too much hitting instruction. It happens. But Loney was never to have been the Manny type of hitter. He is a nice support piece in the line-up, but without a real power addition, he looks lost.

    Face it, this roster stinks. Some nice players that just have been beaten more than then win. Even with Kershaw and Kemp.

    • Glass Was Half Full says:

      Well put Roger…get some rest….

    • Mark_Timmons says:

      Roger,

      Godspeed to you. I hope you get well soon. You are right about Martin (wrong on Ethier, but I\’ll get to that). I thought Russ Martin would be a very good catcher (not HOF, but very good). His first three years were exceptional and then he begin the decline in Batting Average and OB%. That happened for two years and LA let him walk. He then went to a hitter-friendly park and has had an even bigger decline. What happened to Russ Martin? I have no clue.

      In the beginning, I called Andre Mr. Softee and he was, but then he hit 30/106 and had some very big hits. I was extremely pleased. I wanted Andre Ethier to be THAT guy, not Mr. Softee, but he is back to being Mr. Softee.

      James Loney – while he was never ALL THAT, he was a serviceable 1B who had a good glove and a slightly soft bat, but you could live with him – he\’s not even a shadow of himself now.

      Of course, the injuries and the pen imploding at the start of the season were factors, but Ned got what he paid for.

      If you looked at the D-Backs roster this spring and at the Dodgers this spring, there was no way you\’d pick them to finish above the Dodgers, but the D-Backs have played above their expectations and the Dodgers have below theirs.

      It\’s that simple. Maybe the manager makes a difference….

  15. Badger says:

    Well said Brooklyn. You too Roger.

    Both Loney and Ethier will get opportunities with other organizations. On the right team. in a healthier organization, it is my prediction they will both improve.

    The culture of winning just doesn’t exist around the Dodgers anymore. We had a couple of years with Manny in the lineup where everything went well – right up until we ran into a team that was actually better. Once Manny tested positive, and the owners announced their divorce, the dysfunction that IS the Dodgers came front and center.

    I agree with Brooklyn that a new owner is what is needed here. It is what should be DEMANDED here. Only the fans have that vote now. Keep putting up with it, and you will keep getting what you have been getting.

  16. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    “Once Manny tested positive, and the owners announced their divorce, the dysfunction that IS the Dodgers came front and center.”

    What Badger said is exactly why I would not trust having McCourt if he somehow got a TV contract, and was able to hold onto the Dodgers. Even with money to spend, at some point down the road the “dysfunction” would rear its ugly head. It could happen in a year, it could happen in five years, but it would happen. McCourt can’t be trusted with this team under any circumstances, because everything he gets his hands on ultimately turns to dust. And of course, his commitment will always be self-serving, never to bringing the fans the best possible product.

  17. Roger Dodger says:

    Again, gee, Dodgers has laughers beating up on Houston . . . tonight against a first place team . . . the Dodgers are playing like the 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers, terrible, because the other team is better.

    9th inning, Kemp is up . . . Kemp hits a Texas leaguer to center . . . Rivera up . . . double-play. Why not !!!!

  18. Bobby says:

    yes mark, the republican candidates were “eviscerated” with toughies like “what newspapers do you read?”

    more seriously, loney has been utterly useless this year, and ethier extremely disappointing.

    however, even if those 2 did have their avg type seasons, we’d still be in 3rd place because furcal, uribe, and blake, the other 75% of our infield, were even more atrocious and useless.

    combine that with below avg hitting catchers, the worst LF combo in the majors, and we can see why we are 13 games out.

    the future can be bright though, if we think about our kersh, kemp, and the young pitchers that are here (eavoldi, lindblom, elbert, guerra), and those that are just dominating AA (tolleson, ames, solano, etc).

    a real owner would help with this, but im afraid we don’t have one :(

  19. Badger says:

    Well said bobby. BTW, Mark is in a Republican tax bracket. You won’t see him make any positive statements about a “socialist” president. I have been waiting about 15 years for him to see the light, but, money drives the bus. I think it’s kinda funny that those guys all talk about socialism, using it as a scare tactic, and every single one of them has 100% government health care, fly around the globe to exotic spots on the planet paid for by the people, and are given a huge salary and pension for serving a couple of years. Then they try to convince people government is bad. Want to fix Congress? No pension, no tenure, no pay increases, they pay for their own retirement, they pay for their own health care and participate in Social Security like the rest of us. Hypocrites all.

    We do have a few good young players in our system, but it’s rare that a team full of them young relatively inexpensive talent gets to the play-offs. The Rays did it a few years ago, but, the great teams, ones that win every year (Boston, New York) have stars up and down the lineup. I still think in the L.A. market, with their own cable network (DTN) the Dodgers could have a team of great players, with a rookie in there every year. You know, like it used to be before The Mephistopheles Corp took over.

    Season ain’t over yet. Guys like Loney and Ethier could finish with a flurish and put up some decent numbers. I can’t help but wonder what Ethier would do playing RF for the Boston Red Sox.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


Leave a Reply

Mandatory Daily Dodger Reading