When the Dodgers were considering Manny Ramirez, I said that “I’d rather lose without him than win with him.” I took a lot of flack for that, but I believe that a lack of character will always rear it’s ugly head… and it did. But, I digress.
Let me clarify one thing: I am down with all of the trades made by the Dodgers this year. Giving up all of the prospects they did certainly gives me pause… but …. (after a long…. pause)………… I would still do it.
However, money alone does not buy championships. It takes a lot more than money. It takes heart and soul. It takes commitment. It takes a family to win a championship (yes, some families are dysfunctional – witness the old Oakland A’s), but it’s still a family.
Currently, the 2012 version of the LA Dodgers does not have any heart, let alone any soul. They aren’t really committed and they certainly are not a family. That doesn’t mean that they can’t or won’t win- they just don’t have it now.
Here’s something I know will ruffle your feathers, but I’ll say it anyway: If the trades had not been made, the Dodgers might be in 1st place.
<Uproar, cursing, shouting, arguing, loud voices, jeering, lynching>
You can argue that all you want, but look at the past success of the 2012 Dodgers (i.e.. the first half of 2012, last half of 2011) and you would be hard-pressed to argue otherwise. Since the trade, this team has been doo-doo. There’s no way of knowing, but that group was one of the best teams in baseball for a year (All-Star Break to All-Star Break).
Money can’t buy championships – it take a family of players, committed to winning with a lot of heart and soul. That’s nothing that money can provide. The Dodgers need leadership on the field. Is the present leadership capable of providing that level of leadership? We will find out in the next 3 weeks.
Eovaldi, Martin, RDLR and Webster all have a shot at being very good pitchers. History says other-wise. One, maybe two, will end up being a Number 3 or better, so the risk was probably worth the reward. Zach Lee is at least a year away – and unless he can come up with a better “out”pitch, he’s a Number 3… AT BEST! With an out-pitch he’s a Number #2, He’s young enough to do that, but he got shelled Friday night in his first playoff start.
I think the future is bright. It’s a good time to be a Dodger fan… especially starting next season. These boys may have a run left, but injuries have decimated the team, especially the pitching staff. At least we now know why Matt Kemp was not hitting. It’s possible he will need minor surgery over the winter and I would bet that Chad Billingsley misses all of 2013. I also would not be one bit surprised if Josh Beckett suffers the same fate. He has lots of innings on that arm.
The only way Dee Gordon is a Dodger next season is if no GM in baseball thinks highly of him. If someone is willing to give up some value, he is gone, gone, gone! On the other hand, if no one covets him the way some of you do, he will be a utility man or back at AAA next season. I once had high hopes for him, but as he approaches 25 I am losing some of my confidence in him. I see flashes, but he is what his stats say he is. So far…. Watch and see!
Chris Capuano pitched seven-solid innings against a team that is hard on left-handers. Again, he didn’t get the win, but the Dodgers have won 16 of his starts the year and with 4 or 5 more starts likely, the team could end up winning 20 of his starts, even if he doesn’t win 20 games (how do you like that spin?). Mark Ellis continues to do a journeyman’s job at 2B – he’s hitting .274 with a .355 OB% and playing exceptional defense.
What is clear is that the Dodgers need to add a starter next year. Is that Zach Greinke? He has been merely OK since moving to the Angels with a 4.36 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. Some think the big stage in LA is too much for him. I have no clue, but it would be fun to snatch him from the Angels.
Maybe Stan’s plan is just fine… for next year, even if there is now a dearth of starters that are near major league ready.
Here’s a list of Starting Pitchers who will be free agents next season (the * denotes a team option):
Scott Baker *
Jorge De La Rosa *
R.A. Dickey *
Scott Feldman *
Gavin Floyd *
Dan Haren *
Roberto Hernandez *
Tim Hudson *
Paul Maholm *
Jake Peavy *
Ervin Santana *
James Shields *
See anyone you want other than Greinke?
Just Wait Until Next Year
Let’s think about next year again – Kennedy will be gone, maybe Sellers, Victorino will be gone, Blanton will be gone, Wright will be gone, Treanor will be gone, Rivera will be gone, Hawksworth will be gone, Todd Coffey will be gone, but Juan Uribe will be given a chance to make the team because he is owed $8 million – it’s only logical to give him that chance. He should hire a personal trainer and dietician and show up in the best shape of his life. Nick Punto and Jerry Hariston, Jr. will be the backup infielders – I’m down with that. I wouldn’t mind seeing Bobby Abreu as a LH pinch-Hitter, but I’m not sure the Dodgers can afford to carry someone who can’t play the OF.
That means that players like FedEx, Gwynn, Jr., Castellanos, Herrera and Van Slyke all have a shot at making the team. The Dodgers have not been successful at stretching out Chris Reed into a starter (just like Lindblom). I look for him to be back in the pen next season. Red Patterson, Steve Ames, John Ely, Josh Wall, Steven Rodriguez, aka/Paco Rodriguez and Javier Solano are in the mix too.
If I had to guess what the Dodgers starting lineup will look like next year, this would be it:
- Crawford LF
- Ellis 2B
- Kemp CF
- Gonzalez 1B
- Ramirez SS
- Ethier RF
- Cruz 3B
- Ellis C
Mark Ellis is a great #2 hitter – he does all the little things necessary to advance runners including taking pitches to allow them to steal, hit the opposite way and get a flyball when needed. The Dodgers have him for one more year. Don’t look for offensive firepower to be added. They have to sign Clayton and Greinke and the payroll will be around $200 million anyway.
It’s the big stage tonight for Clayton Kershaw. America will be switching back-and-forth between the Peyton Manning’ Broncos and the Dodgers – Giants game. For the Dodgers to have any hope left, they have to win. It would be a nice time to bring out the big bats.