Categorized | Mark Timmons

The Most Important Thing

Who is the most important acquisition for the Dodgers over the winter?  Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com has the answer and wrote a mouthful in these two sentences:

One of the key acquisitions could prove to be a non-player.  After dismissing Dave Hansen, they are looking for a new hitting coach that can get through to the star-studded offense with a team approach that will turn wasted opportunities into runs scored.

That is about as simple as you can put it.  Of course, it was the coach.  A good coach can do a lot for a hitter.  I’m not saying Dave Hansen was bad, but for some reason or another, the Dodgers never really hit as a team.  It was like everyone was doing their own thing.  They didn’t pick up the runner, sacrifice, hit to the opposite side and well… they played like individuals – not a team.  Either Hansen was not preaching the rioght stuff or the hitters weren’t listening.  Either way, a change has to come.

They weren’t clutch – they often choked in the clutch, but that’s over and now it’s time for a team hitting doctor to take over.  The new guy (whoever he is) has his hands full with a team of talented, but individualistic hitters.  His biggest task is to get them to buy in to a philosophy that has worked for over a hundred years.  It worked for the Giants this year, didn’t it?  Who will it be and can he do it?

With the right guy, the Dodgers could lead all of baseball in runs.  With the wrong guy, or if the players don’t buy in, the next season could be just like the last!

The Dodger pitching, while having some question marks, is in much better shape.  The Dodgers’ team ERA was 3.34 which was good for #3 in all of baseball, just .01 behind the Washington Nationals 3.33 Team ERA.  There are question marks, with Ted Lilly and Chad Billingsley being at the top.  Both could miss the season or both could pitch effectively, although Billingsley pitched two pain-free innings yesterday and hit 94 on the gun.

Clayton Kershaw has a few questions surrounding his hip, but it seems that he will be OK.  Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano and Josh Beckett are allegedly healthy as well.  Joe Blanton?  I could see him get re-signed (if the price were right), but I don’t think it’s likely.

The Dodgers say they want to re-sign Brandon League and Randy Choate – I think League will get a 3 year/$25-$28 mil deal.  If the Dodgers think he’s worth it, they will sign him.  I think they will.  Randy Choate is recently divorced and has two young daughters in Florida, so I could see him trying to make a deal with Miami or Tampa Bay or even the ATL to stay close to his family.  The Dodgers already have Paco and Elbert anyway.

The Dodgers would be wise to get another starter.  Hiroki Kuroda is on the list.  I must confess that I didn’t think he would hold up this year, so what do I know (219 innings, 3.32 ERA – his best year yet).  Maybe he would want to come back on a one-year deal.  Somebody might give him more, however.  Then there is always Zach Greinke, Jake Peavy, Kyle Loshe, James Shields, David Price,  Ryan Dempster, maybe Ervin Santana or Dan Haren.  Pick one… or two.

I still like Cody Ross as the 4th outfielder and I am still skeptical of Carl Crawford.  I said the Red Sox would rue the day they signed him, but it thought it would be three or four years into the deal.  The Dodgers have him for those years.  God help us!

However, there are reports that the Dodgers are open to trading Andre Ethier.  It would take the right situation for that to happen.  I still look at Boston (with his best friend, Dustin Pedroia) or New York as options.  They can afford him and may have a need.  How about Andre Ethier to the Yankees for A-Rod and $50 million dollars, then  sign Josh Hamilton?  How about Andre Ethier and Joc Pederson to the Red Sox for Jacoby Ellsbury?   These are all silly ideas… or are they?  These guys look ready to spend.

P.S.  Since you should only say good things about players who are gone, I will say this about Rivera, Coffey and Treanor:  They are gone – GOOD!  Is Uribe still drawing air?

 

About Mark Timmons

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

15 Responses to “The Most Important Thing”

  1. Roger Dodger says:

    I missed something in the coming of new Dodger ownership this past season.

    They spent billions to purchase the team. They made a really big commitment in salaries with the Red Sox deal.

    NOW HERE IS THE QUESTION:

    Is there a bottom to their purse strings? Is there unlimited money or funds to make the Dodgers work?

    Face it: we must remember it is the major league club, the entire minor league system of some 200 players and coaching staff, scouting, front offices for all levels, and also the international scene.

    That is a lot going on.

    2nd — maybe some other really really really rich folks/groups will decide to play this game — and buy out some of these puff-puff operations like: KC, Pittsburgh, Minn, Houston, etc. that are more family owned or one owner with basically limited funds — or put a limit on total salaries.

    I say this because it seems like baseball is in 4 divisions of the: rich teams, some what rich teams, go as she goes level, and nickel and penny operations.

  2. Gonzo says:

    Mark, I think that the prudent decision on Ethier would be to include a third team where prospects are involved. Those prospects can help fetch a David Price or others. Since Puig was signed, I said Ethier would be the odd man out. While he may be able to help in the short term I think it is best to trade him when he has value a la Belichick, better to trade a player a year early than a year too late. Anyone remember Kuo when he was lights outs after coming back from his 2nd arm surgery? Instead of trading him away the Dodgers kept him and he broke down.

    I’m all for Ethier being traded. I was for it years ago and hopefully he will.

  3. ken says:

    Any batting coach of the dodgers is going to inherit the status of a step father of twin spoiled girls who are sophmores in high school and drive new BMWs unless their mommy changes her approach to parenting. Better just rent a house on a month to month contract. Have fun!

    Leaque – At whatever the cost
    Choate – No
    Wright – Absolutely no, a real long reliever goes 3-4 innings when needed.
    Kuroda – Yes, and his girls probably prefer LA.
    Ross – He will not sign unless he is paid as a player who is going to play a minimum of 100 games and the other OFs are limted to a maximum of 140 games each. Kemp should limit is playing time to 140 games so that he will have a year of rest and healing of his over worked body and its micro tears.
    Elsbury – 1 great year and injury prone, no thank you.
    Rodriquez – Hell no. OPS + = 112, Cruz = 106 and Cruz is a clutch hitter.

    Now just waiting for Herrera, Ely, Sellers, and Uribe to get the axe to make room for League, a #2 starter, a true long reliever, and a #4 OF.

    Has Santiago’s AFL performance added his name to the list of dodgers who Must be protected in the Rule 5 Draft?

  4. Bobbie17 says:

    SDSD:Scout, draft, sign, develop. I read this in the USA Today in the interesting (and
    disappointing) story of the Giants success and how they copied the Yankees system.
    How about hitting coaches in the minor leagues? I think a hitting coach at the major league level is more of a figurehead. You only hear about them when the team wins.
    Does anyone know who coaches hitting at A,AA, or AAA? Why can’t the AAA team hit on the road? Sounds like there needs to be change there, too. The home/road splits at AAA are pathetic, I think. That’s where we need coaching. Until the big club gets players who can hit, a hitting coach is just a story to write about.

  5. Max says:

    “They didn’t pick up the runner, sacrifice, hit to the opposite side and well… they played like individuals – not a team.”

    In large part I agree with this statement, however, as far as sacrificing is concerned…It’s not true. After a bit of research I found that the Dodgers in fact led MLB in Sacrifice Hits (Bunts not including sacrifice flies) with 82. The Giants had 69 and MLB average was 49, I’m aware that teams in the AL rarely bunt.

    I would love for players like Hanley Ramirez to shorten their swing with two strikes and hit the other way more often. Hopefully Hanley and company will learn but lets not forget that the Dodgers missed the playoffs by 1 game which we could have made up had Mattingly not been so liberal with the sacrifice bunt. It is also important to note that the Dodgers best player and arguably the best player in baseball missed 50 games with hamstring issues and then played another 30 with a torn labrum. No amount of clutch can overcome a serious injury. Say what you will about the Dodgers not being gritty, tough, clutch, wanting it bad enough, but it all boils down to the fact that injuries played a huge role on this team. Next year should be a successful campaign if the players can stay healthy.

    I am happy to be a Dodger fan right now. McCourt is gone, the new ownership has improved the on-field product as well as the farm system via draft and international free agent signings. All of this has been accomplished in less than one year. I see the Dodgers being competitive for years and perhaps even capturing an elusive World Series Title.

  6. Badger says:

    Good questions Roger. I would think $200XL ought to be able to buy a division championship. If not, then you are doing something wrong.

    “Since Puig was signed, I said Ethier would be the odd man out.” Gonzo

    I agree with this Gonzo. I think Ethier’s days are numbered, but maybe not next year. We would still have to have a right fielder out there and Puig ain’t ready. Zobrist? Maybe. He can play anywhere, but that was an expensive offer made yesterday. Could work though. There are a lot of other possibilities out there too. In fact, too many to mention. How about Torii Hunter in right field? You use Gordon in a trade, how about Maicer Izturis for 2B? Jake Peavy. Dan Haren. Kuroda. Swisher. Upton. Hamilton? So many names, so many scenarios……

    that’s why for now I am just fine with our outfield as it is. If Ethier continues to have the same numbers every year, he should be easy enough to move when the time comes.

  7. Nedsucks says:

    Trade either!!!!!

  8. Bobbie17 says:

    Ethier is a high paid #6 hitter, inconsistent and streaky. He will be effective if #’s 4,5, and 7 are good. Then, he may have 90 RBI. The problem with a trade is that he has been built up into a local hero in LA, the cover boy of the team. He probably sells T shirts. Probably a bad PR move to trade him.

  9. Roger Dodger says:

    Bobble 17 – maybe, or could be some bad PR. But if the Dodgers sign a first line starter that everyone is excited about. Announce that Hanley will spend some time playing 3B so Gordon’s speed is in the game. Announce some other pitchers and such — then trade Ethier — not as bad a PR move – maybe?

  10. DRomo says:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/fandom/post/_/id/13531/a-j-ellis

    I’m not ready for the rumor mill yet, but the legend of AJ Ellis continues! Awesome story!!

  11. ken says:

    Leaque extended for 3 years? Hopefully for less than $18 mil.

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