Categorized | Mark Timmons

Ground Hog Day… again

Only thing, this Ground Hog will hunt.  Hunt you down and kill you!  Just ask Matt Harvey!

In spring training (April 1, 2013) I predicted this:

I will say this:  The most important player for the Dodgers in 2013 is someone not in the lineup, that being Hanley Ramirez.  If Hanley can return to his MVP form, he’s a game-changer.  As good a s Matt Kemp is, Hanley Ramirez can be even better.  That would be staggering!

Prediction for 2013:  93 wins based upon what I see.  98 wins based upon possible trades!

But, then the bottom dropped out and the Dodgers became a real-life train wreck.  It took them 72 games to get 30 wins.  It looked like a fractured clubhouse with a bunch of overpaid prima donnas and a lame-duck manager.  Then, something magical happened.  Yasiel Puig was called up and brought a renewed vigor, an electrically-charged excitement and made everyone forget about their own pain or agendas.  Then, Hanley Ramirez get healthy and showed why I said he can be better than Matt Kemp.  The Magical Mystery Tour started the first week of June and it’s been Ground Hog Day ever since.

This team bonded during that time and the whole is now greater than the sum of the parts… and the sum of the parts is pretty good.  The only thing that can stop the Dodgers from winning their first World Series since 1988 is catastrophic injury.

Due to being on Eastern Time, I sometimes go to bed and watch the condensed game on MLB the next morning.  It was 1-0 Mets when I went to bed last night, and even though Matt Harvey was pitching, I fully expected the Dodgers to win and the Junkyard Dogs stepped up.  AJ Ellis and Nick Punto are Certified Card-Carrying Members of the Junkyard Dog Society of America (JDSA).

Other Stuff:

  • Hyun-jin Ryu has convinced me that he is a solid #3.  I worried about him being effective after the league caught up with him, but he’s shown himself to be a VERY CAPABLE #3.    In a playoff when only three starters are needed, Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu are about as good as it gets.   My apologies to Mr. Ryu for doubting you.  Your are awesome.
  • If Hanley is truly ready, it makes sense to have him play today and rest tomorrow to see how he responds.  I have to assume that the medical staff would not rush this by a day or two unless he was really ready.
  • On Miguel Sulbaran:  He’s 19 and doesn’t have great stuff, but he is a lefthander.   So the Dodgers send him to the Twins for Drew Butera who is the worst hitter in the history of baseball.  He couldn’t jump out of a boat and hit water.  Why would the Dodgers make such a silly move?  It may not be silly.  The Dodgers do not have a good defensive catchers at AAA… or even AA, and that really hurts young pitchers.  We have no clue if Silbaran will amount to anything, but a good catcher can make many young pitchers better.  That’s part of the Cardinal pitching mojo – good catchers breed good pitchers.  Don’t be too hasty in judging the deal yet.  The odds are Silbaran will never sniff the show, but Butera may help many…




About Mark Timmons

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

59 Responses to “Ground Hog Day… again”

  1. Quasimodo says:

    Pretty much a lot of back stepping all over today by many of us who’ve read some wrong signs. Hard to be blamed when so much evidence was saying ‘this just ain’t working’. This team looked as good preseason as they do now,(actually they looked better)and how such a great team started the season so bad made it appear near impossible there’d be a chance of getting to a postseason. The turnaround has more than any of us had ever witnessed. World Series? Don’t know. But it sure feels likely.

  2. Bobby says:

    Actually a great point about Butera that I hadn’t thought of.

    I’m sure Ned spoke with Logan and others and felt the young leftie could be let go.

    Can’t wait until tonight!

  3. Badger says:

    Excellent point on Butura. I thought he was gone already, but, must have just cleared waivers.

    The team without Hanley, Kemp, Crawford (and Nolasco) just wasn’t very good. They had trouble scoring runs. I think it’s because the second team guys were being asked to something they are not capable of doing – carrying a team. If you remember, I kept saying “wait until the regulars are healthy”. Who knew Puig would show up with such electricity. Then Hanley is back hitting .400, we get Nolasco and the entire make-up of this team changed. Now it doesn’t hurt so much when Ellis or Punto doesn’t hit, and it’s HUGE when they do.

    Yep, roster moves to be done. I also figure Dee is a goner, and somebody else is going to have to go down, don’t have a clue who, when Wilson shows up.

    Sure hope Hanley is ready to play. Kemp? I still think he is weeks away. September if at all. Hope I am wrong about that.

    Speaking of wrong, Mark Ellis is proving me wrong. I did not believe he could play more than 125 games and would only hit .265. He is at .280. Please, stay there. We don’t have the second base option at this point.

    Cano will play at 31 next year. A 5 year contract takes him to 36. He is an every day player, and the stats reflect that. He plays EVERY DAY. He is one of those guys that is in great shape, and should be fine until he is 35. But, you never know. I would give a 6th year on that contract and figure you may be swallowing that olive when the time comes. Whoever said he is staying in Gnu Yourk probably has it right. But, if he WANTS to come be a part of this? We would be VERY lucky to get his energy in Dodger Blue. Doesn’t matter what it costs. This team is going to draw near 4 million from here on out and make a ton of revenue with t.v.. Things is looking up.

  4. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Badger, you made the same mistake that I see sportswriters make all the time when it comes to a players age. Cano will be 31 when he starts next year, and in the 5th year of a contract he would be 35, NOT 36. Put simply, the 5th year of the contract starts 4 years after it begins. But if he wants to come to LA, it’s probably worth “swallowing that olive when the time comes”. And who knows, maybe we wouldn’t have to swallow it at all. It’s probably worth the risk.

    I’m not predicting a World Series, because experience tells me that the team that comes out on top is not always the best team, but just the team that’s playing the best baseball during the playoff season. Does anyone really think the Giants were the best team in baseball in both of the years that they won the World Series? If you do, your blinder than Ray Charles.

    The point Mark made about the Butera trade definitely has merit, and is perhaps what was behind the deal. And I’m guessing that internally the Dodgers had their doubts about Miguel Sulbaran. What a young pitcher does in the low minors does not necessarily carry over as he moves up the classification ladder. So by no means am I bashing the deal, if only because I know that Dodgers management knows these players a lot better than I do. But I also wonder if Butera could not have been obtained for a bag of balls and some cash. Maybe not.

    No doubt that the emergence of Puig played a big role in the resurgence of the Dodgers. In addition to bringing energy, he, in effect, replaced the injured Matt Kemp. But the return of Crawford, and Hanley, and the solid play of Mark Ellis (who was also out for a while) was also a factor. And it didn’t hurt to have Jansen pick up the slack in the closer’s role, not the to mention the improved work of Belisario and the addition of Withrow, and for a while, Jose Dominguez. And let’s not forget that Skip Schumaker, who was always a good hitter in St. Louis, suddenly started to hit for us like he did for the Cardinals. And Nick Punto being put back where he belongs, in a utility role, also helps.

    So while I give Puig a lot of the credit, I don’t necessarily don’t think that some of this stuff wouldn’t have happened without him. Puig helped a lot, be he wasn’t the whole story.

    And going forward, I still believe that a healthy and productive return of Matt Kemp is absolutely critical for this team. Same goes for Hanley, and the same has to continue for Crawford. An Andre Ethier with the power we remember would also be welcome. And I too think Hanley Ramirez is an incredibly talented player, but so is Matt Kemp. I wouldn’t even get into which is better. And when it comes to power, as much as Hanley has, Kemp has more, and not by a small margin. Hanley’s best was 33 in 2008. He’s been mostly a 25 – 30 HR guy. Kemp’s gone as high as 39, and was heading towards that territory or higher when he got hurt last year. But really, that argument is irrelevant. They’re both tremendous players, and having them along with Gonzalez, Puig, etc. in our lineup, makes it lethal.

  5. Watford Dodger says:

    Guys you are in danger of getting ahead of yourselves. Nothing has been won yet not even the division. I don’t need to tell you how many times teams that are expected to win in the post season fall flat on their faces. We see it virtually every year – the underdog coming good. They are short series and a couple of poor decisions, injury or just bad luck and you are struggling. And what about momentum? Most likely we would play a wild card winner with their tails up and nothing to lose. We probably will hit a cold spot ourselves maybe if the division is won and we rest a few. The post season is a tightrope and anything can happen.
    I am as excited as anyone as I certainly didn’t see this position on June 22nd unlike some of you on here – Badger, Brooklyn & Truth – but to be honest I feel trepidation & I don’t like Mark to be tempting fate by saying we are gonna win it all. Lets leave that talk till October.
    I agree about Kemp – don’t think we will see him this season unless its in a DH capacity which would be good news as we could only be be doing that for one reason.
    Also I know it sounds heartless but I’d swap Fife for Cappy now and make him our 5th starter. If we can get the best record in the NL that would be a huge advantage.

  6. Mark_Timmons says:

    Some things are just inevitable. These are Destinys Dodgers!

  7. Badger says:

    Cano is 31 this year. He will turn 31 during the playoffs. So yeah, he would be 35 at the start of his last year of 5th year contract. My bad. The point is, I would still give him a 6th year of a contract. Would you?

    I am not counting the World Series as ours already W. I am thinking we have as good a shot as anyone the way we are playing….. now. Who knows how this team will be playing in a month. The dbacks won’t quit, you can bet on that. And knowing the fragility of this club…….

    but damn we look good. Remember, the odds makers had us as favorites at the beginning of the year. They saw what I saw, a deep squad with great pitching. What they didn’t see was Puig and injuries. I haven’t looked, but I would think we are favorites again.

  8. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I’d give him the 6th year also. If he turned out to be as good as advertised, he’d probably pay for himself after 3 or 4 years. In fact, one championship would probably be enough.

    We only know “inevitable” and about “destiny” AFTER the fact. In fact, I would hope (and think) that the players don’t have that sort of attitude. It can only bring on complacency, and the disaster that would likely follow.

    I’m not interested in how hot or cold the Dodgers are before the playoffs, assuming they get there. If memory serves, I believe the Dodgers won their final 7 games in 2006, just before losing 3 straight to the Mets.

    I’m optimistic that this team can get to and win the World Series. But very, very, very, very, very cautiously so. No chickens hatched that I can see, so I’m not about to start counting them.

  9. Mark_Timmons says:

    I\’m all in!

  10. Badger says:

    I’m obviously in too.

    I am interested in how the team is playing through September. I want all bodies on deck in full dress and playing as a 25 man team, all pulling on the same end of the rope. Won’t it be fun when Kemp, Ramirez, Crawford, Gonzalez, Ethier, the Ellis brothers and Kershaw are all healthy and playing together in October? Oh yes, this IS the team all Dodger fans have been waiting for. Stay healthy boys.

  11. Quasimodo says:

    Last night I went SF Giants site just to read some of the things their fans were saying. They were talking football, and football was all for pages. I had no intention to clown them and I didn’t, but almost did.

    • You should have Quasi. In the beginning of the year I remember alot of Giants fans commenting at various Dodger sites talking smack. There was even a few that found there way over to Lasorda’s Lair. Now that the Dodgers are in first place and the Giants are in last, they have all disappeared.

  12. Badger says:

    From first to worst?

    Let the fall be completed.

    Watch them turn it into another Buster Posey draft pick. Oh well, it would be worth it.

  13. Roger Dodger says:

    This looks like a tough night.

    Puig bounces out again . . . Cap has been bombed.

    Down 4 to zip . . . is there magic in the air ???

    • Badger says:

      Yep – bad Cap. We knew it could happen. Maybe he can settle down, hold ‘em to 5 or 6 and we come back later. Never feel like this team is out of it.

      Any news on Guerrero?

  14. Quasimodo says:

    Can you believe this?

  15. Quasimodo says:

    Most amazing team I’ve ever seen!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Quasimodo says:

    I’m thinking Greinke might come for a walk-off.

  17. Watford Dodger says:

    Time for Fife to replace Cappy.

  18. Quasimodo says:

    Beautiful…really beautiful!

  19. Quasimodo says:

    Just no lose in this team!

  20. Watford Dodger says:


  21. Bobby says:

    Again…. unreal

  22. Bobby says:

    and p.s. What a FANTASTIC job by Marmol tonight.

    Good lord if Honeycutt cant turn this dude around??? I think now Marmol keeps his job, and unfortunately the kid Withrow has to go back ONLY because he has options remaining when Brian Wilson is activated.

    I would say I’m stunned, but really, I’m not. Just another evening in the Magic Castle!

  23. Quasimodo says:

    840 baseball for this long of a run! I’m dizzy.

  24. Watford Dodger says:

    If a team started the season 40-8 people wouldn’t stop talking about it – somehow it’s being a bit overlooked as its happened in the middle of the season.

  25. Roger Dodger says:

    4 zip, and for some reason, I kept watching — and knew they were going to win — some how.

    This is getting to be old . . . Puig: great throw, and the wild horse made it into second to set up the whole thing.

  26. the truth hurts says:

    “Another incredible moment in the Magic Castle”- Vin

    Did anyone notice that Ethiers shot was to opposite field? When is the last time that happened?

  27. Pete M. says:

    OK…Road trip to Idaho & Wa. complete and ready to resume my Faithful Dodger habits.
    Had to watch alot of Mariner baseball and that was like a visit to the dentist.
    Alot of Hatfield and McCoy banter on the site I heard. Really??? This should be the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’…
    I will be the first (?) to say it is over, finis, kaput… The NL West is ours… AZ and their Sour Patch Kid mgr. can start thinking about next year…
    Focus on the ATL and STL and the matchups…
    Go Blue…

  28. Bobbie17 says:

    As much as I hate to admit it, the leadership of the team when it was 30-42 was a major source of the recovery. Mattingly seemed to change his coaching style. Someone revamped the use of the bullpen pitchers (I’m not sure who that was). The revamped bullpen, with no Guerrier, limited Bellasario and League, is as important as anything. Howell and Paco, unbelievable. Withrow, learning on the fly. I have no idea who was responsible for the bullpen change, but whoever it is, has as much to do with this as anyone, including Ramirez and Puig. Keep it going as long as it will go.

  29. Bobby says:

    Boy it kind of sucks there’s no game today :(

    What do we do all day???

  30. Kris says:

    Don’t know about Withrow going down…he’s turned into the multi inning reliever…I think Dee goes down today or tomorrow for Wilson. They could send down one of the kids at the end of August to make space for Kemp to qualify for the post season.

  31. Quasimodo says:

    Preseason’s most used description of Puig was ‘raw’. Back then I said that raw was probably his biggest asset. That’s proven to be true – at least I see it as proven. The mistakes he’s made has ignited Dodgers to play more aggressively, or loosely. Puig’s hero moves don’t always pan out, that’s what takes the pressure off the rest of the team. He helped make the game fun for Dodgers. All play and no work is winning games. Its really refreshing and so much fun to watch.

  32. Badger says:

    He plays fearless Quas. And yeah, it’s fun to watch.

    I agree about Withrow, but that is how good this pen has become. He goes down cuz he has options. Unless you want to send Dee and Hairston down, and I don’t think that will happen. I think I might do that though. We have four good outfielders (IF Kemp returns) and we have Puntellismacher so Hairston could become superfluous.

    We got options.

  33. Badger says:

    And for the record, I still think FedX should be playing everyday somewhere. He needs to work on his hitting. We need veteran back-up – a Blanco kind of guy – to give Ellis breaks. They are out there.

  34. SMarq17 says:

    I know it’s still way too early to be looking to next year, but with our lack of depth at C and a possible opening at 2B for 2014…how about this trade? Andre Ethier and a high minors SP (Stripling? Urias? Magill?) to Cleveland for C Yans Gomes and 2B Jason Kipnis. I won’t try to sell it but I have looked into some numbers and it might be interesting. Just putting it out there to see some responses.

  35. Roger Dodger says:

    Badger, I totally agree about FedX. He might be a solid major league player in the near future, but he is out of his element in a championship run. He does need to play everyday in AAA.

    It showed last night again. Kind of like head just not above water right now.

    Roster changes now will be interesting.

  36. Bill Russell says:

    This team is beyond amazing right now. Last night or shall we call it Cap night( only night of the week I worry about), I was about to concede the loss and then another story book ending. Ethier hasn’t even been hitting Homeruns but stepped up and knocked it out of the park when we needed it in the 9th. It seemed Disney like. All the utility guys are running on all cylinders except for Dee Gordon and the relief staff is unbelieveable except for Brandon League. I wonder what the roster move is going to be when we bring up Wilson?

    I am squarely in the corner of having Fife step into the 5th spot of the rotation however I understand that would cause a roster move. Anyway, fun time to be a Dodger fan……

  37. Gonzo says:

    I agree about FedEx, but also with: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” It seems to be working and if the veteran can be had next year do it then.

    I send Dee down and keep Hairston.

  38. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Badger, I’m guessing you’re talking about the 42 year old Henry Blanco, or his like.

    I would take Fedex hands down. They both throw well, and Fedex, is the better hitter. In fact, since a very slow start for the first couple of months, Fedex has been at least respectable with the bat. I’m very satisfied with him as the backup, and see no need for a move to replace him with a veteran, be it Henry Blanco or a Henry Blanco clone. The “veteran” thing has its merits, but in this case I see no advantage, especially if the veteran is of the mediocre sort, such as Blanco or a Blanco-type. And veteran or not, any catcher we bring in now is not going to be familiar with or bonded to the pitching staff. In this case, I’m in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” camp. Besides, do have Drew Butera.

    And by the way, Urias is only 16 and not in the high minors. From every account he is an ace in the making, but just not for 3-5 more years. Not someone I’d even be considering using in a trade.

  39. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    “do have Drew Butera” should have been “we do have Drew Butera”.

  40. Badger says:

    I am talking about the 36 year old Henry Blanco who had a 136 OPS+ for the dbacks. We should be able to find a strong veteran defensive catcher who can do what FedX has done offensively (not much) and give the young catcher 5 PA’s a night somewhere he can work on his offensive game. Can Butera hit .250 at the ML level? Hell no. He can’t hit .250 in a place Dee Gordon hits .300.

    FedX will run into one on occasion. But I think he is currently a. .225 hitter against ML pitching. I would like to think we could do better.

  41. Brooklyn Dodger says:


    The Henry Blanco that was with the Dbacks last year is the same one I linked above. Birthdate = 8/29/1971. Last time he had an OPS+ even close to 136 was in 2011, when it was 132. It was 34 last year, and 65 this year. Are you sure you don’t mean someone else?

    Fedex hit .000 in Apr/Mar, .176 in May, .220 in June, .231 in July, and so far in August he’s at .353. Check his splits in the following link.

    Last time Henry Blanco was above the Mendoza line was in 2011, the same year in which he had that 132 OPS+.

    And I only mentioned Butera above as an example of what we would be getting with Blanco or his like, and because we already have him. Only thing Blanco has is more experience. And really, Fedex has more experience with our pitching staff. He’s by no means a stellar catcher, but is, in my mind at least, a very competent backup catcher, who if anything, seems to be getting better.

  42. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    And when I said Fedex wasn’t a “stellar catcher” I was thinking about his overall game. He still has a ways to go with the bat, but his throwing is, in fact, stellar, and he’s a solid defensive catcher.

  43. Badger says:

    You are missing the point Brooklyn. I don’t want the 43 year old Blanco. I want a veteran catcher in the later stages of his career that can manage a staff like a pro and still bring some offense on a limited basis. Henry Blanco was an excellent back- up for the dbacks. I want a guy LIKE him to spell Ellis. Make sense?

  44. Bill Russell says:

    Sources are saying that Brian Wilson will not be activated tomorrow. I wonder why he’s with the team then. Stay Tuned. I bet the Dodgers are ordering black beards for the gift shops.

  45. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Badger, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I’m satisfied with Fedex, and think he has the trust of the both pitching staff and the coaching staff. He’s worked for quite a while with this staff, has played well defensively, throws extremely well, and has improved with the bat. As backup catchers go, I think he’s ideal. And I think he’s getting better. I see no need to upset the applecart to get what would likely be a mediocre veteran catcher, be it Henry Blanco or anyone else like him. Sometimes there is something to be said for chemistry.

    Didn’t Brian Wilson pitch last night? If so, maybe the Dodgers want to give him an extra day before activating him. If that’s the case, it makes perfect sense for him to be with the team in preparation for his activation.

    • Badger says:

      Yeah Brooklyn, I’ll put up with him too…. seein’s how there is no choice. He does present a small +dWAR, so that’s a good thing. But, an OPS+ of 76 and a an even worse wRC+ of 72 (league averages for the position is 100) does suggest he could use more at bats to improve, and he won’t get them here. Who knows, maybe he will be a career .220 hitter and nothin’ will stop that. Just seems to me about 550 more at bats at AAA could help him.

      Roster moves are coming. I have no idea how to predict them. Do we go with more pitching? Or do we send Withrow down? I still need to know what Kemp is going to be able to do. Since we probably won’t see him until September, guess we have to keep the light hitting Hairston (.245, 83 OPS+) around for a while longer. As soon as Kemp is back and on the field – I cut Hairston and leave the space open for pitching. I might have cut Hairston and signed Reynolds.

      I still say what I did in ST, it will be pitching that takes us to the promised land.

      Yankees signing Reynolds. Bet he does better there. Hope he doesn’t do better enough, along with what Soriano is doing, to propel them into the play-offs. Don’t want to see the Yankees there. Not this year.

  46. Quasimodo says:

    How have we avoided the ‘instant replay’ news that’s starting 2014? It is a step forward that is certain to evolve. There would be at least one more perfect game in the record books if this came in 5 years ago. Hard to say if championships could have been won by teams that had wrong calls on them. If this becomes a success I’d say pitch calls shouldn’t be all that far away. Wonder what umpires think of this soon coming change. Probably feel like cops being demoted to security guards.

  47. Anonymous says:

    What holds true during the season should hold true now in regards to FedEx…He should be at AAA in the Dukes every day day lineup!!! His hitting is pretty painful to watch…
    His defensive skills and arm are better than advertised. Darn, I wish my boy A.J. could block balls in the dirt like FedEx….

    • Badger says:

      Yeah, his defensive skills seem to be just fine. His CERA and CS are similar to Ellis’. But, that could also reflect on the pitching staff. He’s just not a Major League hitter.

      The umps and the Players Association will have to ok those review suggestions. Personally, I don’t think it goes far enough. You only get a few challenges? You should get as many as you want until you miss two. Even Little League has that one right.

  48. Badger says:

    Don’t know how many of you are familiar with this site, but, it’s where I often find myself going to search for information regarding how valuable our players are. Not surprising to me, Hanley Ramirez is our MVP. If only he could stay on the field.

  49. Bobby says:

    Wow, exciting discussion about Henry Blanco. We really need a game to discuss!!

  50. the truth hurts says:

    That off day yesterday was brutal.

  51. Bobby says:

    Phillies change managers; Ryne Sandberg is the new mgr there.

    Wonder how that will affect our series

  52. Bill Russell says:

    Charlie Manual is a smart guy. I would leave town also if the Dodgers were coming.

  53. Badger says:

    We were discussing the back-up catcher Bobby. Some might consider that a important.

    We’re about 5 hours from first pitch. Any news on roster moves?


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