So, today pitchers and catchers report and we don’t have to worry about Ronald Belisario getting a Visa… or even a Mastercard!  But seriously folks…

This season has the potential for a World Series title or a train wreck!  Last season was magical in the fact that they won like 45 out of 50 games in one stretch (or some crazy number – I’m not looking it up).   Don’t expect that again.  There are a lot of “ifs.”

  • If Hanley can stay healthy
  • If Matt can return to form and health
  • If Andre can keep it up
  • If Carl can stay on the field
  • If Adrian keeps it up as he ages
  • If Uribe is healthy and plays like last year
  • If Alex is ready for MLB
  • If AJ has another good year in himphoto
  • If some subs step up
  • If the starters are healthy
  • If Josh and Chad return to form
  • If the pen is solid

Nothing is a given.  None of us know the answer, but we all hope ALL of those IFs are answered in the affirmative.  It’s going to be nice to see all those Spring games – I presume MLB will televise them.  I have my home office set up so that I can work and watch the game on the TV right above my monitors (see photo).  I’m ready to go!

Dodger Rants & Raves

  • I certainly enjoy the addition of Dodgers Digest to the Dodger blogroll, but I was fooled by Mike Petriello – I thought he was good guy and then he goes and spouts off this: “I generally believe in WAR.”  That is ridiculous!  He’s a horrible person.  How can you sanction war?  Don’t you have any regard for the sanctity of life?  How about the innocent causalities of war?  You need to re-think that.  War? Huh?  That’s all I have to say about that.
  • Two players I will be watching closely this Spring:  Guerrero and Figgins.  I am intrigued by both.
  • I am ecstatic that the D-Backs owe Arroyo $23 million or some such amount.   The Dodgers have plenty of #5 prospects in-house.  Thank you very much!
  • Daniel Brim wrote an excellent long analytic piece on the struggles of Paco Rodriguez at the end of last season, and offered up reasons and proof of what happened to him.  However, I think one key component was left out.  While physical fatigue could be part of the problem, I think mental fatigue is just as likely.  If a player has not played at that level before, they can mentally “hit the wall” and lose the power of focus.  I think that is part of what happened.  The game is played by humans, not machines, and we have no clue what also is going on in their private lives.  It all plays a part, which is why  I value statistical analysis, but take it with a grain of salt.
  • It’s fun to look at the ZIPS, PECOTA, Bill James and Baseball Prospectus Projections, but realize one thing.  There is a better way to determine and predict the statistics (see below).
Bill James at Work?:

Bill James at Work?


  1. Badger says:

    I think I remember you supporting the WAR. Must have been somebody else.

    Always a lot if ifs. I don’t see anybody on this team who will do what Matt Kemp did before he got paid – play every game.

    If the middle of our lineup all play 148 games, we win the 98 predicted. If not? Who knows. We should win about 90 just because our pitching will keep us close. We have a monster lineup if they all play a full year.

  2. Michael says:

    Man I sure am glad that the offseason is over. Hope we can find out if its more tolerable with a World Championship in hand.
    Coincidently its “42” days until our first game; its in the stars.

  3. Pete M. says:

    Come on TWC & Cox… Negotiate already!!! Don’t hesitate, I’ll jump on the TWC train in a NY minute…
    I’m anxious to see the comp. between Lee, Stripling and Reed…
    Dee G., surprise everyone… You’re running out of rehearsals…

  4. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    And it’s possible that the physical fatigue brought with it mental fatigue, or vice versa. Probably was a combination of both.

    Absolutely agree about the Arroyo signing. And that deal would have cost the Dodgers even more than the $23.5 million that is guaranteed. The Dodgers will go over the the luxury tax threshold for the 2nd year in a row this year, which means they will pay a 30% tax on the amount over $189 million. And, since the the contract is a multi-year deal they would be paying a 40% tax in 2015. And keep in mind that even without Arroyo the Dodgers would be paying the tax. Consequently, they would have been paying the tax on ALL of Arroyo’s contract. Since Arroyo’s AAV for the first two years is about $12 million, that means a tax of $3.6 million in 2014 and $4.8 million in 2015. That’s an awful lot of money for a questionable, 37 year old 5th starter. Go with the in-house options, and use the saved money later on if the in-house options ALL don’t work out.

  5. SpokaneBob says:

    I am confident we will have a good season. Our pitching is excellent and I believe we can expect a better result from our offense than we got last year.

    Right now my biggest concern is getting Sportsnet LA. Dish, DirectTV and Comcast cable are my local options and I have contacted all 3 to encourage them to carry the station. Whoever does will get my business. Plan B …DirectTV Extra innings or So Pete, I am right there with you looking for some kind of resolution.

  6. Bob says:

    Paul Maholm the new #5 pitcher???

    Just remember that a full slate of televised LA Dodger Spring Training games is the gateway drug to the watching of every possible LA Dodger regular season televised game! Winning the World Series will be the cold turkey antidote.

  7. Bob says:

    Malholm is signed and another player is told that he got ready for an early spring training and got a passport for nothing? Say goodbye to Seth Rosin? Baseball is not just a game for men to be kids but is also always a business.

  8. Bobbie17 says:

    I am glad that the team is leaving room for growth from within. We have to keep room on the roster for Joc, Seager, etc. Keeping the flow of youth from the farm is as important as anything. That is how you build a team, long term. Contracts beyond 2 years, at this point, will create a problem at some positions. The young guns should be happy that the front office is signaling there is room for them. Now.

  9. Bobby says:

    Mark is there any way to post a picture?

    I saw a pic of Dee Gordon, after he finished working out. You can CLEARLY see how much more muscle he has now. Let’s see if it translates to baseball.

    For those of you that don’t know yet, the new Dodger channel will broadcast every single spring training game. Good news!

  10. Gionfriddo says:

    Paul Maholm?
    76-95 lifetime– I saw this movie the last 2 years and it was called Chris Capuano if memory serves me right.
    Hopefully, a 1 yr deal around 5-6 mill……

    • Gionfriddo says:

      Bball, as of now that is a big no on Directv.. already beyond pissed off with them for holding us Directv subscribers hostage over the Pac 10, errr Pac 12 network… come on guys, get the deal done on the new Dodgers network….

  11. Badger says:

    Oliver has Maholm at 11-9 with 175 IP. I’ll take that.

    Good point about Arroyo Brooklyn, though I think if the Dodgers believed he put them in the World Series they would pay the tax.

    I got SuddenLink in Northern Arizona. I won’t get the Dodgers. Direct done pissed me off with their escalating second year prices. I won’t deal with them again. I’ll read about the Dodgers this year.

  12. Quasimodo says:

    That was clever, Mark. I’m sure Mike Petriello got it, but several posters there likely took offense. I just hope another battle gets nowhere. It was good for a chuckle. I got on chat with a sales rep at DirecTV and he told me SportsnetLA will be available on their ‘Choice’ package. But we all know how sales reps lie. I called him on that and he didn’t respond, so I can’t call it. At least I live across the street of a sports bar. So if TWC and DirecTV don’t work it out, I’ll post after games and I’ll likely be a bit tipsy.

  13. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Badger, I agree that the Dodgers would gladly pay the tax if they believed that Arroyo would put them in the World Series. But I doubt if they’re thinking that, which is why I also said, “That’s an awful lot of money for a questionable, 37 year old 5th starter.”

    The reports about Maholm indicate that he probably signed a minor league deal. As of now, nothing official. The Dodgers aren’t certain if Beckett will be ready, and if so, when. And they know that Billingsley won’t be ready until at least June. One of our kids could be earn a job, but I doubt if any of them will actually break camp with the Dodgers to begin the season. If anything, Maholm is insurance. And keep in mind that a 5th starter won’t be necessary until the latter portion of April. Dodgers might well carry one less pitcher in the early going.

  14. Michael says:

    I’m sure most of us will get the games on our computers or through our TV providers but I want that channel [SNLA] for the other programming on its schedule[Dodgers 24/7]. If I’m going to have 225 channels at least there will always be one to tune in to.

  15. Bob says:

    And good news from Bills

    “My arm hasn’t felt this good in a few years. I feel like I have a whole new arm,” Billingsley said on reporting day for Spring Training. “They keep telling me, don’t throw 95 [mph] yet.”

    “Billingsley said he’s thrown off a mound nine times, tossing only semi-fastballs in the low 80s (mph), and was up to 36 pitches on Friday. He speculated that he might add curveballs by the end of the month, then throw to live hitters in March. He hopes to move on to game situations by the end of March.

    That would seem to put Billingsley ahead of the projected return of late May or June.

    “Nobody knows when I can come back,” he said. “I just continue one week at a time.””

  16. Bob says:

    Beckett, and maybe a couple others like Kemp, could be placed on the 15 Day DL to start the season, March 22th, and come off as early as the third home game against the gints on Sunday April 6th. Reinforcements could be added really early this year. What an interesting chess game Ned could play with the roster this spring.

    Nice to see that the Dodgers are playing the Australian team before the season starts so that some of the minor league players will be able to get an all expense paid vacation down under and it would be easy to call up a player from the stand if, God forbid, someone gets injured.

  17. Bball says:

    I just called directv and they assured me I would get sportsnetLA. I better or they’ll get cancelled in a heartbeat. Hopefully every cable/satallite provider picks this channel up for our sake.

  18. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    If Maholm can reach those incentive clauses that would probably be good. Otherwise, $1.5 is just $1 million over the MLB minimum. And I’m guessing the $1.5 million isn’t fully guaranteed if he doesn’t make the team out of Spring Training.

    Good to hear that Billingsley says he feels great. Hopefully he doesn’t let that go to his head, and takes his time getting ready. I’m not interested in getting him back ahead of schedule. If he’s back fully healthy and throwing well in June or even July, I’m good with that. I’ve seen enough Dodgers try to rush back when it wasn’t necessary or wise. When Billingsley comes back I want it to be permanent, not prelude to his next stint on the DL.

    • Badger says:

      Yowza. I think I can see your scratch marks on the twins.

      I’m hoping Maholm costs the Dodgers 6.5 milyun.

      Sad to hear the team may be giving up on Beckett. Was hoping he had one more year in him.

  19. Badger says:

    Greinke talking about Kershaws contract. Fair… opt out favors pitcher…whatever…

    The way I look at it the Dodgers have both these guys for two more years. Put together a thunderous lineup NOW and blow people away. No guarantees Greinke will stick around.

  20. Pete M. says:

    You’re right Badger, lets be happy we got em for two more years a hopefully a ring or??? From what I saw in Zack last year he is history and will be entering the kershaw $$$statrosphere… And thats OK… Maybe a Stripling, Lee or God knows a 19-20 yr.old named Urias will surprise us all…

    • Badger says:

      That’s what I’m thinking too Pete. Keep what have in the pipeline cuz we may need them. What we seem to do well, or at least have the reputation for, is developing pitching. I hope it’s true.

  21. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    If Greinke leaves in two years, so be it. Hopefully, if it happens, we’ve got a championship or two, and a deep pipeline of young pitching. If Greinke leaves it probably means he had two good years in 2014-15 with the Dodgers, and maybe that translated into a championship or two. Also, when he leaves it will free up some big dollars that could be spent elsewhere, if need be. Of course, if Greinke doesn’t leave it might mean that he pitched only OK over those two years, or maybe worse.

    And to go along with that pitching pipeline, hopefully the Dodgers put together that thunderous lineup Badger is talking about. Who knows, in two years the Dodgers may look a lot different than they do now.

  22. Quasimodo says:

    I’m not sure what you mean by “what I saw in Zack last year he is history”, Pete. Usually when saying that something ‘is history’ means its through-over-done. I don’t think you’re saying that with its usual meaning as that’s obviously not so.

  23. Badger says:

    Brooklyn – that’s exactly what I meant. Expectations are very high. The Dodgers are again favorites. If they don’t get it done with these two #1’s, I would not be surprised to see Greinke opt out. I think the team looks different in ’16 no matter what happens – good or bad. It’s the nature of the beast these days.

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